And the owl…
The great and little owls being after
mentioned, it seems best, by the word here used, to understand the
"ostrich" with the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, the Oriental versions,
and the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan: the account which Pliny F16
gives of the African and Ethiopic ostriches is this; that they are the
largest of birds, and almost of the kind of beasts; that they exceed
the height of a horseman on horseback, and are swifter than the horses;
that their wings are given them to help them in their running,
otherwise they are not flying fowls, nor are they lifted up from the
earth. Their hoofs are like to those of harts, with which they fight,
and are cloven, and serve to gather up stones, which in their flight
they throw with their feet against them that follow them; they have a
wonderful concoction, digesting whatever is swallowed down; and,
according to Galen F17, all the parts of them, their flesh and their
eggs, are hard and difficult of digestion, and excermentitious: Aben
Ezra says F18, their flesh is as dry as a stick, and it is not usual to
eat it, for there is no moisture in it; and therefore nothing can be
eaten of the whole species, but the daughter or young one, for that
being a female and little, there is some moisture in it; but not so the
male when little; wherefore as the flesh of this creature is always
reckoned by the Jews as unlawful to be eaten, it may the rather be
supposed to be intended here, since if not here, it cannot be thought
to be any where observed; and yet we find that both the eggs and the
flesh of this creature have been eaten by some people: their eggs with
the Indians were reckoned delicate eating, as Aelianus F19 reports; and
near the Arabians and Ethiopians were a people, as both Diodorus
Siculus F20 and Strabo F21 relate, who were called Struthophagi, from
their living on ostriches; and they eat them in Peru, where they are
common F23; and in several parts of Africa, as Nubia, Numidia, and
Lybia, as Leo Africanus F24 relates:
and the night hawk;
which, according to Pliny F25, is sometimes
called "cymindis", and is seldom to be found in woods, sees not so well
in the day time, and wages a deadly war with the eagle, and they are
often found joined together: Bochart F26 who thinks that the female
ostrich is meant by the preceding bird, is of opinion that the male
ostrich is meant here, there being no general name in the Hebrew
language to comprehend both sexes:
and the cuckoo;
a bird well known by its voice at least: some have
thought it to be the same with the hawk, changing its figure and voice;
but this has been refuted by naturalists F1: but though it is here
forbidden to be eaten, yet its young, when fat, are said to be of a
grateful savour by Aristotle: and Pliny F2 says, no bird is to be
compared to it for the sweetness of its flesh, though perhaps it may
not be here intended: the word is by the Septuagint rendered a
"sea gull", and so it is by Ainsworth, and which is approved of by
and the hawk after his kind;
a well known bird, of which, according
to Aristotle F4, there are not less than ten sorts: Pliny F5 says
sixteen; it has its name in Hebrew from flying, it being a bird that
flies very swiftly; see (Job 39:26) the hawk was a symbol of deity
with the Egyptians, and was reverenced and worshipped by them F6.
F16 Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 1. Vid. Aristot. de Part. Animal. l. 4. c. 14.
F17 Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2. c. 14. col. 226.
F18 Pirush in Exod. xxiii. 19.
F19 De Animal. l. 14. c. 13.
F20 Bibliothec. l. 3. p. 162.
F21 Geograph. l. 16. p. 531.
F23 Calmet's Dictionary in the word "Ostrich".
F24 Descriptio Africae, l. 6. p. 601, 605, 613. l. 9. p. 766.
F25 Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 8.
F26 Ut supra, (Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2.) c. 15. col. 235.
F1 Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 6. c. 7. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 9.
F3 Ut supra, (Apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2. c. 15.) col. 26.
F4 Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 36.
F5 Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 8.
F6 Plutarch. de Iside & Osyr. Strabo. Geograph. l. 17. p. 559, 562.
Diodor. Sicul. l. 1. p. 78. Clement. Alex. Stromat. l. 5. p. 566.