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Smith's Bible Dictionary

(Heb. tzippor , from a root signifying to "chirp" or "twitter," which appears to be a phonetic representation of the call-note of any passerine (sparrow-like) bird). This Hebrew word occurs upwards of forty times in the Old Testament. In all passages except two it is rendered by the Authorized Version indifferently "bird" or "fowl." and denotes any small bird, both of the sparrow-like species and such as the starling, chaffinch, greenfinch, linnet, goldfinch, corn-bunting, pipits, blackbird, song-thrush, etc. In (Psalms 84:3) and Psal 102:7 It is rendered "sparrow." The Greek stauthion (Authorized Version "sparrow") occurs twice in the New Testament, (Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6,7) (The birds above mentioned are found in great numbers in Palestine and are of very little value, selling for the merest trifle and are thus strikingly used by our Saviour, (Matthew 10:20) as an illustration of our Father's care for his children. --ED.) The blue thrush (Petrocossyphus cyaneus) is probably the bird to which the psalmist alludes in (Proverbs 102:7) as "the sparrow that sitteth alone upon the house-top." It is a solitary bird, eschewing the society of its own species, and rarely more than a pair are seen together. The English tree-sparrow (Passer montanus , Linn.) is also very common, and may be seen in numbers on Mount Olivet and also about the sacred enclosure of the mosque of Omar. This is perhaps the exact species referred to in (Psalms 84:3) Dr. Thompson, in speaking of the great numbers of the house-sparrows and field-sparrows in troublesome and impertinent generation, and nestle just where you do not want them. They stop your stove-- and water-pipes with their rubbish, build in the windows and under the beams of the roof, and would stuff your hat full of stubble in half a day if they found it hanging in a place to suit them."

ATS Bible Dictionary

A small bird, the Passer Domesticus of naturalists, with quill and tail feathers brown, and its body gray and black, resembling the small "chirping-bird" of America. It is a general inhabitant of Europe, Asia, and Africa; is bold and familiar in its habits, and frequents populous places. It builds under the eaves of houses, an in similar situations; feeds on seeds, fruits, and insects; and lays five or six eggs of a pale ash color, with brow spots. The Hebrew name Tzippor includes also other small chirping birds, feeding on grain and insects, and classed as clean, Le 14:4; among others the thrush, which may be alluded to in Psalm 102:7, a bird remarkable throughout the East for sitting solitary on the habitations of men and warbling in sweet and plaintive strains. A sparrow is of course of comparatively little value; and it is therefore a striking exemplification of God's providence to say that he watches even over the sparrow's fall, Matthew 10:29.

These birds are still very numerous, troublesome, and cheap in Jerusalem, Luke 12:6, and flit in great numbers around the mosque of Omar, on the site of the ancient temple, within the precincts of which they built their favored nest of old, Psalm 84:3.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Mentioned among the offerings made by the very poor. Two sparrows were sold for a farthing (Matthew 10:29), and five for two farthings (Luke 12:6). The Hebrew word thus rendered is tsippor, which properly denotes the whole family of small birds which feed on grain (Leviticus 14:4; Psalm 84:3; 102:7). The Greek word of the New Testament is strouthion (Matthew 10:29-31), which is thus correctly rendered.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) One of many species of small singing birds of the family Fringilligae, having conical bills, and feeding chiefly on seeds. Many sparrows are called also finches, and buntings. The common sparrow, or house sparrow, of Europe (Passer domesticus) is noted for its familiarity, its voracity, its attachment to its young, and its fecundity. See House.

2. (n.) Any one of several small singing birds somewhat resembling the true sparrows in form or habits, as the European hedge sparrow. See under Hedge.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

spar'-o (tsippor; strouthion; Latin passer): A small bird of the Fringillidae family. The Hebrew tsippor seems to have been a generic name under which were placed all small birds that frequented houses and gardens. The word occurs about 40 times in the Bible, and is indiscriminately translated "bird" "fowl" or "sparrow." Our translators have used the word "sparrow" where they felt that this bird best filled the requirements of the texts. Sparrows are small brown and gray birds of friendly habit that swarm over the northern part of Palestine, and West of the Sea of Galilee, where the hills, plains and fertile fields are scattered over with villages. They build in the vineyards, orchards and bushes of the walled gardens surrounding houses, on the ground or in nooks and crannies of vine-covered walls. They live on seeds, small green buds and tiny insects and worms. Some members of the family sing musically; all are great chatterers when about the business of life. Repeatedly they are mentioned by Bible writers, but most of the references lose force as applying to the bird family, because they are translated "bird" or "fowl." In a few instances the word "sparrow" is used, and in some of these, painstaking commentators feel that what is said does not apply to the sparrow. For example see Psalm 102:7:

"I watch, and am become like a sparrow

That is alone upon the housetop."

The feeling that this is not characteristic of the sparrow arises from the fact that it is such a friendly bird that if it were on the housetop it would be surrounded by half a dozen of its kind; so it has been suggested that a solitary thrush was intended. There is little force in the change. Thrushes of today are shy, timid birds of thickets and deep undergrowth. Occasionally a stray one comes around a house at migration, but once settled to the business of living they are the last and most infrequent bird to appear near the haunts of man. And bird habits do not change in one or two thousand years. In an overwhelmed hour the Psalmist poured out his heart before the Almighty. The reason he said he was like a "sparrow that is alone upon the housetop" was because it is the most unusual thing in the world for a sparrow to sit mourning alone, and therefore it attracted attention and made a forceful comparison. It only happens when the bird's mate has been killed or its nest and young destroyed, and this most cheerful of birds sitting solitary and dejected made a deep impression on the Psalmist who, when his hour of trouble came, said he was like the mourning sparrow-alone on the housetop. Another exquisite song describes the bird in its secure and happy hour:

"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" (Psalm 84:3).

When the mind of man was young and he looked on the commonest acts of creatures around him as filled with mystery, miracle and sign-he held in superstitious reverence any bird that built on a temple, because he thought it meant that the bird thus building claimed the protection of God in so doing. For these reasons all temple builders were so reverenced that authentic instances are given of people being put to death, if they disturbed temple nests or builders. Because he noticed the sparrow in joyful conditions is good reason why the Psalmist should have been attracted by its mourning. There is a reference to the widespread distribution of these birds in Proverbs 26:2:

"As the sparrow in her wandering, as the swallow in her flying,

So the curse that is causeless alighteth not."

Once settled in a location, no bird clings more faithfully to its nest and young, so this "wandering" could only mean that they scatter widely in choosing locations. Matthew 10:29: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father." This is a reference to the common custom in the East of catching small birds, and selling them to be skinned, roasted and sold as tid-bits-a bird to a mouthful. These lines no doubt are the origin of the oft-quoted phrase, "He marks the fall of the sparrow." Then in verse 31 comes this comforting assurance: "Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows." Luke 12:6: "Are not five sparrows sold for two pence? and not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God." This affirms the implication of Mark that these tiny birds were an article of commerce in the days of Jesus, just as they are now in the Far East.

Gene Stratton-Porter

4765. strouthion -- a sparrow
... a sparrow. Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter Transliteration: strouthion Phonetic Spelling:
(stroo-thee'-on) Short Definition: a small bird, sparrow Definition: a ...
// - 6k
Strong's Hebrew
6833. tsippor -- a bird
... Word Origin from an unused word Definition a bird NASB Word Usage bird (26), bird's
(1), birds (11), fowl (1), sparrow (1). bird, fowl, sparrow. ...
/hebrew/6833.htm - 6k

... "For," saith he, "the sparrow hath found her a house, and the turtle-dove
a nest, where she may lay her young" (ver.3). What is this? ...
/.../augustine/exposition on the book of psalms/psalm lxxxiv.htm

On the Animals
... [Ps.101(102):7 Vulgate]. The sparrow sometimes is the Lord or a holy man;
in the psalm: indeed the sparrow has found itself a home. ...
/.../eucherius/the formulae of st eucherius of lyons/iv on the animals.htm

Psalm CII.
... pelican in the wilderness, and like an owl among ruined walls" (ver.6). Behold three
birds and three places: the pelican, the owl, and the sparrow; [4593] and ...
/.../ on the book of psalms/psalm cii.htm

Psalm XI.
... [413] We must accordingly answer these people, and say, "I trust in the Lord: how
say ye to my soul, Remove into the mountains as a sparrow?" (ver.1). I keep ...
/...// on the book of psalms/psalm xi.htm

The Hope of the Universe.
... For what good, for what divine purpose is the maker of the sparrow present
at its death, if he does not care what becomes of it? ...
/.../macdonald/hope of the gospel/the hope of the universe.htm

The Converted Infidel
... are they there?". While thus engaged, his attention was attracted by the
peculiar chirping of a ground sparrow near by. He turned ...
/.../touching incidents and remarkable answers to prayer/the converted infidel.htm

Sparrows and Altars
... VOLUME II: PSALMS LI to CXLV SPARROWS AND ALTARS. 'Yea, the sparrow hath found an
house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture j/sparrows and altars.htm

The King, Hearing These Words, Answered, that He was Both Willing ...
... The present life of man upon earth, O king, seems to me, in comparison with that
time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the ...
/.../bede/bedes ecclesiastical history of england/chap xiii the king hearing.htm

The Night is Come, and all the World is Still.
... Yet 'tis broke, for near. Some sparrow stirs the ivy on the wall,. ... We little folk
call 'life': to ask if bliss. For us or sparrow be not all too small. ...
/.../palgrave/the treasury of sacred song/ccclxxxvii the night is come.htm

On the Words of the Gospel, John x. 30, "I and the Father are One. ...
... that it be not a monster, he that is born is that which he is that begat him, that
is, a man and a man, a horse and a horse, a dove and a dove, a sparrow and a ...
/.../sermons on selected lessons of the new testament/sermon lxxxix on the words.htm

Sparrow (4 Occurrences)
... The common sparrow, or house sparrow, of Europe (Passer domesticus) is noted for
its familiarity, its voracity, its attachment to its young, and its fecundity. ...
/s/sparrow.htm - 13k

Swallow (38 Occurrences)
... "As the sparrow in her wandering, as the swallow ... Proverbs 26:2 Like a fluttering
sparrow, like a darting swallow, so the undeserved curse doesn't come to rest. ...
/s/swallow.htm - 24k

Philip (37 Occurrences)
... (see HEROD PHILIP II.). Noah Webster's Dictionary. 1. (n.) The European hedge
sparrow. 2. (n.) The house sparrow. Called also phip. Int. ...
/p/philip.htm - 32k

Bird (65 Occurrences)
... The reference in Psalm 84:3 to the swallow and the sparrow may be only a comparison
equivalent to, "What her house is to the sparrow, and her nest to the ...
/b/bird.htm - 28k

Nest (22 Occurrences)
... In Psalm 84:3 David sings, "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 ...
/n/nest.htm - 18k

... SIRENIA: Dugong (sv BADGER) CETACNA: Whale, Dolphin, Porpoise RODENTIA: Mouse,
Mole-Rat (sv MOLE), Porcupine, Hare Birds: PASSERES: Sparrow, Swallow, Raven ...
/z/zoology.htm - 18k

Undeserved (1 Occurrence)
... Undeserved (1 Occurrence). Proverbs 26:2 Like a fluttering sparrow, like a darting
swallow, so the undeserved curse doesn't come to rest. (WEB DBY NIV). ...
/u/undeserved.htm - 6k

Lonely (14 Occurrences)
... land. (WEB YLT NAS NIV). Psalms 102:7 I watch, and am become like a sparrow
that is alone upon the housetop. (See NAS RSV). Lamentations ...
/l/lonely.htm - 10k

Flitting (1 Occurrence)
... Flitting (1 Occurrence). Proverbs 26:2 As the sparrow for flitting about, as the
swallow for flying, so a curse undeserved shall not come. (DBY NAS RSV). ...
/f/flitting.htm - 6k

Fowl (73 Occurrences)
... Ezekiel 39:4, "ravenous birds"); tsippor, Aramaic tsippar (from tsaphar, "to twitter
or chirp"), "a chirper," denotes a small bird or sparrow (Deuteronomy 4:17 ...
/f/fowl.htm - 36k

Bible Concordance
Sparrow (4 Occurrences)

Psalms 84:3 Yes, the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young, near your altars, Yahweh of Armies, my King, and my God.

Psalms 102:7 I watch, and have become like a sparrow that is alone on the housetop.

Proverbs 26:2 Like a fluttering sparrow, like a darting swallow, so the undeserved curse doesn't come to rest.

Hosea 11:11 They tremble as a sparrow out of Egypt, And as a dove out of the land of Asshur, And I have caused them to dwell in their own houses, An affirmation of Jehovah.



Sparrow: Nests of

Sparrow: Two, Sold for a Farthing

Related Terms

Swallow (38 Occurrences)

Philip (37 Occurrences)

Bird (65 Occurrences)

Nest (22 Occurrences)


Undeserved (1 Occurrence)

Lonely (14 Occurrences)

Flitting (1 Occurrence)

Fowl (73 Occurrences)

Fluttering (3 Occurrences)

Falcon (2 Occurrences)

Eyes (6285 Occurrences)

Darting (4 Occurrences)

Brood (19 Occurrences)

Alight (3 Occurrences)

Alighteth (3 Occurrences)

Sparrows (4 Occurrences)

Spur (3 Occurrences)

Sparks (4 Occurrences)

Diseases (38 Occurrences)

Doves (25 Occurrences)

Hawk (6 Occurrences)

Elamites (2 Occurrences)

Finds (71 Occurrences)

Layeth (76 Occurrences)

Altars (55 Occurrences)

Elam (24 Occurrences)

Awake (83 Occurrences)

Almighty (242 Occurrences)

Housetop (10 Occurrences)

House-top (8 Occurrences)

Food (2953 Occurrences)

Herself (121 Occurrences)

Hosts (326 Occurrences)

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