Leviticus 11:19
And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
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(19) And the stork.—Besides the parallel passage, Deuteronomy 14:18, the word (chasidah) here rendered “stork” also occurs in Job 39:13; Psalm 104:17; Jeremiah 8:7; Zechariah 5:9, and is so translated, except Job 39:13, where the Authorised Version has “wing” in the text and “stork” in the margin. Its name literally denotes in Hebrew “the pious,” “the kind,” and is so called because the ancients regarded it as a type of maternal and filial affection and tenderness. The mother has been known to prefer perishing with its offspring in the flames rather than desert them when its attempts to rescue them from a fire had failed. The white stork is one of the largest land birds. Its black and powerful wings strikingly contrast with the pure white of its plumage. Hence the remark “they had wings like the wings of the stork” (Zechariah 5:9). The storks build on the loftiest towers and most conspicuous ruins, and also on the tops of high trees, where they may be seen to this day by the Sea of Galilee. It is to this that the Psalmist alludes: “as for the stork, the fir-trees are her home” (Psalm 104:17). To these nests they regularly return at the proper season, which marks them as the most punctual of migratory birds; and it is to this feature in their nature that the prophet refers: “the stork in heaven knoweth her appointed times” (Jeremiah 8:7). The stork feeds on fish, reptiles, and all kinds of offal and garbage, for which reason it is here placed in the list of unclean birds.

The heron.—Whilst the two preceding birds are named after their good qualities, viz., “the merciful” and “the pious,” this bird, which only occurs again in the parallel passage in Deuteronomy 14:18, is termed (anaphah) “the angry,” “the cruel,” which aptly describes the heron. It is allied to the stork, and is of such a savage nature that it will defend itself with its beak against the dogs after it has had its legs shot and broken. It resides on the banks of rivers and in marshy places, and feeds on fish, frogs, lizards, snails, field-mice, and all sorts of insects, for which reason it is here included in the proscribed list of unclean birds. It exists in a variety of species. Hence the adjunct, “after her kind.”

And the lapwing.—Better, the hoopoe. This dirty bird, which only occurs again in the parallel list in Deuteronomy 14:18, and which according to the ancients builds its nest of human dung, feeds upon offal and garbage. Its loathsome smell during brooding-time, and for weeks after, is perfectly insufferable. Though its flesh, which in the autumn tastes like quail’s, is eaten in some places, yet the Mohammedans regard it as proscribed. According to another ancient tradition the bird here meant is “the mountain cock.”

And the bat.—The list which opens with the eagle, the king of the birds, fitly concludes with the hybrid bat, the vilest creature, which is between a bird and a mouse, and is appropriately associated in the Bible with the mole as the type of darkness (comp. Isaiah 2:20). From the fact that the air is its home; that like the swallow, which it resembles in mode of flight, it wheels through the air in every direction in search of the crepuscular and nocturnal insects on which it preys; and that it performs the most abrupt and skilful evolutions in its aerial course, the bat was classed among the birds. Bats abound in Syria in a great variety of species. They penetrate into the houses and make the rooms most offensive to live in. Those who have realised the sickening odour of these creatures in the East will readily understand why the loathsome bats are included in the list of unclean birds. Some of the ancient nations ate bats and regarded them as delicious food. Besides being the lowest, the bat is here placed last, because it forms the connecting link between the volatile bipeds and quadrupeds.

Leviticus 11:19. The bat — Moses begins his catalogue of birds with the noblest, and ends it with the vilest, which is the bat, an animal of a dubious kind, between a bird and a mouse. It feeds on insects, as Dr. James observes, and so is improper food for the inhabitants of very warm climates.

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 heron ... the lapwing - Rather, the great plover the hoopoe, so called from its peculiar cry. 19. the stork—a bird of benevolent temper and held in the highest estimation in all Eastern countries; it was declared unclean, probably, from its feeding on serpents and other venomous reptiles, as well as rearing its young on the same food.

the heron—The word so translated only occurs in the prohibited list of food and has been variously rendered—the crane, the plover, the woodcock, the parrot. In this great diversity of opinion nothing certain can be affirmed regarding it. Judging from the group with which it is classified, it must be an aquatic bird that is meant. It may as well be the heron as any other bird, the more especially as herons abound in Egypt and in the Hauran of Palestine.

the lapwing—or hoopoe; found in warm regions, a very pretty but filthy species of bird. It was considered unclean, probably from its feeding on insects, worms, and snails.

the bat—the great or Ternat bat, known in the East, noted for its voracity and filthiness.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And the stork,..... A bird of passage, Jeremiah 8:7 it has its name from kindness, which it exercises both to its dam, and to its young. Various writers (b) speak of the kindness of these birds to their dams, which when they are old they take care of and feed them, to which the apostle is thought to allude, 1 Timothy 5:4 and its tenderness to its young is no less manifest: when the city of Delf in Holland was on fire, the storks were seen very busy to save their young from the flames, and which when they could not do, threw themselves into the midst of them, and perished with them, as Drusius from the Dutch historians relates. It is said to feed upon serpents; and hence by Virgil (c) to be "invisa colubris"; and Juvenal (d) says, it nourishes its young with them; and which may be a reason of its being forbid to be eaten, and is the reason given by the Mahometans (e) for the prohibition of it; though on this account it was in great honour in Thessaly, that country being freed from serpents by it, and therefore they made it a capital crime to kill them, as Pliny (f) relates; formerly people would not eat the stork, but at present it is much esteemed for the deliciousness of its flesh (g).

the heron after her kind; this bird has its name in Hebrew from its being soon angry, as Aben Ezra observes; and Jarchi calls it the angry vulture or kite, as it is in the Talmud (h); and adds, and it appears to me to be what they call the "heron", one sort of which named "asterias", as there is one sort so called by Pliny (i); it becomes tame in Egypt, and so well understands the voice of a man, as Aelianus (k) reports, that if anyone by way of reproach calls it a servant or slothful, it is immediately exceeding angry. There are three kinds of herons, as both Aristotle (l) and Pliny (m); and by a learned man of ours (n), their names are thus given, the criel or dwarf heron, the blue heron, and the bittour; some reckon nineteen:

and the lapwing; the upupa or hoopoe; it has its name in Hebrew, according to Jarchi, from its having a double crest; and so Pliny (o) ascribes to it a double or folded crest, and speaks of it as a filthy bird; and, according to Aristotle (p) and Aelian (q), its nest is chiefly made of human dung, that by the ill smell of it men may be kept from taking its young; and therefore may well be reckoned among impure fowl. Calmet (r) says, there is no such thing as a lapwing to be seen in any part of England; but there are such as we call so, whether the same bird with this I cannot say:

and the bat; a little bird which flies in the night, Aben Ezra says; Kimchi (s) describes it a mouse with wings, which flies in the night, and we sometimes call it the "flitter mouse"; it is a creature between a fowl and a beast; and, as Aristotle says (t), it partakes of both, and is of neither; and it is the only fowl, as Pliny (u) observes, that has teeth and teats, that brings forth animals, and nourishes them with milk. It is a creature so very disagreeable, that one would think almost there was no need of a law to forbid the eating of it; and yet it is said by some to be eatable, and to be eaten, as Strabo (w) affirms, yea, to be delicious food. It is asserted (x), that there is a sort of them in the east, larger than ordinary, and is salted and eaten--that there are bats in China as large as pullets, and are as delicate eating. Of these several fowls before mentioned, some are of the ravenous kind, and are an emblem of persecutors and covetous persons, and such as live by rapine and violence; others are of a lustful nature, and are an emblem of those who serve various lusts and pleasures, and give up themselves to uncleanness; others are night birds, and are a proper emblem of them whose works are works of darkness, and love darkness rather than the light; and others never rise higher than the earth, and so may denote earthly minded persons; and others live on impure things, and so fitly represent such who live an impure life; with all such the people of God are to have no fellowship.

(b) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 13. Aelian. de Animal. l. 3. c. 23. & l. 10. c. 16. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 23. (c) Georgic. l. 2.((d) Satyr. 14. (e) Apud Bochart. ut supra, (Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2.) c. 29. col. 329. (f) Ut supra. (Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 23.) (g) Calmet in the word "Stork". (h) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 63. 1.((i) Ut supra, (f)) c. 60. so Aristot. l. 9. c. 1.((k) De Animal. l. 5. c. 36. (l) Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 1.((m) Ut supra. (Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 23.) (n) Ainsworth's Dictionary, in voce "Ardea". (o) Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 29. (p) Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 15. (q) De Animal. l. 3. c. 26. (r) Dictionary, in the word "Lapwing". (s) Sepher Shorash. in voc. (t) De Part. Animal. l. 4. c. 13. (u) Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 61. l. 11. c. 37. (w) Geograph. l. 16. (x) Calmet's Dictionary in the word "Bat".

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
19. the stork] In the two lists, and Psalm 104:17 (‘the fir trees are her house’); Jeremiah 8:7 (‘knoweth her appointed times,’ i.e. of migration), Zechariah 5:9†. The Heb. word means ‘pious’ or ‘merciful’ (referring to her tenderness towards her young). In the difficult passage, Job 39:13, either the stork is mentioned, or there is a play upon words with reference to her name, and a contrast between her and the ostrich seems indicated. See R.V. mg. and A.V. mg.

the heron] Many kinds of heron are found both in Egypt and Palestine. The ibis R.V. mg. was a sacred bird to the Egyptians, and one variety of heron found in great numbers round Lake Huleh is called the white ibis.

the hoopoe] (lapwing A.V.) The traditional interpretation of this strange Heb. word dûkîphath from LXX. and Vulg. onwards is fixed. Some consider it to be derived from the cry of the bird, like that of the cuckoo. Cheyne thinks it is derived by transposition of letters from ḳippôd, the ‘porcupine’ or bittern, Isaiah 14:23; Isaiah 34:11; Zephaniah 2:14.

the bat] In both lists and Isaiah 2:20 (there in plur.) †. The derivation of the Heb. word is uncertain, but its meaning is not questioned.

Leviticus 11:19היּענה בּת, i.e., either daughter of screaming (Bochart), or daughter of greediness (Gesenius, etc.), is used according to all the ancient versions for the ostrich, which is more frequently described as the dweller in the desert (Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:13, etc.), or as the mournful screamer (Micah 1:8; Job 30:29), and is to be understood, not as denoting the female ostrich only, but as a noun of common gender denoting the ostrich generally. It does not devour carrion indeed, but it eats vegetable matter of the most various kinds, and swallows greedily stones, metals, and even glass. It is found in Arabia, and sometimes in Hauran and Belka (Seetzen and Burckhardt), and has been used as food not only by the Struthiophagi of Ethiopia (Diod. Sic. 3, 27; Strabo, xvi. 772) and Numidia (Leo Afric. p. 766), but by some of the Arabs also (Seetzen, iii. p. 20; Burckhardt, p. 178), whilst others only eat the eggs, and make use of the fat in the preparation of food. תּחמס, according to Bochart, Gesenius, and others, is the male ostrich; but this is very improbable. According to the lxx, Vulg., and others, it is the owl (Oedmann, iii. pp. 45ff.); but this is mentioned later under another name. According to Saad. Ar. Erp. it is the swallow; but this is called סיס in Jeremiah 8:7. Knobel supposes it to be the cuckoo, which is met with in Palestine (Seetzen, 1, p. 78), and derives the name from חמס, violenter egit, supposing it to be so called from the violence with which it is said to turn out or devour the eggs and young of other birds, for the purpose of laying its own eggs in the nest (Aristot. hist. an. 6, 7; 9, 29; Ael. nat. an. 6, 7). שׁחף is the λάρος, or slender gull, according to the lxx and Vulg. Knobel follows the Arabic, however, and supposes it to be a species of hawk, which is trained in Syria for hunting gazelles, hares, etc.; but this is certainly included in the genus נץ. נץ, from נצץ to fly, is the hawk, which soars very high, and spreads its wings towards the south (Job 39:26). It stands in fact, as למינהוּ shows, for the hawk-tribe generally, probably the ἱέραξ, accipiter, of which the ancients enumerate many different species. כּוס, which is mentioned in Psalm 102:7 as dwelling in ruins, is an owl according to the ancient versions, although they differ as to the kind. In Knobel's opinion it is either the screech-owl, which inhabits ruined buildings, walls, and clefts in the rock, and the flesh of which is said to be very agreeable, or the little screech-owl, which also lives in old buildings and walls, and raises a mournful cry at night, and the flesh of which is said to be savoury. שׁלך, according to the ancient versions an aquatic bird, and therefore more in place by the side of the heron, where it stands in Deuteronomy, is called by the lxx καταῤῥάκτης; in the Targ. and Syr. נוּנא שׁלי, extrahens pisces. It is not the gull, however (larus catarractes), which plunges with violence, for according to Oken this is only seen in the northern seas, but a species of pelican, to be found on the banks of the Nile and in the islands of the Red Sea, which swims well, and also dives, frequently dropping perpendicularly upon fishes in the water. The flesh has an oily taste, but it is eaten for all that.

ינשׁוּף: from נשׁף to snort, according to Isaiah 34:11, dwelling in ruins, no doubt a species of owl; according to the Chaldee and Syriac, the uhu, which dwells in old ruined towers and castles upon the mountains, and cries uhupuhu. תּנשׁמת, which occurs again in Leviticus 11:30 among the names of the lizards, is, according to Damiri, a bird resembling the uhu, but smaller. Jonathan calls it uthya equals ὠτός, a night-owl. The primary meaning of the word נשׁם is essentially the same as that of נשׁף, to breathe or blow, so called because many of the owls have a mournful cry, and blow and snort in addition; though it cannot be decided whether the strix otus is intended, a bird by no means rare in Egypt, which utters a whistling blast, and rolls itself into a ball and then spreads itself out again, or the strix flammea, a native of Syria, which sometimes utters a mournful cry, and at other times snores like a sleeping man, and the flesh of which is said to be by no means unpleasant, or the hissing owl (strix stridula), which inhabits the ruins in Egypt and Syria, and is sometimes called massusu, at other times bane, a very voracious bird, which is said to fly in at open windows in the evening and kill children that are left unguarded, and which is very much dreaded in consequence. קאת, which also lived in desolate places (Isaiah 34:11; Zephaniah 2:14), or in the desert itself (Psalm 102:7), was not the kat, a species of partridge or heath-cock, which is found in Syria (Robinson, ii. p. 620), as this bird always flies in large flocks, and this is not in harmony with Isaiah 34:11 and Zephaniah 2:14, but the pelican (πελεκάν, lxx), as all the ancient versions render it, which Ephraem (on Numbers 14:17) describes as a marsh-bird, very fond of its young, inhabiting desolate places, and uttering an incessant cry. It is the true pelican of the ancients (pelecanus graculus), the Hebrew name of which seems to have been derived from קוא to spit, from its habit of spitting out the fishes it has caught, and which is found in Palestine and the reedy marshes of Egypt (Robinson, Palestine). רחם, in Deut. רחמה, is κυκνός, the swan, according to the Septuagint; porphyrio, the fish-heron, according to the Vulgate; a marsh-bird therefore, possibly vultur percnopterus (Saad. Ar. Erp.), which is very common in Arabia, Palestine, and Syria, and was classed by the ancients among the different species of eagles (Plin. h. n. 10, 3), but which is said to resemble the vulture, and was also called ὀρειπέλαργος, the mountain-stork (Arist. h. an. 9, 32). It is a stinking and disgusting bird, of the raven kind, with black pinions; but with this exception it is quite white. It is also bald-headed, and feeds on carrion and filth. But it is eaten notwithstanding by many of the Arabs (Burckhardt, Syr. p. 1046). It received its name of "tenderly loving" from the tenderness with which it watches over its young (Bochart, iii. pp. 56, 57). In this respect it resembles the stork, חסידה, avis pia, a bird of passage according to Jeremiah 8:7, which builds its nest upon the cypresses (Psalm 104:17, cf. Bochart, iii. pp. 85ff.). In the East the stork builds its nest not only upon high towers and the roofs of houses, but according to Kazwini and others mentioned by Bochart (iii. p. 60), upon lofty trees as well.

(Note: Oedmann (v. 58ff.), Knobel, and others follow the Greek translation of Leviticus and the Psalms, and the Vulgate rendering of Leviticus, the Psalms, and Job, and suppose the reference to be to the ἐρωδιός, herodius, the heron: but the name chasidah points decidedly to the stork, which was generally regarded by the ancients as pietatis cultrix (Petron. 55, 6), whereas, with the exception of the somewhat indefinite passage in Aelian (Nat. an. 3, 23), καὶ τοὺς ἐρωδιοὺς ἀκούω ποιεῖν ταὐτόν (i.e., feed their young by spitting out their food) καὶ τοὺς πελεκᾶνας μέντοι, nothing is said about the parental affection of the heron. And the testimony of Bellonius, "Ciconiae quae aetate in Europa sunt, magna hyemis parte ut in Aegypto sic etiam circa Antiochiam et juxta Amanum montem degunt," is a sufficient answer to Knobel's assertion, that according to Seetzen there are not storks in Mount Lebanon.)

אנפה, according to the lxx and Vulgate χαραδριός, a marsh-bird of the snipe kind, of which there are several species in Egypt (Hasselquist, p. 308). This is quite in accordance with the expression "after her kind," which points to a numerous genus. The omission of ואת before האנפה, whereas it is found before the name of every other animal, is very striking; but as the name is preceded by the copulative vav in Deuteronomy, and stands for a particular bird, it may be accounted for either from a want of precision on the part of the author, or from an error of the copyist like the omission of the ו before את in Leviticus 11:15.

(Note: On account of the omission of ואת Knobel would connect האנפה as an adjective with החסידה, and explain אנף as derived from ענף frons, ענף frondens, and signifying bushy. The herons were called "the bushy chasidah," he supposes, because they have a tuft of feathers at the back of their head, or long feathers hanging down from their neck, which are wanting in the other marsh-birds, such as the flamingo, crane, and ibis. But there is this important objection to the explanation, that the change of א for ע in such a word as ענף frons, which occurs as early as Leviticus 23:40, and has retained its ע even in the Aramaean dialects, is destitute of all probability. In addition to this, there is the improbability of the chasidah being restricted by anaphah to the different species of heron, with three of which the ancients were acquainted (Aristot. h. an. 9, 2; Plin. h. n. 10, 60). If chasidah denoted the heron generally, or the white heron, the epithet anaphah would be superfluous. It would be necessary to assume, therefore, that chasidah denotes the whole tribe of marsh-birds, and that Moses simply intended to prohibit the heron or bushy marsh-bird. But either of these is very improbable: the former, because in every other passage of the Old Testament chasidah stands for one particular kind of bird; the latter, because Moses could hardly have excluded storks, ibises, and other marsh-birds that live on worms, from his prohibition. All that remains, therefore, is to separate ha-anaphah from the preceding word, as in Deuteronomy, and to understand it as denoting the plover (?) or heron, as there were several species of both. Which is intended, it is impossible to decide, as there is nothing certain to be gathered from either the ancient versions or the etymology. Bochart's reference of the word to a fierce bird, viz., a species of eagle, which the Arabs call Tammaj, is not raised into a probability by a comparison with the similarly sounding ἀνοπαῖα of Od. 1, 320, by which Aristarchus understands a kind of eagle.)

דּוּכיפת: according to the lxx, Vulg., and others, the lapwing, which is found in Syria, Arabia, and still more commonly in Egypt (Forsk, Russel, Sonnini), and is eaten in some places, as its flesh is said to be fat and savoury in autumn (Sonn. 1, 204). But it has a disagreeable smell, as it frequents marshy districts seeking worms and insects for food, and according to a common belief among the ancients, builds its nest of human dung. Lastly, העטלּף is the bat (Isaiah 2:20), which the Arabs also classified among the birds.

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