Birds have played a significant role in human culture for thousands of years, and this is especially true in the Bible. Birds are mentioned throughout the Bible in a variety of contexts, from their symbolic significance to their role in the daily lives of ancient people.
In this blog post, we will explore some of the most commonly mentioned birds in the Bible, their symbolism, and what they can teach us about God, humanity, and the world around us.
Birds in the Bible
Let’s take a look at some of the birds mentioned in the Bible, and then we will take a closer look at each one.
- Dove – The dove is a symbol of peace and is mentioned several times in the Bible, including in the story of Noah’s ark, where a dove was sent out to find dry land.
- Sparrow – The sparrow is mentioned several times in the Bible, including in Matthew 10:29-31 where it is said that not even one sparrow falls to the ground without God knowing about it.
- Eagle – The eagle is mentioned several times in the Bible, and is often used as a symbol of strength and power. For example, in Exodus 19:4, God is said to have carried the Israelites on eagles’ wings out of Egypt.
- Raven – The raven is mentioned in several passages of the Bible, including in Genesis 8:7 where it is sent out from the ark by Noah to find dry land.
- Ostrich – The ostrich is mentioned in several passages of the Bible, including in Job 39:13-18 where it is described as being foolish and neglectful of its young.
- Quail – The quail is mentioned in the Bible in the story of the Israelites wandering in the desert, where they were provided with quails to eat (Exodus 16:13).
- Peacock – The peacock is mentioned in the Bible in the book of Kings, where it is said that King Solomon received gifts of peacocks from foreign lands (1 Kings 10:22).
- Stork – The stork is mentioned in the Bible in the book of Jeremiah, where it is praised for its migratory habits and faithfulness to its mate (Jeremiah 8:7).
- Hen – The hen is mentioned in Matthew 23:37, where Jesus compares himself to a hen gathering her chicks under her wings.
- Swallow – The swallow is mentioned in the Bible in the book of Psalms, where it is said to build its nest near the altar of the Lord (Psalm 84:3).
- Hawk – The hawk is mentioned in Leviticus 11:16 and Deuteronomy 14:15 as one of the birds that is not to be eaten, as it is considered unclean.
- Vulture – The vulture is mentioned several times in the Bible, including in Job 28:7, where it is described as a bird that “no eye has seen.” In Matthew 24:28, Jesus says, “Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather,” using the vulture as a symbol of judgment and the end times.
What do doves mean in the bible?
In the Bible, doves are often used as a symbol of peace, love, and innocence. One of the most well-known references to doves in the Bible is in the story of Noah’s Ark, where a dove is sent out from the ark to find dry land, and then returns with an olive branch in its beak, indicating that the floodwaters have receded and the earth is once again habitable. This image of the dove carrying an olive branch has become a universal symbol of peace and hope.
Doves are also associated with the Holy Spirit in the Bible. In the New Testament, when Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit is said to descend upon him like a dove (Matthew 3:16). This image of the Holy Spirit as a dove has become a common symbol in Christian art and iconography.
Overall, doves are used in the Bible to represent positive and uplifting concepts, such as peace, hope, and the presence of the divine.
Be sure to read this post to learn more about doves in the Bible.
What do sparrows mean in the bible?
Sparrows are mentioned several times in the Bible and are used to represent God’s care for even the smallest and seemingly insignificant creatures. In Matthew 10:29-31, Jesus says “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” This passage emphasizes that even though sparrows were considered to be of very little value, God still watches over them and cares for them, and so much more will God care for us, His beloved children.
Sparrows can also represent humility and meekness in the Bible. In Psalm 84:3, the psalmist writes “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young– a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.” This passage suggests that the sparrow is content to make its home in a small and humble place near the altar of God, which is seen as a sacred and holy place.
Overall, sparrows in the Bible are used to represent God’s care for even the smallest and most humble of creatures, and to emphasize the value of humility and meekness in the eyes of God.
What do eagles mean in the bible?
In the Bible, eagles are often used as a symbol of strength, power, and victory. Eagles are also used to represent God’s protection and care for his people.
One of the most well-known references to eagles in the Bible is in Isaiah 40:31, which says “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” This passage suggests that those who put their trust in God will have the strength to rise above their troubles and soar like eagles.
In Exodus 19:4, God tells the Israelites that he has carried them on eagles’ wings out of Egypt, emphasizing God’s protection and care for his people. Similarly, in Deuteronomy 32:11-12, God is described as an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, spreading its wings to catch them and carry them safely.
Eagles are also used as a symbol of victory in the Bible. In the book of Job, God describes the strength and majesty of the eagle, saying “Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high? It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night; a rocky crag is its stronghold… It mocks at fear and is not frightened; it does not retreat from the sword” (Job 39:27-28, 30).
Overall, eagles in the Bible are used to represent strength, power, protection, and victory, and to emphasize God’s care and provision for his people.
What do ravens mean in the bible?
In the Bible, ravens are often associated with feeding and providing for God’s people. In the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 17:2-6, God commands ravens to bring food to Elijah while he is hiding from King Ahab. The ravens bring him bread and meat in the morning and evening, allowing him to survive in the wilderness.
Ravens are also mentioned in the story of Noah’s Ark in Genesis 8:7. After the floodwaters had receded, Noah sent out a raven to search for dry land, and the raven flew back and forth until the waters had completely dried up.
In Proverbs 30:17, ravens are used in a metaphorical sense to represent greedy and cruel people who prey on the weak and helpless, saying “The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother’s instructions will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.”
Luke 12:24 reads: “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”
In this passage, Jesus is encouraging his followers to trust in God’s provision and care for them. He uses the example of ravens to illustrate the point that even though these birds do not engage in the labor of farming or storing food, God still provides for them. Jesus emphasizes that if God cares for the birds in this way, how much more will he care for his human children, who are far more valuable to him.
Overall, in the Bible, ravens are often used to symbolize God’s provision and care for his people, but can also be used to represent negative qualities such as greed and cruelty.
What do ostriches mean in the bible?
In the Bible, ostriches are used as a symbol of foolishness and neglect. In Job 39:13-18, God asks Job a series of rhetorical questions about various animals, including the ostrich. God describes the ostrich as having “wings that flap but do not soar”, and says that the ostrich “abandons its eggs to the ground and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them.” This passage suggests that the ostrich is foolish and neglectful of its young, putting them in danger by not properly caring for them.
Ostriches are also mentioned in Lamentations 4:3, where it says “Even jackals offer their breasts to nurse their young, but my people have become heartless like ostriches in the desert.” This passage suggests that the people of Israel had become cold and unfeeling, like the foolish ostrich that abandons its young.
Overall, in the Bible, ostriches are used to represent foolishness and neglect, particularly in regards to the care of young.
What do quails mean in the bible?
In the Bible, quails are associated with God’s provision and care for his people. In the story of the Israelites wandering in the desert in Exodus 16:13-15, God provides quails for the people to eat. The quails are described as being so numerous that they covered the ground around the Israelite camp, and the people were able to gather them and eat them for meat.
However, in Numbers 11:31-34, the story of the quails takes on a more negative connotation. The people complain about their diet of manna, and God sends a huge flock of quails to the camp. The people gather them and begin to eat, but God sends a plague to punish them for their greed.
Overall, in the Bible, quails are used to represent God’s provision and care for his people, but also to caution against greed and excess.
What do peacocks mean in the bible?
Peacocks are mentioned in the Bible as part of King Solomon’s wealth and grandeur. In 1 Kings 10:22, it is said that “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules. Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price. They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.”
Peacocks are not mentioned in a particularly symbolic way in the Bible, but they are often associated with luxury, beauty, and grandeur. In the context of Solomon’s wealth, the mention of peacocks suggests that he possessed an extravagant and lavish lifestyle.
What do storks mean in the bible?
In the Bible, storks are used as a symbol of faithfulness and care for family. In the book of Jeremiah, the stork is praised for its migratory habits and its faithfulness to its mate. Jeremiah 8:7 says “Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD.”
The stork is also mentioned in Psalm 104:17, where it says “There the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the junipers.” This passage emphasizes the importance of finding a safe and secure home, and the stork is used as an example of a bird that knows how to build a sturdy and secure nest.
Overall, in the Bible, storks are used to represent faithfulness and care for family, as well as the importance of finding a secure and safe home.
What do hawks mean in the Bible?
In the Bible, hawks are mentioned in the context of dietary laws. In Leviticus 11:16 and Deuteronomy 14:15, hawks are listed among the birds that are considered unclean and not to be eaten.
Hawks and other birds of prey in general are used in the Bible as symbols of violence, as they are predators that hunt and kill other animals. For example, in Ezekiel 17:3-4, the prophet uses the metaphor of an eagle to describe the violence and destruction of the Babylonian empire.
To learn more about the meaning of seeing a hawk as a biblical reference you can read this post.
What do vultures mean in the Bible?
In the Bible, vultures are often used as a symbol of judgment and destruction. In the Old Testament, vultures are mentioned several times as birds that feed on the carcasses of the dead (e.g. in Job 28:7 and Proverbs 30:17). In Matthew 24:28, Jesus says, “Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather,” using the vulture as a symbol of judgment and the end times.
Vultures are also used in the Bible as a metaphor for the destruction of cities and nations. In Jeremiah 12:9, for example, God says, “My inheritance has become to me like a lion in the forest; she roars at me; therefore I hate her. Is my heritage to me like a hyena’s lair? Are the birds of prey against her all around? Go, assemble all the wild beasts; bring them to devour.”
Overall, in the Bible, vultures are used to symbolize judgment, destruction, and the devouring of the dead. You can read more about the meaning of seeing vultures in the Bible here.
What do hens mean in the bible?
In the Bible, hens are used as a symbol of nurturing and protective care. In Matthew 23:37, Jesus uses the image of a hen gathering her chicks under her wings to describe his own desire to gather and protect the people of Jerusalem. He says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
This passage suggests that Jesus sees himself as a nurturing and protective figure, like a mother hen gathering her chicks. The image of the hen’s wings as a protective shelter has become a common symbol in Christian art and iconography, representing God’s loving care and protection for his people.
Overall, in the Bible, hens are used to represent nurturing and protective care, particularly in regards to God’s care for his people.
More about birds in the bible
Here are some more about birds in the Bible, and common questions about them.
Which bird is mentioned most in the Bible?
The most commonly mentioned bird in the Bible is the dove. Doves are mentioned more than 50 times in the Bible, and are often used as a symbol of peace, love, and the Holy Spirit. The story of Noah’s Ark, where a dove is sent out to find dry land and returns with an olive branch in its beak, has become one of the most well-known biblical references to doves.
The Holy Spirit is also said to have descended upon Jesus at his baptism in the form of a dove (Matthew 3:16). Overall, the dove’s significance as a symbol of peace and the presence of the divine has made it one of the most important and frequently mentioned birds in the Bible.
What bird did God send to Noah?
According to the Bible, God sent a raven and a dove to Noah while he was on the ark. In Genesis 8:6-7, it says “After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth.” However, the raven is not mentioned again after this point.
Later, in Genesis 8:8-12, Noah sends out a dove to see if the floodwaters have receded. The dove flies back and forth, but finds no place to rest until the waters have dried up. Finally, on the third attempt, the dove returns with an olive leaf in its beak, indicating that the waters have receded and dry land is once again available.
What bird did God feed Elijah?
According to the Bible, God fed Elijah with ravens. In 1 Kings 17:2-6, God commanded ravens to bring bread and meat to Elijah while he was hiding from King Ahab by the Brook Cherith. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and evening, allowing him to survive in the wilderness. This passage emphasizes God’s provision and care for his prophet Elijah, even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
What are the birds in Leviticus 11?
In Leviticus 11, there is a list of birds that are considered unclean and therefore not to be eaten. The list includes:
- The eagle
- The vulture
- The black vulture
- The red kite
- The black kite
- Any kind of falcon
- The raven
- The ostrich
- The owl
- The seagull
- Any kind of hawk
- The little owl
- The cormorant
- The great owl
- The white owl
- The desert owl
- The osprey
- The stork
- Any kind of heron
- The hoopoe
- The bat
This list of birds reflects the dietary laws of the Israelites, which were designed to distinguish between clean and unclean animals for the purposes of ritual purity. These laws were intended to reinforce the idea of holiness and separation from the surrounding cultures, and to encourage obedience to God’s commands.
What bird brings food in the Bible?
In the Bible, ravens are associated with bringing food to people. In the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 17:2-6, God commands ravens to bring food to Elijah while he is hiding from King Ahab. The ravens bring him bread and meat in the morning and evening, allowing him to survive in the wilderness.
The birds mentioned in the Bible serve as powerful symbols and metaphors for important ideas and values. From the dove as a symbol of peace to the eagle as a symbol of strength, these birds offer insights into our relationship with God, our connection to the natural world, and our own human nature. By exploring these stories and symbols, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the world around us, and a greater understanding of our place in it.