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In other words, just as the partridge, which covers eggs that are not its own, will probably lose the chicks later on, so anyone who stores up riches that do not belong to them will end up losing everything.
This is a galliform bird, native to Israel, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula.
I took this photograph almost by chance, as it crossed our path in front of us at great speed, hardly giving me time to focus the image properly. We were near the Dead Sea.
The sand partridge (Ammoperdix heyi), is a sedentary bird which lives in rugged, arid regions. It feed son all kinds of seeds and insects. It tends to be a lazy flyer and, when disturbed or pursued it prefers to run rather than fly. If it has no choice, it will fly short distances, landing again once the danger has passed, or it has travelled a sufficient distance to be safe. It usually nests in the ground by digging a little hole where the female lays between 5 and seven eggs.
The Bible mentions this bird only twice.
The first time is in 1 Samuel 26: 20. On that occasion, David compares himself to a partridge, ridiculing the enormous efforts Saul and his soldiers are making to find one solitary, insignificant fugitive in the desert. “Now do not let my blood fall to the ground far from the presence of the Lord. The king of Israel has come out to look for a flea—as one hunts a partridge in the mountains.”
The second time the bird is mentioned is in Jeremiah 17:11. Here the prophet’s focus is on the partridge’s curious habit of stealing eggs from other birds’ nests:
Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay
are those who gain riches by unjust means.
When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them,
and in the end they will prove to be fools.
In other words, just as the partridge, which covers eggs that are not its own, will probably lose the chicks later on, so anyone who stores up riches that do not belong to them will end up losing everything. Corruption and dishonesty are stupid because they ultimately lead to the ruin of the whole person.
One only has to think of some recent examples of some of our politicians. Could anything be more pertinent and relevant to our contemporary world than these words written thousands of years ago? How little we have changed! We are still just like the incorrigible Ammoperdix!