Like an owl in a desolate place

The owl, as a bird of prey, is mentioned among the unclean birds — those that were not to be eaten by the ancient Israelites (Leviticus 11:16; Deuteronomy 14:15).

Owl at Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Owl at Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Psalm 102 is described as “A Prayer of the Afflicted when he is faint and pours our his complaint before the LORD.” The owl is mentioned in Psalm 102:6 NASB.

I resemble a pelican of the wilderness; I have become like an owl of the waste places.

According to Keil and Delitzsch the owl mentioned here is “the night-raven or the little horned owl.” Note the comparison of the pelican and the owl with the person who is afflicted.

They are both unclean creatures, which are fond of the loneliness of the desert and ruined places. To such a wilderness, that of the exile, is the poet unwillingly transported. He passes the nights without sleep, … and is therefore like a bird sitting lonesome, … upon the roof whilst all in the house beneath are sleeping.

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