Heb. tsir'ah, "stinging", (Ex. 23:28; Deut. 7:20; Josh. 24:12).
The word is used in these passages as referring to some means by
which the Canaanites were to be driven out from before the
Israelites. Some have supposed that the word is used in a
metaphorical sense as the symbol of some panic which would seize
the people as a "terror of God" (Gen. 35:5), the consternation
with which God would inspire the Canaanites. In Israel there
are four species of hornets, differing from our hornets, being
larger in size, and they are very abundant. They "attack human
beings in a very furious manner." "The furious attack of a swarm
of hornets drives cattle and horses to madness, and has even
caused the death of the animals."