|swal'-o ((deror) bird of freedom, (sis) rushing sound)
RELATED: Birds, Zoology
Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1) Hebrew. sis ( Isaiah
38:14 ; Jeremiah
8:7 ), the Arabic for the swift, which "is a regular migrant, returning in
myriads every spring, and so suddenly that while one day not a swift can be seen
in the country, on the next they have overspread the whole land, and fill the
air with their shrill cry." The swift (cypselus) is ordinarily classed with the
swallow, which it resembles in its flight, habits, and migration.
(2) Hebrew. deror, i.e., "the bird of freedom" ( Psalms
84:3 ; Proverbs
26:2 ), properly rendered swallow, distinguished for its swiftness of flight,
its love of freedom, and the impossibility of retaining it in captivity. In Isaiah
38:14 and Jeremiah
8:7 the word thus rendered ('augr) properly means "crane" (as in the RSV).
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
Hebrew. deror in ( Psalms
84:3 ; Proverbs
26:2 ) Hebrew agur in ( Isaiah
38:14 ; Jeremiah
8:7 ) but "crane" is more probably the true signification of agur [CRANE]).
The rendering of the Authorized Version for deror seems correct. The characters
ascribed in the passages where the names occur are strictly applicable to the
swallow, viz., its swiftness of flight, its meeting in the buildings of the temple,
its mournful, garrulous note, and its regular migrations, shared indeed in common
with several others. Many species of swallow occur in Palestine. All those common
in England are found.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
swal'-o (deror; strouthos, in Proverbs and Psalms, chelidon,
in Isaiah; Latin Hirundo rustica):
A small long-winged bird of exhaustless flight, belonging to the family Hirundinidae.
Deror means the bird of freedom, and as the swallow is of tireless wing, it has
been settled upon as fitting the requirements of the text. In the passages where
'aghur is translated "swallow," there is a mistake, that word referring to the
crane. There is also a word, cuc or cic, that means a rushing sound, that is incorrectly
translated "swallow," when it should be "swift" (Cypselus apus).
These birds are near relatives and so alike on the wing as to be indistinguishable
to any save a close observer. Yet the Hebrews knew and made a difference. The
swallow is a trifle larger and different in color. It remains all the year, while
in numerous instances the swift migrates and is a regular sign of returning spring.
The swallow is of long and tireless flight. The swift is so much faster that the
sound of its wings can be heard when passing. The swallow plasters a mud nest
under eaves, on towers, belfries, and close to human habitations. The swifts are
less intimate, building in deserted places, under bridges and on rocky crevices.
The swallows utter constantly a rather sweet low note; the swifts chatter harshly
and incessantly at their nests. These differences are observable to the most careless
people. Scientists separate the birds on account of anatomical structure also.
Despite this, the birds are confused in most of our translations.
|"Like a swallow or a crane, so did I chatter; I did
moan as a dove; mine eyes fail with looking upward: O Lord, I am oppressed, be
thou my surety"
Here 'aghur is translated "swallow" and cuc "crane," which is clearly interchanging
words, as the Arabic for "swift" is cuc, the same as the Hebrew. The line should
read, "swift and crane." And another reason for changing swallow to swift, in
this passage, lies in the fact that of the two birds the swift is the incessant
and raucous chatterer, and this was the idea in the mind of Hezekiah when he sang
his Trouble Song. Another incorrect reference is found in Jeremiah 8:7:
|"Yea, the stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed
times; and the turtle-dove and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their
coming; but my people know not the law of Yahweh."
Few swallows migrate. Returning swifts are one of the first signs of spring.
|"As the sparrow in her wandering, as the swallow in
her flying, So the curse that is causeless alighteth not"
This reference might apply to either, remembering always that the swift took its
name from its exceptional flight, it being able to cover over 80 miles an hour.
However, the swallow is credited with 800 miles in a night.
|"Yea, the sparrow hath found her a house, And the swallow
a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, Even thine altars, O Yahweh of
hosts, My King, and my God"
Here is one instance, at least, where the swallow is at home and the translation
correct. The swift might possibly have built in the temple: the swallow was sure
to be there.
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