Heb. 'akhbar, "swift digger"), properly the dormouse, the
field-mouse (1 Sam. 6:4). In Lev. 11:29, Isa. 66:17 this word is
used generically, and includes the jerboa (Mus jaculus), rat,
hamster (Cricetus), which, though declared to be unclean
animals, were eaten by the Arabs, and are still eaten by the
Bedouins. It is said that no fewer than twenty-three species of
this group ('akhbar=Arab. ferah) of animals inhabit Israel.
God "laid waste" the people of Ashdod by the terrible visitation
of field-mice, which are like locusts in their destructive
effects (1 Sam. 6:4, 11, 18). Herodotus, the Greek historian,
accounts for the destruction of the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings
19:35) by saying that in the night thousands of mice invaded the
camp and gnawed through the bow-strings, quivers, and shields,
and thus left the Assyrians helpless. (See SENNACHERIB