Leviticus 11:14
And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
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(14) And the vulture.—Rather, the kite. Its name in the original (dââh), which literally denotes the swift, majestic and gliding flier, appropriately describes this bird, which sails with its expanded wings through the air, where it often pauses as if suspended, watching for its prey. Kites are very plentiful in Syria, and are frequently seen hovering over the plains, the villages, and the outskirts of towns, and looking out for garbage and offal, and hence are often seen in company with the vulture at their useful task of devouring the carrion. Their gregarious habits are referred to by Isaiah (Isaiah 34:15), where they are mentioned in company with other raptatores as suitable inhabitants of devastated Edom. The kite is used by different Eastern tribes as food.

And the kite.—Rather, the falcon. “The greedy one” (ayah), as it is called in the original, fitly describes this most sagacious, sanguinary, and rapacious robber. Its piercing sight is referred to by Job (28:7), where it is translated vulture in the Authorised Version, though in the passage before us and in the parallel passage in Deuteronomy 14:13, it is rendered kite. It exists in Syria in a great variety of species, for which reason the text adds “after his kind.” The falcon is eaten in the Levant, and is considered rather delicate.

Leviticus 11:14-16. The vulture and the kite — Known birds of prey. Every raven — All interpreters agree that the Hebrew word ערב, gnoreb, signifies raven, from gnereb, evening, on account of its colour. After his kind — Including crows, rooks, pyes. The owl — The original word, literally daughter of the echo, signifies a bird which inhabits desolate places, as appears from Isaiah 13:21; Jeremiah 50:32, where the same word occurs. This description agrees well to the owl. It must be observed, however, that there is great uncertainty as to the meaning of several of the Hebrew names here used, the Jews themselves acknowledging the meaning of many of them to be now lost. Add to this that the animals in the eastern countries differ greatly from those of our climate, and for want of a better knowledge of them, it is probable that in giving them the names of such animals as we are acquainted with here, we often greatly err. This consideration might convince the Jews of the absurdity of pretending still to adhere to the law of Moses; since it is evident, in many cases, they know not what is forbidden, and what is not.

11:1-47 What animals were clean and unclean. - These laws seem to have been intended, 1. As a test of the people's obedience, as Adam was forbidden to eat of the tree of knowledge; and to teach them self-denial, and the government of their appetites. 2. To keep the Israelites distinct from other nations. Many also of these forbidden animals were objects of superstition and idolatry to the heathen. 3. The people were taught to make distinctions between the holy and unholy in their companions and intimate connexions. 4. The law forbad, not only the eating of the unclean beasts, but the touching of them. Those who would be kept from any sin, must be careful to avoid all temptations to it, or coming near it. The exceptions are very minute, and all were designed to call forth constant care and exactness in their obedience; and to teach us to obey. Whilst we enjoy our Christian liberty, and are free from such burdensome observances, we must be careful not to abuse our liberty. For the Lord hath redeemed and called his people, that they may be holy, even as he is holy. We must come out, and be separate from the world; we must leave the company of the ungodly, and all needless connexions with those who are dead in sin; we must be zealous of good works devoted followers of God, and companions of his people.
]The vulture - Rather, the (black) kite Isaiah 34:15 : "the kite," rather the red kite, remarkable for its piercing sight Job 28:7.14. the vulture—The word so rendered in our version means more probably "the kite" or "glede" and describes a varying but majestic flight, exactly that of the kite, which now darts forward with the rapidity of an arrow, now rests motionless on its expanded wings in the air. It feeds on small birds, insects, and fish.

the kite—the vulture. In Egypt and perhaps in the adjoining countries also, the kite and vulture are often seen together flying in company, or busily pursuing their foul but important office of devouring the carrion and relics of putrefying flesh, which might otherwise pollute the atmosphere.

after his kind—that is, the prohibition against eating it extended to the whole species.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And the vulture, and the kite after his kind. Perhaps it might be better if the version was inverted, and the words be read, "and the kite, and the vulture, after his kind"; and the last word is by us rendered the vulture in Job 28:7 and very rightly, since the kite is not remarkable for its sight, any other than all rapacious creatures are, whereas the vulture is to a proverb; and besides, of the vulture there are two sorts, as Aristotle says (k), the one lesser and whiter, the other larger and more of an ash colour; and there are some that are of the eagle kind (l), whereas there is but one sort of kites; though Ainsworth makes mention of two, the greater of a ruddy colour, common in England, and the lesser of a blacker colour, known in Germany, but produces no authority for it; however, these are both ravenous creatures: of the kite, Aelianus says (m), it is very rapacious, and will take meat out of the meat market, but not touch any sacrificed to Jupiter; the truth of which may well be questioned; and of vultures he reports (n), that they will watch a dying man, and follow armies going to battle, expecting prey; See Gill on Matthew 24:28.

(k) Hist. Animal. l. 8. c. 3.((l) Aristot. ib. l. 9. c. 32. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 3. Aelian. de Animal. l. 2. c. 46. (m) De Animal. l. 2. c. 42. (n) Ib. c. 46.

And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
14. the kite] vulture A.V. The Heb. word dâ’âh occurs only here as the name of a bird, but a similar word dayyâh is found in Deuteronomy 14:13 and Isaiah 34:15 (kite[s] R.V., vulture[s] A.V.) only. The Heb. words in Lev. and Deut. are

Lev. dâ’âh (kite) ’ayyah (falcon),

Deut. râ’âh (glede) ’ayyah (falcon) dayyah (kite).

râ’âh is doubtless a copyist’s error for dâ’âh (it has been translated in R.V. and A.V. ‘glede,’ an old English word for ‘kite’), and dayyah may have been added instead of the omitted dâ’âh.

the falcon] kite A.V. The word occurs here, in Deuteronomy 14:13 and Job 28:7 (vulture A.V.) only.

The expression ‘after his kind’ following, implies that several varieties of this bird were known. The Heb. ’ayyah may be derived from the bird’s cry which is rendered in Arabic as yâ yâ.

Leviticus 11:14(cf. Deuteronomy 14:11-18). Of birds, twenty varieties are prohibited, including the bat, but without any common mark being given; though they consist almost exclusively of birds which live upon flesh or carrion, and are most of them natives of Western Asia.

(Note: The list is "hardly intended to be exhaustive, but simply mentions those which were eaten by others, and in relation to which, therefore, it was necessary that the Israelites should receive a special prohibition against eating them" (Knobel). Hence in Deuteronomy Moses added the ראה and enumerated twenty-one varieties; and on doubt, under other circumstances, he could have made the list still longer. In Deuteronomy 14:11 צפּור is used, as synonymous with עוף in Deuteronomy 14:20.)

The list commences with the eagle, as the king of the birds. Nesher embraces all the species of eagles proper. The idea that the eagle will not touch carrion is erroneous. According to the testimony of Arabian writers (Damiri in Bochart, ii. p. 577), and several naturalists who have travelled (e.g., Forskal. l.c. p. 12, and Seetzen, 1, p. 379), they will eat carrion if it is still fresh and not decomposed; so that the eating of carrion could very properly be attributed to them in such passages as Job 39:30; Proverbs 30:17, and Matthew 24:28. But the bald-headedness mentioned in Micah 1:16 applies, not to the true eagle, but to the carrion-kite, which is reckoned, however, among the different species of eagles, as well as the bearded or golden vulture. The next in the list is peres, from paras equals parash to break, ossifragus, i.e., wither the bearded or golden vulture, gypaetos barbatus, or more probably, as Schultz supposes, the sea-eagle, which may have been the species intended in the γρύψ equals γρυπαίετος of the lxx and gryphus of the Vulgate, and to which the ancients seem sometimes to have applied the name ossifraga (Lucret. v. 1079). By the next, עזניּה, we are very probably to understand the bearded or golden vulture. For this word is no doubt connected with the Arabic word for beard, and therefore points to the golden vulture, which has a tuft of hair or feathers on the lower beak, and which might very well be associated with the eagles so far as the size is concerned, having wings that measure 10 feet from tip to tip. As it really belongs to the family of cultures, it forms a very fitting link of transition to the other species of vulture and falcon (Leviticus 11:14). דּאה (Deut. דּיּה, according to a change which is by no means rare when the aleph stands between two vowels: cf. דּואג in 1 Samuel 21:8; 1 Samuel 22:9, and דּויג in 1 Samuel 22:18, 1 Samuel 22:22), from דּאה to fly, is either the kite, or the glede, which is very common in Palestine (v. Schubert, Reise iii. p. 120), and lives on carrion. It is a gregarious bird (cf. Isaiah 34:15), which other birds of prey are not, and is used by many different tribes as food (Oedmann, iii. p. 120). The conjecture that the black glede-kite is meant, - a bird which is particularly common in the East, - and that the name is derived from דּאה to be dark, is overthrown by the use of the word למינהּ in Deuteronomy, which shows that דאה is intended to denote the whole genus. איּה, which is referred to in Job 28:7 as sharp-sighted, is either the falcon, several species of which are natives of Syria and Arabia, and which is noted for its keen sight and the rapidity of its flight, or according to the Vulgate, Schultz, etc., vultur, the true vulture (the lxx have Ἰκτίν, the kite, here, and γρύψ, the griffin, in Deut. and Job), of which there are three species in Palestine (Lynch, p. 229). In Deuteronomy 14:13 הראה is also mentioned, from ראה to see. Judging from the name, it was a keen-sighted bird, either a falcon or another species of vulture (Vulg. ixion).

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