Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Ekev - 5771
In Parashat Ekev, referring to the conquest of Eretz Yisrael, Moshe assured the children of Israel not to fear the inhabitants of the land. He notes that "moreover Hashem will send the hornet among them, until those who are left, and hide themselves, perish from before you."
The Rabbis in the Talmud understood the Hornets literally to be poisonous hornet swarms which stung the Canaanites in the eyes and killed them. The Roman author and teacher, Claudius Aelianus, relates that nations were driven out of their country by wasps.
Others are of the opinion that the hornets mentioned in the text are not to be viewed as insects. Rather, the badge of the Pharaoh, Thutmose III, and his successors had a hornet on it. Thus, the Torah is referring to a series of invasions and conquests in Canaan undertaken by that Pharaoh. These invasions had reduced the fighting power and resistance of the Canaanites.