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Bee

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

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רבודה , occurs Deuteronomy 1:44; Judges 14:8; Psalms 108:12; Isaiah 7:18 . A well known, small, industrious insect; whose form, propagation, economy, and singular instinct and ingenuity, have attracted the attention of the most inquisitive and laborious inquirers into nature. Bees were very numerous in the east. Serid, or Seriad, means "the land of the hive;" and Canaan was celebrated as "a land flowing with milk and honey." The wild bees formed their comb in the crevices of the rocks, and in the hollows of decayed trees. The passage in Isaiah 7:8 , which mentions the "hissing for the bee," is supposed to involve an allusion to the practice of calling out the bees from their hives, by a hissing or whistling sound, to their labour in the fields, and summoning them again to return when the heavens begin to lower, or the shadows of evening to fall. In this manner Jehovah threatens to rouse the enemies of Judah, and lead them to the prey. However widely scattered, or far remote from the scene of action, they should hear his voice, and with as much promptitude as the bee that has been taught to recognise the signal of its owner and obey his call, they should assemble their forces; and although weak and insignificant as a swarm of bees, in the estimation of a proud and infatuated people, they should come, with irresistible might, and take possession of the rich and beautiful region which had been abandoned by its terrified inhabitants.

The bee is represented by the ancients as a vexatious and even a formidable enemy; and the experience of every person who turns his attention to the temper and habits of this insect attests the truth of their assertion. The allusion, therefore, of Moses to their fierce hostility, Deuteronomy 1:44 , is both just and beautiful: "The Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir even unto Hormah." The Amorites, it appears, were the most bitter adversaries to Israel of all the nations of Canaan. Like bees that are easily irritated, that attack with great fury and increasing numbers the person that dares to molest their hive, and persecute him in his flight to a considerable distance, the incensed Amorites had collected their hostile bands, and chased the Israelites from their territory. The Psalmist also complains that his enemies compassed him about like bees; fiercely attacking him on every side. From these allusions it would however appear, that the bees of the east were of a more quarrelsome temper than ours, which exist chiefly in a domesticated state.

Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Bee'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​wtd/​b/bee.html. 1831-2.
 
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