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)


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.


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

  • 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 Literally references to this passage in Zechariah, or historical references to a literal pair of women with wings flying through to Babylon with a woman in a basket?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
    Commented 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
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 18:23
  • Strix, Lilith, harpies and sirens come to mind.
    – Lucian
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


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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