Another account from The Song of Moses.
For the Lord’s portion is his people. Jacob his allotted inheritance. In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions. The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him. Exodus 32:9-12
The Hebrew word for eagle is nesher. It could possibly mean any one of the following three birds.
So which bird do you think scriptures refer to when speaking of the eagle?
The one in the middle, the one with the none too pleasing facial features, is what North Americans know as a vulture, turkey vulture or buzzard. They are considered a ‘New World’ species (found in the Americas) which differ greatly from the ‘Old World’ species that are found in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. I think we can safely say that the birds we know as vultures are not eagles, which leaves us with two.
After reading different commentaries over the last year or so I have found there are differing opinions, each with valid arguements. But the fact is, even if we were to pick apart the original Hebrew for hints about this particular bird, there just isn’t enough research on nesting habits of these two particular birds. For one, some eagle watchers claim that they’ve never seen them carry their young on their wings (Ex: 19:4), while others claim to have witnessed such an event.
It really is an interesting topic for study. I found an interesting article at Zoo Torah. Since the Griffon Vulture seems to be highly regarded amongst the Jewish people, I tend to believe scripture refers to this particular bird. But that isn’t the only reason. This raptor’s wing span reaches anywhere from 7 1/2 feet to over 9 feet. And it is the highest flying bird. Besides, I think it would be just like God to take something that is so misunderstood, and actually not the prettiest of His creations, and elevate it to something magnificent. But until scientists are able to actually view these birds,eagles and griffon vultures, on a 24/7 basis much of Biblical accouts will remain myths in their minds.
Fortunately, technology has opened windows into the world of wildlife so that people just like us can observe this unique habitat for ourselves. My mother sent me an interesting and addicting link. Eagle Cam 2011. There are three eaglets in the nest.