Doves, Turtle Doves, Pigeons
Pigeon is a name for a very large number of species of birds. All doves are pigeons, but not all pigeons are doves. The turtledove is a type of Dove of which there are numerous types of doves. In the Old Testament there are two Hebrew words that are translated into pigeon, dove, and turtle dove. The Hebrew word, “yownah,” is translated into the English words, dove and pigeon. The Hebrew word, “towr,” is translated into the
English words, turtledove and turtle. In the Old Testament, the word turtledove and turtle have reference to the same thing. From this, we can conclude that the dove and the pigeon in the Old Testament are the same species of bird. The turtledove is another species of bird to be distinguished from the dove and the pigeon.
In the New Testament, the Greek word, “peristera,” is translated into the English words, dove and pigeon. The Greek word, “trugon,” is translated into the English word, turtledove. We draw a similar conclusion concerning the dove and pigeon being the same species of bird and the turtledove being another species of bird distinguished from the dove and pigeon.
The turtledove is often referred to as the love bird as the male and female have been often observed paired in a nestled position. The words, turtledove or turtle appear twelve times in the scriptures. The number, twelve, is a representative number and is used to represent the whole of God’s elect covenant people. Thus, the turtledove is representative of God’s love for his covenant people.
The words, dove or pigeon, appear 42 times in the scripture. The number 42 is associated with God’s covenants. Thus, the dove or pigeon is representative of the Lord’s covenant people or church.