Generally, the word duck refers to the waterfowl and doesn’t appear in the Bible. However, there are many instances where the Bible refers birds of the nature of a duck. For instance, in Solomon’s daily provisions, there were 10 head of stall-fed cattle, 30 of the finest flour, 100 sheep and goats, 60 cors of meal, gazelles, deer, roebucks, and choice fowl.
Some Biblical translators state that choice fowl has the same meaning to a duck. In Hebrew, the choice fowl is referred by the words barbur and barburm. Therefore, it is safe to say that fattened ducks were among the delicacies served on King Solomon’s table every day.
In Ezekiel 12:13 and Hosea 11:11, the Bible sheds light on how ducks were caught in nets as they migrated from Egypt to Israel. There are several symbols that we can attach to ducks as inferred from the Bible.
What You'll Learn Today
Symbol of God’s Provision
In Matthew 6:26, the Bible talks of the carefree nature of birds and God’s provision over them. It says,
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
In this verse Jesus speaks to his followers about a change in perspective and mind shift.
Just like today, many people worry about their material wellbeing and the fact that they spend their time gathering treasure for themselves. This daily hassle has the capacity to steer someone away from devotion to God.
Worrying daily about money for food, drink, and clothing creates anxiety. Jesus was opening the minds of his disciples to make them see that in life, they are more important things than food and clothing.
Turning to the lessons of nature, Jesus picks out birds which could even be ducks to illustrate the provision of God. He mentions how birds do not plant, harvest, or store crops in barns, yet they still eat. The conclusion is that God, the Father is the provider of all his creation not just birds but also humans.
Symbol of God’s Restoration
In Hosea 11:11, God makes a declaration. This is what the Bible says,
“They will come from Egypt, trembling like sparrows, from Assyria, fluttering like doves. I will settle them in their homes,” declares the LORD.”
God is calling his children who are scattered in Egypt and those who are in Assyria to come home. The picture that the Bible creates is that of a bird trembling as it flies home. Those in Assyria are likened to doves that flee to their windows.
Both Assyria and Egypt were places of affliction and God’s people were suffering under the hands of their captors. Hosea is a prophet of hope, and he tells them that in the fullness of time, God will return them each to his own home in their own land.
He goes ahead to say that he would bless them in their houses. This could mean God reestablishing places of worship and social order within the community of Israel.
While the birds could represent any bird, the choice of a duck goes well with the doves from Assyria that are flying home. It is a flight of liberation and freedom.
Symbol of Sensitivity of Time and Seasons
In Jeremiah 8:7; God speaks about the senselessness of his people especially pertaining to his rules. There are people who have lost count of time and they do not know what they are supposed to do within certain timeframes. This is what the Bible 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.”
Among the several birds mentioned, a duck could easily fit. The theme here is that of understanding the times and knowing what to do. Ducks also do migrate, and they know their timing. In fact, they are normally categorized into two: weather migrants and calendar migrants.
Calendar migrants are hard wired to migrate at certain times of the year. On the other hand, weather migrants respond to changing seasons. They are forced by harsh weather to fly to certain areas that are warm and fly back when conditions improve.
God compares and contrasts the sensitivity of bords and time vis-à-vis the senselessness of man. He mourns man’s lost ladder as far as the rules of the Lord are concerned. It is also a call for man to become more sensitive and to study the conditions so as to know when he has gone astray and needs to come back to the fold.
Symbol of Beauty
While the dove has often been used as the epitome of beauty, in its place ducks can also fit. In Song of Solomon 5:12, the Bible says,
“His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels.”
In referring to the lover, the beholder likens the eyes of the significant other to doves besides streams of water.
Ducks too share similarities, and they are beautiful breeds of ducks, some more beautiful than even doves. For instance, the Mandarin duck that originates from East Asia frequents wetlands and freshwater. They have such a beautiful multicolored plumage with pale orange sides, orange cheeks, and orange sails with a splash of blue stripes.
Other equally beautiful breeds include king eider found in oceans and seas and northern shoveler mostly found in Europe, North America, South East Asia, and Africa.
The theme of Song of Solomon is that of the love and relationship between God and His people. It is the beauty that Christ sees in his brides the church. Whether it is a dove or a duck, it is the epitome of beauty that matters.
Ducks unlike doves and other birds are not mentioned in the Bible, but their close semblance in appearance and behavior are well covered in scripture. The symbolism of ducks is close enough to most of the birds mentioned in the Bible and you can pick any from beauty to the sensitivity of seasons to God’s restoration and provision.