Why did the Bible categorize bats as birds?

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The Bible records, “‘And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard,  the kite, and the falcon after its kind;  every raven after its kind,  the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind; the little owl, the fisher owl, and the screech owl;  the white owl, the jackdaw, and the carrion vulture;  the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat” (Leviticus 11:13-19).

In this passage the Lord is making a distinction between the clean and unclean birds as food for man. The bat, here, is classed among the birds, though it is a quadruped, and this is because of its flying patterns.

Linnean classification was not available in the times of Moses. The classification of animals were done by function or form. In the case of a bat, the word we render birds means simply “owner of a wing” which includes birds, bats, and certain insects. The Bible does not use modern biological classifications which are found in our literature today but rather uses what was commonly known in the ancient times.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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