A bird of prey belonging to the order Strigiformes which are generally nocturnal. Hebrew terms for various bird species cannot be identified precisely with English terms. NRSV mentions two species of owl, the little and great owls (Deuteronomy 14:16). KJV mentions these as well as the owl of the desert (Leviticus 11:18;
Deuteronomy 14:16) and screech owl (Isaiah 34:14). NIV mentions six species: the horned owl; screech owl (Leviticus 11:16;
Deuteronomy 14:15); little owl (Leviticus 11:17;
Deuteronomy 14:15); great owl; white owl; and desert owl (Leviticus 11:18;
Deuteronomy 14:16). Owls, like other predatory birds, were classed as unclean. Owls nesting in ruins are a common image of desolation (Psalms 102:6;
Isaiah 34:11,Isaiah 34:15;
Zephaniah 2:14). See Birds.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'OWL'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".