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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Pelican

ka'ath . Two species exist in the Levant, Ρelican onocratalus and Ρelican crispus . Often found on the upper Jordan. The Hebrew name is an imitation of its harsh donkey-like braying note, as onocratalus expresses; or from a root "to throw up," from its bringing fish back to its mouth from its large pouch beneath the beak. The origin of the fable of its feeding its young with its blood sprang from its pressing its under mandible against its breast to help it to disgorge its pouch's contents for its young, and from the red nail on the end of the upper mandible coming in contact with the breast.

"Pelican of the wilderness" alludes to its seeking uninhabited places as breeding places. Being a water bird, it could not live in a place destitute of water. But midbar means simply "an open unenclosed land", as distinguished from a settled agricultural region. Its posture with bill resting on its breast suggests the idea of melancholy solitude (Psalms 102:6; Isaiah 34:11, where ka'ath is "pelican" not "cormorant".) After filling its pouch with fish and mollusks, it retires miles away inland to consume the contents of its pouch.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Pelican'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/p/pelican.html. 1949.

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