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FALCON fôl’ kən. אַיָּ֖ה, falcon [ASV, RSV]; Lev 11:14 KJV, kite; Job 28:7 KJV vulture. alcons are among the commonest birds of prey; Palestine has about ten species. These include Peregrine and Lanner, about eighteen inches long; also Kestrel and Lesser Kestrel, Hobby and Red-legged Falcon, eleven to fourteen inches long. These take only living prey; the biggest catch birds up to the size of a Rock Dove, but others take small rodents, lizards and insects. About half breed in Palestine; the others are migrants.

Falcons in the Bible

The Hebrews did not know the word as we do; their bird corresponding to our falcon, in all probability, was one of the smaller kestrels covered by the word nets, which seemed to cover all lesser birds of prey that we include in the hawk family. That some of our many divisions of species were known to them is indicated by the phrase "after its kind." The word occurs in the Revised Version (British and American) in Job 28:7, to translation ’ayyah, Greek gups (compare Le 11:14; De 14:13):

"That path no bird of prey knoweth,

Neither hath the falcon’s eye seen it."

This substitutes "falcon" for "vulture" in the King James Version. The change weakens the force of the lines. All ornithologists know that eagles, vultures and the large hawks have a range of vision that allows them to descend from great heights to take prey on earth or food placed to tempt them. Falcons and sparrowhawks are small members of the family, some of which feed on small birds or insects. They are not celebrated for greater range of vision than other birds of the same location and feeding habits. The strength of these lines lay in the fact that if the path to the mine were so well concealed that the piercing eye of the vulture failed to find it, then it was perfectly hidden indeed.

See also

  • Birds

  • Buzzard