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The verse in Parchat Shlach (13:33) says

וְשָׁם רָאִינוּ אֶת הַנְּפִילִים בְּנֵי עֲנָק מִן הַנְּפִלִים וַנְּהִי בְעֵינֵינוּ כַּחֲגָבִים וְכֵן הָיִינוּ בְּעֵינֵיהֶם:‏

And there we saw the giants and we felt like grasshoppers and so we appeared to them.

Implying that the giants thought they were grasshoppers.

Rashi says:

וכן היינו בעיניהם. שמענו אומרים זה לזה, נמלים יש בכרמים כאנשים (סוטה לה): ‏

And so we appeared to them. We heard them saying that there were ants in the vineyards that look like people.

Why does Rashi say ants when the verse says grasshoppers?

In the reference provided (Sotah 35a) the Talmud says

שמעי דקאמרי קחזינן אינשי דדמו לקמצי באילני

We heard them say that we see people that look like kamtzi in the trees

Rashi (ה''ג ולא היא) translates kamtzi as grasshoppers

דאינהו שמעינהו לאמוריים שקורין אותן חגבים

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  • There's a version that has חגבים.
    – shmosel
    Jun 13, 2023 at 4:24

1 Answer 1

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The Gur Aryeh discusses this and (after dismissing the possibility of scribal error) explains (my translation)

ונראה שאין כאן טעות, ורש"י מפרש 'נמלים יש בכרם' לפי שהיו קטנים מאוד בעיניהם היו קוראים אותם 'נמלים' על שם קטנותם, שדרך לקרוא למי שהוא קטן 'נמלה' על שם קטנות שלה, כי אין בריה קטנה כמו נמלה.

"It seems that it isn't an error -- Rashi explains "ants in the vineyard" because they were very small in their eyes [so] they were called 'ants' because of their smallness, since it is the way to call someone who is small "ant" due to its size, as there is no creature small like an ant"

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