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Dictionaries :: Flea

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Easton's Bible Dictionary

Flea:

David at the cave of Adullam thus addressed his persecutor Saul (1Sa 24:14): "After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea?" He thus speaks of himself as the poor, contemptible object of the monarch's pursuit, a "worthy object truly for an expedition of the king of Israel with his picked troops!" This insect is in Eastern language the popular emblem of insignificance. In 1 Sam. 26:20 the LXX. read "come out to seek my life" instead of "to seek a flea."

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

Flea:

fle (par‘osh; compare Arabic barghut, "flea," and barghash, "mosquito" (1Sa 24:14; 26:20); kinnim (Ex 8:16), "lice," the Revised Version, margin "sandflies" or "fleas"; Septuagint skniphes, probably best rendered "gnat"; see GNAT; LICE): In 1Sa 24 Saul seeks David in the wilderness of En-gedi, and David, after cutting off the skirt of Saul's robe in the cave, calls out to him, "After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea" (24:14). Again in 1Sa 26:20 Saul seeks David in the wilderness of Ziph, and David after taking the spear and cruse from beside Saul while he slept, cries out to him, ".... the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains." The flea is here used as a symbol of David's insignificance, coupled perhaps, in the second passage, with a thought of the difficulty that Saul had in laying hands on him. In Encyclopedia Biblica Cheyne finds fault with a similar interpretation given in DB on the ground that it is absurd that David should refer to hunting "a single flea," and proposes to change par‘osh ‘echadh "a flea," to pere' midhbar, "wild ass of the desert." The writer will only say that no observant resident of Palestine would consider the textual alteration to be called for.

Linnaeus recognized two species of flea, Pulex irritans, the common parasite of man, and Pulex (Sarcopsylla) penetrans, the tropical and sub-tropical jigger flea. More than a hundred species are now listed, and the recent discovery that certain fleas are instrumental in the transmission of the plague has given a new impetus to the study of these tiny pests. A flea that is often commoner in houses than Pulex irritans is the "dog and cat flea," variously known as Pulex serraticeps, Pulex canis, Pulex felis or Ctenocephalus canis.

Written by Alfred Ely Day

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Flea:

an insect but twice mentioned in Scripture, viz., in 1 Samuel 24:14; 26:20. Fleas are abundant in the East, and afford the subject of many proverbial expressions.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.