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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
prā : They were undoubtedly the first birds noticed by the compilers of Biblical records. They were camp followers, swarmed over villages and perched on the walls of cities. They were offensive in manner and odor, and of a boldness unknown to us in birds. They flocked in untold numbers, there was small defense against them, and the largest and strongest not only carried away meat prepared for food and sacrifice, but also preyed upon the much-prized house pigeons, newly born of the smaller animals, and even at times attacked young children. See Genesis 15:11 , "And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away." Because they were attracted from above the clouds by anything suitable for food, people recognized that these were birds of unusual vision. When Job wanted to tell how perfectly the path to the gold mine was concealed, he wrote, "That path no bird of prey knoweth" (Job 28:7 ). The inference is, that, if it were so perfectly concealed that it escaped the piercing eyes of these birds, it was not probable that man would find it. These birds were so strong, fierce and impudent that everyone feared them, and when the prophets gave warning that people would be left for birds of prey to ravage, they fully understood what was meant, and they were afraid (Isaiah 18:6 ). In His complaint against His heritage, Yahweh questions, "Is my heritage unto me as a speckled bird of prey? are the birds of prey against her round about?" (Jeremiah 12:9 ). And when he prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah painted a dreadful picture, but one no doubt often seen in that land of pillage and warfare: "Their dead bodies will I give to be food for the birds of the heavens, and for the beasts of the earth" (Jeremiah 19:7 ).
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Birds of Prey'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/b/birds-of-prey.html. 1915.