Birds of the Bible – Hawks and Wisdom

Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus) by Daves BirdingPix

Short-tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus) by Daves BirdingPix

Is it by your wisdom [Job] that the hawk soars and stretches her wings toward the south [as winter approaches]? (Job 39:26 AMP)

In the Birds of the Bible – Hawk Migration, written in 2008, this verse was introduced. Job was being addressed and the questions started coming:

THEN THE Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? [Job 35:16.] Gird up now your loins like a man, and I will demand of you, and you declare to Me. (Job 38:1-3 AMP)

Questions of Where…?; Who…?; When…?; Have you commanded…, explored…, entered…?; Can you …?; Do you…? etc. These question run all through Job 38 and 39. That is where we find our question about the hawk.

Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) ©USFWS

Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus) ©USFWS

Commentary Quotes on Job 39:26 (From my e-Sword)

Barnes – “Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom – The appeal here is to the hawk, because it is among the most rapid of the birds in its flight. The particuIar thing specified is its flying, and it is supposed that there was something special in that which distinguished it from other birds. Whether it was in regard to its speed, to its manner of flying, or to its habits of flying at periodical seasons, may indeed be made a matter of inquiry, but it is clear that the particular thing in this bird which was adapted to draw the attention, and which evinced especially the wisdom of God, was connected with its flight. The word here rendered “hawk,” (נץ nêts) is probably generic, and includes the various species of the falcon or hawk tribe, as the jet-falcon, the goshawk, the sparrow, hawk, the lanner, the saker, the hobby, the kestril, and the merlin. Not less than one hundred and fifty species of the hawk, it is said, have been described, but of these many are little known, and many of them differ from others only by very slight distinctions.

They are birds of prey, and, as many of them are endowed with remarkable docility, they are trained for the diversions of falconry – which has been quite a science among sportsmen. The falcon, or hawk, is often distinguished for fleetness. One, belonging to a Duke of Cleves, flew out of Westphalia into Prussia in one day; and in the county of Norfolk (England) one was known to make a flight of nearly thirty miles in an hour. A falcon which belonged to Henry IV. of France, having escaped from Fontainebleau, was found twenty-four hours after in Malta, the space traversed being not less than one thousand three hundred and fifty miles; being a velocity of about fifty-seven miles an hour, on the supposition that the bird was on the wing the whole time. It is this remarkable velocity which is here appealed to as a proof of the divine wisdom. God asks Job whether he could have formed these birds for their rapid flight. The wisdom and skill which has done this is evidently far above any that is possessed by man.

And stretch her wings toward the south – Referring to the fact that the bird is migratory at certain seasons of the year. It is not here merely the rapidity of its flight which is referred to, but that remarkable instinct which leads the feathered tribes to seek more congenial climates at the approach of winter. In no way is this to be accounted for, except by the fact that God has so appointed it. This great law of the winged tribes is one of the clearest proofs of divine wisdom and agency.”

Grey Goshawk ( novaehollandiae) by Ian 1

Grey Goshawk ( novaehollandiae) by Ian

Pulpit Commentary – ” Doth the hawk fly (or, soar) by thy wisdom? The hawk”s strength of wing is extraordinary, and one of the greatest of natural marvels. Can Job claim to have contrived it? Many as have been the attempts made, human ingenuity has not yet devised anything that can fly. And stretch her wings toward the south? Migrate, i.e. , when winter approaches, to the warmer southern regions. Few things in nature are more remarkable than the instinct of migratory birds.

Red Sholdered Hawk by Ray

Red Sholdered Hawk by Ray

Matthew Henry – “All these beautiful references to the works of nature, should teach us a right view of the riches of the wisdom of Him who made and sustains all things. The want of right views concerning the wisdom of God, which is ever present in all things, led Job to think and speak unworthily of Providence.

Harris's Hawk at NA by Lee

Harris’s Hawk at National Aviary by Lee

Wesley – Fly – So strongly, constantly, unweariedly, and swiftly. South – At the approach of winter, when wild hawks fly into warmer countries, as being impatient of cold. The birds of the air are proofs of the wonderful providence of God, as well as the beasts of the earth. God instances in two stately ones.

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) Brevard Zoo by Lee

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) Brevard Zoo by Lee

Lange – “… If even the book of nature transcends our ability to decipher it fully, how much more incomprehensible and mysterious will the book of Holy Scripture be for us.—von Gerlach: The fundamental thought of these representations which God here puts forth is that only He who can create and govern all things, who superintends everything and adjusts all things in their relation to each other, can also comprehend the connection of human destinies. Inasmuch however as feeble short-sighted man cannot understand and fathom the created things which are daily surrounding him, how can he assume to himself any part of God’s agency in administering the universe?”

Red-tailed Hawk by Ray

Red-tailed Hawk by Ray

Believers Bible Commentary – “39:26-30 Did Job give wisdom to the hawk to migrate south? And was he the one who taught the eagle to fly, to nest on the high rocky crag, to spy out carrion from a great distance, and to train its young ones to find their food?”

Red-backed Hawk - Argentina

Red-backed Hawk – Argentina

Biblical Illustrator – “The higher teaching of Nature The intent of all these beautiful references to the works of Nature is to teach us, from the wisdom, skill, and curious designs discoverable in the formation and the instincts of various birds and beasts, to impress ourselves with a worthy notion of the “riches of the wisdom” of Him that made and sustaineth all things. These impressions we are to carry with us when we consider the dealings of God in the way of Providence, and in His ordering of all events, as the great Governor of the universe. Can we suppose that there is anything wrong here, or without the design of the most consummate wisdom, when He has put forth so much of His skill and contrivance in the formation and ordering of these inferior animals? May He not be trusted to do all things well, concerning the destiny of man, the greatest of His works? In this higher economy, are we to suppose there is less wisdom and design to be manifested, than in this, which displays itself so visibly in these inferior works of His hand? Thus would our blessed Lord increase the confidence of His disciples in His providential care of them, by observing, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing, and not one of them falleth to the ground without your Father?” “Fear not,” “are ye not much better than they?—of more value than many sparrows.” It was the want of such due impressions concerning the designing wisdom of God, ever present, and ever operating in all things, that had led Job to think and speak unworthily of that dispensation of Providence under which he now lived, as being altogether arbitrary, discovering no design and discriminating wisdom, nor manifesting the righteous Governor of all things….”

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5 KJV)

My the Lord continue his blessings as we observe His Wisdom through the birdwatching of His Hawks.

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