39:13 1 “The wings of the ostrich 2 flap with joy, 3
but are they the pinions and plumage of a stork? 4
39:14 For she leaves 5 her eggs on the ground,
and lets them be warmed on the soil.
39:15 She forgets that a foot might crush them,
or that a wild animal 6 might trample them.
39:16 She is harsh 7 with her young,
as if they were not hers;
she is unconcerned
about the uselessness of her labor.
1 tc This whole section on the ostrich is not included in the LXX. Many feel it is an interpolation and should therefore be deleted. The pattern of the chapter changes from the questions being asked to observations being made.
2 tn The word occurs only here and means “shrill cries.” If the MT is correct, this is a poetic name for the ostrich (see Lam 4:3).
3 tn Many proposals have been made here. The MT has a verb, “exult.” Strahan had “flap joyously,” a rendering followed by the NIV. The RSV uses “wave proudly.”
4 tn The point of this statement would be that the ostrich cannot compare to the stork. But there are many other proposals for this line – just about every commentator has a different explanation for it. Of the three words here, the first means “pinion,” the third “plumage,” and the second probably “stork,” although the LXX has “heron.” The point of this whole section is that the ostrich is totally lacking in parental care, whereas the stork is characterized by it. The Hebrew word for “stork” is the same word for “love”: חֲסִידָה (khasidah), an interpretation followed by the NASB. The most likely reading is “or are they the pinions and plumage of the stork?” The ostrich may flap about, but cannot fly and does not care for its young.
5 tn The meaning may have the connotation of “lays; places,” rather than simply abandoning (see M. Dahood, “The Root ’zb II in Job,” JBL 78 : 307f.).
6 tn Heb “an animal of the field.”
7 sn This verb, “to deal harshly; to harden; to treat cruelly,” is used for hardening the heart elsewhere (see Isa 63:17).