The swallow is a migratory bird quite familiar to residents of the Holy Land. Frequently on the move to warmer climates, swallows gather in huge flocks to travel thousands of miles. A chattering flock can make quite a racket (Is. 38:14). The psalmist makes an interesting distinction between the sparrow, who finds a home, and the swallow, who gets a nest (Ps. 84:3). Only a permanent resident needs a home. Some translations render the Hebrew word for swallow as thrush (Jer. 8:7), (NIV, NASB) or wryneck (Jer. 8:7), (NEB).
Swans are seen occasionally in Palestine. As vegetarians, they are related to ducks and geese. Alternate translations of the Hebrew term for swan include ibis, stork, white owl, and water hen. These are better translations, since there seems to be no reason why swans would have been considered unclean (Lev. 11:18), (KJV).
The swift is a small migratory bird often confused with the swallow. Although they are similar, the two birds come from different families. Swifts are strong fliers that can travel short distances at over 100 m. p. h. They spend much of their time feeding on airborne insects.
Leopard. The huge cats known as leopards were familiar in Palestine, and the Hebrews had good reason to fear them. Smaller and lighter than lions, leopards are better hunters. They are swift, wary, and intelligent; and they can climb trees as easily as a domestic cat. A leopard is also strong enough to drag his prey to a tree branch, where he can devour it out of reach of lions or hyenas. Although leopards do not usually attack human beings, Jeremiah portrayed them symbolically as an instrument of God’s judgment: “A leopard will watch over their cities. Everyone who goes out from there shall be torn in pieces” (Jer. 5:6).
The books of Daniel and Revelation use the leopard as a symbol of swiftness in cruelty (Dan. 7:6; Rev. 13:2). Isaiah suggested that a day of peace would come when the savage leopard would not harm a young goat (Is 11:6).
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Lice. Lice thrive in dry, dusty climates where sanitation is poor. These tiny insects are parasites with flat, colorless bodies. They cling to animals, humans, or plants, sucking blood or sap. The Egyptian nobles and priests shaved their heads and beards so lice could find no hiding place on their bodies. An infestation of lice, the third plague of the Exodus, must have been particularly bothersome to them (Ex. 8:16-18), (gnats, RSV, NIV, NASB; maggots, NEB).
See also Maggot,
Lice is a type of insect that lives in the hairy parts of animals and people, eating and living off of them as a host. In the Bible it is associated with evil.
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The association or idea of a pig is an animal which really has no discernment nor desire to live cleanly, rather it highly prefers to live in the filth, and “bathe” itself in this filth. It eats and sleeps and lives happily in its own urine and excrement. The Bible associates this with great uncleanness and displeasure in God’s eyes.
Tawny Owl (see Owl).