Barry Newman's Blog

December 2, 2012

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Full Series PDF)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The parable of the Mustard Seed — barrynewman @ 12:20 am

Here is the full series

November 30, 2012

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (part XV)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The parable of the Mustard Seed — barrynewman @ 10:20 pm

In Conclusion

John the “immerser” came announcing that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.  Jesus came and proclaimed the same.  God had already been working throughout history fulfilling his purposes through those before Abraham and then through such as Abraham, the Fathers of Israel, Moses, David, the prophets, Israel herself.  But now the time had come for the kingdom of God to burst in upon history with the coming of the king.  It would have small beginnings – the Messiah and his followers.  But the kingdom would soon take on enormous proportions even only 50 days after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

This parable must have been or should have been of enormous encouragement to the believers in the early days when persecution began to rear its ugly head and when it might have been thought that the kingdom was in danger of collapsing. Paul knew of the greatness of the kingdom as the gospel was preached around the world and many became believers, no matter how great the difficulties to be endured by him and others.

Through the centuries that followed, in spite of the distortions that were introduced into the gospel, the kingdom continued to flourish, through thick and thin.  In the devastating times and places of today, the kingdom continues to expand.  There are believers in what once may have been considered or today are considered the most extraordinary of places – Siberia, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Mongolia, Nepal, Thailand, East Timor, Japan, Mexico, Ecuador, China, Zambia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Libya, Niger, Cambodia, even Great Britain, the United States, New Zealand and Australia!

People of God, take heart, no matter what your circumstances. The Kingdom of God has always been growing and growing vigorously.  It had the smallest of beginnings but it is the kingdom of God.  It had to develop enormously as people from every tongue and tribe have been pouring into the kingdom, willingly submitting to the great king and saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  His dominion of loyal subjects has been ever only expanding.  Praise be to him.

November 28, 2012

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Part XIV)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The parable of the Mustard Seed — barrynewman @ 8:46 am

An Interpretation

In the light of the considerable discussion above, the interpretation of the parable turns out to be a simple one – embarrassingly simple, given the length of this paper.

The kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God has very small beginnings.  But it is God’s kingdom. It will grow, expand, and develop into something of enormous proportions.  And many will come into that kingdom and find shelter there.

And what is said to happen in the future has already happened.

Is there also a reference in the parable to peoples from many nations finding security in the kingdom of God?  If there is no allusion to the Ezekiel 17 parable one might reply, “Maybe, maybe not”.  But if the Ezekiel 17 passage is in mind, the answer may well be “Yes”. That all three “parables” – those in Ezekiel 31, Daniel 4 and Ezekiel 17 may well set the “birds” in an especially significant light adds further weight to the idea that in the parable told by Jesus the birds are meant to have special significance also. It is possible that the parable that Jesus told, together with the parable of Ezekiel, to which it may well allude, do together, what on their own, they could not do. My own view is that the parable has overtones of Ezekiel 17, though somewhat muted. My guess is that if anyone had some reasonable knowledge of that parable it would be odd for it not to come to mind upon hearing Jesus tell his parable, no matter whether one’s language competency was in that of Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek.  Provided people had some reasonable theological astuteness they would sense the idea that the parable that Jesus told was referring among other things to “peoples from every tribe and tongue” finding their rest under the rule of God.

But what if they did not have such astuteness?  Would the situation be similar to that which existed for so many other parables – that hearing people did not hear and that seeing they did not perceive, for their hearts were hardened so that they did not understand?  Probably, “Yes”!

The Oddities of the Parable

For many what seems to stand out as an oddity of the parable is the fact that in reality the mustard plant is neither all that large nor all that high, yet it is spoken of as though it was fairly substantial, one way or another. As a herb, it is substantial.  As a tree, it is not large at all. And it has branches – large branches (Mark) when in reality they appear to be what you might expect with a bushy shrub – not all that large.  The mustard seed is very, very small – but not the smallest of all seeds.  Did Jesus know that?  Birds of the air might shelter in its shade but is it just a little too much to say that they lodged there?  I am not sure.  In the final analysis, if there are oddities, it is simply Jesus dictating theological truths which if needs be, must distort reality, rather than his telling a story about nature to which he must fit theological truths.

November 25, 2012

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (part XIII)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The parable of the Mustard Seed — barrynewman @ 7:22 pm

The Construction of the Parable

If Jesus had the Ezekiel 17 “parable” at the back of his mind he is not simply going to repeat that parable if he wishes to make a particular point that is not present or not as sharply made in that parable.  He will make his own point in his own way but with allusions to the Ezekiel parable, if thought appropriate.

The parable that Jesus creates focuses on the smallness of the mustard seed. The twig in Ezekiel 17 is small, but the mustard seed is much smaller, very small. Possibly, speaking proverbially, it is the smallest of all seeds.  Jesus then describes, similarly to the description in the Ezekiel parable, how it becomes a great tree!  Well, not really.  Haven chosen the mustard seed for its very small size, Jesus can but acknowledge the limitations of the mustard plant. Its seed will not develop into an enormous tree. That Mark makes no mention of a “tree” may indicate that originally Jesus made no reference to a “tree” as such. None the less Jesus wishes to say that it will develop into something quite substantial.  It becomes the largest of (all) herbs, almost a tree, large enough to be called a tree (by Matthew and Luke) anyway!

And birds come to lodge in it. Well, normally, small birds do. It is only a mustard tree after all. But according to the parable, they come to lodge in it, not to fly in and out, which many in reality might well do. In Ezekiel there is no restriction on size.  In that parable the tree will cope with birds of all sizes and in real life, some may well lodge there.

Why do the birds come and lodge there? With respect to this matter Mark may reflect the original words of Jesus better than the other Gospels.  They come to be sheltered from the sun, they come for the shade.  The Ezekiel parable also has the birds coming for the shade. It may be that in both parables one could imagine that they come for other things, for example to nest and in the parable that Jesus told, that they come to be safe from predators or to eat the fruit.  But Jesus simply says they lodge there with only the one reason being given, the one that appears in Mark.

Jesus could have concluded his parable at that point where he describes that the plant becoming the largest of (all) herbs, having large branches (Mark) even a tree (Matthew and Luke).  And what appears to be his main point would still have been made.  That he then referred to the birds of the air lodging in its branches may have been because he also wanted there to be an allusion to the Ezekiel tree.

But why did Jesus not refer to “the birds of every wing” rather than “the birds of the air” if he wished to make the allusion to the Ezekiel parable obvious?  Perhaps, because, as discussed above, with respect to the mustard “tree” one would not find “birds of every wing”.  In the main, they would only be small birds and only birds of certain types. To speak of “birds of every kind” would stretch the “reality” being portrayed too far.  It could be that it was being stretched enough as it was.

And if Jesus wanted any allusion to the Ezekiel parable to be obvious, why after concluding his parable did he not refer to other “kingdoms” recognising the greatness of the kingdom that God would establish?  In a sense there was no need to.  Any Jew of the time of Jesus would have assumed as much anyway.  The parable that he told was cryptic, plainly told and complete within itself.  The listener was required to “connect the dots” if “dots” there were.

In the end what drives the parable that Jesus told is the smallness of the mustard seed and if there are allusions to the Ezekiel tree they will have to suffer a little if necessary.

November 23, 2012

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (part XII)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The parable of the Mustard Seed — barrynewman @ 8:17 pm

Old Testament Allusions? (part 2)

That the Ezekiel 17 parable refers to “every bird of every wing” or even simply “every bird” could be understood to suggest that the birds referred to have some special significance.  As mentioned above I suspect that the reference is to “peoples of all nations”. The birds of Ezekiel 31 and Daniel 4 could also be understood to have special significance. In one case the reference is possibly, if not probably, to other nations and in the other the reference is possibly, if not probably, to supporters of the monarch.  That all three parables can be understood as portraying the birds as especially significant lends weight to the idea that the reference to “birds” in the parable that Jesus told is also especially significant.

However, if Jesus wanted to make a clear allusion to Ezekiel 17 why did he refer to a mustard seed and not a twig from a cedar tree and to “birds of the air” rather than “every bird of every kind.”?  Does the answer lie in his choice for the parable of “the grain of mustard”, “the smallest of all seeds” (Matthew and Mark)?

Yet a further matter to consider is the context of the Ezekiel 17 parable of the great cedar. .  Prior to the parable, the prophet writes of how Lord (Yahweh) in judgment will bring the king (Zedekiah) to Babylon. The king has broken his covenant with the Babylonians (by making an alliance with Egypt against Babylon)), a covenant which is spoken of as a covenant with the Lord.  That is, the kingdom associated with Zedekiah, shall fall.  It is then that the parable of the great cedar is introduced – a parable which at hearty conveys the idea that God will establish a kingdom of his own making.  At the conclusion of the parable, the prophet writes of Yahweh saying, “And all the trees of the field shall know that I Yahweh bring down the high tree, exalt the low tree, dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.”  This seems to be a reference to other kingdoms recognising the power of God as he removes a kingdom and replaces it with one that has an inauspicious beginning but indeed flourishes.  The parable that Jesus told makes no reference to others perceiving what God does yet it does contain the idea of greatness coming from small beginnings.  Again, there are aspects of the Ezekiel 17 parable which are paralleled in the parable that Jesus told and there are aspects that are not so reflected.

November 21, 2012

The parable of the Mustard Seed (part XI)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The parable of the Mustard Seed — barrynewman @ 9:21 pm

Old Testament Allusions? (part 1)

If there is an allusion to an Old Testament passage or passages in the parable of the mustard seed, possible contenders as references to which the allusion could be made would be those “parables” found within Ezekiel 31, Daniel 4 or Ezekiel 17.  The Ezekiel 31 and Daniel 4 texts both contain references to a tree and “the birds of the air” in that tree.  However both conclude with the tree being destroyed.  And in one case the birds become birds of prey and in the other, the birds flee.  In the parable of the mustard seed there is no hint of the tree being destroyed or “the birds of the air” changing their relationship to the tree.

What of the tree referred to in Ezekiel 17 (verses 22- 24)?  In Ezekiel 17 the tree is planted by Yahweh which has some parallel with the tree that developed from the mustard seed for the parable of the mustard seed concerns the “kingdom of heaven”.  It does not concern the kingdom of the evil one or of any earthly potentate. Furthermore, the tree of Ezekiel is planted on a high and lofty mountain – the high mountain of Israel and in parallel, the kingdom of heaven of the parable that Jesus told obviously has its roots in Jesus himself and his 12 disciples – the members of the true Israel. The Ezekiel tree begins as a mere twig, while the mustard “tree” begins as a very small seed. While in the Ezekiel parable the birds are not described as “the birds of the air” they do come to dwell in the shade of its (dangling) branches and there are a lot of them – every bird of every wing – probably meaning every bird of every kind. In the parable that Jesus told, “the birds of the air” perch in its branches (Matthew and Luke) or perch in its shade (Mark).  The tree in Ezekiel 17 brings forth boughs and becomes a stately cedar.  In the parable, the seed develops into the greatest of (all) herbs (Matthew and Mark) and produces large branches (Mark) even becoming a tree (Matthew and Luke).  The tree of Ezekiel 17 is a good contender as a reference to which an allusion is being made in the parable of the mustard seed.

Yet there are some difficulties. The birds that might relate to the tree that develops from a mustard seed are not normally going to be large birds.  The tree could not cope with large birds.  They will be small ones, whereas the tree of Ezekiel has birds of every kind. Yet in the Ezekiel 17 passage the Hebrew word translated “birds” is “tsippor” and the suggestion has been made above that the word can refer to “small birds” or “hopping birds”. The Authorised Version translates “tsippor” in Psalm 84: 3 and 102: 7 as “sparrows”. However, it is not being suggested that in the Ezekiel passage the birds there are all small birds of every kind. That would go against the general impression being conveyed that there was a multiplicity of different kinds of birds.  Furthermore, Jesus could have referred to “small” birds” but he did not.  The size of the birds does not seem to be an issue in either parable.

Another matter to consider is how the parable is related in the Septuagint version. There the text reads, “Every bird (“orneon”) shall rest beneath it and every bird (“peteinos”) shall rest under its shadow; its branches (“klema”) shall be restored.” (17: 23).[1] In the parable of the mustard seed, the translation “birds” is based on the Greek word “peteinos” but in the Septuagint the birds of any kind are not explicitly said to be dwelling in the shade of its branches. They simply “rest under its shadow”; though presumably that means they are in the branches which provide the shade.  This aspect is not unlike the relevant part of the version of the parable told by Jesus as recorded in Mark.


[1] In the Greek Septuagint, what is “tsippor” in the Hebrew text is sometimes “peteinos” (e.g. Ezekiel 39: 4) and sometimes “orneon” (e.g. Ezekiel 39: 17)

November 19, 2012

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (part X)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The parable of the Mustard Seed — barrynewman @ 9:55 pm

The Birds of the Air and the Branches

As already indicated, in the Old Testament, the phrase, “the birds of the air” is sometimes associated with mention of a tree. That should not strike us as unusual. Birds often appear in trees for one reason or another! In Ezekiel 31: 6 the birds of the air nested in the branches (“se<ppah”) of the tree.  In Daniel 4: 21, the birds of the air lived in the branches (“<enep). In Ezekiel 17: 23 the birds shall dwell in the shadow of its (dangling) branches (“daliyah”). Birds are in trees because they find one or more aspect of trees valuable.

In the parable that Jesus told the birds of the air perch in the branches (“klados”) of the tree (Matthew and Luke) and the result of their being large branches (“klados”) is that the birds of the air “perch” in its shadow (Mark). The Greek word, “kataskenoo” translated here as “perch” has the general meaning of “lodging” , “settling down”, “making camp”.

Jesus uses the imagery of “birds of the air” in association with “branches” to indicate that they come to the tree because they find something about the tree valuable.  In real life however, the birds will tend to be small birds. The mustard “tree” is not all that substantial. And in the parable, they don’t just flitter in and out.  They lodge there – on the branches.

The Contexts Reconsidered

In Matthew the parable is preceded by the parable of the wheat and the weeds and followed by the parable of the yeast.  One could deduce from this that because the first parable, as later explained by Jesus, refers to both the sons of the kingdom and the sons of the evil one and because the second parable refers to yeast which is sometimes considered as an evil influence, that the parable of the mustard seed, should also have some “evil” element in it.  However there is no suggestion in the parable of the yeast that yeast in that parable is meant to indicate something “pernicious”.  Furthermore, what the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the wheat and the weeds have in common is the idea of sowing.  This could have led Jesus to utter one after the other or influenced Matthew to recite them one after the other.  The simplicity of the parable of the yeast, together with its notion of growth could have similarly influenced Jesus or Matthew to place both this parable and the parable of the mustard seed in close proximity to one another.  In fact, the parable of the yeast has much more in common with the parable of the mustard seed than does the parable of the wheat and the weeds.

In Mark the parable is immediately preceded by the parable of the patient farmer and followed by some general statements about Jesus teaching in parables.  The parable of the patient farmer and the parable of the mustard seed share in common the notion of sowing and the general idea of the development of the seed. There is no indication that “evil” is somehow involved in the parable of the patient farmer.

In Luke, the parable is immediately preceded by the healing by Jesus of the woman with the bent back and the confrontation that resulted between him and the ruler of the synagogue because he had healed on the Sabbath. The episode concludes with his opponents being humiliated but with the crowd rejoicing “over all the glorious things being done by him.” As in Matthew, the parable is followed by the parable of the yeast. Given that the final words concerning the healing of the woman with the bent back relate to rejoicing and his wondrous acts, and given the apparent absence of the notion of “evil” from the parable of the yeast, suggests that whatever the parable of the mustard seed is about it is about “the really good”, not “the really bad”.

November 17, 2012

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (part IX)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The parable of the Mustard Seed — barrynewman @ 8:15 pm

The Birds of the Air and the Branches

As already indicated, in the Old Testament, the phrase, “the birds of the air” is sometimes associated with mention of a tree. That should not strike us as unusual. Birds often appear in trees for one reason or another! In Ezekiel 31: 6 the birds of the air nested in the branches (“se<ppah”) of the tree.  In Daniel 4: 21, the birds of the air lived in the branches (“<enep). In Ezekiel 17: 23 the birds shall dwell in the shadow of its (dangling) branches (“daliyah”). Birds are in trees because they find one or more aspect of trees valuable.

In the parable that Jesus told the birds of the air perch in the branches (“klados”) of the tree (Matthew and Luke) and the result of their being large branches (“klados”) is that the birds of the air “perch” in its shadow (Mark). The Greek word, “kataskenoo” translated here as “perch” has the general meaning of “lodging” , “settling down”, “making camp”.

Jesus uses the imagery of “birds of the air” in association with “branches” to indicate that they come to the tree because they find something about the tree valuable.  In real life however, the birds will tend to be small birds. The mustard “tree” is not all that substantial. And in the parable, they don’t just flitter in and out.  They lodge there – on the branches.

The Contexts Reconsidered

In Matthew the parable is preceded by the parable of the wheat and the weeds and followed by the parable of the yeast.  One could deduce from this that because the first parable, as later explained by Jesus, refers to both the sons of the kingdom and the sons of the evil one and because the second parable refers to yeast which is sometimes considered as an evil influence, that the parable of the mustard seed, should also have some “evil” element in it.  However there is no suggestion in the parable of the yeast that yeast in that parable is meant to indicate something “pernicious”.  Furthermore, what the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the wheat and the weeds have in common is the idea of sowing.  This could have led Jesus to utter one after the other or influenced Matthew to recite them one after the other.  The simplicity of the parable of the yeast, together with its notion of growth could have similarly influenced Jesus or Matthew to place both this parable and the parable of the mustard seed in close proximity to one another.  In fact, the parable of the yeast has much more in common with the parable of the mustard seed than does the parable of the wheat and the weeds.

In Mark the parable is immediately preceded by the parable of the patient farmer and followed by some general statements about Jesus teaching in parables.  The parable of the patient farmer and the parable of the mustard seed share in common the notion of sowing and the general idea of the development of the seed. There is no indication that “evil” is somehow involved in the parable of the patient farmer.

In Luke, the parable is immediately preceded by the healing by Jesus of the woman with the bent back and the confrontation that resulted between him and the ruler of the synagogue because he had healed on the Sabbath. The episode concludes with his opponents being humiliated but with the crowd rejoicing “over all the glorious things being done by him.” As in Matthew, the parable is followed by the parable of the yeast. Given that the final words concerning the healing of the woman with the bent back relate to rejoicing and his wondrous acts, and given the apparent absence of the notion of “evil” from the parable of the yeast, suggests that whatever the parable of the mustard seed is about it is about “the really good”, not “the really bad”.

November 15, 2012

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (part VIII)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The parable of the Mustard Seed — barrynewman @ 8:42 pm

The Birds of the Air (cont)

In Ezekiel 31: 6, 13; 32: 4, references to “the birds (‘<op’) of the air” form part of a metaphorical description of the greatness of the Assyrian nation, depicted as a tree.  Upon its downfall, “the birds of the air” are pictured as dwelling (that is, acting as birds of prey) on its ruin. It may be that the birds represent the peoples that originally obtained their security by making alliances with Assyria but upon its downfall benefitted from its ruin. .

In Daniel 4: 12, 21 “the birds (‘tsippor’) of the air” feature metaphorically in a vision in which Nebuchadnezzar is described as a tree.  Upon it being cut down, the birds flee. In this instance the birds may represent his supporters and advisers.

In Ezekiel 17: 23 there is a reference to “every bird (‘tsippor’) of every wing” dwelling in the shade of the branches of a majestic cedar that has grown as a result of Yahweh having planted a twig taken from a cedar. Here “every bird of every wing”, probably meaning “every bird of every kind”, probably refers to peoples of all nations, not only “Israel”. There is no reference in this text however to “birds of the air”.  References to “birds (‘tsippor’) of every wing” are also found in Ezekiel 39: 4, 17. Here the reference is to birds of prey. Interestingly, there is an instance of the phrase, “every bird (‘<op’) with wings after its kind” (Genesis 1: 21) and the words “<op” and “tsippor” are found together in the combined phrases, “every bird (‘<op’) after its kind, every bird (‘tsippor’) of every wing” (Genesis 7: 14).

On the basis of the usage of the phrase “birds of the air” in both the Old and New Testaments, there is no compelling reason to assume that in the parable that Jesus told, the phrase is a reference to something evil, unclean or distasteful.

November 13, 2012

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (part VII)

Filed under: Parables of Jesus,The parable of the Mustard Seed — barrynewman @ 9:25 pm

The Birds of the Air

Some detailed attention will be given to “birds” and the phrase, “the birds of the air” as they are found in the Old and New Testaments for reasons which should become apparent towards the end of this section and in later sections. One of the issues being dealt with is whether or not the birds in the parable that Jesus told are to be associated with something evil.  There is a view that that they are to be so considered.

The phrase, “the birds of the air” is found a number of times in both the Old and New Testaments. It may be that the term “of the air” is a way of distinguishing flying birds from non – flying birds but it is not at all clear that that is the way the term is used in the Scriptures.  In Genesis, for example, “birds of the air” is quite likely a phrase referring to birds in general.

In the Old Testament, the literal reference is to “the birds of the heavens” The most common Hebrew word for “bird” there is “<op” and it occurs as part of the phrase “the birds of the air” almost 40 times: Genesis 1: 26, 28, 30; 2: 19, 20; 6: 7; 7: 3, 23; 9: 2; Deuteronomy 28: 26; 1 Samuel 17: 44, 46; 2 Samuel 21: 10; 1 Kings 14: 11; 16: 4; 21: 24; Job 12: 7; 28: 21; 35: 11; Psalm79: 2; 104: 12; Ecclesiastes 10: 20; Jeremiah 4: 25; 7: 33; 9: 10; 15: 3; 16: 4; 19: 7; 34: 20; Ezekiel 29: 5; 31: 6, 13; 32: 4; 38: 20; Hosea 2: 18; 4: 3; 7: 12; Zephaniah 1: 3.  There is another Hebrew word for bird, “tsippor”, possibly meaning in some contexts, “small birds” or “hopping birds “but the distinction, if any, to be made between “<op” and “tsippor” is unclear. There are three instances where “tsippor” occurs as part of the phrase “birds of the air”: Psalm 8: 8 and Daniel 4: 12, 21.  There are of course, many references to “birds” in the Old Testament without any reference being made to “the heavens”.

In the New Testament, the literal reference is to “the birds of the heaven”. The most common Greek word for “bird” there is “peteinos” and that is the word used in the parable of the mustard seed.  Of its 14 occurrences, nine are found in the form, “the birds of the air”.  Matthew 6: 26; 8: 20; 13: 32; Mark 4: 32; Luke 8: 5; 9: 58; 13: 19; Acts 10: 12; 11; 6.  There are two other words, translated “birds” in the New Testament.  They are: “ptenos” which occurs once (1 Corinthians 15: 39) and “orneon” which occurs three times (Revelation: 18: 2; 19: 17, 21). Neither “ptenos” nor “orneon” occurs as part of a phrase “birds of the air”.

About thirteen texts in the Old Testament make reference to “the birds of the air”, the birds being birds of prey: 1 Samuel 17: 44, 46; 1 Kings 14: 11; 16: 4; 21: 24; Psalm 79: 2; Jeremiah 15: 3; 16: 4; 19: 7; 34: 20; Ezekiel 29: 5; 31: 13; 32: 4. In the New Testament there are two references to “the birds of the air” where the birds are described as unclean: Acts 10: 12, 11: 6. These are “the birds of the air” that Peter sees in a vision. The word “orneon” is used in Revelation18: 20 to refer to unclean birds and in Revelation 19: 17 and 21 to refer to birds of prey. In Leviticus 11: 13 – 19, there is a list of birds to be regarded as “unclean”.  However it is clear from this list that not all birds are unclean. Texts such as Genesis 8: 20; Leviticus 17: 13; 20: 25, where the word is “<op” and Deuteronomy 14: 11; Leviticus 14: 4, 49 where the word is “tsippor” also make it clear that not all birds are to be regarded as unclean. Most references to “the birds of the air” in the Old and New Testaments depict the birds as neither birds of prey nor unclean.

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