probably connected with the Hebrew word _nesher_, an eagle. An
Assyrian god, supposed to be that represented with the head of
an eagle. Sennacherib was killed in the temple of this idol (2
Kings 19:37; Isa. 37:38).
Heb. 'ozniyyah, an unclean bird according to the Mosaic law
(Lev. 11:13; Deut. 14:12); the fish-eating eagle (Pandion
haliaetus); one of the lesser eagles. But the Hebrew word may be
taken to denote the short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus of
Southern Europe), one of the most abundant of the eagle tribe
found in Israel.
(Herb. nesher; properly the griffon vulture or great vulture, so
called from its tearing its prey with its beak), referred to for
its swiftness of flight (Deut. 28:49; 2 Sam. 1:23), its mounting
high in the air (Job 39:27), its strength (Ps. 103:5), its
setting its nest in high places (Jer. 49:16), and its power of
vision (Job 39:27-30).
This "ravenous bird" is a symbol of those nations whom God
employs and sends forth to do a work of destruction, sweeping
away whatever is decaying and putrescent (Matt. 24:28; Isa.
46:11; Ezek. 39:4; Deut. 28:49; Jer. 4:13; 48:40). It is said
that the eagle sheds his feathers in the beginning of spring,
and with fresh plumage assumes the appearance of youth. To this,
allusion is made in Ps. 103:5 and Isa. 40:31. God's care over
his people is likened to that of the eagle in training its young
to fly (Ex. 19:4; Deut. 32:11, 12). An interesting illustration
is thus recorded by Sir Humphry Davy:, "I once saw a very
interesting sight above the crags of Ben Nevis. Two parent
eagles were teaching their offspring, two young birds, the
maneuvers of flight. They began by rising from the top of the
mountain in the eye of the sun. It was about mid-day, and bright
for the climate. They at first made small circles, and the young
birds imitated them. They paused on their wings, waiting till
they had made their flight, and then took a second and larger
gyration, always rising toward the sun, and enlarging their
circle of flight so as to make a gradually ascending spiral. The
young ones still and slowly followed, apparently flying better
as they mounted; and they continued this sublime exercise,
always rising till they became mere points in the air, and the
young ones were lost, and afterwards their parents, to our
aching sight." (See Isa. 40:31.)
There have been observed in Israel four distinct species of
eagles, (1) the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos); (2) the
spotted eagle (Aquila naevia); (3) the common species, the
imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca); and (4) the Circaetos gallicus,
which preys on reptiles. The eagle was unclean by the Levitical
law (Lev. 11:13; Deut. 14:12).
Heb. raham = "parental affection," Lev. 11:18; Deut. 14:17;
R.V., "vulture"), a species of vulture living entirely on
carrion. "It is about the size of a raven; has an almost
triangular, bald, and wrinkled head, a strong pointed beak,
black at the tip, large eyes and ears, the latter entirely on
the outside, and long feet." It is common in Egypt, where it is
popularly called "Pharaoh's chicken" (the Neophron
percnopterus), and is found in Israel only during summer.
Tristram thinks that the Hebrew name, which is derived from a
root meaning "to love," is given to it from the fact that the
male and female bird never part company.
(Heb. 'ahalim), a fragrant wood (Num. 24:6; Ps. 45:8; Prov.
7:17; Cant. 4:14), the Aquilaria agallochum of botanists, or, as
some suppose, the costly gum or perfume extracted from the wood.
It is found in China, Siam, and Northern India, and grows to the
height sometimes of 120 feet. This species is of great rarity
even in India. There is another and more common species, called
by Indians aghil, whence Europeans have given it the name of
Lignum aquile, or eagle-wood. Aloewood was used by the Egyptians
for embalming dead bodies. Nicodemus brought it (pounded
aloe-wood) to embalm the body of Christ (John 19:39); but
whether this was the same as that mentioned elsewhere is
The bitter aloes of the apothecary is the dried juice of the
leaves Aloe vulgaris.
(1.) Heb. da'ah (Lev. 11:14). In the parallel passage (Deut.
14:13) the Hebrew word used is _ra'ah_, rendered "glede;" LXX.,
"gups;" Vulg., "milvus." A species of ravenous bird,
distinguished for its rapid flight. "When used without the
epithet 'red,' the name is commonly confined to the black kite.
The habits of the bird bear out the allusion in Isa. 34:15, for
it is, excepting during the winter three months, so numerous
everywhere in Israel as to be almost gregarious." (See EAGLE
(2.) In Job 28:7 the Heb. 'ayyah is thus rendered. The word
denotes a clamorous and a keen-sighted bird of prey. In Lev.
11:14 and Deut. 14:13 it is rendered "kite" (q.v.).
eagle, a native of Pontus, by occupation a tent-maker, whom Paul
met on his first visit to Corinth (Acts 18:2). Along with his
wife Priscilla he had fled from Rome in consequence of a decree
(A.D. 50) by Claudius commanding all Jews to leave the city.
Paul sojourned with him at Corinth, and they wrought together at
their common trade, making Cilician hair-cloth for tents. On
Paul's departure from Corinth after eighteen months, Aquila and
his wife accompanied him to Ephesus, where they remained, while
he proceeded to Syria (Acts 18:18, 26). When they became
Christians we are not informed, but in Ephesus they were (1 Cor.
16:19) Paul's "helpers in Christ Jesus." We find them afterwards
at Rome (Rom. 16:3), interesting themselves still in the cause
of Christ. They are referred to some years after this as being
at Ephesus (2 Tim. 4:19). This is the last notice we have of
(1.) The flag or banner of the larger kind, serving for three
tribes marching together. These standards, of which there were
four, were worked with embroidery and beautifully ornamented
(Num. 1:52; 2:2, 3, 10, 18, 25; Cant. 2:4; 6:4, 10).
(2.) The flag borne by each separate tribe, of a smaller form.
Probably it bore on it the name of the tribe to which it
belonged, or some distinguishing device (Num. 2:2,34).
(3.) A lofty signal-flag, not carried about, but stationary.
It was usually erected on a mountain or other lofty place. As
soon as it was seen the war-trumpets were blown (Ps. 60:4; Isa.
5:26; 11:12; 13:2; 18:3; 30:17; Jer. 4:6 21; Ezek. 27:7).
(4.) A "sign of fire" (Jer. 6:1) was sometimes used as a
The banners and ensigns of the Roman army had idolatrous
images upon them, and hence they are called the "abomination of
desolation" (q.v.). The principal Roman standard, however, was
an eagle. (See Matt. 24:28; Luke 17:37, where the Jewish nation
is compared to a dead body, which the eagles gather together to
God's setting up or giving a banner (Ps. 20:5; 60:4; Cant.
2:4) imports his presence and protection and aid extended to his
(1.) Heb. bath-haya'anah, "daughter of greediness" or of
"shouting." In the list of unclean birds (Lev. 11:16; Deut.
14:15); also mentioned in Job 30:29; Isa. 13:21; 34:13; 43:20;
Jer. 50:39; Micah 1:8. In all these passages the Revised Version
translates "ostrich" (q.v.), which is the correct rendering.
(2.) Heb. yanshuph, rendered "great owl" in Lev. 11:17; Deut.
14:16, and "owl" in Isa. 34:11. This is supposed to be the
Egyptian eagle-owl (Bubo ascalaphus), which takes the place of
the eagle-owl (Bubo maximus) found in Southern Europe. It is
found frequenting the ruins of Egypt and also of the Holy Land.
"Its cry is a loud, prolonged, and very powerful hoot. I know
nothing which more vividly brought to my mind the sense of
desolation and loneliness than the re-echoing hoot of two or
three of these great owls as I stood at midnight among the
ruined temples of Baalbek" (Tristram).
The LXX. and Vulgate render this word by "ibis", i.e., the
(3.) Heb. kos, rendered "little owl" in Lev. 11:17; Deut.
14:16, and "owl" in Ps. 102:6. The Arabs call this bird "the
mother of ruins." It is by far the most common of all the owls
of Israel. It is the Athene persica, the bird of Minerva, the
symbol of ancient Athens.
(4.) Heb. kippoz, the "great owl" (Isa. 34:15); Revised
Version, "arrow-snake;" LXX. and Vulgate, "hedgehog," reading in
the text, kippod, instead of kippoz. There is no reason to doubt
the correctness of the rendering of the Authorized Version.
Tristram says: "The word [i.e., kippoz] is very possibly an
imitation of the cry of the scops owl (Scops giu), which is very
common among ruins, caves, and old walls of towns...It is a
migrant, returning to Israel in spring."
(5.) Heb. lilith, "screech owl" (Isa. 34:14, marg. and R.V.,
"night monster"). The Hebrew word is from a root signifying
"night." Some species of the owl is obviously intended by this
word. It may be the hooting or tawny owl (Syrnium aluco), which
is common in Egypt and in many parts of Israel. This verse in
Isaiah is "descriptive of utter and perpetual desolation, of a
land that should be full of ruins, and inhabited by the animals
that usually make such ruins their abode."
The central fact of Christian preaching was the intelligence
that the Saviour had come into the world (Matt. 4:23; Rom.
10:15); and the first Christian preachers who called their
account of the person and mission of Christ by the term
_evangelion_ (= good message) were called _evangelistai_ (=
evangelists) (Eph. 4:11; Acts 21:8).
There are four historical accounts of the person and work of
Christ: "the first by Matthew, announcing the Redeemer as the
promised King of the kingdom of God; the second by Mark,
declaring him 'a prophet, mighty in deed and word'; the third by
Luke, of whom it might be said that he represents Christ in the
special character of the Saviour of sinners (Luke 7:36; 15:18);
the fourth by John, who represents Christ as the Son of God, in
whom deity and humanity become one. The ancient Church gave to
Matthew the symbol of the lion, to Mark that of a man, to Luke
that of the ox, and to John that of the eagle: these were the
four faces of the cherubim" (Ezek. 1:10).
Date. The Gospels were all composed during the latter part of
the first century, and there is distinct historical evidence to
show that they were used and accepted as authentic before the
end of the second century.
Mutual relation. "If the extent of all the coincidences be
represented by 100, their proportionate distribution will be:
Matthew, Mark, and Luke, 53; Matthew and Luke, 21; Matthew and
Mark, 20; Mark and Luke, 6. Looking only at the general result,
it may be said that of the contents of the synoptic Gospels
[i.e., the first three Gospels] about two-fifths are common to
the three, and that the parts peculiar to one or other of them
are little more than one-third of the whole."
Origin. Did the evangelists copy from one another? The opinion
is well founded that the Gospels were published by the apostles
orally before they were committed to writing, and that each had
an independent origin. (See MATTHEW, GOSPEL OF ¯T0002443.)