The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleLeviticus 11:17
And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl.
Ainsworth translates the words just the reverse, and takes the first
word to signify the great owl, and the last the little one; the great
owl may intend the great horn owl, called sometimes the eagle owl,
which is thus described; it is of the size of a goose, and has large
wings, capable of extending to a surprising breadth: its head is much
of the size and figure of that of a cat, and has clusters of black
feathers over the ears, rising to three fingers' height; its eyes are
very large, and the feathers of its rump long, and extremely soft; its
eyes have yellow irises, and its beak black and crooked: it is all over
mottled with white, reddish, and black spots; its legs are very strong,
and are hairy down to the very ends of the toes, their covering being
of a whitish brown F7: and as this is called the great horn owl,
others, in comparison of it, may be called the little owl. Some reckon
several species of owls--there are of three sizes; the large ones are
as big as a capon, the middle sized are as big as a wood pigeon, the
smaller sort about the size of an ordinary pigeon--the horned owl is of
two kinds, a larger and a smaller--the great owl is also of two sorts,
that is, of a larger and a smaller kind F8; it is a bird sacred to
Minerva: but though it is pretty plain that the last of the words used
signifies a bird that flies in the twilight of the evening, from whence
it seems to have its name, as Aben Ezra, Ben Gersom, and other Jewish
writers observe, and fitly agrees with the owl which is not seen in the
day, but appears about that time; yet the first is thought by Bochart
F9 to be the "onocrotalus" or "pelican", which has under its bill a
bag or sack, which will hold a large quantity of anything; and the
word here used has the signification of a cup or vessel, see
(Psalms 102:6) . The word we render "cormorant", the Targums of Onkelos
and Jonathan paraphrase it, a drawer of fish out of the sea, so Baal
Hatturim; and thus it is interpreted in the Talmud F11; and the gloss
upon it says, this is the water raven, which is the same with the
cormorant; for the cormorant is no other than "corvus aquaticus", or
water raven; (See Gill on 2:14). The Septuagint render it by
"catarrhactes", which, according to the description of it F12, resides
by rocks and shores that hang over water; and when it sees fishes
swimming in it, it will fly on high, and contract its feathers, and
flounce into the water, and fetch out the fish; and so is of the same
nature, though not the same creature with the cormorant. Aben Ezra
observes, that some say this is a bird which casts its young as soon as
born; and this is said of the "catarrhactes", that it lets down its
young into the sea, and draws them out again, and hereby inures them to
this exercise F13.
F7 Ray's Ornithol. p. 63. apud Supplement to Chambers's Dictionary in
the word "Bubo".
F8 Calmet's Dictionary in the word "Owl".
F9 Ut supra, (Apud Bochard. Heirozoic. par. 2. l. 2.) c. 20. col. 275.
F11 Bab. Cholin, fol. 63. 1.
F12 Gesner. apud Bochart. ut supra, (F9) c. 21. col. 278.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 11:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=le&chapter=011&verse=017>. 1999.