Smith's Bible DictionaryOstrich
a large bird, native of African and Arabia, nearly ten feet high, having s long neck and short wings. It seeks retired places, (Job 30:29; Lamentations 4:13) and has a peculiar mournful cry that is sometimes mistaken by the Arabs for that of the lion. (Micah 1:8) In (Job 39:13-18) will be found a description of the bird's habits. Ostriches are polygamous; the hens lay their eggs promiscuously in one nest, which is merely a hole scratched in the sand; the eggs are then covered over to the depth of about a foot, and are, in the case of those birds which are found within the tropics, generally left for the greater part of the day to the heat of the sun, the parent-birds taking their turns at incubation during the night. The habit of the ostrich leaving its eggs to be matured by the sun's heat is usually appealed to in order to confirm the scriptural account, "she leaveth her eggs to the earth;" but this is probably the case only with the tropical birds. We believe that the true explanation of this passage is that some of the eggs are left exposed around the nest for the nourishment of the young birds. It is a general belief among the Arabs that the ostrich is a very stupid bird; indeed they have a proverb, "stupid as an ostrich." As is well known, the ostrich will swallow almost any substance, iron, stones, and even has been known to swallow "several leaden bullets scorching hot from the mould." But in many other respects the ostrich is not as stupid as this would indicate, and is very hard to capture. It is the largest of all known birds, and perhaps the swiftest of all cursorial animals. -The feathers so much prized are the long white plumes of the wings. The best are brought from Barbary and the west coast of Africa.
Scripture Alphabet Of AnimalsOstrich
The ostrich is sometimes called the "camel-bird," because it is so very large, because it can go a long time without water, and because it lives in desert and sandy places, as the camel does. It is often taller than the tallest man you ever saw, and it neck alone is more than a yard in length.
Each of the wings is a yard long when the feathers are spread out; but although the wings are so large, the bird cannot fly at all. One reason of this is, because it is so very heavy, and another is that its wings are not of the right sort for flying. They are made of what we call ostrich-plumes, and if you have ever noticed these beautiful feathers, you will remember that they are very different from others that you have seen. If you take a quill from the wing of a goose, you will find that the parts of the feather lie close together, so that you cannot very easily separate them; but in an ostrich plume they are all loose and open, and would not support the bird at all in flying. The feathers are generally either white or black. There are none under the wings, or on the sides of the body, and only a few small ones on the lower part of the neck. The upper part of the neck, as well as the head, is covered with hair.
Its feet are curious, and different from those of most birds. They are somewhat like the foot of the camel, having a soft pad or cushion underneath, and only two toes. The largest toe is about seven inches long, and has a broad claw at the end; the other is about four inches long, and has no claw.
Although this bird cannot fly, it can run faster than the swiftest horse. If it would keep on in a straight line no animal could overtake it; but it is sometimes so foolish as to run around in a circle, and then, after a long chase, it may perhaps be caught. A traveller speaking of the ostrich, says, "She sets off at a hard gallop; but she afterwards spreads her wings as if to catch the wind, and goes so rapidly that she seems not to touch the ground." This explains what is meant by the verse, "When she lifteth up herself on high she scorneth the horse and his rider."
The ostrich has but little to eat in the desert places where it lives: only some coarse grass, or rough, thorny plants, with a kind of snail which is sometimes found upon them; and perhaps it sometimes eats lizards and serpents.
The voice of the ostrich is very mournful, especially when heard at night in a lonely desert. It is said to be like the crying of a hoarse child. It is on this account that the prophet Micah says, "I will make a mourning like the ostrich."
In Job 39 we read, "Gavest thou wings and feathers unto the ostrich? which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in the dust, and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. She is hardened against her young ones as though they were not hers." See how well this agrees with the accounts given by travellers. They say that the ostrich is frightened by the least noise, and runs away from her nest, leaving the eggs or young ones without any protection; and very often she does not return for a long time, perhaps not until the young birds have died of hunger. The eggs are cream-colored, and large enough to hold about a quart of water. The shell is very hard, and as smooth as ivory. It is often made into a drinking-cup, with a rim of gold or silver.
ATS Bible DictionaryOstrich
The largest of birds, and a sort of connecting link between fowls and quadrupeds, termed by the Persians, Arabs, and by Greeks, the "camel-bird." It is a native of the dry and torrid regions of Africa and western Asia. The gray ostrich is seven feet high and its neck three feet long; it weighs nearly eighty pounds, and is strong enough to carry two men. The other species, with glossy black wings and white tail, is sometimes ten feet high. The beautiful plumes so highly valued are found on the wings, about twenty on each, those of the tail being usually broken and worn. There are no feathers on the thighs, or under the wings; and the neck is but scantily clothed with thin whitish hairs. The weight of the body and the size and structure of the wings show that the animal is formed for running rather than flying.
The ostrich is described in Job 39:13-18; and in various places where our translation calls it the "owl," Job 30:29 Jeremiah 50:39; or "daughter of the owl," Isaiah 13:21 34:13 43:20 Micah 1:8. In these and other passages it figures as a bird of the desert. Shy and timorous, it is occasionally driven by hunger to visit and ravage cultivated fields; but is usually found only in the heart of the desert, in troops, or small groups, or mingling familiarly with the herds of wild asses, gnus, and quaggas. Its food is often scarce and poor, plants of the desert "withered before they are grown up;" also snails, insects, and various reptiles; for it has a voracious and indiscrimination appetite, swallowing the vilest and the hardest substances. Job speaks particularly of the speed of the ostrich," She scorneth the horse and his rider." So Xenophon, the biographer of Cyrus, says of the ostriches of Arabia, that none could overtake them, the baffled horsemen soon returning from the chase; and the writer of a voyage to Senegal says, "The ostrich sets off at a hard gallop; but after being excited a little, she expands her wings as if to catch the wind, and abandons herself to a speed so great, that she seems not to touch the ground. I am persuaded she would leave far behind the swiftest English courser."
She scoops out for herself a circular nest in the sand, and lays a large number of eggs; some of which are placed without the nest, as though intended for the nourishment of the young brood. The mother bird, with the help of the sun in the tropics, and of her mate in the cool nights, performs the process of incubation; but her timidity is such that she flies from her nest at the approach of danger, and as Dr. Shaw remarks, "forsakes her eggs or her young ones, to which, perhaps, she never returns; or if she does, it may be too late either to restore life to the one, or to preserve the lives of the others. Agreeably to this account, the Arabs meet sometimes with whole nests of these eggs undisturbed; some of them are sweet and good, others are addled and corrupted. They often meet with a few of the little ones no bigger than well-grown pullets, half starved, straggling and moaning about, like so many distressed orphans for their mother. In this manner the ostrich may be said to be ?hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers; her labor,- in hatching and attending them so far, ?being vain, without fear,- or the least concern of what becomes of them afterwards. This want of affection is also recorded in La 4:3, ?The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness;- that is, apparently by deserting her own children, and receiving others in return."
When the ostrich is provoked, she sometimes makes a fierce, angry, and hissing noise, with her throat inflated, and her mouth open; at other times she has a moaning and plaintive cry; and in the night the male repels prowling enemies by a short roar which is sometimes taken for that of a lion, Micah 1:8.
International Standard Bible EncyclopediaOSTRICH
os'-trich (ya`anah; strouthos; Latin Struthio camelus): The largest bird now living. The Hebrew words ya`anah, which means "greediness," and bath ha-ya`anah, "daughter of greediness," are made to refer to the indiscriminate diet of the ostrich, to which bird they apply; and again to the owl, with no applicability. The owl at times has a struggle to swallow whole prey it has taken, but the mere fact that it is a night hunter forever shuts it from the class of greedy and promiscuous feeders. The bodies of owls are proverbially lean like eagles. Neither did the owl frequent several places where older versions of Jeremiah and Isaiah place it; so the translations are now correctly rendered "ostrich." These birds came into the Bible because of their desert life, the companions they lived among there, and because of their night cries that were guttural, terrifying groans, like the roaring of lions. The birds were brought into many pictures of desolation, because people dreaded their fearful voices. They horned on the trackless deserts that were dreaded by travelers, and when they came feeding on the fringe of the wilderness, they fell into company with vulture, eagle, lion, jackal and adder, and joined their voices with the night hawks and owls. For these reasons no birds were more suitable for drawing strong comparisons from.
1. Physical Peculiarities:
They attained a height ranging from 6 to 8 ft., and weighed from 200 to 300 lbs. The head was small with large eyes having powerful vision, and protected by lashes. The neck was long, covered with down, and the windpipe showed, while large bites could be seen to slide down the gullet. The legs were bare, long, and the muscles like steel from the long distances covered in desert travel. The foot was much like the cloven hoof of a beast. The inner toe was 7 inches long, with a clawlike hoof, the outer, smaller with no claw. With its length and strength of leg and the weight of foot it could strike a blow that saved it from attack by beasts smaller than a leopard. The wings were small, the muscles soft and flabby. They would not bear the weight of the bird, but the habit of lifting and beating them proved that this assisted in attaining speed in running (compare Xen. Anab. i.5, 2, 3). The body was covered with soft flexible feathers, the wings and tail growing long plumes, for which the bird has been pursued since the beginning of time. These exquisite feathers were first used to decorate the headdress and shields of desert chieftains, then as decorations for royalty, and later for hat and hair ornaments. The badge of the Prince of Wales is three white ostrich plumes. The females are smaller, the colors gray and white, the males a glossy black, the wing and tail plumes white. The ostrich has three physical peculiarities that stagger scientists. It has eyelashes, developed no doubt to protect the eyes from the dust and sand of desert life. On the wings are two plumeless shafts like large porcupine quills. These may be used in resisting attack. It also has a bladder like a mammal, that collects uric acid, the rarest organ ever developed in a feathered creature.
2. Eggs and Care of Young:
These birds homed on the deserts of Arabia and at the lower end of the great Salt Sea. Here the ostrich left her eggs on the earth and warmed them in the sand. That they were not hard baked was due to the fact that they were covered for protection during the day and brooded through the cooler nights. The eggs average 3 lbs. weight. They have been used for food in the haunts of the ostrich since the records of history began, and their stout shells for drinking-vessels. It is the custom of natives on finding a nest to take a long stick and draw out an egg. If incubation has advanced enough to spoil the eggs for use, the nest is carefully covered and left; if fresh, they are eaten, one egg being sufficient for a small family. No doubt these were the eggs to which Job referred as being tasteless without salt (Job 6:6). The number of eggs in the nest was due to the fact that the birds were polygamous, one male leading from 2 to 7 females, all of which deposited their eggs in a common nest. When several females wanted to use the nest at the same time, the first one to reach it deposited her egg in it, and the others on the sand close beside. This accounts for the careless habits of the ostrich as to her young. In this communal nest, containing from 2 to 3 dozen eggs, it is impossible for the mother bird to know which of the young is hers. So all of them united in laying the eggs and allowing the father to look after the nest and the young. The bird first appears among the abominations in Leviticus 11:16 the Revised Version (British and American) the King James Version "owl"; Deuteronomy 14:16, the Revised Version (British and American) "little owl," the King James Version "owl." This must have referred to the toughness of grown specimens, since there was nothing offensive in the bird's diet to taint its flesh and the young tender ones were delicious meat. In his agony, Job felt so much an outcast that he cried:
"I am a brother to jackals,
And a companion to ostriches" (Job 30:29).
Again he records that the Almighty discoursed to him about the ostrich in the following manner:
"The wings of the ostrich wave proudly;
But are they the pinions and plumage of love?" etc.
3. Old Testament References:
The ostrich history previously given explains all this passage save the last two verses, the first of which is a reference to the fact that the Arabs thought that the ostrich was a stupid bird, because, when it had traveled to the point of exhaustion, it hid its head and thought its body safe, and because some of its eggs were found outside the nest. The second was due to a well-known fact that, given a straight course, the ostrich could outrun a horse. The birds could attain and keep up a speed of 60 miles an hour for the greater part of half a day and even longer, hence, it was possible to capture them only by a system of relay riders (Xenophon, op. cit.) When Isaiah predicted the fall of Babylon, he used these words: "But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and ostriches shall dwell there, and wild goats shall dance there" (Isaiah 13:21). Because this was to be the destruction of a great city, located on the Euphrates River and built by the fertility and prosperity of the country surrounding it, and the ruins those of homes, the bird indicated by every natural condition would be the owl. The wild goats clambering over the ruins would be natural companions and the sneaking wolves-but not the big bird of daytime travel, desert habitation, accustomed to constant pursuit for its plumage. Exactly the same argument applies to the next reference by the same writer (Isaiah 34:13). "And the wild beasts of the desert shall meet with the wolves, and the wild goat shall cry to his fellow; yea, the night monster shall settle there, and shall find her a place of rest" (Isaiah 34:14). "The beasts of the field shall honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen" (Isaiah 43:20). Here we find the ostrich in its natural location, surrounded by creatures that were its daily companions. The next reference also places the bird at home and in customary company: "Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wolves shall dwelI there, and the ostriches (the King James Version "owls") shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited forever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation" (Jeremiah 50:39).
"Even the jackals draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones:
The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness" (Lamentations 4:3).
This reference is made to the supposed cruelty of the ostrich in not raising its young.
Easton's Bible Dictionary
), the rendering of Hebrew pl. enim; so called from its greediness and gluttony. The allusion here is to the habit of the ostrich with reference to its eggs, which is thus described: "The outer layer of eggs is generally so ill covered that they are destroyed in quantities by jackals, wild-cats, etc., and that the natives carry them away, only taking care not to leave the Marks of their footsteps, since, when the ostrich comes and finds that her nest is discovered, she crushes the whole brood, and builds a nest elsewhere." In Job 39:13
this word in the Authorized Version is the rendering of a Hebrew word (notsah) which means "feathers," as in the Revised Version. In the same verse the word "peacocks" of the Authorized Version is the rendering of the Hebrew pl. renanim, properly meaning "ostriches," as in the Revised Version. (see OWL
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
) A large bird of the genus Struthio, of which Struthio camelus of Africa is the best known species. It has long and very strong legs, adapted for rapid running; only two toes; a long neck, nearly bare of feathers; and short wings incapable of flight. The adult male is about eight feet high.
Strong's Hebrew3283. yaen -- ostrich...
<< 3282, 3283. yaen. 3284 >>. ostrich
. Transliteration: yaen Phonetic Spelling:
(yaw-ane') Short Definition: ostriches. Word ... ostrich
. From ... /hebrew/3283.htm - 6k
7443. renen -- (bird of) piercing cries (ie ostrich)
... << 7442, 7443. renen. 7444 >>. (bird of) piercing cries (ie ostrich). Transliteration:
renen Phonetic Spelling: (reh'-nen) Short Definition: ostrich. ...
/hebrew/7443.htm - 6k
8464. tachmas -- male ostrich
... << 8463, 8464. tachmas. 8465 >>. male ostrich. Transliteration: tachmas Phonetic
Spelling: (takh-mawce') Short Definition: owl. Word ...
/hebrew/8464.htm - 6k
5133. notsah -- plumage
... Definition: plumage. Word Origin from natsah Definition plumage NASB Word Usage
feathers (1), plumage (3). feathers, ostrich. Or notsah ...
/hebrew/5133.htm - 6k
4754. mara -- perhaps to flap (the wings)
... A primitive root; to rebel; hence (through the idea of maltreating) to whip, ie
Lash (self with wings, as the ostrich in running) -- be filthy, lift up self. ...
/hebrew/4754.htm - 6k
3284. yaanah -- perhaps greed
... ostriches. Word Origin fem. of yaen Definition perhaps greed NASB Word Usage
ostrich (2), ostriches (5), ostriches* (1). owl. Feminine ...
/hebrew/3284.htm - 6k