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In Zechariah 5, a woman is taken to Babylon in a basket, but she is taken there by two women with stork-like wings.

Zechariah 5:9 (YLT)

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And I lift up mine eyes, and see, and lo, two women are coming forth, and wind in their wings; and they have wings like wings of the stork, and they lift up the ephah between the earth and the heavens.

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Does anyone know of any ancient references to the two women and their wings - anything before the Roman Empire?

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  • What do you mean by 'references'? Literally references to this passage in Zechariah, or historical references to a literal pair of women with wings flying through to Babylon with a woman in a basket?
    – user2910
    Sep 19, 2018 at 17:56
  • References to stork-winged-women (not literally, but in literature). Preferably references from the Bible, but anything from that time is better than nothing.
    – colboynik
    Sep 19, 2018 at 18:23
  • Strix, Lilith, harpies and sirens come to mind.
    – Lucian
    Sep 19, 2018 at 19:21

1 Answer 1

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I think we should see this whole thing as a kind of anti-Ark. In Zechariah 5 we have the following:

  1. A basket with a lead covering
  2. Containing a woman identified as "wickedness"
  3. Carried by women with stork wings
  4. Carried to Shinar where a house will be built for it.

Contrast this with the Ark of the Covenant:

  1. An ark with a golden covering
  2. Containing holy items
  3. Flanked by golden winged cherubim (1 Kings 6.27)
  4. Carried to Jerusalem where a house was built for it.

Consider that Zechariah's night visions are very strongly associated with temple language. The four horns of chapter 1 are an anti-altar, followed by the measuring angel in chapter 2, the high priestly garments in chapter 3, the lamp stand in chapter 4, and the chariots in chapter 5 (corresponding, perhaps, to the water chariots in the temple?). Given the multiplicity of allusions, it makes sense to see the stork-women as de-glorified cherubim for an inglorious and wicked anti-ark.

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