(Heb. beytsah, "whiteness"). Eggs deserted ( Isaiah 10:14 ), of a bird ( Deuteronomy 22:6 ), an ostrich ( Job 39:14 ), the cockatrice ( Isaiah 59:5 ). In Luke 11:12 , an egg is contrasted with a scorpion, which is said to be very like an egg in its appearance, so much so as to be with difficulty at times distinguished from it. In Job 6:6 ("the white of an egg") the word for egg (hallamuth') occurs nowhere else. It has been translated "purslain" (RSV marg.), and the whole phrase "purslain-broth", i.e., broth made of that herb, proverbial for its insipidity; and hence an insipid discourse. Job applies this expression to the speech of Eliphaz as being insipid and dull. But the common rendering, "the white of an egg", may be satisfactorily maintained.
(betsah; oon; Latin ovum):
An oval or spheroid body produced by birds, fishes and reptiles, from which their young emerge when incubated or naturally developed. The fertile egg of a bird consists of the yolk, a small disk from which the embryo develops, the albuminous white, and a calcareous shell. The most ancient records prove that eggs have been used as an article of diet ever since the use of the flesh of fowl began. Chickens were unknown in Palestine in the days of Job, so that his query concerning the taste of the white of an egg might have referred to those of pigeons, ducks, eggs taken from the nests of geese or swans, game birds or ostriches. "Can that which hath no savor be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?" (Job 6:6, the Revised Version, margin "the juice of purslain"). In Luke 11:12 there is every possibility that the egg of our common domestic fowl is referred to as "chickens" (which see) had been imported and were numerous in Palestine at that time. "Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion?" The reference in Isaiah 59:5 is to the egg of a serpent, and is figurative of the schemes of evil men:
"They hatch adders' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth; and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper."
These files are public domain.