Sparrow (Heb. tzippôr, 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 Ps. 84:3 and Ps. 102:7 it is rendered “sparrow.” The Greek στρονθίον (Authorized Version “sparrow”) occurs twice in the New Testament, Matt. 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, Matt. 10:29, 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 Ps. 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 Ps. 84:3. Dr. Thomson, in speaking of the great numbers of the house-sparrows and field-sparrows in Palestine, says: “They are a tame, troublesome and impertinent generation, and nestle just where you do not want them. They stop up 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.”
Sparrows in Market.