Leviticus 11:16


King James Version (KJV)

And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,

American King James Version (AKJV)

And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,

American Standard Version (ASV)

and the ostrich, and the night-hawk, and the seamew, and the hawk after its kind,

Basic English Translation (BBE)

And the ostrich and the night-hawk and the sea-hawk, and birds of that sort;

Webster's Revision

And the owl, and the night-hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,

World English Bible

the horned owl, the screech owl, and the gull, any kind of hawk,

English Revised Version (ERV)

and the ostrich, and the night hawk, and the seamew, and the hawk after its kind;

Clarke's Leviticus 11:16 Bible Commentary

The owl - בת היענה bath haiyaanah, the daughter of vociferation, the female ostrich, probably so called from the noise they make. "In the lonesome part of the night," says Dr. Shaw, "the ostriches frequently make a very doleful and hideous noise, sometimes resembling the roar of the lion; at other times, the hoarser voice of the bull or ox." He adds, "I have heard them groan as if in the deepest agonies." - Travels, 4th edition, p. 455. The ostrich is a very unclean animal, and eats its own ordure as soon as it voids it, and of this Dr. Shaw observes, (see above), it is remarkably fond! This is a sufficient reason, were others wanting, why such a fowl should be reputed to be unclean, and its use as an article of diet prohibited.

The night hawk - תחמס tachmas, from חמס chamas, to force away, act violently and unjustly; supposed by Bochart and Scheuchzer to signify the male ostrich, from its cruelty towards its young; (see Job 39:13-18); but others, with more reason, suppose it to be the bird described by Hasselquist, which he calls the strix Orientalis, or Oriental owl. "It is of the size of the common owl, living in the ruins and old deserted houses of Egypt and Syria; and sometimes in inhabited houses. The Arabs in Egypt call it Massasa, the Syrians Bana. It is very ravenous in Syria, and in the evenings, if the windows be left open, it flies into the house and kills infants, unless they are carefully watched; wherefore the women are much afraid of it." - Travels, p. 196. If this is the fowl intended, this is a sufficient reason why it should be considered an abomination.

The cuckoo - שחף shachaph, supposed rather to mean the sea mew; called shachaph, from שחפת shachepheth, a wasting distemper, or atrophy, (mentioned Leviticus 26:16; Deuteronomy 28:22), because its body is the leanest, in proportion to its bones and feathers, of most other birds, always appearing as if under the influence of a wasting distemper. A fowl which, from its natural constitution or manner of life, is incapable of becoming plump or fleshy, must always be unwholesome; and this is reason sufficient why such should be prohibited.

And the hawk - נץ nets, from the root נצה natsah, to shoot forth or spring forward, because of the rapidity and length of its flight, the hawk being remarkable for both. As this is a bird of prey, it is forbidden, and all others of its kind.

Barnes's Leviticus 11:16 Bible Commentary

And the owl ... - Rather, "and the ostrich, and the owl, and the gull, and the hawk," etc.

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