The coneys [are but] a feeble folk
Or "rabbits"; though some think these creatures are not intended, because they are not so little as those with which they are ranked, the ant, the locust, and spider; and because of the places in which they burrow and make their houses, which though in holes and caverns of the earth, yet not in rocky but sandy places; rather therefore it is thought that the mountain mouse, or bear mouse F15, as Jerom calls it, is meant; of which, he says F16, there were great numbers in Palestine, and which had their habitations in the holes of rocks; though if Spain has its name from (Npv) , as some say, because of the multitudes of coneys in it; and hence that part of Spain called Celtiberia is called by Catullus
F17 Cuniculosa; the coney may be thought to be meant by this word, and so it is translated in ( Leviticus 11:5 ) ( Deuteronomy 14:7 ) ( Psalms 104:18 ) ; the only places where it is elsewhere used; and the word may be derived either from (Npo) , to "cover", by a change of the letters (v) and (o) ; or from (Pwv) , which has the signification both of breaking, and of hiding and covering, ( Genesis 3:15 ) ( Psalms 139:11 ) ; and this creature breaks the earth and hides itself in it F18; yet make they their houses in the rocks;
it is usual with other writers to call the receptacles of any creatures, beasts, birds, or insects, their houses so we read of the house of the ant, and of the tortoise and snail F19; and which, because it carries its house era its back, it is called by Cicero F20 "domiporta"; see ( Psalms 104:17 Psalms 104:18 ) ; the coneys make theirs in the rocks, to cure themselves from their more potent enemies; and thus what they want in strength is made up in sagacity, and by their wise conduct they provide for their safety and protection. These are an emblem of the people of God, who are a weak and feeble people, unable of themselves to perform spiritual duties, to exercise grace, to withstand the corruptions of their nature, resist the temptations of Satan, bear up under afflictive providences, and grapple with spiritual enemies, or defend themselves from them: but such heavenly wisdom is given them, as to betake themselves for refuge and shelter to Christ, the Rock of Israel; the Rock of salvation, the Rock that is higher than they; a strong one, on which the church is built, and against which the gates of hell cannot prevail: and here they are safe from the storms of divine wrath, and the avenging justice of God; from the rage and fury of men, and the fiery darts of Satan; here they dwell safely and delightfully, and have all manner of provision at hand for them; they are the inhabitants of that Rock, who have reason to sing indeed! see ( Isaiah 33:16 ) ( 42:11 ) .
F15 (Mynpv) (oi coirogrullioi) , Sept. "choerogryllii", Vatablus; "mures montani", Junius & Tremellius, Cartwright; "arctomyes", Schultens.
F16 Epist. ad Sun. & Fretelli, fol. 30, C. tom. 3.
F17 Cuniculosa Celtiberia, Epigram. ad Contubernales, 35. v. 18.
F18 Gaudet "in effossis habitare cuniculus antris", Martial. Epigr. l. 13. Ep. 58.
F19 Phaedri Fab. 37, 80.
F20 De Divinat. l. 2. c. 64. and so by Hesiod and Anaxilas in Athenaei Deipnosoph. l. 2. c. 22. p. 63.