Fowl in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

foul (`oph; peteinon): The word is now generally restricted to the larger, especially the edible birds, but formerly it denoted all flying creatures; in Lev 11:20 the King James Version we have even, "all fowls that creep, going upon all four," 11:21, "every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four." 1. Old Testament Terms and References: The word most frequently translated "fowl" is `oph from `uph, "to cover," hence, wing; it is used collectively for birds and fowl in general (Gen 1:20, etc.; 2:19,20, etc.); `ayit (from `ut, "to rush") means a ravenous beasts; or bird of prey, used collectively of ravenous birds (Gen 15:11 the King James Version; Isa 18:6 the King James Version "fowls"; Job 28:7, "a path which no fowl knoweth," the Revised Version (British and American) "no bird of prey"); in Isa 46:11 it is used as a symbol of a conqueror (compare Jer 12:9, "bird," "birds of prey"; Ezek 39:4, "ravenous birds"); tsippor, Aramaic tsippar (from tsaphar, "to twitter or chirp"), "a chirper," denotes a small bird or sparrow (Dt 4:17 the King James Version; Neh 5:18; Dan 4:14); to give the carcasses of men to the fowls (birds) of the air was an image of destruction (Dt 28:26 the King James Version; 1 Sam 17:44,46; Ps 79:2; Jer 7:33, etc.); barburim, rendered (1 Ki 4:23) "fatted fowl" (among the provisions for Solomon's table for one day), is probably a mimetic word, like Greek barbaros, Latin murmuro, English babble, perhaps denoting geese from their cackle (Gesenius, from barar, "to cleanse," referring to their white plumage; but other derivations and renderings are given). They might have been ducks or swans. They could have been guineas or pigeons. The young of the ostrich was delicious food, and no doubt when Solomon's ships brought peafowl they also brought word that they were a delicacy for a king's table. The domestic fowl was not common so early in Israel,but it may have been brought by Solomon with other imports from the East; in New Testament times chickens were common; ba`al kanaph, "owner of a wing," is used for a bird of any kind in Prov 1:17. "In vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird," the King James Version margin Hebrew, "in the eyes of everything that hath a wing."...

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