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Dove: Symbol of Purity and Gentleness Print E-mail
Written by Prabhudas Koshy   
Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Bible speaks of three different kinds of doves – pigeon, dove and turtledove. The turtledoves are migratory birds that “observe the time of their coming” (Jeremiah 8:7). The Hebrew word for “dove” literally means “mourner”, hence the common expression to “mourn as a dove” (Isaiah 38:14; 59:11; Nahum 2:7). Doves found in the wild build their nests in the clefts of rocks, but the domesticated ones live in “dovecots” or the pigeonholes prepared for them in houses (Song 2:14; Jeremiah 48:28; Isaiah 60:8).

In the flood story of Genesis 6-8, Noah used the doves to see whether the flood was receding. Noah released three doves in seven-day intervals (Genesis 8:8-12). The first dove returned to Noah in the ark because the water had not receded for it to find a place of rest. The second dove brought an olive leaf, the symbol of new life as water started to recede. The third dove did not return, a sign that the earth had become habitable once again.

According to God’s law, only these three kinds of doves were allowed to be offered in sacrifice, as they were classified as “clean” (Leviticus 5:7; 12:6). Doves signify purity and peace. The Bible also tells us that “the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove” upon Christ at His baptism (Luke 3:22).

Jesus commanded His disciples, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). The Lord wants us to always maintain a life of innocence and harmlessness, like that of a dove. So children, be free from all wicked and cunning behaviour. Be also without malice and violence. Don’t be insulting or revengeful, but be meek and humble like our Lord Jesus Christ.