Exodus 23:28:

וְשָׁלַחְתִּ֥י אֶת־הַצִּרְעָ֖ה לְפָנֶ֑יךָ וְגֵרְשָׁ֗ה אֶת־הַחִוִּ֧י אֶת־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֛י וְאֶת־הַחִתִּ֖י מִלְּפָנֶֽיךָ׃

And I will send the hornet before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.

Sefaria translates the word צִּרְעָ֖ה as "hornet". Rash"i states:

Rashi on Exodus 23:28: (excerpt)

הצרעה. מן שרץ העוף, והיתה מכה אותם בעיניהם ומטילה בהם ארס והם מתים

My translation. Please edit if inaccurate:

A type of flying insect; it used to strike them (enemies) in their eyes and deposit venom in them and they would die.

Scientifally, has anyone discovered what the צרעה actually was? Does it exist today in some form? My hunch is that "hornet" is not a great translation. I'm unaware of any insect that sprays venom in people's eyes.



1 Answer 1


From http://parsha.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-is-tzirah.html:

Onkelos translates it as ערעיתא, hornet.

Ibn Ezra understands it as a type of sickness of the body, along the lines of צרעת. So does Ibn Janach, that it is כליון ודבר


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .