Birds, like other animals, were divided by Moses into clean and unclean; the former might be eaten, the latter not. The general ground of distinction is, that those which feed on grain or seeds are clean; while those which devour flesh, fish, or carrion, are unclean. Turtledoves, young pigeons, and perhaps some other kinds of birds, were prescribed in the Mosaic law as offerings,
There is great difficulty in accurately determining the different species of birds prohibited in Le 11:13-19; De 14:11-20, and the proper version of the Hebrew names. The information we have respecting them may be found under the names by which they are translated in our Bible.
Moses, to inculcate humanity on the Israelites, ordered them, if they found a bird's nest, not to take the dam with the young, but to suffer the old one to fly away, and to take the young only, De 22:6-7.
Cages for singing birds are alluded to in Jer 5:27; and snares in Pr 7:23; Ec 9:12. Birds of prey are emblems of destroying hosts, Isa 46:11; Jer 12:9; Eze 32:4; Re 19:17-19; and the Lord comes to the defense of his people with the swiftness of the eagle, Isa 31:5.
But if he be not able to bring a sheep, then let him bring for his trespass which he hath sinned, two turtle doves or two young pigeons unto the LORD; one for a sin offering and another for a burnt offering. And he shall bring them unto the priest, which shall offer the sin offering first and wring the neck asunder of it, but pluck it not clean off. read more. And let him sprinkle of the blood of the sin offering upon the side of the altar, and let the rest of the blood bleed upon the bottom of the altar, and then it is a sin offering. And let him offer the second for a burnt offering as the manner is: and so shall the priest make an atonement for him for the sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him.
These are the fowls which ye shall abhor and which shall not be eaten, for they are an abomination: The eagle, the goshawk, the cormorant, the kite, the vulture and all his kind, read more. and all kind of ravens; the ostrich, the nightcrow, the cuckoo, the sparrowhawk, and all the kind; the little owl, the stork, the great owl, the back, the pelican, the pye, the heron, the jay with the kind, the lapwing and the swallow.
then shall the priest command that there be brought for him that shall be cleansed two living birds that are clean, and cypress wood, and a piece of purple cloth and hyssop. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed over an earthen vessel of running water. read more. And the priest shall take the living bird and the cypress wood and the purple and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle it upon him that must be cleansed of his leprosy seven times and cleanse him, and shall let the living bird go free into the fields.
Of all clean birds ye shall eat, but these are they of which ye may not eat: the eagle, the goshawk, the cormorant, read more. the ixion, the vulture, the kite and her kind, and all kind of ravens, the ostrich, the nightcrow, the cuckoo, the sparrowhawk and all her kind, the little owl, the great owl, the back, the bittern, the pye, the stork, the heron, the jay in his kind, the lapwing, the swallow. And all creeping fowls are unclean unto you and may not be eaten of; but of all clean fowls ye may well eat.
If thou chance upon a bird's nest by the way, in whatsoever tree it be or on the ground, whether they be young or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young or upon the eggs: thou shalt not take the mother with the young. But shalt in any wise let the dam go and take the young, that thou mayest prosper and prolong thy days.
so long till she hath wounded his liver with her dart: like as if a bird hasted to the snare, not knowing that the peril of his life lieth thereupon.
For man knoweth not his time, but like as the fish are taken with the angle and as the birds are caught with the snare: Even so are men taken in the perilous time, when it cometh suddenly upon them.
Like as birds flutter about their nests, so shall the LORD of Hosts keep, save, defend and deliver Jerusalem.
I call a bird out of the East, and all that I take in hand, out of far countries, as soon as I command, I bring it hither: as soon as I think to devise a thing, I do it.
And like as a net is full of birds, so are their houses full of that which they have gotten with falsity and deceit. Hereof cometh their great substance and riches,
Mine heritage is unto me, as a speckled bird; a bird of divers colors is upon it. Go hence, and gather all the beasts of the field together, that they may eat it up.
for I will cast thee upon the land. I let thee lie upon the field, that all the fowls of the air may sit upon thee; I will give all the beasts of the field enough of thee.
and to offer, as it is said in the law of the Lord, "A pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons."
And I saw an angel stand in the sun, and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly by the midst of heaven, "Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God, that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and of high captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all free men and bond men, and of small and great." read more. And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth, and their warriors gathered together to make battle against him that sat on the horse and against his soldiers.
These are employed as symbols of evil agents: as, in the dream of Pharaoh's baker, the birds ate the bakemeats he was carrying on his head, Ge 40:17; and in the parable of the Sower the fowls or birds which devoured the seed by the wayside are interpreted by Christ to signify 'the wicked one.' Mt 13:4,19. In the parable of the Mustard Seed the kingdom of heaven becomes a great system with roots in the earth, under the protection of which the birds of the air find shelter. Mt 13:31-32. The Greek is ????????, the same in the two parables.
And in the uppermost basket, of all manner bakemeats for Pharaoh. And the birds ate them out of the basket upon my head."
And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and the fowls came, and devoured it up.
Whosoever heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, there cometh the evil man, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. And this is he which was sown by the wayside.
Another parable he put forth unto them saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a man taketh and soweth in his field, which is the least of all seeds. But when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and it is a tree: so that the birds of the air come, and build in the branches of it."