Ezekiel 29:5

Hebrew Bible

3 Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:“‘Look, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great monster lying in the midst of its waterways, who has said, “My Nile is my own, I made it for myself.” 4 I will put hooks in your jaws and stick the fish of your waterways to your scales. I will haul you up from the midst of your waterways, and all the fish of your waterways will stick to your scales. 5 I will leave you in the wilderness, you and all the fish of your waterways; you will fall in the open field and will not be gathered up or collected. I have given you as food to the beasts of the earth and the birds of the skies. 6 Then all those living in Egypt will know that I am the Lord because they were a reed staff for the house of Israel; 7 when they grasped you with their hand, you broke and tore their shoulders, and when they leaned on you, you splintered and caused their legs to be unsteady.

Jeremiah 16:4

Hebrew Bible

2 “Do not get married and do not have children here in this land. 3 For I, the Lord, tell you what will happen to the children who are born here in this land and to the men and women who are their mothers and fathers. 4 They will die of deadly diseases. No one will mourn for them. They will not be buried. Their dead bodies will lie like manure spread on the ground. They will be killed in war or die of starvation. Their corpses will be food for the birds and wild animals. 5 “Moreover I, the Lord, tell you: ‘Do not go into a house where they are having a funeral meal. Do not go there to mourn and express your sorrow for them. For I have stopped showing them my good favor, my love, and my compassion. I, the Lord, so affirm it! 6 Rich and poor alike will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned. People will not cut their bodies or shave off their hair to show their grief for them.

 Notes and References

"... from the larger Mesopotamian context, birds take on decidedly different connotations from those situations where they represent the prey or where they represent the protector. Different types of birds come into view. Simply stated, some birds are predators, others prey. Birds also appear frequently at the conclusion of the battle. One example appears in Jeremiah 7:33: “The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the air and for the animals of the earth, and no one will frighten them away.” Somewhat opaquer is Jer 15:3, which seems to depict an order of events: first the sword, then dogs dragging away bodies, and third birds and wild animals consuming the remaining carrion. A number of similar images appear in the exilic and later images of Jeremiah (16:4; 19:7; 34:20) and Ezekiel (29:5 32:43; 39:4), but also in narratives such as the David and Goliath story in 1 Sam 17:44, 46. Such evidence has led some scholars to the position summarized by Berner as follows, “The רשׁנ as well as birds of prey in general (Heb. טיע) are part of the imagery of prophetic judgment scenes, where they symbolize imminent destruction ... or are referred to in order to express the impossibility of escaping the divine punishment.” Note that Berner appears to limit these roles to the categories of birds designated as “birds of prey.” ..."

Altmann, Peter Banned Birds: The Birds of Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 (p. 43) Mohr Siebeck, 2019

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.