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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Ostrich. Job 30:29; Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:13; Jeremiah 50:39; Micah 1:8; Lamentations 4:3. The largest of the feathered tribe, exceedingly swift, employing its wings which are useless for flight to aid it in running. It is voracious, and will swallow any hard substance, as stones or metal; but these are to assist the action of the gizzard. Sometimes, however, it is said that its indiscriminating appetite proves fatal to it. Several female ostriches lay their eggs in a single nest, a mere shallow hole in the sand, and then carefully cover them. In very hot climates the sun's heat on them is sufficient in the daytime without incubation by the parent birds; but in less sultry regions both male and female are said to sit upon the eggs. There are also other eggs scattered near which are apparently neglected, but are really designed for the food of the young birds when hatched. These habits are the result of the instinct with which the Deity has endowed the ostrich; but some of them are so strange as to have given rise to an Arabian proverb, "As foolish as an ostrich." And this is sufficient to justify the statement in the book of Job. Scripture must, of course, be composed in popular language; and the meaning here is evidently not that the bird is through stupidity unfaithful to its instinct, but that that instinct is of a kind which seems to imply want of forethought and natural care.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Ostrich'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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Tuesday, November 24th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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