Exodus 23:28

Exodus 23:28

And I will send hornets before thee
Which may be interpreted either figuratively, and so may signify the same as fear before which should fall on the Canaanites upon hearing the Israelites were coming; the stings of their consciences for their sins, terrors of mind, dreading the wrath of the God of Israel, of whom they had heard, and terrible apprehensions of ruin and destruction from the Israelites: Aben Ezra interprets it of some disease of the body, which weakens it, as the leprosy, from the signification of the word, which has some affinity with that used for the leprosy; and so the Arabic version understands it of a disease: or rather, the words are to be taken literally, for hornets, which are a sort of wasps, whose stings are very penetrating and venomous; nor is it any strange or unheard of thing for people to be drove out of their countries by small animals, as mice, flies, bees and particularly Aelianus F17 relates, that the Phaselites were drove out of their country by wasps: and Bochart


F18 has shown that those people were of a Phoenician original, and inhabited the mountains of Solymi; and that this happened to them about the times of Joshua, and so may probably be the very Canaanites here mentioned, as follow: the wasps, in Aristophanes's comedy which bears that name, are introduced speaking of themselves, and say, no creature when provoked is more angry and troublesome than we are F19:

which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from
before thee;
which three are mentioned instead of the rest, or because they were more especially infested and distressed with the hornets, and drove out of their land by means of them.

F17 Hist. Animal. l. 11. c. 28.
F18 Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 4. c. 13. col. 541.
F19 Aristoph. Vespae, p. 510.