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Birds of the Bible – Fatted Fowl

Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl. (1 Kings 4:23 KJV)

While doing a search with my e-Sword Bible program, I came across I Kings 4:23. It is in the midst of the daily provisions needed by Solomon for one day. I had not noticed the “fatted fowl” before and since today is Thanksgiving, it caught my interest. According to what I wrote yesterday about the Thanksgiving Turkey, the Wild Turkey, Ocellated Turkey, and domesticated turkey are from the New World. If Solomon had lived here, I might think that he was eating “turkey” or some fatted goose, duck, or chicken. However, Solomon lived in Israel. So, what was the “fatted fowl”?

According to Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries: Fatted = H75 – aw-bas’ – A primitive root; to fodder: – fatted, stalled. Fowl = H1257 – bar-boor’ -By reduplication from H1250; a fowl (as fattened on grain) – fowl. So the fatted fowl was possibly fed grain as was the fatted calf. Here are some of the other translations for the “fatted calf”, fat fowls, geese, poultry, fattened birds, fattened fowl, fatted fowl, and fatted beast of the stalls.

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary had this comment. “Solomon’s provision for one day — not for the king’s table only, but for all connected with the court, including, besides the royal establishment, those of his royal consorts, his principal officers, his bodyguards, his foreign visitors, etc. The quantity of fine floor used is estimated at two hundred forty bushels; that of meal or common flour at four hundred eighty. The number of cattle required for consumption, besides poultry and several kinds of game (which were abundant on the mountains) did not exceed in proportion what is needed in other courts of the East.”

Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) by NikhilDevasarJohn Gill’s commentary said, “and fatted fowl; such as we call capons (a); some Jewish writers (b), because of the likeness of sound in the word here used, take them to be Barbary fowls, or such as were brought from that country: there is a sort of birds called βαρβαροι, which were without a voice, that neither heard men, nor knew their voice (c).

So what was the fatted fowl? It is hard to be exact, but, Scriptures mentions the Quail, Chicken, Hen, and Partridge kinds as being “clean” and thereby they could be eaten. These have also been known to be fattened up. The Barbary fowl according to Wikipedia and others is a Barbary Partridge which looks very much like our Chukar here in North America. The partridge family brings us back to the Turkey, which is in that family. One thing we know for certain. God created the fowls (birds) and we are permitted to eat some of them. (Genesis 1:20 and Genesis 9:2,3).

Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11 KJV)

We hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving Day and that you spend time thanking God for all His blessings.

Barbary Partridge video by Josep del Hoyo

Photos – Chukar Partridge (Alectoris chukar) by Ian and Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) by Nikhi