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The Spiritual Meaning of the Owl in the Bible

Meaning of Owls & their spiritual significance.

Owls are commonly associated with attributes such as wisdom, mystery, and transition. The Bible portrays them as symbols of desolation and loneliness, creatures capable of surviving in inhospitable environments. This depiction transcends their earlier biblical categorization as “unclean” due to dietary restrictions. Across various cultures, the presence of owls connotes deep significance, encapsulating concepts of knowledge, protection, and the ability to traverse through darkness.

Key Highlights

  • Owls are mentioned in the Bible as symbols of impurity and desolation.
  • They represent themes such as isolation, grief, destruction, and repentance.
  • Christians need to view owls with an appreciation of God’s creation and an understanding of their biblical significance.
  • Common misconceptions and superstitions about owls should be debunked with biblical truths.

Owl Symbolism: Meaning of the Owls in the Bible

Owls have intrigued humans for centuries. In various cultures, they represent wisdom and knowledge. In the Bible, they hold a deeper spiritual significance, including the meaning of a white owl’s visit to your home. We will explore their symbolism and examine biblical passages that mention them. We will also address misconceptions and provide a biblical perspective. By understanding their spiritual significance, we can apply these lessons to our lives.

Biblical Meaning of an Owl

Owls are mentioned in several passages in the Old Testament of the Bible, where they are referred to by different names such as the little owl, the great owl, and the horned owl. These names were used to describe various species of owls that were prevalent in the regions mentioned in the Bible, as seen in early versions of the Bible.

In the biblical context, owls are often associated with desolate places and a sense of desolation. They are depicted as creatures that thrive in barren wastelands and ruined temples, reflecting their nocturnal nature. The prophet Jeremiah describes the destruction of Babylon and the lingering desolation of the city, where only owls, hyenas, and other desert creatures dwell. In the Book of Psalms, the owl is represented as a symbol of loneliness and affliction.

Hebrew Word For Owl Used in Scripture

The Hebrew word used to describe owls in the Bible is “bath-haya’anah,” which can be translated as “daughter of greediness” or “daughter of shouting.” This suggests that owls were seen as symbols of ruin, uncleanliness, and even death. They were considered unclean animals and were included in the list of abominations in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, where the original Hebrew ‘yanshuphs‘ are translated as “great owl.”

It is important to note that the biblical context of owls does not solely portray them in a negative light. While they are associated with desolation and impurity, owls also have symbolic meanings that convey wisdom and mystery, as we will explore in the following sections.

Owls hold significant symbolic importance in the Bible. They are associated with various emotions and ideas, as well as desolation and destruction. Here, we examine key verses that mention owls and explore their meanings.

Owls in the Bible Owls as Symbols of Impurity

Deuteronomy 14:11-17 (ESV) says: “You may eat all clean birds. But these are the ones that you shall not eat: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon of any kind; every raven of any kind; the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind; the little owl and the short-eared owl, the barn owl.”

This highlights the classification of owls as unclean birds that should not be consumed, signifying their symbolic association with impurity and uncleanliness.

Owls as Symbols of Desolation and Destruction

Isaiah 34:11 reads: “But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it, also the owl and the raven shall dwell in it. And He shall stretch out over it the line of confusion and the stones of emptiness.”

This verse describes the desolation of Edom, with owls representing the desolation and ruin that befall those who turn away from God.

Jeremiah 50:39: “Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the jackals shall dwell there, and the ostriches shall dwell in it. It shall be inhabited no more forever, nor shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.”

Here, the desolation of Babylon is described, with owls symbolizing the complete abandonment and destruction of the city.

Symbolic Meanings of Owls in the Bible

Owls in the Bible hold various symbolic meanings that convey important lessons and messages. They represent both positive and negative aspects, reflecting the complexities of spiritual truths. Some of the symbolic meanings of owls in the Bible include representation of isolation and desolation, symbols of wisdom and mystery, association with impurity and the unclean, and the owl’s symbolism in the Bible as a representation of darkness, desolation, and judgment in the Old Testament and darkness, ignorance, and those who reject the light and truth of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Let us explore these meanings in more detail, particularly the owl’s symbolism in the Bible.

Representation of Isolation and Desolation

Owls in the Bible are often associated with isolation and desolation. They are depicted as creatures that thrive in desolate places, such as barren wastelands and ruined temples.

  • The prophet Jeremiah describes the destruction of Babylon, where owls, hyenas, and other desert creatures are the only dwellers. This association with desolation and isolation is further emphasized by the presence of wild goats, who are known for their ability to thrive in harsh and isolated environments due to natural conditions. This representation of wild goats and owls signifies a sense of loneliness and emptiness in the face of destruction.
  • In the Book of Psalms, the owl is represented as a lonely owl in a far-off wilderness, symbolizing the isolation and desolation of the afflicted heart of the Psalmist. It serves as a metaphor for the loneliness and despair that can be experienced in times of trouble. The owl’s presence in deserted places highlights the need for human connection and the importance of seeking God’s comfort in times of loneliness.
  • Micah, an Old Testament prophet, also used the hooting sound of an owl as a symbol of grief and mourning, emphasizing the emotional toll of isolation and desolation.

The Symbolism of Owls in the Bible

Owls, prevalent creatures in biblical lore, carry multiple connotations. The “meaning of an owl” can vary greatly, from wisdom and mystery to symbols of impurity and the unclean. Specifically, Leviticus and Deuteronomy classify owls as unclean birds, unfit for consumption. This classification relates closely to their diet, as they consume meat with blood still on it. Blood, according to biblical laws, is considered unclean and defiles the human body.

This “owl’s symbolism” as an unclean creature is an association that serves as a stark reminder to Christians. It emphasizes the necessity to maintain spiritual purity and to align our thoughts, actions, and choices with God’s laws. The symbolism of the owl calls for the avoidance of spiritual impurity to maintain a close relationship with God and to experience His blessings.

Owls in Cultural Contrast: Wisdom Symbols Outside the Biblical Narrative

Even though owls are commonly associated with wisdom and mystery in many cultures, it’s important to note that these connotations are not found in the Bible. In the Bible, owls are primarily portrayed as unclean creatures, as mentioned in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, due to their diet of consuming meat with blood on it. This representation serves as a potent symbol for Christians, emphasizing the importance of maintaining spiritual purity and aligning our behavior with God’s laws, to avoid spiritual defilement.

However, the depiction of owls in the Bible doesn’t mean we should view these creatures negatively in our daily lives. Outside of the biblical context, owls are indeed fascinating creatures, admired for their unique qualities such as their keen sight and hearing abilities, and their silent flight. Their cultural symbolism of wisdom and mystery can still serve as a reminder of the vast and wonderful diversity of God’s creation. It’s okay to appreciate and love owls, and all of God’s creatures, for their unique attributes and the roles they play in our ecosystem. As such, the owl can serve as a symbol of the beauty and complexity of creation, all while reminding us of the importance of adhering to God’s commandments.

The Spiritual Significance of Owls to Christians

Owls hold spiritual significance to Christians, as they convey important lessons and messages. They symbolize spiritual vigilance and awareness, the role of owls in divine messages, and the call for repentance and reflection. Let us explore these spiritual significances in more detail.

Lessons on Spiritual Vigilance and Awareness

Owls in the Bible serve as symbols of spiritual vigilance and awareness. They highlight the need to be attentive and alert next time you encounter an owl, whether in nature, a dream, or the pages of the Bible, pause and consider the spiritual truths it symbolizes. Just as owls possess keen senses and can navigate through darkness, Christians are called to discern spiritual truths and see through the lies of the evil one. Like owls, we need our spiritual senses trained to discern from good and evil, and to be able to see in the dark.

Owls as a Call for Repentance and Reflection

Owls in the Bible are often associated with a call for repentance and reflection. They serve as reminders of the consequences of unrighteousness and the need to turn back to God. The presence of owls in deserted places symbolizes the desolation that comes from turning away from God’s ways.

Owls call us to examine our lives and to reflect on our spiritual journey. They remind us to seek repentance and forgiveness for our sins and to realign our lives with God’s commands. By responding to the call for repentance and reflection, Christians can experience spiritual renewal and restoration.

Common Misconceptions and Superstitions About Owls

Owls have been associated with various misconceptions and superstitions throughout history. In this section, we will debunk these myths and provide a biblical perspective on owls.

Debunking Myths with Biblical Truths

Many myths and superstitions have arisen around owls, attributing them to evil forces and negative omens. However, it is essential to debunk these misconceptions and align our understanding with biblical truths.

In the Bible, owls are not inherently evil or associated with negative forces. While they may symbolize desolation and impurity, they also convey messages of wisdom, vigilance, and divine guidance. Owls are part of God’s creation and serve a purpose in the natural world.

By grounding our understanding of owls in biblical truths, we can appreciate their role in God’s creation without falling into superstitions or misconceptions. It is important to remember that our faith should be rooted in the teachings of the Bible and not in unfounded beliefs or superstitions.

The Danger of Associating Owls with Evil Forces

Associating owls with evil forces can be dangerous and misleading. While owls have been depicted as symbols of darkness and mystery, it is important to differentiate between symbolic representations and actual spiritual realities.

In the Bible, owls are not portrayed as inherently evil or associated with demonic forces. They are simply part of God’s creation, with their unique characteristics and symbolism. By associating owls with evil forces, we can fall into superstitions and misunderstandings that detract from the true message of the Bible.

As Christians, it is important to rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of the Bible. We should be discerning and critical of beliefs that do not align with biblical truths. By staying rooted in God’s Word, we can navigate through spiritual complexities with wisdom and discernment.


In conclusion, understanding the biblical meanings and spiritual significance of owls is essential for Christians to appreciate God’s creation without superstition. By debunking myths with biblical truths and recognizing owls as symbols of wisdom and mystery rather than solely associating them with impurity, we can embrace their role in divine messages and lessons on spiritual vigilance. It’s crucial to view owls through a lens of acceptance and respect, avoiding misconceptions that may lead to fear or misinterpretation. Engage with us by sharing your thoughts in the comments below on how you perceive the spiritual significance of owls in your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when you see an owl in your dreams according to the Bible?

In biblical symbolism, dreams are often seen as a means of divine communication. Seeing an owl in your dreams may signify a message from God, calling for wisdom, vigilance, or repentance. It is important to pray for discernment and seek God’s guidance in interpreting the meaning of the dream.

Does the Bible Say Owls are Evil?

No, the Bible does not say that owls are evil. While owls may symbolize desolation and impurity, they are part of God’s creation and serve a purpose in the natural world. It is important to approach owls with discernment and to ground our understanding of biblical truths.

What is the Prophetic Meaning of Owls in the Bible?

The prophetic meaning of owls in the Bible can vary depending on the context. Owls may symbolize desolation, divine messages, or calls for repentance and reflection. It is important to interpret the prophetic meaning of owls in light of biblical teachings and seek Jesus’s guidance in understanding their significance.


Im Andrew, I am an Intercessory Missionary in Kansas City. My journey through trials and triumphs has equipped me with unique insight and a deep passion for encountering Jesus and understanding prophetic experiences.

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