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Partridge

Hebrew: Kore, i.e., “caller”)

This bird, unlike our own partridge, is distinguished by “its ringing call-note, which in early morning echoes from cliff to cliff amidst the barrenness of the wilderness of Judea and the glens of the forest of Carmel” hence its Hebrew name. This name occurs only twice in Scripture.

In 1 Sam. 26:20 “David alludes to the mode of chase practiced now, as of old, when the partridge, continuously chased, was at length, when fatigued, knocked down by sticks thrown along the ground.” It endeavours to save itself “by running, in preference to flight, unless when suddenly started. It is not an inhabitant of the plain or the corn-field, but of rocky hill-sides” (Tristram's Nat. Hist.).

In Jer. 17:11, the prophet is illustrating the fact that riches unlawfully acquired are precarious and short-lived. The exact nature of the illustration cannot be precisely determined. Some interpret the words as meaning that the covetous man will be as surely disappointed as the partridge which gathers in eggs, not of her own laying, and is unable to hatch them; others (Tristram), with more probability, as denoting that the man who enriches himself by unjust means “will as surely be disappointed as the partridge which commences to sit, but is speedily robbed of her hopes of a brood” by her eggs being stolen away from her.

The commonest partridge in Israel is the Caccabis saxatilis, the Greek partridge. The partridge of the wilderness (Ammo-perdix heyi) is a smaller species. Both are essentially mountain and rock birds, thus differing from the English partridge, which loves cultivated fields.

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