Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora) by Ian
Birds of the Bible – How Many Are There? I (continued…)
As we continue in Genesis, the only other reference to birds that I have found is in Chapter 40. Joseph had been tossed in prison and in time he was joined by Pharaoh’s chief butler and his chief baker. They each have dreams and Joseph interprets them for the two men. Unfortunately the baker’s dream, which includes birds, will be killed.
And in the uppermost basket there was of all manner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and the birds did eat them out of the basket upon my head. And Joseph answered and said, This is the interpretation thereof: The three baskets are three days: Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree; and the birds shall eat thy flesh from off thee. (Genesis 40:17-19 KJV)
Looking at the verses in the compare mode, “birds” or “birdies” are listed by all except one. The ECB calls them the “flyers.” No matter what they are called, it was not a good day for the Chief Baker.
That brings us to the book of Exodus as the children of Israel travel through the wilderness that we meet our next named bird. The Quail. They had been complaining about only eating manna and started asking why they couldn’t have meat. So the LORD sent them quail or whatever we find they called them. I wrote about this avian critter in Birds of the Bible – Quail and in Quail II. Let’s see how the quail in translated here.
And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up, and covered the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. (Exodus 16:13 KJV)
- Quail or quails by most versions
- mother-quail (ABP+)
- little birds (BBE)
Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) by Peter Ericsson
Our next verse and named bird is in Exodus 19:4 where the LORD is telling Moses what to tell the people.
Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles‘ wings, and brought you unto myself. (Exodus 19:4 KJV)
The power of the eagle’s wings is referred to as how He freed them from their bondage in Egypt. So now we can add the Eagle to our list of birds. There are many references to Eagles throughout God’s Word. Every version mentions “eagle’s wings” or “wings of eagles.” See the Eagle articles.
As we move on to Leviticus, our count of the birds is going to really climb as we encounter the list of the Clean and Unclean birds in Chapter 11 also lots a variety as to how those birds are translated. Before we get there, the sacrifices are mentioned of the turtledoves or young pigeons, previously covered, in Lev 1:14, 5:7, 11, 12:6, 8, and chapters 14 and 15.
And if the burnt sacrifice of his offering to the LORD is of birds, then he shall bring his offering of turtledoves or young pigeons. (Leviticus 1:14 NKJV)
I am going to quote the KJV and NKJV for the list, then we will check out the variations:
Leviticus 11:13-19 KJV
(13) And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
(14) And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
(15) Every raven after his kind;
(16) And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
(17) And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,
(18) And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,
(19) And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
Leviticus 11:13-19 NKJV
(13) ‘And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard,
(14) the kite, and the falcon after its kind;
(15) every raven after its kind,
(16) the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind;
(17) the little owl, the fisher owl, and the screech owl;
(18) the white owl, the jackdaw, and the carrion vulture;
(19) the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.
Can you see the differences already? That is just two translations, let’s see what the others reveal. So far we now have added; ossifrage, ospray, kite, night hawk, cuckow, hawk, little owl, cormorant, great owl, swan, pelican, gier eagle, stork, heron, lapwing, falcon, ostrich, short-eared owl, sea gull, fisher owl, screech owl, white owl, jackdaw, carrion vulture, hoopoe.
Levitus 11: 13 -
- griffin (ABP+) (DRB) griffon vulture (NET),
- gier-eagle (ASV) (BBE) (RV),
- Goshauke (Bishops) (Geneva) (Tyndale),
- sea-eagle (Brenton) (Darby),
- buzzards (ERV) (NAS77) (NASB) (UKJV),
- bearded vulture and black vulture (ESV) (GW) (HCSB) (LITV) (MKJV)(WEB R) black and great vulture (JPS)
- cormoraunte and kyte (Tyndale)
Some list them all in one verse:
(CEV) Eagles, vultures, buzzards, crows, ostriches, hawks, sea gulls, owls, pelicans, storks, herons, hoopoes, and bats are also disgusting, and you are forbidden to eat any of them.
(GNB) You must not eat any of the following birds: eagles, owls, hawks, falcons; buzzards, vultures, crows; ostriches; seagulls, storks, herons, pelicans, cormorants; hoopoes; or bats.
The next two verses are easier. Verse 14 has all birds of prey: (KJV) “And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; “
- vulture – “whole species of falcon” (AMP)
- crows (ABP+)
- buzzards (CJB) (GW) (NRSV)
- falcon (Darby) + others
- hawk (ECB)
- red kite (ISV)
- red kites and all kinds of black kites (NIrV) (NIV) (WEB (R))
One last verse for now: “every raven of any kind,” (Leviticus 11:15 ESV)
- black birds, (ERV)
- crows (GW) (NET)
Ravens, Blackbirds and Crows are all in the same family. No problem there.
In our list below, I doubled up the obvious birds that are in the same family like the owls and vultures.
Our list of Birds of the Bible so far:
- Birds or Fowls
- Vulture, Carrion vulture, Griffon, Bearded, Black
- Birds of Prey
- Eagle, Gier eagle, Sea Eagle
- Kite, Red, Black
- Night hawk,
- Owls – Little owl, Great owl, Short-eared owl, Fsher owl, Screech owl, White owl,
- Sea gull,
- Swooper (Gen 15:11)
- Flyers (Gen 40:19) (Lev 11:13)
I am only listing what the different versions have written. I am neither approving or disapproving those versions.
For now, that is enough. To be continued in Part III.
Disclaimer About Bible Version Usage