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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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(See EGYPT and (See EXODUS on the plague of flies. Psalms 78:45; Psalms 105:31. 'Αrob , 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" (Psalms 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.

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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Fly'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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