Birds not to eat

Leviticus 11:13-19 forbids us from eating an assortment of birds. It even goes so far as to instruct us which particular birds we cannot eat. Those birds include:

A Black Kite (Milvus migrans)

Image via Wikipedia

  • the eagle
  • the vulture
  • the black vulture
  • the red kite
  • any kind of black kite
  • any kind of raven
  • the horned owl
  • the screech owl
  • the gull
  • any kind of hawk
  • the little owl
  • the cormorant
  • the great owl
  • the white owl
  • the desert owl
  • the osprey
  • the stork
  • any kind of heron
  • the hoopoe
  • and the bat

A pretty reasonable list, if you ask me. Eagles, owls, vultures – I’ve never even dreamed of eating any of them. Different translations of the Bible actually tell us different birds we shouldn’t eat. Swans, pelicans, and cuccoos, for example. Again, perfectly reas– wait, the BAT?!

1 thought on “Birds not to eat

  1. When the Bible classified the bats (Leviticus 11:13,19) as belonging to the ‘oph’ (Hebrew), it means that it is classified with those “as covering with wings” or those “that flieth”.


    From H5774; a bird (as covered with feathers, or rather as covering with wings), often collective: – bird, that flieth, flying, fowl (Dictionaries of Hebrew and Greek Words taken from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D., 1890.)

    Detractors of the Bible say that it is not scientific because science classifies bats as belonging to the mammalian group. They rely very much on science, and for them science is the final authority of what they believe. This author is not against science, but human science is not as exact as ‘divine science’ in the Scriptures.

    (Daniel 1:4) “Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.”

    Human science has classified plants and animals only on the seventeenth and eighteenth century.

    At any one time in history, there are millions of different kinds of plants and animals in the world. In 1753, a scientist in Sweden named Carolus Linnaeus thought of an orderly system for classifying plants and animals. He grouped all organisms according to a two-part name (binomial). The first part of the name is the “generic” grouping or genus. The second part is the “specific” grouping or species. Scientists today still use this basic idea of his system, but modern classifications systems are much more complicated having many levels of hierarchical organization. For example, taxonomic systems group organisms according to structure and physiological connections between organisms.(

    Before these times, the acceptable classifications for bats, because they fly, is that they belong to the ‘ophs’ or the fowls, or the birds. The book of Leviticus was written almost 2500 years before classifications in human science came. Note that the classification introduced by Linnaeus employs two basic ideas: the ‘generic’ and the ‘specific’. The classification used in the Bible is exactly generic, and therefore, in a way, scientific! After all, the word mammal is not in the Bible! The word mammalia was coined by Linnaeus only in 1758!

    Mammalia (1773), coined 1758 by Linnaeus for the class of mammals, from neut. pl. of L.L. mammalis “of the breast,” from L. mamma “breast,” perhaps cognate with mamma.


    The book of Leviticus that records the existence of bats was written by Moses in around 1512 BC, more than three thousand years before Linnaeus was born!

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