Authorities differ as to whether the term tzabu'a in (Jeremiah 12:9) means a "hyaena" or a "speckled bird." The only other instance in which it occurs is as a proper name, Zeboim, (1 Samuel 13:18) "the valley of hyaenas, "Aquila; (Nehemiah 11:34) The striped hyaena (Hyaena striata) is found in Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia and Persia, and is more common in Palestine than any other carnivorous animals except perhaps the jackal, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. The hyaena is among the mammals what the vulture is among birds,--the scavenger of the wilderness, the woods and the shore: It often attacks animals, and Sometimes digs up the dead bodies of men and beasts. From this last habit the hyaena has been regarded as a horrible and mysterious creature. Its teeth are so powerful that they can crack the bones of an ox with ease: Appelton's Encyc. The hyaena was common in ancient as in modern Egypt, and is constantly depicted upon monuments; it must therefore have been well known to the Jews.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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