(Investigator 98, 2004
A previous discussion
focussed on whether
eagles hunt by sight or by smell. (Investigator 34 & 35) In this
we'll consider additional Bible statements about eagles.
CATCHES ITS YOUNG
The Bible likened God's
protective care of
Israel to an adult eagle catching its young on its back:
I bore you on eagles'
wings. (Exodus 19:4)
…a thing wholly incompatible with flight in any bird. (Orr et al 1930)
…naturalists agree that
this is not confirmed
by observation. (Cansdale 1970)
only on a few occasions, to catch her falling young and carry it off on her back… (Grant & Rowley 1963)
…the female...has been
known to catch her
young on her wings as described in Ex 19:4; Dt 32:11-12. (Fauna and
of the Bible 1972)
In 1902 S R Driver quoted
an earlier source:
The Mother started from
the nest in the crags
and, roughly, handling the young, she allowed him to drop, I should
about ninety feet; then she would swoop down under him, wings spread,
he would alight on her back. She would soar to the top of the range
him and repeat the process.
(Bulletin of the Smithsonian Institution 1937, No. 167, p302)
Some skeptics have
wondered about Psalm 103:5
The book Bird Life
points out that
small birds such as swallows and robins seldom reach an age of ten
In Psalm 103 the renewed
youth of followers
of God refers to psychological and physical benefits of knowing God and
obeying his commands. A news report in America titled "Studies show
people with faith are healthier" started off:
While past research has found that connection in religious groups with special dietary and anti-smoking rules, it now has turned up in large, mainline denominations without the special disciplines.
itself was found to
make the bodily difference…
(The Holland Sentinel, Friday, December 18, 1992; Investigator No. 41, March 1995)
Another debate arose
because Jesus stated:
Jesus' analogy has been
criticised on grounds
that eagles do not gather around carcases but catch prey individually
carry it off. For example:
One distinction always
holds good. Eagles
never flock. (Orr 1930)
The Hebrew word "nesher", usually translated "eagle" can therefore sometimes refer to vultures. In Micah 1:16, for example, the phrase "bald as an eagle" could be better rendered "bald as a vulture" since the griffon-vulture has a bare neck and head and is, therefore, "bald". Eagles, in contrast, have neck and head covered with feathers.
The Greek "aetos" used in the New Testament may, likewise, apply to both vultures and eagles. Therefore Jesus can be translated as having said, "Wherever the body is, there the vultures will be gathered together."
Modern naturalists of course distinguish vultures from eagles. They see eagles as solitary hunters whereas vultures often scavenge in packs. A second response, therefore, is to assume that Jesus did mean "eagle" by our modern classification and show that eagles sometimes scavenge on carcases.
Referring to eagles,
condors, vultures and
other birds of prey the book Bird Life says:
Sometimes, rarely, eagles
prey in flocks.
On The Scriptures quotes a 1954 reference:
Many skeptics call the
and claim it is full of errors. Further research, however, often proves
the Bible accurate and its critics wrong. Subsequent science corrects
science and proves the Bible true.
Cansdale, G S 1970 Animals
of Bible Lands,
Craighead, J 1967 Sharing the Lives of Wild Golden Eagles, National Geographic, September, p434.
Driver, S R 1902 The International Critical Commentary – A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Deuteronomy, Third Edition, T & C Clark, Edinburgh, p358.
Felix, J 1983 Animals of Asia, Hamlyn, Czechoslavakia, p117.
Flora and Fauna of the Bible 1972 United Bible Societies, USA.
Grant, F C & Rowley, H H 1963 Revised, Dictionary of the Bible, T & J Clark, Edinburgh, p 226.
Hastings, J et al 1898 10th impression, A Dictionary of the Bible, Edinburgh, Volume 1, T & C Clarke.
Insight On The Scriptures 1988 Volume 1 – Eagle, Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, USA, pp662-664.
Nicholson, W nd The Bible Explainer and Concordance, W Nicholson and Sons, Britain.
Orr, J et al 1930 The International Standard Bible Dictionary. Volume 4, Howard Severance, USA.
Perrins, C 1984 Bird Life, Peerage Books, Britain, pp41, 61.
Zeffer, H 1866 Biblisches Worterbuch, Kreuzer, Stuttgard, p34.