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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Pelican

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PELICAN ( qâ’ath , prob. from root ‘to vomit’). One of the ‘unclean’ birds ( Leviticus 11:18 , Deuteronomy 14:17 ) inhabiting the ruins of Nineveh ( Zephaniah 2:14 , where AV [Note: Authorized Version.] has ‘ cormorant ’), and desolate Idumæa ( Isaiah 34:11 ). ‘A pelican in the wilderness’ is referred to in Psalms 102:3 . If in these two last gâ’ath is really ‘pelican,’ It is a poetical and conventional reference, for this bird’s habitat is always near pools of water or the sea; the creature’s attitude after a plentiful gorge, when he sits with his head sunk on his breast, is supposed to suggest melancholy. In Palestine two species are known, of which the white pelican ( Pelicanus onocrotalus ) is plentiful in the more retired parts of the Jordan lakes, especially in the Huleh. It is nearly 6 feet from heak to end of tail, and is remarkable chiefly for its pouch, in which it collects fish for feeding itself and its young. The other species is P. crispus , the Dalmatian pelican.

E. W. G. Masterman.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Pelican'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/p/pelican.html. 1909.

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