Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1.) Heb. bath-haya'anah, "daughter of greediness" or of
"shouting." In the list of unclean birds (Lev. 11:16; Deut.
14:15); also mentioned in Job 30:29; Isa. 13:21; 34:13; 43:20;
Jer. 50:39; Micah 1:8. In all these passages the Revised Version
translates "ostrich" (q.v.), which is the correct rendering.
(2.) Heb. yanshuph, rendered "great owl" in Lev. 11:17; Deut.
14:16, and "owl" in Isa. 34:11. This is supposed to be the
Egyptian eagle-owl (Bubo ascalaphus), which takes the place of
the eagle-owl (Bubo maximus) found in Southern Europe. It is
found frequenting the ruins of Egypt and also of the Holy Land.
"Its cry is a loud, prolonged, and very powerful hoot. I know
nothing which more vividly brought to my mind the sense of
desolation and loneliness than the re-echoing hoot of two or
three of these great owls as I stood at midnight among the
ruined temples of Baalbek" (Tristram).
The LXX. and Vulgate render this word by "ibis", i.e., the
(3.) Heb. kos, rendered "little owl" in Lev. 11:17; Deut.
14:16, and "owl" in Ps. 102:6. The Arabs call this bird "the
mother of ruins." It is by far the most common of all the owls
of Israel. It is the Athene persica, the bird of Minerva, the
symbol of ancient Athens.
(4.) Heb. kippoz, the "great owl" (Isa. 34:15); Revised
Version, "arrow-snake;" LXX. and Vulgate, "hedgehog," reading in
the text, kippod, instead of kippoz. There is no reason to doubt
the correctness of the rendering of the Authorized Version.
Tristram says: "The word [i.e., kippoz] is very possibly an
imitation of the cry of the scops owl (Scops giu), which is very
common among ruins, caves, and old walls of towns...It is a
migrant, returning to Israel in spring."
(5.) Heb. lilith, "screech owl" (Isa. 34:14, marg. and R.V.,
"night monster"). The Hebrew word is from a root signifying
"night." Some species of the owl is obviously intended by this
word. It may be the hooting or tawny owl (Syrnium aluco), which
is common in Egypt and in many parts of Israel. This verse in
Isaiah is "descriptive of utter and perpetual desolation, of a
land that should be full of ruins, and inhabited by the animals
that usually make such ruins their abode."
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'owl' Eastons Bible Dictionary". bible-history.com - Eastons
; 1897. Copyright Information
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