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Bible Verses About Eagles

What does the Bible say about eagles?

Scripture often uses metaphors to explain spiritual things. At the time the Bible was written, people lived off the land, either by raising livestock such as goats or sheep or farming the countryside. An eagle is an image you see throughout scripture. This enormous bird lived in the mountainous areas of the Middle East. Let’s dive in!

Christian quotes about eagles

“The three qualifications of a good surgeon are requisite in a reprover: He should have an eagle’s eye, a lion’s heart, and a ladies hand; in short, he should be endued with wisdom courage and meekness.” Matthew Henry

“Yours will be the wings of an eagle’s flight, the soaring of a lark, sunward, heavenward, Godward! But you must take time to be holy – in meditation, in prayer, and especially in the use of the Bible.” F.B. Meyer

“If we will only surrender ourselves utterly to the Lord, and will trust Him perfectly, we shall find our souls “mounting up with wings as eagles” to the “heavenly places” in Christ Jesus, where earthly annoyances or sorrows have no power to disturb us.” Hannah Whitall Smith

What is a metaphor?

Metaphors are common in the Bible. They are figures of speech used to describe something uniquely. For instance, a metaphor often says one thing is something else. Scripture may say, “The eagle is a warrior.” You understand this means the eagle fights and defends. Metaphors are used a lot in literature, poems because they help symbolize and describe things. Scripture uses the eagle as a literary metaphor.

What does the eagle represent in the Bible?

Judgment

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for eagle is “nesher” means “to tear with its beak.” It was usually translated as eagle, but in a couple places vulture. The eagle is depicted as a bird of prey that’s swift, unstoppable judgment similar to an invading nation. God used the metaphor of the eagle when He wanted to give a warning to His people or other nations around Israel when they pursued evil. Scripture speaks of a bird that Israelites understood was unstoppable and powerful.

Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high?

On the rock, he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold.

From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away.

His young ones suck up blood, and where the slain are, there is he.” (Job 39:27-30 ESV)

Behold, He will mount up and swoop like an eagle, and spread out His wings against Bozrah; and the hearts of the warriors of Edom on that day will be like the heart of a woman in labor.” (Jeremiah 49:22 NASB)

Death and destruction

Thus says the Lord God: A great eagle with great wings and long pinions, rich in plumage of many colors, came to Lebanon and took the top of the cedar.” (Ezekiel 17:4 ESV)

Protection and Care

Besides the eagle being an image of judgment, this majestic bird is a metaphor of God’s tender protection and care for His people. Like the eagle, God can drive out all the enemies of His people. His fierce love and care is represented by the eagle.

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them bearing them on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him, no foreign god was with him.” (Deuteronomy 32:11 ESV)

Heavenly deliverer

The image of the eagle is also of Godly deliverance. All throughout scripture you read about God’s deliverance of His people. No more is this as clear as in the story of God delivering the Israelites out of Egypt.

You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.” ( Exodus 19:4 ESV)

Freedom, vitality and youth

Another common image of the eagle is that of strength and fortitude of youth. Believing in God’s good gift to the world was to send His Son to be a ransom for sin. This frees them from fear of death, guilt and shame. We are renewed in one sense here on earth, but best of all, our eternity is secure. In heaven, we will be forever young.

…who satisfies you with good, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.(Psalm 103:5 ESV)

..but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 ESV)

Power

Eagles also represent power. There are many scriptures that speak of the strength, power of the eagle, especially in relation to its ability to swoop down from its high to catch its prey. The metaphor speaks of God’s powerful ability to bring down even the highest and mightiest on the earth.

Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord.” (Obadiah 1:4 ESV)

1. Psalm 103:5 (NIV) “who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

2. Jeremiah 4:13 (NLT) “Our enemy rushes down on us like storm clouds! His chariots are like whirlwinds. His horses are swifter than eagles. How terrible it will be, for we are doomed!”

3. Jeremiah 49:22 “He will mount up and swoop like an eagle, and spread out His wings against Bozrah; and the hearts of the warriors of Edom on that day will be like the heart of a woman in labor.”

4. Exodus 19:4 “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.”

5. Habakkuk 1:8 “Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour.”

6. Ezekiel 17:3-4 “Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: “A great eagle with broad wings and long feathers, covered with many-colored plumage, came to Lebanon. He seized the top of a cedar tree 4 and plucked off its highest branch. He carried it away to a city filled with merchants. He planted it in a city of traders.”

7. Deuteronomy 32:11 “like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.”

8. Job 39:27-30 “Is it at your command that the eagle flies high, And makes his nest on high? 28 He dwells and spends his nights on the cliff, On the rocky cliff, an inaccessible place. 29 From there he tracks food; His eyes look at it from afar. 30 His young ones also lick up blood greedily; And where the slain are, there he is.”

9. Obadiah 1:4 “Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the LORD.”

10. Job 9:26 “They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey.”

11. Jeremiah 48:40 “For thus says the LORD: “Behold, one shall fly like an eagle, And spread his wings over Moab.”

12. Hosea 8:1 (HCSB) “Put the horn to your mouth! One like an eagle comes against the house of the LORD, because they transgress My covenant and rebel against My law.”

13. Revelation 4:7 “The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.”

14. Proverbs 23:5 “Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”

Characteristics of an eagle in the Bible

  • Swift- Eagles are swift flyers.The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, (Deuteronomy 28:49 ESV). In Job hear a comparison of eagles and how quickly his life passes him by. My days are swifter than a runner; they flee away; they see no good. They go by like skiffs of reed, like an eagle swooping on the prey. (Job 8:26 ESV)
  • Soar- An eagle’s ability to soar is unique. They soar without ever flapping their wings. They have a huge wingspan that makes their soaring look effortless and majestic. In Revelations 4:6-7  John, the author of the book, describes the throne of heaven. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. The verse tells us that the fourth living creature looks like an eagle in flight, which probably means a soaring eagle, wings spread out straight effortlessly.
  • Nesting characteristics- Eagles live in pairs and nest in a tall tree or high crag of a mountain. Their large nests are not made in trees like those of many other birds, nor are they the same shape as other birds. An eagle’s next is nothing but a layer of sticks laid out flat on a rock and covered with some hay or straw.
  • We read about the care of the eagle for her young in Deuteronomy 32:11.  Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold. From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away. (Job 39: 26-30 ESV)
  • We read about the care of the eagle for her young in Deuteronomy 32:11.  Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold. From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away. (Job 39: 26-30 ESV)
  • We read about the care of the eagle for her young is spoken of in Deuteronomy 32:11.  Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the rock he dwells and makes his home, on the rocky crag and stronghold. From there he spies out the prey; his eyes behold it from far away. (Job 39:26-30 ESV)
  • Care for young- Several verses tell us the eagle carries its young on its wings. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them,  bearing them on its opinions, the Lord alone guided him, no foreign god was with him. (Deuteronomy 32:11-12 ESV)
  • Eagle eye- If someone tells you that you have an eagle eye, it’s a compliment. They can see their prey from very far away. Plus, the eagle has a thin, inner eyelid they can close over their eye to help block out sunlight. This not only protects their eyes but allows them to hunt small animals on the ground.
  • Strength- The eagle can live up to 70 years. It sheds its wings every spring so that it looks like a young bird. This is why David says in Psalm 103: 5…who satisfies you with good, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Another well-known verse depicts the strength of the eagle. Isaiah 40: 31 …but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;  they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary;  they shall walk and not faint.

15. Deuteronomy 28:49 (KJV) “The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand.”

16. Lamentations 4:19 (NASB) “Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the sky; They chased us on the mountains, They waited in ambush for us in the wilderness.”

17. 2 Samuel 1:23 “Saul and Jonathan— in life they were loved and admired, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.”

18. Deuteronomy 32:11 (NKJV) “As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings.”

19. Daniel 4:33 “That same hour the judgment was fulfilled, and Nebuchadnezzar was driven from human society. He ate grass like a cow, and he was drenched with the dew of heaven. He lived this way until his hair was as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails were like birds’ claws.”

20. Ezekiel 1:10 “Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.”

What does it mean to soar on wings like eagles?

So, the metaphor of the eagle is both that of a predator, swift and powerful. It gives us an image of a caring, protector that can soar into the clouds above . In essence, the eagle is an image of God, both to be feared and to be seen as your protector. One who secures an eternal home for his people. No one can hurt them when he’s protecting them. He lifts them up on high and holds them close.

…but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;

    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;

they shall run and not be weary;

    they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 ESV)

Faith in Christ saves us from eternal destruction. We can soar on high to the world’s unknown with God leading us home. The Lord provides the strength the world can’t give you. He supplies the strength as you call upon his name.

Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

21. Isaiah 40:30-31 “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 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.”

22. Psalm 27:1 “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”

23. Matthew 6:30 “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”

24. 1 Peter 5:7 “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

25. 2 Samuel 22:3-4 “my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. 4 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”

26. Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”

God as our mother eagle

Although Scripture never calls God our mother eagle, there are Biblical references to God’s nurturing care for His people.

You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. ( Exodus 19:4 ESV)

Although an eagle doesn’t really carry its young on its back, this metaphor means the eagle is strong and protective. Similarly, God is powerful and able to protect his children. This is a parental type of care.

27. Isaiah 66:13 “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

28. Exodus 19:4 “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.”

29. Isaiah 49:15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”

30. Matthew 28:20 “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

31. Isaiah 54:5 “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”

33. Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

34. Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Examples of eagles in the Bible

The Bible’s first mention of the eagle is Leviticus as a bird prohibited by God as food for the Israelites. These dietary laws were to set them apart from the pagan nations around them.

And these you shall detest among the birds; they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture.( Leviticus 11:13 ESV)

Some think that God prohibited the eagle as food because they are scavengers who eat dead flesh. They could carry disease to humans. God was protecting his people.

35. Ezekiel 17:7 “But there was another great eagle with powerful wings and full plumage. The vine now sent out its roots toward him from the plot where it was planted and stretched out its branches to him for water.”

36. Revelation 12:14 “The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.”

37. Leviticus 11:13 “These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture.”

Conclusion

The Bible has a lot to say about eagles. It uses metaphors to depict God’s power, judgment and protective care. Like the majestic eagle, Lord he comes to judgment against his enemies. He swoops with talons ready to strike those who would disobey his laws. Yet, also just like the eagle, the Lord is a fierce protector of His people. He lifts that high above the chaos of life similar to the eagle’s nest planted on the highest crag of a mountain. He promises to gather those who trust Him under His wings and keep us until we are carried home on wings like an eagle.

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