Heb. 'akhbar, "swift digger"), properly the dormouse, the field-mouse (1 Sam. 6:4). In Lev. 11:29, Isa. 66:17 this word is used generically, and includes the jerboa (Mus jaculus), rat, hamster (Cricetus), which, though declared to be unclean animals, were eaten by the Arabs, and are still eaten by the Bedouins. It is said that no fewer than twenty-three species of this group ('akhbar=Arab. ferah) of animals inhabit Palestine. God "laid waste" the people of Ashdod by the terrible visitation of field-mice, which are like locusts in their destructive effects (1 Sam. 6:4, 11, 18). Herodotus, the Greek historian, accounts for the destruction of the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35) by saying that in the night thousands of mice invaded the camp and gnawed through the bow-strings, quivers, and shields, and thus left the Assyrians helpless. (See SENNACHERIB.)
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