(7) What is the meaning of, “And the birds descended on the bodies which were divided?” (#Ge 15:11). Since the three animals, the heifer, and the shegoat, and the ram, were divided in a symbolical manner, they are signs, as we have already said, of the earth, and water, and air; still it is necessary to give now a reason for this, examining the truth carefully under the mystery of a similitude. Perhaps therefore he designs and intimates by the descent of the birds on the cut pieces an invasion of enemies; for all the nature of the world beneath the moon is full of battles and ill will, both domestic and external; and the birds in truth appear to fly down on the divided bodies for the sake of meat and drink; naturally indeed it is the stronger which descend upon the weaker animals, as upon dead bodies, attacking them in general unexpectedly, but they do not fly down on the turtle dove and pigeon, since the heavenly bodies are free from desires and unconscious of suffering wrong.