Leviticus 11:19

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

And the stork,..... A bird of passage, Jeremiah 8:7 it has its name from kindness, which it exercises both to its dam, and to its young. Various writers {b} speak of the kindness of these birds to their dams, which when they are old they take care of and feed them, to which the apostle is thought to allude, 1 Timothy 5:4 and its tenderness to its young is no less manifest: when the city of Delf in Holland was on fire, the storks were seen very busy to save their young from the flames, and which when they could not do, threw themselves into the midst of them, and perished with them, as Drusius from the Dutch historians relates. It is said to feed upon serpents; and hence by Virgil {c} to be "invisa colubris"; and Juvenal {d} says, it nourishes its young with them; and which may be a reason of its being forbid to be eaten, and is the reason given by the Mahometans {e} for the prohibition of it; though on this account it was in great honour in Thessaly, that country being freed from serpents by it, and therefore they made it a capital crime to kill them, as Pliny {f} relates; formerly people would not eat the stork, but at present it is much esteemed for the deliciousness of its flesh {g}

the heron after her kind; this bird has its name in Hebrew from its being soon angry, as Aben Ezra observes; and Jarchi calls it the angry vulture or kite, as it is in the Talmud {h}; and adds, and it appears to me to be what they call the "heron", one sort of which named "asterias", as there is one sort so called by Pliny {i}; it becomes tame in Egypt, and so well understands the voice of a man, as Aelianus {k} reports, that if anyone by way of reproach calls it a servant or slothful, it is immediately exceeding angry. There are three kinds of herons, as both Aristotle {l} and Pliny {m}; and by a learned man of ours {n}, their names are thus given, the criel or dwarf heron, the blue heron, and the bittour; some reckon nineteen:

and the lapwing; the upupa or hoopoe; it has its name in Hebrew, according to Jarchi, from its having a double crest; and so Pliny {o} ascribes to it a double or folded crest, and speaks of it as a filthy bird; and, according to Aristotle {p} and Aelian {q}, its nest is chiefly made of human dung, that by the ill smell of it men may be kept from taking its young; and therefore may well be reckoned among impure fowl. Calmet {r} says, there is no such thing as a lapwing to be seen in any part of England; but there are such as we call so, whether the same bird with this I cannot say:

and the bat; a little bird which flies in the night, Aben Ezra says; Kimchi {s} describes it a mouse with wings, which flies in the night, and we sometimes call it the "flitter mouse"; it is a creature between a fowl and a beast; and, as Aristotle says {t}, it partakes of both, and is of neither; and it is the only fowl, as Pliny {u} observes, that has teeth and teats, that brings forth animals, and nourishes them with milk. It is a creature so very disagreeable, that one would think almost there was no need of a law to forbid the eating of it; and yet it is said by some to be eatable, and to be eaten, as Strabo {w} affirms, yea, to be delicious food. It is asserted {x}, that there is a sort of them in the east, larger than ordinary, and is salted and eaten--that there are bats in China as large as pullets, and are as delicate eating. Of these several fowls before mentioned, some are of the ravenous kind, and are an emblem of persecutors and covetous persons, and such as live by rapine and violence; others are of a lustful nature, and are an emblem of those who serve various lusts and pleasures, and give up themselves to uncleanness; others are night birds, and are a proper emblem of them whose works are works of darkness, and love darkness rather than the light; and others never rise higher than the earth, and so may denote earthly minded persons; and others live on impure things, and so fitly represent such who live an impure life; with all such the people of God are to have no fellowship.

{b} Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 13. Aelian. de Animal. l. 3. c. 23. & l. 10. c. 16. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 23.
{c} Georgic. l. 2.
{d} Satyr. 14.
{e} Apud Bochart. ut supra, (Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 2.) c. 29. col. 329.
{f} Ut supra. (Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 23.)
{g} Calmet in the word "Stork".
{h} T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 63. 1.
{i} Ut supra, (
{f}) c. 60. so Aristot. l. 9. c. 1.
{k} De Animal. l. 5. c. 36.
{l} Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 1.
{m} Ut supra. (Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 23.)
{n} Ainsworth's Dictionary, in voce "Ardea".
{o} Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 29.
{p} Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 15.
{q} De Animal. l. 3. c. 26.
{r} Dictionary, in the word "Lapwing".
{s} Sepher Shorash. in voc. Plje.
{t} De Part. Animal. l. 4. c. 13.
{u} Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 61. l. 11. c. 37.
{w} Geograph. l. 16.
{x} Calmet's Dictionary in the word "Bat".