Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History

Naves Topical Bible Dictionary

fly Summary and Overview

Bible Dictionaries at a GlanceBible Dictionaries at a Glance

fly in Easton's Bible Dictionary

Heb. zebub, (Eccl. 10:1; Isa. 7:18). This fly was so grievous a pest that the Phoenicians invoked against it the aid of their god Baal-zebub (q.v.). The prophet Isaiah (7:18) alludes to some poisonous fly which was believed to be found on the confines of Egypt, and which would be called by the Lord. Poisonous flies exist in many parts of Africa, for instance, the different kinds of tsetse. Heb. 'arob, the name given to the insects sent as a plague on the land of Egypt (Ex. 8:21-31; Ps. 78:45; 105:31). The LXX. render this by a word which means the "dog-fly," the cynomuia. The Jewish commentators regarded the Hebrew word here as connected with the word "'arab", which means "mingled;" and they accordingly supposed the plague to consist of a mixed multitude of animals, beasts, reptiles, and insects. But there is no doubt that "the "'arab"" denotes a single definite species. Some interpreters regard it as the Blatta orientalis, the cockroach, a species of beetle. These insects "inflict very painful bites with their jaws; gnaw and destroy clothes, household furniture, leather, and articles of every kind, and either consume or render unavailable all eatables."

fly in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

FLY , the name of a large tribe of insects, some of which are exceedingly annoying and destructive, Isa 7:18. They abound in Egypt and Palestine. One species, which is found by modern travellers in the vicinity of the Nile, and called the Abyssinian fly, is as large as a bee, and is such an annoyance to cattle and other large animals as to oblige them to forsake their pastures and ranges, and to flee to some place where they can roll themselves in the mud or sand. Hence we may judge of the terrible nature of the judgments mentioned in Ex 8:24; Isa 7:18; in which last passage we are informed that the fly shall be found in the very places to which the cattle resort to rid themselves of its presence.

fly in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

(See EGYPT and frontEXODUS on the plague of flies. Psalm 78:45; Psalm 105:31. 'Arob, Septuagint translated "dog flies"; their bites severely inflame the eyelids. However, an old Egyptian word retained in Coptic abeb, "a beetle," seems related. The sun god in Egypt was represented in the form of a beetle; thus their sin would be made their instrument of punishment. But the "flies," whether gnats, mosquitoes, or dog flies, literally "devour" (Psalm 78:45), conveying the well-known ophthalmia from one to another, and by the larvae entering beneath the skin and intestines, and generating deadly disease. Found in swarms about the arms and canals of the Nile. Figure for troublesome and numerous foes, as Pharaoh Necho's hosts who slew king Josiah at Megiddo (2 Kings 23:29-30). Isaiah 7:18, "the Lord shall hiss for (i.e. summon, as a beemaster whistles for bees) the fly (zibub) in the rivers of Egypt."

Ecclesiastes 10:1, "dead flies (zibubim) cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor," i.e. "flies" small in appearance, answer to "a little folly" (sin); "the ointment" of the perfumer answers to the man's "repudiation for wisdom and honor" (Ecclesiastes 7:1; Genesis 34:30). The more delicate the perfume, the more easily a small corruption, as a dead fly, can spoil it; so the more excellent a character, the greater pity it is to allow a small inconsistency to mar it; e.g., David (2 Samuel 12:14), Solomon (1 Kings 11), Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 18; 2 Chronicles 19:2), Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:21-22). A little sin, if unchecked, will undermine the whole character (1 Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9). Beelzebub, the parent of sin, is (as the name means) "the prince of flies." The dthebab of Egypt (Sir G. Wilkinson, Transact. Entom. Soc., 2:183), is like our cleg in N. of England. It assails camels, and generates a disease which, if neglected, kills them; it attacks man too.