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Birds of the Bible – Clean vs. Unclean (by Lee Dusing)

In our study on the Birds of the Bible, it has been mentioned whether a bird is “clean” or “unclean.” As I have prepared the blogs, I have been considering why a bird is on the clean or unclean list. I had been saving this blog for later, but due to unexpected travel, I’ll do it now.

In Genesis 9:3 it is stated that “every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you.” So, of course, the birds would be included in this as well. In Deuteronomy 14:11-20, a list of birds is given to signify which birds are unclean and not eaten; basically, all the rest can be consumed. But why are some birds unclean: Looking at the list, the eagle, ossifrage, kite, glede, vulture, and the hawk are known to eat dead animals (carrion). It would not be very healthy to eat them. The other birds on the list are all meat eaters, and maybe that has something to do with their being placed on the unclean list. Are the birds bad because of what they eat? No. Each one was created exactly for the purpose God intended. The carrion eaters help keep the land clean. Another passage mentions the list of unclean birds in Lev 11:13-20.

Some of the other birds on the list are a mystery to me. For instance the Cormorant, Swan, Pelican, Heron, and the Stork are birds I watch here in Florida, and they all seem to be fish eaters. One article mentions that the Heron used to be eaten, but they were fishy tasting and they stopped eating them. Why is it that no matter how many things we are given with only a few put off limits, that someone always has to try the few. Does that not sound like what happened in the garden of Eden when Eve just had to try the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When God puts something off-limits or says it is “unclean,” there is a good reason for it. Most times it is for our benefit because God loves us and doesn’t want us harmed. The “clean” birds mostly have a diet of grain, fruits, and vegetation. Could that be why they are okay to eat? With all the good birds available like chicken, turkey, quail, duck, etc., I’d much rather sit down to a Thanksgiving meal of turkey than vulture.
The birds used for the sacrifices were all clean birds.

Then the #1 reason to eat or not eat a bird according to the list is: AND GOD SAID