Exodus 19:4 is a familiar verse. It is also the subject of the devotional Hymn "On Eagles' Wings" composed by Michael Joncas - Wikipedia(On Eagle's Wings) .
You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.
|Griffon Vulture in Flight|
Between The Ears BLOG INDEX, with titles and summaries.
According to HaAretz , this is a problem in translation. "The first translators of the Bible from Hebrew and Aramaic, the Greek translators that created the Septuagint, got it wrong and wrote a’etos, which is the Greek word for eagle." That error has continued to this day. All of the 28 translations on BibleHub(Ex 19:4)  translate this as eagle, so why do scholars say it means vulture?
Again from HaAretz .
It all began when the Reverend Henry Tristram, a Bible scholar and ornithologist, traveled to the Holy Land in the 1860s. In a book he published in 1867, Tristram wrote that the biblical nesher was not an eagle but a vulture. This was picked up by the Israel Aharoni, a highly influential zoologist working in Palestine in the early 20th century. In his 1923 book Torat Hachai (“Zoology”) he announced the flip and suggested that the word nesher be reinstated to its biblical use, and used to refer to the vulture.
Bible scholar AND ornithologist? Apparently, this caused quite an argument in the Academy of the Hebrew Language, which eventually accepted the ornithology argument over linguistic or poetic ones.
Let's look at some of the technical details, then explore what we can learn from this.
|"Bald" Griffon Vulture|
Eagle is translated from the Hebrew word nesher - Cambridge Commentary , and is used 26 times in the Old Testament - Strong's(H5404) . One reference to note is Micah 1:16 which mentions "baldness as an eagle", which must refer to the Griffon Vulture. It is not actually bald, but has a white downy covering on its head and neck. American Bald Eagles aren't bald either, they have white head feathers.
As an American, I view the eagle as majestic, but not the vulture. It turns out that this is a cultural thing. In the ancient world of the Middle East, the Griffon Vulture was seen as the king of birds. Indeed, it was seen as a symbol of royalty - Biblical Natural History . The Griffon Vulture is actually an amazing bird.
- have remarkable eyesight
- can spot its prey from three kilometres away
- have binocular vision
- are the highest flying bird (37,000 feet! )
- have a wing span of 9 feet or more
Deu 32:11 Like an eagle (vulture) that stirs up its nest, That hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions.12 The LORD alone guided him, And there was no foreign god with him.
Symbolism Of Vultures
|"Venue" of vultures|
When they teach them to fly, both parents are involved in the training program. As the little one takes off from that dizzy height and attempts to follow its parent in flight, the eagle (vulture) swoops beneath it and bears the little fellow on its wings when he seems exhausted. 
|Photographer/Artist Zvi Suchet  wrote|
"I can imagine the vulture’s expansive outstretched
wings lovingly sheltering the children of God."
One other trait of vultures that has symbolic meaning is that vultures feed on carrion, that is feed on the dead. That doesn't normally sound like a characteristic of God, but the picture symbolizes that He brings life from death - Beth Tikkun(2Tim 2) . And this is the hope of our resurrection, that God will bring us from death to life. The Bible records that believers will be strong, swift, and tireless like the nesher. "Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles (vultures), They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary" - Is 40:31. This analogy does break down however, for example, we don't expect God to actually eat carcasses. "Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him" - Luke 20:38.
- Cast of vultures. "The corpse was inspected by a cast of vultures."
- Kettle of vultures. If you see a group of vultures that flying in the sky. You should call them a kettle of vultures.
- Committee of vultures. To describe a group of vultures as a committee, they should be landed.
- Wake of vultures. When you see a group of vultures that are feeding you call them a wake of vultures.
- Venue of vultures. Unlike the word, “kettle”, “venue” is used when a group of vultures not flying.
Post a Comment