Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour. (Jeremiah 12:9 KJV)
In Jeremiah chapter 12, the LORD was stating that because Israel had turned to other gods instead of the God of Israel (the LORD), that He was bringing judgment. The people had bowed down to other gods and then brought some of that worship and intermingled it with the true worship of God. The House of God was “speckled” or of mixed beliefs.
John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes – “The birds round about – It is usual for other birds to flock about a strange coloured bird, such as they have not been used to see.”
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary – “God’s people had been the dearly-beloved of his soul, precious in his sight, but they acted so, that he gave them up to their enemies. Many professing churches become like speckled birds, presenting a mixture of religion and the world, with its vain fashions, pursuits, and pollutions. God’s people are as men wondered at, as a speckled bird; but this people had by their own folly made themselves so; and the beasts and birds are called to prey upon them. The whole land would be made desolate. But until the judgments were actually inflicted, none of the people would lay the warning to heart. When God’s hand is lifted up, and men will not see, they shall be made to feel. Silver and gold shall not profit in the day of the Lord’s anger. And the efforts of sinners to escape misery, without repentance and works answerable thereto, will end in confusion.”
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary – “speckled bird — Many translate, “a ravenous beast, the hyena”; the corresponding Arabic word means hyena; so the Septuagint. But the Hebrew always elsewhere means “a bird of prey.” The Hebrew for “speckled” is from a root “to color”; answering to the Jewish blending together with paganism the altogether diverse Mosaic ritual. The neighboring nations, birds of prey like herself (for she had sinfully assimilated herself to them), were ready to pounce upon her.”
From Clarke -Dahler translates the whole verse thus: –
“Birds of prey! inundate with blood my heritage.
Birds of prey! come against her from all sides.
Run together in crowds, ye savage beasts!
Come to the carnage!”
According to those above, it seems that the bird must have been either spotted or multi-colored. The bird is a:
“speckled bird” in the KJV, MKJV, Webster
“speckled bird of prey” in the ASV, Darvy, NASB, RV
“speckled vulture” in the NKJV
“speckled fowl” in the YLT
“colorful bird of prey” in the GWV
“brightly colored bird” – BBE
“hawk” – CEV
“hyena’s lair” – ESV
All these variances make it hard to show a picture, but the ones shown are guesses.
Also, the application should give those today a stern warning about bringing the “worldly practices and beliefs” into our church services. I see it today in churches that do things that are clearly taught against in God’s Word, the Bible. Many things could be named, but one that disturbes this writer alot is the denial of God’s Creation of this world. More and more supposed Christian leaders are teaching different theories to “blend” the world’s theory of evolution with the Lord’s clear teaching in Genesis.
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1 NKJV)