Owl in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Ostrich, the true rendering of bath hayanah. (See OSTRICH.)
Yanshowph; Leviticus 11:17, "the great owl." From a root,
"twilight" (Bochart), or to puff the breath (Knobel).
Deuteronomy 14:16; Isaiah 34:11. The horned owl, Bubo
maximus, not as Septuagint the ibis, the sacred bird of
Egypt. Maurer thinks the heron or crane, from nashaf "to
blow," as it utters a sound like blowing a horn (Revelation
18:2). Chaldee and Syriac support "owl." Kos; Leviticus
11:17, "the little owl." Athene meridionalis on coins of
Athens: emblem of Minerva, common in Syria; grave, but not
heavy. Psalm 102:6, "I am like an owl in a ruin" (Syriac and
Arabic versions), expressing his loneliness, surrounded by
foes, with none to befriend. The Arabs call the owl "mother
of ruins," um elcharab.
The Hebrew means a "cup", perhaps alluding to its
concave face, the eye at the bottom, the feathers radiating
on each side of the beak outward; this appears especially in
the Otus vulgaris, the "long-cared owl". Kippoz. Isaiah
34:15, "the great owl." But Gesenius "the arrow snake," or
"the darting tree serpent"; related to the Arabic kipphaz.
The context favors "owl"; for "gather under her shadow"
applies best to a mother bird fostering her young under her
wings. The Septuagint, Chaldee, Arabic, Syriac, Vulgate read
kippod, "hedgehog." The great eagle owl is one of the
largest birds of prey; with dark plumage, and enormous head,
from which glare out two great eyes. Lilith. Isaiah 34:14,
"screech owl"; from layil "the night." Irby and Mangles
state as to Petra of Edom "the screaming of hawks, eagles,
and owls, soaring above our heads, annoyed at anyone
approaching their lonely habitation, added much to the
singularity of the scene." The Strix flammea, "the barn
owl"; shrieking in the quietude of the night, it appalls the
startled hearer with its unearthly sounds.