Pelican
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Smith's Bible Dictionary
Pelican

(Heb. kaath , sometimes translated "cormorant," as (Isaiah 34:11; Zephaniah 2:14) though in the margin correctly rendered "pelican"), a voracious waterbird, found most abundantly in tropical regions. It is equal to the swan in size. (It has a flat bill fifteen inches long, and the female has under the bill a pouch capable of great distension. It is capacious enough to hold fish sufficient for the dinner of half a dozen men. The young are fed from this pouch, which is emptied of the food by pressing the pouch against the breast. The pelican's bill has a crimson tip, and the contrast of this red tip against the white breast probably gave rise to the tradition that the bird tore her own breast to feed her young with her blood. The flesh of the pelican was forbidden to the Jews. (Leviticus 11:18) --ED.) The psalmist in comparing his pitiable condition to the pelican, (Psalms 102:6) probably has reference to its general aspect as it sits in apparent melancholy mood, with its bill resting on its breast.

Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Pelican

The pelican is a large bird, and a curious one. It sometimes measures nearly six feet from the top of the head to the end of the tail; and you know that this is the height of a tall man. It may be called a water- bird, because it lives on the sea-coast, or on the borders of lakes and rivers and lives upon fish only. It has a very long bill, and under this is a curious bag or pouch to hold the fish which it takes. When there is nothing in it, you would hardly notice it, because it is drawn up close under the bill; but it is so large that it will hold two or three gallons of water.

When the pelican goes to seek for its food, it flies up into the air for some distance, then turns its head on one side, and with one eye looks sharply down into the water until it sees a fish. Then it darts down very swiftly, and is almost sure to seize it. Instead of eating the fish at once, it usually stores it away in its pouch, and watches for another. When its bag is filled, it flies away to some lonely place to satisfy its hunger, or to feed its young. In order to get out the fish, it presses its bill against its breast; and this has led some people to believe that it pierces its breast, and feeds its young ones with its own blood. Of course this is only a fable.

The pelican likes to live in lonely places, such as a rocky island in the midst of the ocean, where nobody will come near to disturb it: it is for this reason that David says in Psalm 102, "I am like a pelican in the wilderness," or solitary place. I suppose he wrote this Psalm when he was very sorrowful; perhaps when Saul was pursuing him, and trying to take his life.

ATS Bible Dictionary
Pelican

Le 11:18, sometimes translated cormorant, Isaiah 34:11 Zephaniah 2:14; a voracious waterfowl, somewhat gregarious and migratory, frequenting tropical climates, and still found on the waters of Egypt and Palestine. It fully equals the swan in size, and resembles it in shape and color. Its plumage is of a grayish white, except the long feathers, which are black. Its great peculiarity is its broad, flat bill, fifteen inches long; and the pouch of the female under the bill, used for the temporary storage of food, and said to be able to hold fifteen quarts. When empty, this pouch is not seen; but when full, it presents a very singular appearance. The pelican is a dull, indolent, and melancholy bird; and its voice is harsh and dissonant, Psalm 102:6. Its Hebrew name is probably derived from its habit of emptying its pouch of the food stored in it, by compressing it against its breast. The young then receive their food from their mother's bill; and the current tradition that she tears her own breast to feed them with her blood, may have this origin. The pelican's bill also, terminating in a strong, curved, crimson tip and resting on the white breast might seem to be tinged with blood.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) Any large webfooted bird of the genus Pelecanus, of which about a dozen species are known. They have an enormous bill, to the lower edge of which is attached a pouch in which captured fishes are temporarily stored.

2. (n.) A retort or still having a curved tube or tubes leading back from the head to the body for continuous condensation and redistillation.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
PELICAN

pel'-kan (qa'ath; Latin Pelecanus onocrotalus Septuagint reads pelekan, in Leviticus and Psalms, but has 3 other readings, that are rather confusing, in the other places)): Any bird of the genus Pelecanus. The Hebrew qi' means "to vomit." The name was applied to the bird because it swallowed large quantities of fish and then disgorged them to its nestlings. In the performance of this act it pressed the large beak, in the white species, tipped with red, against the crop and slightly lifted the wings. In ancient times, people, seeing this, believed that the bird was puncturing its breast and feeding its young with its blood. From this idea arose the custom of using a pelican with lifted wings in heraldry or as a symbol of Christ and of charity. (See Fictitious Creatures in Art, 182-86, London, Chapman and Hall, 1906.) Palestine knew a white and a brownish-gray bird, both close to 6 ft. long and having over a 12 ft. sweep of wing. They lived around the Dead Sea, fished beside the Jordan and abounded in greatest numbers in the wildernesses of the Mediterranean shore. The brown pelicans were larger than the white. Each of them had a long beak, peculiar throat pouch and webbed feet. They built large nests, 5 and 6 ft. across, from dead twigs of bushes, and laid two or three eggs. The brown birds deposited a creamy-white egg with a rosy flush; the white, a white egg with bluish tints. The young were naked at first, then covered with down, and remained in the nest until full feathered and able to fly. This compelled the parent birds to feed them for a long time, and they carried such quantities of fish to a nest that the young could not consume all of them and many were dropped on the ground. The tropical sun soon made the location unbearable to mortals. Perching pelicans were the ugliest birds imaginable, but when their immense brown or white bodies swept in a 12 ft. spread across the land and over sea, they made an impressive picture. They are included, with good reason, in the list of abominations (see Leviticus 11:18 Deuteronomy 14:17). They are next mentioned in Psalm 102:6:

"I am like a pelican of the wilderness;

I am become as an owl of the waste places."

Here David from the depths of affliction likened himself to a pelican as it appears when it perches in the wilderness. See Isaiah 34:11: "But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it; and the owl and the raven shall dwell therein: and he will stretch over it the line of confusion, and the plummet of emptiness." Here the bird is used to complete the picture of desolation that was to prevail after the destruction of Edom. The other reference concerns the destruction of Nineveh and is found in Zechariah 2:14: "And herds shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations: both the pelican and the porcupine shall lodge in the capitals thereof; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he hath laid bare the cedar-work."

Gene Stratton-Porter

Strong's Hebrew
6893. qaath -- (a bird) perhaps pelican
... 6892, 6893. qaath or qaath. 6894 . (a bird) perhaps pelican. Transliteration:
qaath or qaath Phonetic Spelling: (kaw-ath') Short Definition: pelican. ...
/hebrew/6893.htm - 6k

7994. shalak -- (bird of prey) probably cormorant
... cormorant. From shalak; bird of prey, usually thought to be the pelican (from casting
itself into the sea) -- cormorant. see HEBREW shalak. 7993, 7994. ...
/hebrew/7994.htm - 6k

Library

Of Some Other Means by which Holy Love Wounds the Heart.
... The pelican builds her nest upon the ground, wherefore serpents often sting
her young ones. Now when this happens, the pelican, as ...
/.../francis/treatise on the love of god/chapter xiv of some other.htm

Psalm CII.
... 7. "I am become like a pelican in the wilderness, and like an owl among ruined walls"
(ver.6). Behold three birds and three places: the pelican, the owl, and ...
/.../christianbookshelf.org/augustine/exposition on the book of psalms/psalm cii.htm

A Cultivated Conservative Friend of Mine once Exhibited Great ...
... The ant was an almost heraldic symbol of industry, as the lion was of courage,
or, for the matter of that, the pelican of charity. ...
/.../chesterton/whats wrong with the world/chapter 42 a cultivated conservative.htm

On the Animals
... [Is.34:13]. The pelican is the Lord Jesus Christ in his passion or the holy man
given to solitude; in the psalm: I have become solitary like a pelican. ...
/.../eucherius/the formulae of st eucherius of lyons/iv on the animals.htm

The Worship of the Church
... 79 Passion-flower . . . . . 83 Paten . . . . . 39
Pelican . . . . . 70 Pentalpha . . . . . ...
//christianbookshelf.org/regester/the worship of the church/index 2.htm

Isaiah's Discourse
... But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it; and the owl and the raven shall
dwell therein: and he shall stretch over it the line of confusion, and the ...
/.../various/select masterpieces of biblical literature/v isaiahs discourse.htm

Psalm 102
... 5By reason of my groaning voice. my bones cleave to my skin. ^6Like pelican in
wilderness. forsaken I have been: I like an owl in desert am,. ...
/.../christianbookshelf.org/anonymous/scottish psalter and paraphrases/psalm 102.htm

Psalm 102
... My flesh consumed is, my skin,. All parch'd, doth cleave unto my bones.
^6The pelican of wilderness,. The owl in desert, I do match; ...
/.../anonymous/scottish psalter and paraphrases/psalm 102 2.htm

Of the System of the Anchorites and Its Beginning.
... and hold his peace because he hath taken it up upon himself," and there sing in
heart and deed these words of the Psalmist: "I am become like a pelican in the ...
/.../cassian/the conferences of john cassian/chapter vi of the system.htm

The Answer to the Question Proposed.
... He shall sit solitary and hold his peace, because he hath taken it upon himself;"
the Psalmist also: "I am become like a pelican in the desert. ...
/.../cassian/the conferences of john cassian/chapter viii the answer to.htm

Thesaurus
Pelican (5 Occurrences)
... Standard Bible Encyclopedia. PELICAN. ... From this idea arose the custom of using a
pelican with lifted wings in heraldry or as a symbol of Christ and of charity. ...
/p/pelican.htm - 11k

Cormorant (4 Occurrences)
... 14:17), Hebrews shalak, "plunging," or "darting down," (the Phalacrocorax carbo),
ranked among the "unclean" birds; of the same family group as the pelican. ...
/c/cormorant.htm - 10k

Vulture (16 Occurrences)
... They fed on carcasses of animals that killed each other, ate putrid fish under the
nests of pelican and cormorant, followed caravans across the desert, and ...
/v/vulture.htm - 14k

Pelicans
... Are frequently met with at the waters of Merom and the Sea of Galilee. The pelican
is ranked among unclean birds (Leviticus 11:18; Deuteronomy 14:17). ...
/p/pelicans.htm - 7k

Bittern (4 Occurrences)
... cormorant and the bittern shall possess it." In the Revised Version (British and
American), "cormorant" and "bittern" are changed to "pelican" and "porcupine ...
/b/bittern.htm - 14k

Chameleon (1 Occurrence)
... referred to the chameleon on account of the chameleon's habit of puffing up its
body with air and hissing, and in the other passages to the pelican, on account ...
/c/chameleon.htm - 11k

Swan (2 Occurrences)
... cygnus; Anglo-Saxon: swan and swon): Mentioned only in old versions and the Revised
Version margin in Leviticus 11:18: "the swan, and the pelican, and the gier ...
/s/swan.htm - 8k

Owl (11 Occurrences)
... those that produced such impressions of desolation in the Books of Isaiah, Jeremiah,
Job, and Micah is referred to in Psalm 102:6: "I am like a pelican of the ...
/o/owl.htm - 18k

Gier-eagle (4 Occurrences)
... Leviticus 11:18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier-eagle, (WBS). ... Deuteronomy
14:17 And the pelican, and the gier-eagle, and the cormorant, (WBS YLT). ...
/g/gier-eagle.htm - 8k

Gier (2 Occurrences)
... Multi-Version Concordance Gier (2 Occurrences). Leviticus 11:18 And the
swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, (KJV WBS YLT). ...
/g/gier.htm - 7k

Concordance
Pelican (5 Occurrences)

Leviticus 11:18
And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,
(KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Deuteronomy 14:17
and the pelican, and the vulture, and the cormorant,
(WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)

Psalms 102:6
I am like a pelican of the wilderness. I have become as an owl of the waste places.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS)

Isaiah 34:11
But the pelican and the porcupine will possess it. The owl and the raven will dwell in it. He will stretch the line of confusion over it, and the plumb line of emptiness.
(WEB JPS ASV DBY YLT NAS)

Zephaniah 2:14
Herds will lie down in the midst of her, all the animals of the nations. Both the pelican and the porcupine will lodge in its capitals. Their calls will echo through the windows. Desolation will be in the thresholds, for he has laid bare the cedar beams.
(WEB JPS ASV BBE DBY YLT NAS)

Subtopics

Pelican

Pelican: General Scriptures Concerning

Related Terms

Cormorant (4 Occurrences)

Vulture (16 Occurrences)

Pelicans

Bittern (4 Occurrences)

Chameleon (1 Occurrence)

Swan (2 Occurrences)

Owl (11 Occurrences)

Gier-eagle (4 Occurrences)

Gier (2 Occurrences)

Porcupine (3 Occurrences)

Carrion (3 Occurrences)

Carrion-vulture (2 Occurrences)

Hedgehog (3 Occurrences)

Hedge-hog (2 Occurrences)

Eagle (27 Occurrences)

Birds (125 Occurrences)

Abomination (78 Occurrences)

Vacancy (3 Occurrences)

Zoology

Knobs (9 Occurrences)

Unclean (393 Occurrences)

Osprey (4 Occurrences)

Living-places (17 Occurrences)

Gannet (2 Occurrences)

Water-hen (2 Occurrences)

Thresholds (11 Occurrences)

Resemble (15 Occurrences)

Roost (4 Occurrences)

Echo (2 Occurrences)

Emptiness (17 Occurrences)

Doorstep (11 Occurrences)

Droves (17 Occurrences)

Plummet (4 Occurrences)

Pelias

Plumb (6 Occurrences)

Plummets (1 Occurrence)

Crouched (4 Occurrences)

Columns (17 Occurrences)

Crane (2 Occurrences)

Chapiters (15 Occurrences)

Cedar-work (1 Occurrence)

Croak (1 Occurrence)

Screech (4 Occurrences)

Satyr

Horned (5 Occurrences)

Capitals (21 Occurrences)

Rubble (17 Occurrences)

Ruins (84 Occurrences)

Range (9 Occurrences)

Doorways (26 Occurrences)

Beams (28 Occurrences)

Windows (27 Occurrences)

Raven (7 Occurrences)

Concordance

Window (24 Occurrences)

Exposed (39 Occurrences)

Nest (22 Occurrences)

Nightmonster

Night-monster

Tops (37 Occurrences)

Elamites (2 Occurrences)

Threshold (28 Occurrences)

Hoot (1 Occurrence)

Elam (24 Occurrences)

Desolate (189 Occurrences)

Calls (62 Occurrences)

Wanderings (7 Occurrences)

Stretch (73 Occurrences)

Voices (76 Occurrences)

Lodge (64 Occurrences)

Uncovered (78 Occurrences)

Hen (7 Occurrences)

Creatures (83 Occurrences)

Confusion (71 Occurrences)

Cedar (61 Occurrences)

Herds (72 Occurrences)

Israel (27466 Occurrences)

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