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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Ostrich

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OSTRICH

1 . bath ya‘ănâh , Leviticus 11:15 , Deuteronomy 14:15 , Job 30:29 , Isaiah 13:21 ; Isaiah 34:13 ; Isaiah 43:26 , Jeremiah 50:39 , and Micah 1:8 . In all these references AV [Note: Authorized Version.] has ‘owl,’ but RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘ostrich.’ Lit. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] of Heb. is ‘daughter of greed.’

2 . yĕ‘çnîm , ‘ostriches,’ Lamentations 4:3 .

3 . yĕnânîm , Job 39:13 AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘peacocks,’ RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘ostrich.’ (In same verse chăs îdâh ‘kindly’ is in AV [Note: Authorized Version.] mistranslated ‘ostrich.’)

The ostrich ( Struthio camelus ) still exists in the deserts to E. and S.E. of Syria; a live specimen was brought into Jerusalem a few years ago, and their eggs are from time to time offered for sale by the Bedouln.

The popular view of the ostrich’s neglect of her eggs appears in Job 39:14-15 , but the following is her real habit. The ostrich is polygamous, and a group of three or four hens, jealously guarded by a cock, lay some thirty or forty eggs in a common nest in the ground, covering them over with sand. During the day the heat of the sun is a sufficient incubator, but at night the birds take turns in keeping the eggs warm. A few scattered eggs, said to be used for food for the young chicks, are laid after the nest is closed, and these have given rise to the popular view. The feathers ( Job 39:13 ), the swift pace ( Job 39:18 ), and the mournful cry ( Micah 1:8 ) of the ostrich are all referred to in Scripture, and in Job 30:28 its cry is associated with that other melancholy night-cry the ‘wailing’ of the jackals.

E. W. G. Masterman.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Ostrich'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/o/ostrich.html. 1909.

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