During a past Torah portion study of Leviticus 11 and the dietary laws, some of us paused on verse 20. We had some translation mismatches that made us wonder what verse 20 was referring to. I was using a KJV and a few others were using a NIV or ESV. Their versions pointed to the conclusion that the verse was talking about insects. My version used the word “fowl” which in my opinion meant a bird of some sort.
But the question was asked, what birds walk on all four legs? It would have to mean insects, right? But insects have six legs or more. What gives?
Lets look at this a bit closer. Draw a line at verse 20. The verses immediately above that line are absolutely referring to birds/fowl, and the verses immediately following that line are referring to insects. So what is verse 20 referring to?
My conclusion after doing the research is “Fowl” or “bird like animal” that flies in the air and not insects. Give me a moment to defend my reasoning.
Let me first say that this is not a KJV vs NIV/ESV attack. I use all versions when I study and can find translation errors in even the KJV. I own and use all of them. I know some of you NIV/ESV fans out there are foaming at the mouth saying that your version refers to insects, end of discussion. The fact of the matter is your NIV/ESV version was translated from the Latin Vulgate originally. So what does the Latin Vulgate say?
Lev. 11:20 – “Of things that fly, whatsoever goeth upon four feet, shall be abominable to you.”
I don’t see anything about insects in that passage. In fact, every version derived from the Latin Vulgate up to 1899 that I looked at had nothing to say about insects. It wasn’t until I got to translations written in the 1960’s and later did I start seeing the reference to insects being inserted into the text. That even includes the Douay written in 1609 that the catholic church uses.
But lets look past the KJV and look at the Wycliffe Bible hand printed in 1382, well before the KJV.
Lev. 11:20 – All things of fowls that goeth on four feet, shall be abominable to you;
Again no mention of insects. If you get a Wycliffe Bible today, the publisher has inserted in parenthesis a reference to insects but that does not appear in the original codex.
WHY? One word: Dinosaurs! To the so-called educated theologian, dinosaurs never existed along side man and we don’t know of any birds today that walked on all fours so the writer in Leviticus must have been talking about insects. So the modern day translators and have taken it upon themselves to insert “insect” and other words referring to insects. We don’t question it because we are taught never to examine and study our Bible even when different translations contradict each other.
I firmly believe that the Torah and other Old Testament books talk about Dinosaurs and they have always existed alongside men. Of course science disagrees with me but science also says that there is no way Giants existed either and no way Moses could have parted the Red Sea. If you are letting science interpret your Bible, then you should probably examine your walk in faith.
It’s actually science that tells us that Pterodactyls walked on all fours. Of the 1100+ species of bats in the world, only the Vampire Bat walks on all fours. In fact, it actually can run on all fours. We living in the modern day world cannot go by today’s scientific classification of Kingdom Animalia when studying the Bible. Back during the time of the Bible, is it that hard to imagine that any animal(not insect) that had the ability to fly in the air would have been called a fowl? Verse 20 is simply wrapping up the listing of the clean/unclean fowls of the earth before starting the creeping things/insects dietary law listings.
Just a few years ago during the Olympics in Atlanta, a runner from Kenya asked why we taught that Pterodactyls lived millions of years ago and were now extinct? He stated that they still have them in Kenya and villagers there are well aware of their existence. In fact, all over the world today, missionaries and peoples from Papua New Guinea, most of Africa, Philippines, Brazil have reported sightings of Pterodactyl type animals.
It’s my conclusion that Lev. 11:20 is referring to fowls that we know today at Pterodactyls.
Unlike today, the people in the days of Moses would have absolutely been familiar with these “fowl” or Pterodactyls since they were much more common. At the very least, Vampire Bats walk on all fours and that would classify them as unclean. Eat Bat much lately? We know that ALL older translations of the text are referring to fowls(flying creatures) in this verse and not insects like we see in modern versions printed in the last hundred years.
Take a look at some of the material below and post your thoughts.
Pterodactyl Walk Cycle
Vampire Bat on a Treadmill
Also note that where I live in the St. Louis area, just a few hundred years ago supposedly existed what was called among tribal people as the PIASA bird. Some argue whether it was a bird or not but all the accounts seem to point that the local natives believed it did indeed exist and was real. If it was a bird, my opinion it was a Pterodactyl. The legend of the Thunderbird is just as interesting.