Bible Animals: Owl
Owl in the ancient World.
Ancient Owl. THE Owl is a night-bird of prey, and was to the Jews an unclean bird, unfit for food. Several species are found in Israel, and are mentioned in the Bible (Lev. xi. 17 ; Deut. xiv. 16; Isaiah xiv. 23; xxxiv. 15 ; Zeph. ii. 14). The owl is a frequenter of ruined places, and is generally mentioned in the Holy Scriptures as a symbol of desolation, destruction, and solitude. - Animals, Birds, Insects, And Reptiles Of The Bible
Owl in Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1.) Heb. bath-haya'anah, "daughter of greediness" or of
"shouting." In the list of unclean birds (Lev.
14:15); also mentioned in Job 30:29; Isa. 13:21;
Jer. 50:39; Micah 1:8. In all these passages the
translates "ostrich" (q.v.), which is the correct
(2.) Heb. yanshuph, rendered "great owl" in Lev.
14:16, and "owl" in Isa. 34:11. This is supposed to
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
"Its cry is a loud, prolonged, and very powerful
hoot. I know
nothing which more vividly brought to my mind the
desolation and loneliness than the re-echoing hoot
of two or
three of these great owls as I stood at midnight
ruined temples of Baalbek" (Tristram)...
Owl in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Ostrich, the true rendering of bath hayanah. (See OSTRICH.)
Yanshowph; Leviticus 11:17, "the great owl." From a root,
"twilight" (Bochart), or to puff the breath (Knobel).
Deuteronomy 14:16; Isaiah 34:11. The horned owl, Bubo
maximus, not as Septuagint the ibis, the sacred bird of
Egypt. Maurer thinks the heron or crane, from nashaf "to
blow," as it utters a sound like blowing a horn (Revelation
18:2). Chaldee and Syriac support "owl." Kos; Leviticus
11:17, "the little owl." Athene meridionalis on coins of
Athens: emblem of Minerva, common in Syria; grave, but not
heavy. Psalm 102:6, "I am like an owl in a ruin" (Syriac and
Arabic versions), expressing his loneliness, surrounded by
foes, with none to befriend. The Arabs call the owl "mother
of ruins," um elcharab.
The Hebrew means a "cup", perhaps alluding to its
concave face, the eye at the bottom, the feathers radiating
on each side of the beak outward; this appears especially in
the Otus vulgaris, the "long-cared owl". Kippoz. Isaiah
34:15, "the great owl." But Gesenius "the arrow snake," or
"the darting tree serpent"; related to the Arabic kipphaz.
The context favors "owl"; for "gather under her shadow"
applies best to a mother bird fostering her young under her
wings. The Septuagint, Chaldee, Arabic, Syriac, Vulgate read
kippod, "hedgehog." The great eagle owl is one of the
largest birds of prey; with dark plumage, and enormous head,
from which glare out two great eyes. Lilith. Isaiah 34:14,
"screech owl"; from layil "the night." Irby and Mangles
state as to Petra of Edom "the screaming of hawks, eagles,
and owls, soaring above our heads, annoyed at anyone
approaching their lonely habitation, added much to the
singularity of the scene." The Strix flammea, "the barn
owl"; shrieking in the quietude of the night, it appalls the
startled hearer with its unearthly sounds.
Owl in Naves Topical Bible
-(A carnivorous bird)
Le 11:16,17; De 14:16
-In R. V. ostrich is substituted
Le 11:16; De 14:15; Job 30:29; Isa 13:21; 34:11,13;
Jer 50:39; Mic 1:8
Owl in Smiths Bible Dictionary
A number of species of the owl are mentioned in the Bible, Le
11:17; De 14:16 Isa 14:23; 34:15; Zep 2:14 and in several
other places the same Hebrew word is used where it is
translated ostrich. Job 30:29; Jer 50:39 Some of these species
were common in Israel, and, as is well known, were often found
inhabiting ruins. Isa 34:11,13-15
Owl in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
oul (bath ha-ya`anah; Latin Ulula): The name of every
nocturnal bird of prey of the Natural Order Striges. These
birds range from the great horned owl of 2 feet in length,
through many subdivisions to the little screech-owl of 5
inches. All are characterized by very large heads, many have
ear tufts, all have large eyes surrounded by a disk of tiny,
stiff, radiating feathers. The remainder of the plumage has no
aftershaft. So these birds make the softest flight of any
creature traveling on wing. A volume could be written on the
eye of the owl, perhaps its most wonderful feature being in
the power of the bird to enlarge the iris if it wishes more
distinct vision. There is material for another on the
prominent and peculiar auditory parts. With almost all owls
the feet are so arranged that two toes can be turned forward
and two back, thus reinforcing the grip of the bird by an
extra toe and giving it unusual strength of foot. All are
night-hunters, taking prey to be found at that time, of size
according to the strength...
Owl in Wikipedia
Owl. - A generic name under which many species of nocturnal birds are designated, some having a proper name in the Hebrew, some others possessing none. Among the former we may mention the little owl (athene persica), the Egyptian eagle-owl (bubo ascalephus), the great owl of some authors, called ibis in the D.V., the screech or hooting owl, probably the lîlîth of Is., xxxiv, and the lamia of St. Jerome and the D.V.; the barn owl (stryx flammea), possibly corresponding to the táhmãs of the Hebrews and rendered by night-hawk in the A.V.; and the qîppôz of Is., xxxiv, 15, as yet unidentified.
Owl Scripture - Isaiah 13:21
But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their
houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall
dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.
Owl Scripture - Isaiah 43:20
The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the
owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, [and] rivers in
the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
Owl Scripture - Jeremiah 50:39
Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts
of the islands shall dwell [there], and the owls shall dwell
therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither
shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.
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