The Eagle In The Bible

Eagles are included among the unclean birds mentioned in the Bible <Lev. 11:13>, (NKJV), but they were admired as majestic birds. The golden eagle, which is really dark brown with sprinkles of gold, has a 26-meter (8-feet) wingspread. It nests in high places that are inaccessible <Jer. 49:16>. There, in a nest which the eagle makes larger each year, the eagle hatches two eggs. Usually only one eaglet survives to adulthood.

An eagle has keen eyesight. He can spot his prey while soaring hundreds of feet in the air. Like a lightning bolt, he drops to sieze it, killing it quickly with his powerful claws. Then he swoops back to his nest to rip the meat apart and share it with his young.

A mother eagle carries her eaglet on her back until it masters the art of flying. Moses used this familiar picture from nature to describe God's care for His people. God stirred up Jacob (the nation of Israel), and carried His people on His wings <Deut. 32:11-12> as He delivered them from slavery in Egypt.

Solomon marveled at "the way of an eagle in the air" <Prov. 30:19>. An eagle can stay aloft for hours, rarely moving his wings and riding wind currents. But many passages in the Bible also speak of the swiftness of the eagle's flight <Deut. 28:49>.

The belief that an eagle renews its strength and youthful appearance after shedding its feathers gave rise to <Psalm 103:5> and <Isaiah 40:31>. Eagles do have a long lifespan, living 20 to 30 years in the wild, and longer in captivity.

In the Old Testament, prophets spoke of the eagle as a symbol of God's judgment <Jer. 48:40; Ezek. 17:3,7>. In <Revelation 12:14>, "two wings of a great eagle" portray God's intervention to deliver His people from persecution.

(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
(Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

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