“Hyenas will cry in its towers”

Hyenas are mentioned only three times in the English Standard Version (Isaiah 13:22; 34:14; Jeremiah 50:39). Several English versions use hyenas only once.

The prophet Isaiah describes the overthrow of ancient Babylon. The town that once was the capital of the world would become a desolate place. The important buildings, once housing the likes of Nebuchadnezzar, would become a haunt for the wild animals.

Hyenas will cry in its towers, and jackals in the pleasant palaces; (Isaiah 13:22 ESV)

Hyena at Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in southern Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Hyena at Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in southern Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Here is a portion of A. E. Day’s description of the hyena.

The Palestinian hyena is the striped hyena (Hyaena striata) which ranges from India to North Africa. The striped, the spotted, and the brown hyenas constitute a distinct family of the order of Carnivora, having certain peculiarities of dentition and having four toes on each foot, instead of four behind and five in front, as in most of the order. The hyena is a nocturnal animal, rarely seen though fairly abundant, powerful but cowardly, a feeder on carrion and addicted to grave-robbing. (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised, p. 787.

One response to ““Hyenas will cry in its towers”

  1. Dear ferrell,
    If the word hyena is transcribed only once by some translations, it is perhaps because all striped hyenas do not yell. As the Hebrew word “tsiyiy” (H06728) is silent, and jackals since attending wild places, solitary, even desert, their field is used figuratively in Scripture to represent a state of total desolation, the lack of inhabitants humans, the jackal is it not more appropriate?
    It’s just an idea!
    Cordially.

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