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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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There are probably several species of doves or pigeons included in the Hebrew name joneh. It may contain all those that inhabit Palestine, exclusive of the turtle-doves properly so called. Thus generalized, the dove is, figuratively, next to man, the most exalted of animals, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, the meekness, purity, and splendor of righteousness. By the Hebrew law doves and turtle-doves were the only birds that could be offered in sacrifice, and they were usually selected for that purpose by the less wealthy (; ; ; ); and to supply the demand for them, dealers in these birds sat about the precincts of the Temple (, etc.).

All pigeons in their true wild plumage have iridescent colors about the neck, and often reflected flashes of the same colors on the shoulders, which are the source of the silver and gold feathers ascribed to them in poetical diction; and thence the epithet of purple bestowed upon them all, though most applicable to the vinous and slaty-colored species. The coasts and territory of Syria are noted for the great number of doves frequenting them, though they are not so abundant there as in the Coh-i Suleiman chain near the Indus. Syria possesses several species of pigeon; the stock-dove, ring-dove, the common pigeon in several varieties, such as the Barbary, Turkish or Persian carrier, crisp, and shaker. These are still watched in their flight in the same manner as anciently their number, gyrations, and other maneuvers were observed by soothsayers. The wild species, as well as the turtle-doves, migrate from Palestine to the south; but stock and ring doves are not long absent.

The figure we give is that of the more rare species of white and pink carrier, and the Phoenician sacred ensign of the dove.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Dove'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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