the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Abomination, Birds of
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Leviticus 11:13-19 : "And these ye shall have in abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the gier-eagle, and the osprey, and the kite, and the falcon after its kind, every raven after its kind, and the ostrich, and the night-hawk, and the sea-mew, and the hawk after its kind, and the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, and the horned owl, and the pelican, and the vulture, and the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe, and the bat." Deuteronomy 14:12-18 gives the glede in addition.
Each of these birds is treated in order in this work. There are two reasons why Moses pronounced them an abomination for food. Either they had rank, offensive, tough flesh, or they were connected with religious superstition. The eagle, gier-eagle, osprey, kite, glede, falcon, raven, night-hawk, sea-mew, hawk, little owl, cormorant, great owl, horned owl, pelican and vulture were offensive because they were birds of prey or ate carrion or fish until their flesh partook of the odor of their food. Young ostriches have sweet, tender flesh and the eggs are edible also. In putting these birds among the abominations Moses must have been thinking of grown specimens. (Ostriches live to a remarkable age and on account of the distances they cover, and their speed in locomotion, their muscles become almost as hard as bone.) There is a trace of his early Egyptian training when he placed the stork and the heron on this list. These birds, and the crane as well, abounded in all countries known at that time and were used for food according to the superstitions of different nations. These three were closely related to the ibis which was sacred in Egypt and it is probable that they were protected by Moses for this reason, since they were eaten by other nations at that time and cranes are used for food today by natives of our southeastern coast states and are to be found in the markets of our western coast. The veneration for the stork that exists throughout the civilized world today had its origin in Palestine. Noting the devotion of mated pairs and their tender care for the young the Hebrews named the bird
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Abomination, Birds of'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​isb/​a/abomination-birds-of.html. 1915.