Birds of the Bible – Smith’s Sparrow

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) by J Fenton

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) by J Fenton

While looking up the word “birds” in the Dictionary section of my e-Sword program, there is an “i” symbol that shows on the tab of the name of a dictionary. That “i” indicates that there is information about your search word. The Smith’s Bible Dictionary had an “i” so I investigated it. This is what I saw:

        Birds. See Sparrow.

So when I went there, this interesting definition of “sparrow” was found and I wanted to share it with you.

Eurasian Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) by Ian

Eurasian Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) by Ian


Sparrow. (Hebrew, 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 as “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 Psalm 84:3, and Psalm 102:7, it is rendered “sparrow.”

Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra) ©WikiC

Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra) ©WikiC

Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. (Psalms 84:3 KJV)

I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. (Psalms 102:7 KJV)

Anyone for a Sparrow Snack?

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. — Editor).

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. (Matthew 10:29 KJV)

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7 KJV)

Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius) by Nikhil Devasar

Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius) by Nikhil Devasar

The blue thrush, (Petrocossyphus cyaneus), is probably the bird to which the psalmist alludes in Psa_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), 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 Psalm 84:3.

Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. (Psalms 84:3 KJV)

House Sparrows visiting National Aviary Parrot Show by Lee

House Sparrows visiting NA Parrot Show Outside

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.”

(I added the verses to make it easier and also the “blue thrush, (Petrocossyphus cyaneus)” could not be found. Photos also inserted.)

The Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius) is a species of chat. This thrush-like Old World flycatcher was formerly placed in the family Turdidae. It is now found in the Muscicapidae family.

Sparrows are found in two families today. The Family – Emberizidae – Buntings, New World Sparrows & Allies and the Family – Passeridae – Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches.


Smith’s Bible Dictionary, originally named A Dictionary of the Bible, was a 19th century Bible dictionary containing upwards of four thousand entries that became named after its editor, William Smith. Its popularity was such that condensed dictionaries appropriated the title, “Smith’s Bible Dictionary”.

The original dictionary was published as a three volume set in 1863, in London and Boston, USA. This first edition was followed in 1893 by an expanded four volume version which was published in the United States as A dictionary of the Bible comprising its antiquities, biography, geography, and natural history, edited by Smith and J. M. Fuller.

The original publications are now in the public domain; some derivative, commercial versions are still in copyright.


One thought on “Birds of the Bible – Smith’s Sparrow

Replies Welcomed!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.