From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

נשר ,  Exodus 19:4;  Leviticus 11:13 . The name is derived from a verb which signifies to lacerate, or tear in pieces. The eagle has always been considered as the king of birds, on account of its great strength, rapidity and elevation of flight, natural ferocity, and the terror it inspires into its fellows of the air. Its voracity is so great that a large extent of territory is requisite for the supply of proper sustenance; and Providence has therefore constituted it a solitary animal: two pair of eagles are never found in the same neighbourhood, though the genus is dispersed through every quarter of the world. Its sight is quick, strong, and piercing, to a proverb. In   Job 39:27 , the natural history of the eagle is finely drawn up:—

Is it at thy voice that the eagle soars? And therefore maketh his nest on high The rock is the place of his habitation.

He abides on the crag, the place of strength.

Thence he pounces upon his prey.

His eyes discern afar off.

Even his young ones drink down blood; And wherever is slaughter, there is he.

Alluding to the popular opinion that the eagle assists its feeble young in their flight, by bearing them up on its own pinions, Moses represents Jehovah as saying, "Ye have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself,"  Exodus 19:4 . Scheuchzer has quoted from an ancient poet, the following beautiful paraphrase on this passage:—

Ac velut alituum princeps, fulvusque tonantis Armiger, implumes, et adhuc sine robore natos Sollicita refovet cura, pinguisque ferinae Indulget pastus: mox ut cum viribus aloe Vesticipes crevere, vocat se blandior aura, Expansa invitat pluma, dorsoque morantes Excipit, attollitque humeris, plausuque secundo

Fertur in arva, timens oneri, et tamen impete presso

Remigium tentans alarum, incurvaque pinnis

Vela legens, humiles tranat sub nubibus oras.

Hinc sensim supra alta petit, jam jamque sub astra Erigitur, cursusque leves citus urget in auras, Omnia pervolitans late loca, et agmine foetus Fertque refertque suos vario, moremque volandi Addocet: illi autem, longa assuetudine docti, Paulatim incipiunt pennis se credere coelo Impavidi: tantum a teneris valet addere curam .

[And as the king of birds, and tawny, armour-bearer of the Thunderer, cherishes with anxious care his unfledged, and as yet feeble young, and gratifies their appetite with rich prey: presently, when their downy wings have increased in strength, a milder air calls them forth, with expanded plumage he invites them, and receives them hesitating on his back, and sustains them on his shoulders, and with easy flight is borne over the fields, fearing for his burden, and yet with a moderated effort trying the rowing of their wings, and furling with his pinions his curved sails, he glides through the low regions beneath the clouds. Hence by degrees he soars aloft, and now he mourns to the starry heaven, and swiftly urges his rapid flight through the air, sweeping widely over space, and in his gyrations bearing his offspring to and fro, teaches them

the art of flying:—but they, taught by long practice, gradually begin to trust themselves fearlessly on their wings: So much does it avail to train the young with care.]

2. When Balaam delivered his predictions respecting the fate that awaited the nations which he then particularized, he said of the Kenites, "Strong is thy dwelling, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock,"   Numbers 24:21; alluding to that princely bird, the eagle, which not only delights in soaring to the loftiest heights, but chooses the highest rocks, and most elevated mountains, as desirable situations for erecting its nest,  Habakkuk 2:9;  Obadiah 1:4 . What Job says concerning the eagle, which is to be understood in a literal sense, "Where the slain are, there is he," our Saviour turns into a fine parable: "Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together,"  Matthew 24:28; that is, Wherever the Jews are, who have corruptly fallen from God, there will be the Romans, who bore the eagle as their standard, to execute vengeance upon them,  Luke 17:37 .

3. The swiftness of the flight of the eagle is alluded to in several passages of Scripture; as, "The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth,"   Deuteronomy 28:49 .

In the affecting lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan, their impetuous and rapid career is described in forcible terms: "They were swifter than eagles; they were stronger than lions,"  2 Samuel 1:23 . Jeremiah when he beheld in vision the march of Nebuchadnezzar cried, "Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind. His horses are swifter than eagles. Wo unto us, for we are spoiled,"  Jeremiah 4:13 . To the wide-expanded wings of the eagle, and the rapidity of his flight, the same prophet beautifully alludes in a subsequent chapter, where he describes the subversion of Moab by the same ruthless conqueror: "Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and spread his wings over Moab,"  Jeremiah 48:40 . In the same manner he describes the sudden desolations of Ammon in the next chapter; but, when he turns his eye to the ruins of his own country, he exclaims, in still more energetic language, "Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heavens,"

 Lamentations 4:19 . Under the same comparison the patriarch Job describes the rapid flight of time: "My days are passed away, as the eagle that hasteth to the prey,"  Job 9:26 . The surprising rapidity with which the blessings of common providence sometimes vanish from the grasp of the possessor is thus described by Solomon: "Riches certainly make themselves wings: they fly away as an eagle toward heaven,"  Proverbs 23:5 . The flight of this bird is as sublime as it is rapid and impetuous. None of the feathered race soar so high. In his daring excursions he is said to leave the clouds of heaven, and regions of thunder, and lightning, and tempest, far beneath him, and to approach the very limits of ether. There is an allusion to this lofty soaring in the prophecy of Obadiah, concerning the pride of Moab: "Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord,"

 Obadiah 1:4 . The prophet Jeremiah pronounces the doom of Edom in similar terms: "O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill; though thou shouldest make thy nest high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord,"  Jeremiah 49:16 . The eagle lives and retains its vigour to a great age; and, after moulting, renews its vigour so surprisingly, as to be said, hyperbolically, to become young again,  Psalms 103:5 , and  Isaiah 40:31 . It is remarkable that Cyrus, compared, in  Isaiah 46:11 , to an eagle, (so the word translated "ravenous bird" should be rendered,) had an eagle for his ensign according to Xenophon, who uses, without knowing it, the identical word of the prophet, with only a Greek termination to it: so exact is the correspondence between the prophet and the historian, the prediction and the event. Xenophon and other ancient historians inform us that the golden eagle with extended wings was the ensign of the Persian monarchs long before it was adopted by the Romans: and it is very probable that the Persians borrowed the symbol from the ancient Assyrians, in whose banners it waved, till imperial Babylon bowed her head to the yoke of Cyrus. If this conjecture be well founded, it discovers the reason why the sacred writers, in describing the victorious march of the Assyrian armies, allude so frequently to the expanded eagle. Referring to the Babylonian monarch, the prophet Hosea proclaimed in the ears of all Israel, the measure of whose iniquities was nearly full, "He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord,"

 Hosea 8:1 . Jeremiah predicted a similar calamity: "Thus saith the Lord, Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and spread his wings over Moab,"  Jeremiah 48:40; and the same figure was employed to denote the destruction that overtook the house of Esau: "Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah,"  Jeremiah 49:22 . The words of these prophets received a full accomplishment in the irresistible impetuosity, and complete success with which the Babylonian monarchs, and particularly Nebuchadnezzar, pursued their plans of conquest. Ezekiel denominates him, with great propriety, "a great eagle with great wings," because he was the most powerful monarch of his time, and led into the field more numerous and better appointed armies, (which the prophet calls, by a beautiful figure, "his wings," the wings of his army,) than perhaps the world had ever seen. The Prophet Isaiah, referring to the same monarch, predicted the subjugation of Judea in these terms; "He shall pass through Judah. He shall overflow, and go over. He shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings" (the array of his army) "shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel,"

 Isaiah 8:8 . The king of Egypt is also styled by Ezekiel, "a great eagle, with great wings, and many feathers;" but he manifestly gives the preference to the king of Babylon, by adding, that he had "long wings, full of feathers, which had divers colours;" that is, greater wealth, and a more numerous army.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [2]

I cannot pass over this article in our Concordance, in as much as we find frequent mention made of the eagle in Scripture. And I do this the rather from the singularity of it, and especially in the way in which it is used. I mean, because it is declared in the Levitical law to be unclean; yea, all the different species of the eagle, including the vulture and the hawk, which are both of the eagle kind. (See  Leviticus 11:13-16) Now it is certain, that the Lord, (by which I apprehend is meant the Lord Jesus Christ in our nature,) condescends to make use of the similitude of an eagle, in describing his care over his people, when he saith, "I bare you on eagle's wings, and brought you unto myself." ( Exodus 19:4;  Deuteronomy 32:11) Is there not something of a most interesting nature implied in those affections of the Lord, beside the protection here set forth as shewn his people? As the eagle is among the creatures of uncleanness; is there not an allusion to the Lord's taking our uncleanness upon him, when he thus speaks of bearing his redeemed on eagle's wings? The reader will observe, I do but ask the question, and not determine the matter. But as we well know, and all redeemed souls rejoice in the glorious consolation, it was Jesus both"bare our sins, and carried our sorrows, when the Lord JEHOVAH laid on him the iniquity of us all,"the Lord's making use of one of the unclean creatures, in a similitude to himself, may not be supposed unaptly to represent this unequalled mercy? Connect with this view, what the gospel saith, ( 2 Corinthians 5:21 and  Galatians 3:13) and let the reader judge the fitness of the observation. He, who in such infinite and unequalled love and grace, became both sin and a curse for his people, might go on in the humiliation, to compare himself to the eagle, when made sin for us; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. The beautiful comparison, made in allusion to this bird, in providing safety for her young, to that of the Lord Jesus carrying his people as on eagle's wings, is too striking hastily to pass it by. ( Deuteronomy 32:11-12) The eagle's stirring up her nest, fluttering over her young, spreading abroad her wings; taking them and bearing them on her wings; are beautiful descriptions, and which it seems, in the case of the eagle's care over her brood, is literally the case. The young eagles are much disposed to sleep. The old bird therefore, rouseth them up, by disturbing them in their nest; when they are awakened, she fluttereth over them, spreading abroad her wings, to teach them how to use theirs, and how to fly. And until they are able to soar above all danger in the air, she carrieth them on her wings, that they may in due season use their own. Such, but in an infinitely higher degree of wisdom, love, and tenderness, doth Jesus, by his offspring. The Lord stirred them up from sleeping in the dangers of Egypt, and taught them how"to flee from the wrath to come."And the Lord is doing so now, in bringing up all his redeemed out of the Egypt of sin and death in this world. But the most beautiful part of the representation remains yet to be noticed. The eagle is the only bird that carries her young upon her wings. All other birds use their talons for bearing up their little brood. Now, when the Lord Jesus useth this similitude, it teacheth us that it is impossible they can fall whom he bears; for they are on the wings and above, and not beneath, and like those birds, who catch up their young in their talons, and in their flight may drop them. Moreover, no weapon from beneath can reach the young, in the care of the eagle, without first piercing the old bird. So nothing can touch Christ's little ones without first destroying Christ. Was there ever a similitude more beautiful, lovely, and comfortable? Let me only add, to this figure of the Old Testament church, that precious one also, of the Lord Jesus in the New. I mean, when to the strength of the eagle, Jesus subjoins the affection of the hen;"saying, How often would I have gathered you, even as an hen gathers her chickens under her wings!" ( Matthew 23:37) There is another similitude made use of respecting the church, in allusion to the eagle. The prophet Micah, ( Micah 1:16) speaks of the boldness of the eagle. And some have asserted, that in old age, the eagle is renewed with youth. Whether this be so, or not; or whether the moulting time, common to other birds every year, is only once experienced by the eagle, and that in old age, I will not, for I cannot, determine; but certain it is, that the Lord himself makes use of the similitude, to describe his people by. In one of the sweetest promises, the Lord thus comforts them, "He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might, he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint." ( Isaiah 40:27-31) And while the Lord thus comforts his church with the assurance of the renewings of spiritual strength, like the eagle in nature, the church is described as praising God under the view of renewing grace, in the same figure: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name: who forgiveth all thine iniquities, and healeth all thy diseases: who redeemeth thy life from destruction, and crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies: who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed as the eagle's?" ( Psalms 103:1-5)

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

Νesher .  Leviticus 11:13. The golden eagle (W. Drake). The griffon vulture; the Arab Nisr is plainly the Hebrew Nesher . In  Micah 1:16, "make thee bald (shaving the head betokening mourning) ... enlarge thy baldness as the Nesher ," the griffon vulture must be meant; for it is "bald," which the eagle is not. "A majestic and royal bird, the largest and most powerful seen in Palestine, far surpassing the eagle in size and power" (Tristram). The Egyptians ranked it as first among birds. The Da'Ah ( Leviticus 11:14) is not "the vulture" but the black kite. The Hebrew Qaarach is to make bald the back of the head, very applicable to the griffon vulture's head and neck, which are destitute of true feathers. The golden eagle; the spotted, common in the rocky regions; the imperial; and the Circaeros Gallicus (short-toed eagle), living on reptiles only: Palestine Exploration Quarterly Statement, October, 1876), are all found in Palestine.

Its swift flight is alluded to, and rapacious cruelty, representing prophetically ( Habakkuk 1:8;  Jeremiah 4:13) the Chaldean, and ultimately, the Roman, invaders of Israel ( Deuteronomy 28:49;  Ezekiel 17:3-7). Compare Josephus, B. J., 6. Its soaring high and making its nest in the inaccessible rock, also its wonderful far-sightedness and strength ( Job 39:27-30).  Psalms 103:5 says: "thy youth is renewed like the eagle's"; not as if the eagle renewed its youth in old age, but by the Lord's goodness "thy youth is renewed" so as to be as vigorous as the eagle. The eagle's vigor and longevity are illustrated by the Greek proverb, "the eagle's old age is as good as the lark's youth." Its preying on decomposing carcass symbolizes the divine retributive principle that, where corruption is, there vengeance shall follow. "Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together," quoted by our Lord from  Job 39:30;  Matthew 24:28 - the vulture chiefly feeds on carcass.

The eagle's forcibly training its young to fly pictures the Lord's power, combined with parental tenderness, in training and tending His people ( Deuteronomy 32:11;  Exodus 19:4). In the law the fostering mother is the eagle, God manifesting His power and sternness mingled with tenderness in bringing His people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; in the gospel the fostering mother is the hen ( Matthew 23:37), Christ coming in grace, humility, and obedience unto death (Bochart). Subsequently, Christ rescues His people "from the face of the serpent" by giving His church the "two wings of a great eagle" ( Revelation 12:14).

The eagle "hovers over her young" in teaching them their first flight, ready in a moment to save them when in danger of falling on the rocks below. Compare  Isaiah 31:5. God stirred up Israel from the foul nest of Egypt, which of their own accord they would have never left, so satisfied were they with its fleshpots in spite of its corruptions. The "stirring up the nest" spiritually corresponds to the first awakening of the soul; the "fluttering over her young" to the brooding of the Holy Spirit over the awakened soul; the "taking and bearing on her wings" to His continuous teaching and guardian care. The eagle assists the young one's first effort by flying under to sustain it for a moment and encourage its efforts.

So the Spirit cooperates with us, after He has first given us the good will ( Philippians 2:12-13). The eagle rouses from the nest, the hen gathers to herself; so the law and the gospel respectively. The Persians under Cyrus had a golden eagle on a spear as their standard ( Isaiah 46:11). The eagle is represented in Assyrian sculptures as accompanying their armies; Nisroch, their god, had an eagle's head. The Romans had the eagle standard, hence, the appropriateness of their being compared to an eagle ( Deuteronomy 28:49).

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [4]

 Exodus 19:4 (a) GOD compares Himself to an eagle in His work of taking Israel safely through the sorrows, dangers, and distresses of the wilderness journey.

 Psalm 103:5 (a) The strength and vigorous care given to the believer who walks with the Lord is compared to that which the eagle possesses. The Christian thus blessed is able to mount up above his surroundings and circumstances.

 Proverbs 30:17 (a) By this figure we are informed that this particular type of sinner may not die a natural death, but will be subject to an unusual punishment which is unnatural.

 Isaiah 40:31 (a) Under this figure, the Lord describes the ease and joy with which Christians rise out of their distresses and are set free from their surroundings when they look to the Lord earnestly for His blessing.

 Ezekiel 1:10 (b) One of the four aspects of the Lord Jesus His deity, is represented here. This character of Christ is described particularly in the Gospel of John. (See also  Ezekiel 10:14, and  Revelation 4:7).

 Ezekiel 17:3 (a) The King of Babylon is represented by the eagle in this verse. The description concerns his invasion of Palestine and his victory over the King of the Jews. In verse7 the eagle represents the King of Egypt. This is plainly seen by reading the rest of the chapter. These Kings are represented as eagles because they ruled over other kingdoms, they were swift in their invasions, and they were cruel in their afflictions of their conquered peoples.

 Ezekiel 17:7 (a) The King of Egypt also is compared to an eagle because he too was just about equal in power to the King of Babylon and ruled over kings and nations.

 Daniel 7:4 (a) The King of Babylon is described as an eagle in this passage, because of his supreme power, his swiftness, and his superiority. He is also described as a lion in the same passage. This refers to his mighty strength, for he did have more actual military power than the nations who followed him.

 Hosea 8:1 (a) Here is a reference to the swiftness with which the enemy of Israel would invade the land and conquer the people of GOD because of their disobedience.

 Micah 1:16 (a) This peculiar figure probably describes an Oriental custom of magnifying the grief of those who sorrow. They wear unusual garments, eat unusual food, wail in an unusual loud fashion, and otherwise seek to let the world know of their grief.

 Matthew 24:28 (b) This is a description of the cruel, devouring nations who will pounce upon Israel in the time of her downfall and will carry away all her treasures. (See also  Luke 17:37).

 Revelation 12:14 (a) This seems to be a prophecy concerning the special provision GOD will make to preserve a remnant of Israel from the terrible scourge and persecution that will arise against that people in the great day of GOD's wrath.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

 Job 39:27-30 , a large and very powerful bird of prey, hence called the King of birds. There are several species of eagle described by naturalists, and it is probable that this word in the Bible comprehends more than one of these. The noble eastern species, called by Mr. Bruce "the golden eagle," measures eight feet four inches from wing to wing; and from the tip of his tail to the point of his beak, when dead, four feet seven inches. Of all known birds, the eagle flies not only the highest,  Proverbs 23:5   Jeremiah 49:16   Obadiah 1:4 , but also with the greatest rapidity. To this circumstance there are several striking allusions in the sacred volume,  2 Samuel 1:23   Job 9:26   Lamentations 4:19 . Among the evils threatened to the Israelites in case of their disobedience, the prophet names one in the following terms: "The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth,"  Deuteronomy 28:49 . The march of Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem, is predicted in similar terms: "Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles,"  Jeremiah 4:13   48:40   49:22   Hosea 8:1 . This bird was a national emblem on Persian and Roman standards, as it now is on United States' coins.

The eagle, it is said, lives to a great age; and like other birds of prey, sheds his feathers in the beginning of spring, after which his old age assumes the appearance of youth. To this David alludes, when gratefully reviewing the mercies of Jehovah: "Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like eagle's,"  Psalm 103:5   Isaiah 40:31 . The careful pains of the eagle in teaching its young to fly, beautifully illustrate God's providential care over Israel,  Exodus 19:4   Deuteronomy 32:11,12 .

The eagle is remarkable for its keen sight and scent. Its flesh, like that of all birds of prey, was unclean to the Jews; and is never eaten by any body, unless in cases of necessity,  Matthew 24:28   Luke 17:37 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

 Deuteronomy 28:49 2 Samuel 1:23 Job 39:27 Psalm 103:5 Jeremiah 49:16 Job 39:27-30

This "ravenous bird" is a symbol of those nations whom God employs and sends forth to do a work of destruction, sweeping away whatever is decaying and putrescent ( Matthew 24:28;  Isaiah 46:11;  Ezekiel 39:4;  Deuteronomy 28:49;  Jeremiah 4:13;  48:40 ). It is said that the eagle sheds his feathers in the beginning of spring, and with fresh plumage assumes the appearance of youth. To this, allusion is made in  Psalm 103:5 and   Isaiah 40:31 . God's care over his people is likened to that of the eagle in training its young to fly ( Exodus 19:4;  Deuteronomy 32:11,12 ). An interesting illustration is thus recorded by Sir Humphry Davy:, "I once saw a very interesting sight above the crags of Ben Nevis. Two parent eagles were teaching their offspring, two young birds, the maneuvers of flight. They began by rising from the top of the mountain in the eye of the sun. It was about mid-day, and bright for the climate. They at first made small circles, and the young birds imitated them. They paused on their wings, waiting till they had made their flight, and then took a second and larger gyration, always rising toward the sun, and enlarging their circle of flight so as to make a gradually ascending spiral. The young ones still and slowly followed, apparently flying better as they mounted; and they continued this sublime exercise, always rising till they became mere points in the air, and the young ones were lost, and afterwards their parents, to our aching sight." (See  Isaiah 40:31 .)

There have been observed in Palestine four distinct species of eagles, (1) the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos); (2) the spotted eagle (Aquila naevia); (3) the common species, the imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca); and (4) the Circaetos gallicus, which preys on reptiles. The eagle was unclean by the Levitical law ( Leviticus 11:13;  Deuteronomy 14:12 ).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Eagle . (1) nesher ,   Deuteronomy 32:11 etc.,   Leviticus 11:13 RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ‘great vulture.’ (2) râchâm ,   Leviticus 11:18 , AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘ gier eagle ,’ RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘ vulture .’ (3) aetos ,   Matthew 24:28 ||   Luke 17:37 (RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ‘vultures’),   Revelation 4:7;   Revelation 12:14 . The Heb. nesher is the equivalent of the Arab. [Note: Arabic.] nisr , which includes eagles, vultures, and ospreys. It is clear from   Micah 1:16 ‘enlarge thy baldness as the eagle,’ that the vulture is referred to. There are eight varieties of eagles and four of vultures known in Palestine. The references to nesher are specially appropriate as applied to the griffon vulture ( Gyps fulvus ), a magnificent bird, ‘the most striking ornithological feature of Palestine’ (Tristram), found especially around the precipitous gorges leading to various parts of the Jordan Valley.   Job 39:27;   Job 39:30 and   Jeremiah 49:16 well describe its habits; and its powerful and rapid flight is referred to in   Isaiah 40:31 ,   Deuteronomy 28:49 ,   Habakkuk 1:8 . Râchâm corresponds to the Arab. [Note: Arabic.] rakhâm , the Egyptian vulture, a ubiquitous scavenger which visits Palestine from the south every summer.

E. W. G. Masterman.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [8]

Eagle. ( Hebrew, nesher , that is, A Tearer With The Beak) . At least four distinct kinds of eagles have been observed in Palestine, namely, the golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos , the spotted eagle, Aquila naevia , the imperial eagle, Aquila heliaca , and the very common Circaetos gallicus . The Hebrew, nesher may stand for any of these different species, though perhaps more particular reference to the golden and imperial eagles and the griffon vulture may be intended.

The passage in Micah,  Micah 1:16, "enlarge thy baldness as the eagle," may refer to the Griffon Vulture , Vultur fulvus , in which case the simile is peculiarly appropriate, for the whole head and neck of this bird are destitute of true feathers.

The "eagles" of  Matthew 24:28;  Luke 17:37 may include the Vultur fulvus and Neophron percnopterus ; though, as eagles frequently prey upon dead bodies, there is no necessity to restrict the Greek word to the Vulturidae . The figure of an eagle is now and has long been a favorite military ensign. The Persians so employed it; a fact which illustrates the passage in  Isaiah 46:11 The same bird was similarly employed by the Assyrians and the Romans.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [9]

Eagle (Heb. Nesker ; A Tearer With The Beak ). There can be little doubt that the eagle of Scripture is the griffon ( Gyps Fulvus ), or great vulture, see margin of the R. V.,  Leviticus 11:13, a bird very abundant in Palestine and adjacent countries. In spite of its name, it is a much nobler bird than a common vulture, and is scarcely more of a carrion-feeder than are all eagles. Indeed, the griffon is used by the orientals as the type of the lordly and the great. This well-known bird of prey was unclean by the Levitical law.  Leviticus 11:13;  Deuteronomy 14:12. It is called the "great vulture" in the margin of the R. V. The habits of the eagle are described in  Numbers 24:21;  Job 9:26;  Job 39:27-30;  Proverbs 23:5;  Proverbs 30:17;  Proverbs 30:19;  Jeremiah 49:16;  Ezekiel 17:3;  Obadiah 1:4;  Habakkuk 1:8;  Habakkuk 2:9;  Matthew 24:28;  Luke 17:37.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [10]

nesher, ἀετός.This is supposed to be the bird known as the Griffon Vulture or Great Vulture — the Gyps fulvus of the naturalists — though it may include other species. Its habits agree with those related of the eagle in scripture, and they are plentiful in Palestine. No sooner does an animal fall than these birds congregate in numbers on its carcase, according to   Job 9:26;  Matthew 24:28 . The true eagle is a solitary bird, but vultures are seldom found alone. The expression "beareth them on her wings" exactly describes the way the vultures bear up their young, and teach them to fly.  Exodus 19:4;  Deuteronomy 32:11 . The vulture also agrees with  Micah 1:16 which speaks of its baldness, for the vulture's head and neck are without feathers. Its swiftness is proverbial,   Lamentations 4:19 , and it rests on the highest rocks.  Job 39:27;  Jeremiah 49:16 . In Ezekiel and in the Revelation the living creatures have the eagle character as portraying the swiftness in execution of God's power in creation and judicial government.  Ezekiel 1:10;  Ezekiel 10:14;  Revelation 4:7 .

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [11]

1: Ἀετός (Strong'S #105 — Noun Masculine — aetos — ah-et-os' )

"an eagle" (also a vulture), is perhaps connected with aemi, "to blow," as of the wind, on account of its windlike flight. In  Matthew 24:28;  Luke 17:37 the vultures are probably intended. The meaning seems to be that, as these birds of prey gather where the carcass is, so the judgments of God will descend upon the corrupt state of humanity. The figure of the "eagle" is used in   Ezekiel 17 to represent the great powers of Egypt and Babylon, as being employed to punish corrupt and faithless Israel. Cp.   Job 39:30;  Proverbs 30:17 . The "eagle" is mentioned elsewhere in the NT in  Revelation 4:7;  8:13 (RV); 12:14. There are eight species in Palestine.

Webster's Dictionary [12]

(1): ( n.) A northern constellation, containing Altair, a star of the first magnitude. See Aquila.

(2): ( n.) A gold coin of the United States, of the value of ten dollars.

(3): ( n.) Any large, rapacious bird of the Falcon family, esp. of the genera Aquila and Haliaeetus. The eagle is remarkable for strength, size, graceful figure, keenness of vision, and extraordinary flight. The most noted species are the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetus); the imperial eagle of Europe (A. mogilnik / imperialis); the American bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus); the European sea eagle (H. albicilla); and the great harpy eagle (Thrasaetus harpyia). The figure of the eagle, as the king of birds, is commonly used as an heraldic emblem, and also for standards and emblematic devices. See Bald eagle, Harpy, and Golden eagle.

(4): ( n.) The figure of an eagle borne as an emblem on the standard of the ancient Romans, or so used upon the seal or standard of any people.

King James Dictionary [13]

E'AGLE, n. L. aquila.

1. A rapacious fowl of the genus Falco. The beak is crooked and furnished with a cere at the base, and the tongue is cloven or bifid. There are several species, as, the bald or white-headed eagle, the sea eagle or ossifrage, the golden eagle, &c.

The eagle is one of the largest species of fowls, has a keen sight, and preys on small animals, fish, &c. He lives to a great age and it is said that one died at Vienna, after a confinement of a hundred and four years. On account of the elevation and rapidity of his flight, and of his great strength, he is called the king of birds. Hence the figure of an eagle was made the standard of the Romans, and a spread eagle is a principal figure in the arms of the United States of America. Hence also in heraldry, it is one of the most noble bearings in armory.

2. A gold coin of the United States, of the value of ten dollars, or forty-five shillings sterling. 3. A constellation in the northern hemisphere, having its right wing contiguous to the equinoctial.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [14]

EAGLE. —See Animals, p. 65b.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [15]

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [16]

ē´g ' l ( נשׁר , nesher  ; ἀετός , aetós  ; Latin aquila ): A bird of the genus aquila of the family falconidae . The Hebrew nesher , meaning "to tear with the beak," is almost invariably translated "eagle," throughout the Bible; yet many of the most important references compel the admission that the bird to which they applied was a vulture. There were many large birds and carrion eaters flocking over Palestine, attracted by the offal from animals slaughtered for tribal feasts and continuous sacrifice. The eagle family could not be separated from the vultures by their habit of feeding, for they ate the offal from slaughter as well as the vultures. One distinction always holds good. Eagles never flock. They select the tallest trees of the forest, the topmost crag of the mountain, and pairs live in solitude, hunting and feeding singly, whenever possible carrying their prey to the nest so that the young may gain strength and experience by tearing at it and feeding themselves. The vultures are friendly, and collect and feed in flocks. So wherever it is recorded that a "flock came down on a carcass," there may have been an eagle or two in it, but the body of it were vultures. Because they came in such close contact with birds of prey, the natives came nearer dividing them into families than any birds. Of perhaps a half-dozen, they recognized three eagles, they knew three vultures, four or five falcons, and several kites; but almost every Biblical reference is translated "eagle," no matter how evident the text makes it that the bird was a vulture. For example,  Micah 1:16 : "Make thee bald, and cut off thy hair for the children of thy delight: enlarge thy baldness as the eagle (m "vulture"); for they are gone into captivity from thee." This is a reference to the custom of shaving the head when in mourning, but as Palestine knew no bald eagle, the text could refer only to the bare head and neck of the griffon vulture. The eagles were, when hunger-driven, birds of prey; the vultures, carrion feeders only. There was a golden eagle (the osprey of the King James Version), not very common, distinguished by its tan-colored head; the imperial eagle, more numerous and easily identified by a dark head and white shoulders; a spotted eagle; a tawny eagle, much more common and readily distinguished by its plumage; and the short-toed eagle, most common of all and especially a bird of prey, as also a small hooded eagle so similar to a vulture that it was easily mistaken for one, save that it was very bold about taking its own food.

The first Biblical reference to the eagle referred to the right bird.  Exodus 19:4 : "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." This "bare you on eagles' wings" must not be interpreted to mean that an eagle ever carried anything on its back. It merely means that by strength of powerful wing it could carry quite a load with its feet and frequently was seen doing this. Vultures never carried anything; they feasted and regurgitated what they had eaten to their young. The second reference is found in   Leviticus 11:13 and repeated in   Deuteronomy 14:12 , the lists of abominations. It would seem peculiar that Moses would find it necessary to include eagles in this list until it is known that Arab mountaineers were eating these birds at that time. The next falls in  Deuteronomy 28:49 : "Yahweh will bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand." This also refers to the true eagle and points out that its power of sustained flight, and the speed it could attain when hastening to its hunger-clamoring young, had been observed. The next reference is in   Deuteronomy 32:11 :

"As an eagle that stirreth up her nest,

That fluttereth over her young,

He spread abroad his wings, he took them,

He bare them on his pinions."

This is good natural history at last. Former versions made these lines read as if the eagle carried its young on its wings, a thing wholly incompatible with flight in any bird. Samuel's record of the lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan is a wonderful poetic outburst and contains reference to this homing flight of the eagle ( 2 Samuel 1:23 ). In  Job 9:26 the arrow-like downward plunge of the hunger-driven eagle is used in comparison with the flight of time. In Job 39, which contains more good natural history than any other chapter of the Bible, will be found everything concerning the eagle anyone need know:

"Is it at thy command that the eagle mounteth up,

And maketh her nest on high?

On the cliff she dwelleth, and maketh her home,

Upon the point of the cliff, and the stronghold.

From thence she spieth out the prey;

Her eyes behold it afar off.

Her young ones also suck up blood:

And where the slain are, there is she" ( Job 39:27-30 ).

 Psalm 103:5 is a reference to the long life of the eagle. The bird has been known to live to an astonishing age in captivity; under natural conditions, the age it attains can only be guessed.

"Who satisfieth thy desire with good things,

So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle."

 Proverbs 23:5 compares the flight of wealth with that of an eagle;   Proverbs 30:17 touches on the fact that the eye of prey is the first place attacked in eating, probably because it is the most vulnerable point and so is frequently fed to the young.   Proverbs 30:19 :

"The way of an eagle in the air;

The way of a serpent upon a rock:

The way of a ship in the midst of the sea;

And the way of a man with a maiden."

This reference to the eagle is to that wonderful power of flight that enables a bird to hang as if frozen in the sky, for long periods appearing to our sight immovable, or to sail and soar directly into the eye of the sun, seeming to rejoice in its strength of flight and to exult in the security and freedom of the upper air.

The word "way" is here improperly translated. To the average mind it always means a road, a path. In this instance it should be translated:

The characteristics of an eagle in the air;

The habit of a serpent upon the rock;

The path of a ship in the midst of the sea;

And the manner of a man with a maid.

Each of these lines stood a separate marvel to Agur, and had no connection with the others (but compare The Wisdom of Solomon 5:10, 11, and see Way ).

 Isaiah 40:31 is another flight reference.   Jeremiah 49:16 refers to the inaccessible heights at which the eagle loves to build and rear its young.   Jeremiah 49:22 refers to the eagle's power of flight.   Ezekiel 1:10 recounts a vision of the prophet in which strange living creatures had faces resembling eagles. The same book (  Ezekiel 17:3 ) contains the parable of the eagle: "Thus saith the Lord Yahweh: A great eagle with great wings and long pinions, full of feathers, which had divers colors, came unto Lebanon, and took the top of the cedar."  Hosea 8:1 is another flight reference.   Obadiah 1:4 is almost identical with   Jeremiah 49:16 . The next reference is that of Micah, and really refers to the griffon vulture ( Micah 1:16 ). In  Habakkuk 1:8 the reference is to swift flight.   Matthew 24:28 undoubtedly refers to vultures. In   Revelation 4:7 the eagle is used as a symbol of strength. In   Revelation 8:13 the bird is represented as speaking: "And I saw, and I heard an eagle (the King James Version "angel"), flying in mid heaven, saying with a great voice, Woe, woe, woe, for them that dwell on the earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, who are yet to sound." The eagle makes its last appearance in the vision of the woman and the dragon (  Revelation 12:14 ).

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [17]

The king of birds, and bird of Jove; was adopted by various nations as the emblem of dominant power, as well as of nobility and generosity; in Christian art it is the symbol of meditation, and the attribute of St. John; is represented now as fighting with a serpent, and now as drinking out of a chalice or a communion cup, to strengthen it for the fight.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [18]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Eagle'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/e/eagle.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.