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Two original words of the Holy Scriptures have been translated into English as "eagle." The Hebrew word (pronounced) nay-sher means to lacerate, an apparent reference to birds that have powerful beaks and talons. But another Hebrew word, pronounced raw-caw-maw, is variously translated as either eagle or vulture because both eagles and vultures will feed on carrion, as Jesus Christ also referred to in a Prophecy (see the Fact Finder question below). Benjamin Franklin opposed the eagle as an American symbol for that reason, that eagles, while being beautiful birds and powerful hunters, will also feed on things that they find already dead, even if putrid. Franklin preferred the turkey, which, whether he realized it or not (he preferred the turkey because he regarded it as a symbol of peace and prosperity) is classified by God as a clean bird, while eagles are not - see below for further explanation.

"as swift as the eagle flieth"

Regardless of their feeding habits, eagles are magnificent birds, as stated in the Scriptures.


"as swift as the eagle flieth" (Deuteronomy 28:49 KJV)

"as the eagle that hasteth to the prey" (Job 9:26 KJV)

"a great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers (Ezekiel 17:3 KJV)

"exalt thyself as the eagle" (Obadiah 1:4 KJV)

"nest as high as the eagle" (Jeremiah 49:16 KJV)

Eagles are found in Scriptures that refer to the different meanings of "heaven" (see Heavens Below, Heavens Above)

"they fly away as an eagle toward heaven" (Proverbs 23:5 KJV)

"swifter than the eagles of the heaven" (Lamentation 4:19 KJV)

At the time of the Exodus, the Israelites walked out of Egypt "on eagles' wings":

"Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." (Exodus 19:4 KJV)

The meaning of The Lord's "how I bare you on eagles' wings" is explained further:

"As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So The Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with Him" (Deuteronomy 32:11-12 KJV)

"But they that wait upon The Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Despite their natural magnificence, eagles were declared by The Lord as among the "unclean" birds. The basis of the classification of clean and unclean for food seems to be what the birds themselves ate; birds that hunted or ate carrion (e.g. eagles) were unclean for food, while birds that were mostly vegetarian (e.g. turkeys) were clean for food:

"And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing" (Leviticus 11:13-19 KJV)

References to eagles eating carrion are also found in the Scriptures:

"The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it." (Proverbs 30:17 KJV)

"For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matthew 24:28 KJV)

Fact Finder: Jesus Christ prophesied, "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together" (Matthew 24:27-28). What is the significance of the "east" and the meaning of the analogy of "eagles" soaring in that prophecy?
See Why Did They Face East? and "To Meet The Lord In The Air"

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