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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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BIRD . 1 . In OT: (1) ‘ôph . tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘birds’ or ‘fowl.’ usually joined with ‘of heaven’ or ‘of the air’: see Genesis 1:21 ; Genesis 1:30 , Leviticus 17:13 , 2 Samuel 21:10 , Jeremiah 4:25 , Ezekiel 31:6 ; Ezekiel 31:13 : (2) ‘ayit , usually tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘fowls’ (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ) and ‘birds of prey’ (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ): Genesis 15:11 , Job 28:7 , Isaiah 18:6 , Ezekiel 39:4 ; (3) tsippôr (cf. Arab. [Note: Arabic.] asfûr ). small birds like sparrows which twitter: Genesis 7:14 , Leviticus 14:6 , Psalms 84:3 etc.; (4) ba‘al kânâph , ‘possessor of a wing,’ Proverbs 1:17 . Proverbs 1:2 . In NT: (1) peteina , Matthew 13:4 , Luke 13:19 etc. (2) ornea , ‘birds of prey,’ Revelation 18:2 ; Revelation 19:17 ; Revelation 19:21 .

Birds abound in Palestine, and evidently did so in ancient times. They were sympathetically watched and studied; we read, for example, of their migrations (Jeremiah 8:7 etc.), their care of their young ( Deuteronomy 32:11 , Matthew 23:37 etc.), the helplessness of their young ( Proverbs 27:8 , Isaiah 16:2 etc.), their nesting ( Psalms 104:12 ; Psalms 104:17 ); indeed, every phase of bird life is touched upon. There are many references to the snares of the fowler (see Snares). Birds are divided into clean and unclean. In some cases they were allowed as sacrificial offerings ( Leviticus 1:14-17 ; Leviticus 14:4-33 ). It is a curious thing that the duck is not apparently (unless, as some think, in 1 Kings 4:23 , under the ‘fatted fowl’ barburîm ’abûsîm ) mentioned in the OT, although a beautifully modelled clay duck of an early period, certainly earlier than the OT records, was found during the recent excavations in Gezer. All birds mentioned by name in the Bible are dealt with in separate articles.

E. W. G. Masterman.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Bird'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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