International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
A bird of prey of the genus accipiter. Large hawks were numerous in Palestine. The largest were 2 ft. long, have flat heads, hooked beaks, strong talons and eyes appearing the keenest and most comprehensive of any bird. They can sail the length or breadth of the Holy Land many times a day. It is a fact worth knowing that mist and clouds interfere with the vision of birds and they hide, and hungry and silent wait for fair weather, so you will see them sailing and soaring on clear days only. These large hawks and the glede are of eagle-like nature, nesting on Carmel and on the hills of Galilee, in large trees and on mountain crags. They flock near Beersheba, and live in untold numbers in the wilderness of the Dead Sea. They build a crude nest of sticks and twigs and carry most of the food alive to their young. Of course they were among the birds of prey that swarm over the fresh offal from slaughter and sacrifice. No bird steers with its tail in flight in a more pronounced manner than the hawk. These large birds are all-the-year residents, for which reason no doubt the people distinguished them from smaller families that migrated. They knew the kite that Isaiah mentioned in predicting the fall of Edom. With them the smaller, brighter-colored kestrels, that flocked over the rocky shores of the Dead Sea and over the ruins of deserted cities, seemed to be closest in appearance to the birds we include in the general term "falcon." Their ate mice, insects and small birds, but not carrion. The abomination lists of Le 11:16 and De 14:15 each include hawks in a general term and specify several species as unfit for food. Job 39:26 reads:
"Is it by thy wisdom that the hawk soareth,
And stretcheth her wings toward the south?"
Aside from calling attention to the miraculous flight,, this might refer to migration, or to the wonderful soaring exhibitions of these birds.