(1.) Heb sis (Isa 38:14; Jer 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.) Heb deror, i.e., "the bird of freedom" (Ps 84:3; Pr 26:2), properly rendered swallow, distinguished for its swiftness of flight, its love of freedom, and the impossibility of retaining it in captivity. In Isa 38:14; Jer 8:7 the word thus rendered ('augr) properly means "crane" (as in the R.V.).
deror, from darar, "free, spontaneous motion" (Ps 84:3). (See BIRD.) 'Agur is probably the "crane", from ga'ar "to chatter", as Latin grus is related to garrio, in Isa 38:14, and sus (the Italian zisilla) the "swallow": "like a swallow or a crane." In Pr 26:2 the sense is "as the bird ("sparrow") by wandering, as the swallow (deror) by flying, never lights upon us, but flies to the winds, so the curse for which we have given no just cause shall not come" to hurt us; contradicting the common superstition that a curse brings its fulfilment, however undeserved; nay Providence shields His people from Satan's and his agents' malice. Balaam could not curse Israel whom God had blessed (De 23:5), nor Shimei David, nay God requited David good instead (2Sa 16:5-12; Ps 109:28).
1. deror. This is interpreted 'roving about,' which agrees well with the habits of the swallow or swift. They come and go, and are not domesticated. Pr 26:2. In Ps 84:3 it is typical of the wanderer finding rest and protection in God's house.
2. agur, mentioned with the word sis, translated 'crane' and 'swallow;' but sis doubtless refers to the swallow, and agur to the crane. The swallow (or perhaps the swift) is mentioned as 'chattering,' or having a 'garrulous note,' and it is migratory. Isa 38:14; Jer 8:7. Several species of the swallow frequent Palestine: the Hirundo rustica, H. rufula, etc. A species of swift finds the Jordan valley warm enough in the winter, and need not migrate.
Heb. deror in
Heb. 'agur in
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.