a collage of images of honey and honeycomb - Honey in the Bible
Spiritual Growth

Fascinating Uses and Symbolism of Honey in the Bible

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We’ve all heard land of milk and honey in the Bible, but there are dozens more scripture references to honey, its uses and the symbolism of honey in the Bible. In fact, honey is mentioned at least 61 times in the Bible.

 

This post is part of a series on food and symbolism in the Bible. You can find previous posts on wine in the Bible, bread in the Bible and milk in the Bible.

 

Before we get into the symbolism and uses for honey in the Bible, let’s take a look at where the Bible says we can find honey.

 

a collage of images of honey and honeycomb - Honey in the Bible

Where the Bible Says We Can Find Honey:

 

Primarily, scripture points out three places where we can find honey.

 

1) Rocks

 “He made him ride on the heights of the land
and fed him with the fruit of the fields.
He nourished him with honey from the rock,
and with oil from the flinty crag,” – Deuteronomy 32:13

“But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.” – Psalm 81:16 

 

2. Woods

 

“The entire army entered the woods, and there was honey on the ground. When they went into the woods, they saw the honey oozing out; yet no one put his hand to his mouth, because they feared the oath. – 1 Samuel 14:25-26

 

3. Carcases of Dead Animals

“Some time later, when he went back to marry her, he turned aside to look at the lion’s carcass, and in it he saw a swarm of bees and some honey.” – Judges 14:8 

 

 

Because the Bible is filled with uses and symbolism of honey, we’ll break it down a bit further. First, we’ll look at the symbolism of honey in the Bible. I can find five main symbolic categories of the symbolism of honey in the Bible.

 

Symbolism of Honey in the Bible

 

1) Abundance or Plentitude

We have all heard of the land where honey and milk flow. It’s a metaphor used at least twenty-one times in the Bible, symbolizing abundance or having plenty. 

 

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.’ ” – Exodus 3:7-8

We also find it in Job:

“He will not enjoy the streams,
the rivers flowing with honey and cream.” – Job 20: 17

an image of honeycomb and Job 20:17 quoted

 

2) The Word of God

Nothing is sweeter than the beautiful words of God. Scripture refers to God’s Word often as sweeter than honey as we can see in the following verses:

 

“The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.” – Psalm 19:8-10 

 

“How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!” – Psalm 119:103 

 

 

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3) Wisdom

Honey is also compared to or symbolized with wisdom. 

“Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.
Know also that wisdom is like honey for you:
If you find it, there is a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.” – Proverbs 24:13-14

 

5) Pleasant Words or Metaphor For Sweetness

 

David, often used the sweetness of honey as a metaphor, as shown above when describing God’s Word. Solomon used this metaphor often, as well.

 

“Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
is like the fragrance of Lebanon.” – Song of Solomon 4:11 

 

“Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24 

An image of honeycomb and Proverbs 16:24 quoted

Interesting Fact About Honey as Sweet in the Bible:

There are two stories in the Bible where men were ordered to eat a book or a scroll! Scripture tells us:

 

“Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.” – Ezekiel 3:3 

 

“So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’[a]” 10 I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.” – Revelation 10:9-10 

 

5) The Lips of an Adulterous Woman 

 

Don’t be swayed by the sweet talking woman (or man) as they sound sweet, but will cause you to sin.

“For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;” – Proverbs 5:3 

 

Uses for Honey in the Bible

  1. An Honored or Esteemed Gift

Honey was seen as an honored gift. In fact, Jacob told his sons to take “….a little balm, a little honey…” as a present when they set off to visit their brother Joseph.

 

“Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds.” – Genesis 43:11 

 

 

We also see it in Kings 14:3 when Jeroboam’s queen visited the blind Prophet Ahijah at Shiloh. She brought with her a small pot of honey in order to gain favor regarding her gravely ill son. 

 

“‘Take ten loaves of bread with you, some cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.’” – 1 Kings 14:3

 

 

2) Healthy Food

One of the most common references to honey in the Bible was as a food. In fact, we read that John the Baptist subsisted mainly on locusts and wild honey.

 

“John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.” – Mark 1:6 (we find almost the exact scripture in Matthew 3:4)

 

On the day that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared before the Disciples, He asked for food. They gave Him broiled fish and a honeycomb. (Note: not all translations mention the honeycomb) Jesus ate the food to prove to the Apostles that He was truly resurrected and not merely a spirit or a mirage.

 

“But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence. “- Luke 24: 42 NKJV

 

The prophet Isaiah also mentions honey and curds (or butter, depending on the translation you are using). 

 

“It shall be in that day
That a man will keep alive a young cow and two sheep;
 So it shall be, from the abundance of milk they give,
That he will eat curds;
For curds and honey everyone will eat who is left in the land. – Isaiah 7:21-22

 

 

The Jews put aside honey for future use and is used to barter not to take their lives as they have saved provisions:

 

“But ten of them said to Ishmael, ‘Don’t kill us! We have wheat and barley, olive oil and honey, hidden in a field.’ So he let them alone and did not kill them with the others.” – Jeremiah 41:8 

 

Even King David’s army was provided with honey as provisions during battle.

 

“brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows’ milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, “The people have become exhausted and hungry and thirsty in the wilderness.” – 2 Samuel 17:28-29

 

Son of Sirach, in the Orthodox or Catholic Bible, called honey one of the principal things for use in a man’s life. It was critically important.

 

How Was Honey Eaten in The Bible?

We find quite a few references to how honey was eaten in the Bible.

Plain or on its own

 “Jonathan said, “My father has made trouble for the country. See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey.” – 1 Samuel 14:29

 

 

2. With the comb/whole honeycomb

 

“I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.” – Song of Songs 5:1 

 

3. With milk

 

“Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue.
The fragrance of your garments
is like the fragrance of Lebanon.” – Song of Songs 4:11 

 

4. With butter or curds

 

“He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right,” – Isaiah 7:15 

 

“And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey.” – Isaiah 7:22 

5. With locusts

 

“John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” – Matthew 3:4 

 

6. Mixed with flour

 

“The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.” – Exodus 16:31 

 

“So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen.” – Ezekiel 16:13 

 

Click the image below for a 2 page downloadable, printable PDF with Bible verses about honey for deeper study, verse mapping or Bible journaling.

 

Bible verses about honey

 

3) Honey as a Medicine or Healing Aid

Another prolific use of honey in the Bible was for healing. In fact, probably one of the most famous sayings from King Solomon was “Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste”. 

 

King Solomon also said:

“Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24

 

In both of these scriptures, King Solomon is pointing out that honey is a medicine. It is good for our bodies.

 

Even descendants of Noah were aware that honey had medicinal properties: surviving records show how the ancient Egyptians used honey to prevent and cure various diseases, and heal wounds.

 

Throughout the ages, people with open wounds have run the risk of serious infection spreading into their body, and even death. The ancients often used honey-based treatments to cure and heal wounds and other infections. Modern insights into honey’s amazing properties continue to be studied and tested. Raw honey contains five compounds which provide honey with an amazing antibacterial properties.

 

Free Bible Study Worksheets optin

Want to Dig Deeper with Bible Symbolism?

My FREE BIble Study Worksheets can help! With a SOAP Study Worksheet and instructions plus an in-depth worksheet to help you apply His Word to your life.

Grab it below!

 

God’s Rules About Honey

As with any of God’s gifts to us, He tells us not to abuse it. In regard to honey, there are really only two “rules” that I can find in study:

  1. Honey is not to be offered as or with any sacrifice

 

“Every grain offering you bring to the Lord must be made without yeast, for you are not to burn any yeast or honey in a food offering presented to the Lord.” – Leviticus 2:11 

 

2) Honey is a First fruit and should be Offered to God.

 

This verse almost seems to contradict the first, but let’s take a closer look:

 

“You may bring them to the Lord as an offering of the firstfruits, but they are not to be offered on the altar as a pleasing aroma.” – Leviticus 2:12 

 

“And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.” – 2 Chronicles 31:5 

an image of a jar of honey on a blue wooden table

One may assume that the Jews used honey as a leavening for baking purposes. But on the other hand, honey sacrifices were prohibited by the Jews as honey was liable to ferment. “

 

So it seems that it may be offered as a first fruit, but not a burnt offering.

 

And, while not a “rule”, a good piece of advice:

 

On the other hand, eating too much is warned against in Proverbs 25:16:

“If you find honey, eat just enough—
too much of it, and you will vomit.” – Proverbs 25:16 

 

Isn’t honey amazing? And, more amazing is that God created it for us. To learn about Him through symbolism. To eat. To use for healing. He thinks of our EVERY need. Yet, we worry about silly things.

 

Isn't honey amazing? And, more amazing is that God created it for us. To learn about Him through symbolism. To eat. To use for healing. He thinks of our EVERY need. Yet, we worry about silly things.Click to Tweet

 

Did you learn something new about honey in the Bible? If so, please share in the comments below.

 

For deeper study on honey in the Bible, consider one of these recommended resources:

 

 

 

 

Because He Lives,

Sue

an image of honey jars - Honey in the Bible

 

 

Susan is a writer, speaker and the creator of Women of Noble Character ministries. She is passionate about helping Christian women deepen their walk with God through Bible study and creative worship and strengthen their marriages.

She lives in rural North Central Missouri with her handsome and hilarious husband and a myriad of dogs, cats and chickens.

Susan runs on Jesus, coffee and not enough sleep.

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