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We’ve all heard about the land of milk and honey in the Bible, the promised land, 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.
Before we get into the symbolism and uses of honey in the Bible, let’s take a look at where the Bible says we can find much honey.
Where the Bible Says We Can Find Honey:
Primarily, scripture points out three places where we can find honey.
3. Carcases of Dead Animals
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) Symbol of 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.
We also find it in Job:
2) The Word of God
Nothing is sweeter than the beautiful words of the God of Abraham. Scripture refers to God’s Word often as sweeter than honey as we can see in the following verses:
Honey is also compared to or symbolized with wisdom.
4) 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.
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:
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.
Uses for Honey in the Bible
- 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.
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.
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.
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).
The Jews put aside honey for future use and is used to barter not to take their lives as they have saved provisions:
Even King David’s army was provided with honey as provisions during battle.
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.
1. Plain or on its own
2. With the comb/whole honeycomb
3. With milk
4. With butter or curds
5. With locusts
6. Mixed with flour
Click the image below for a 2-page downloadable, printable PDF with Bible verses about honey for deeper study, verse mapping or Bible journaling.
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:
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 that provide honey with amazing antibacterial properties.
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:
- Honey is not to be offered as or with any sacrifice
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:
One may assume that the Jews used honey as a leavening for baking purposes. 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:
Isn’t honey amazing? And, more amazing is that God created it for us. Another of God’s provision! One interesting note. The honey referenced in the land of Israel is most likely date honey and not bee honey! To learn about Him through symbolism. To eat. To use for healing. He thinks of our EVERY need. Yet, we, and the children of Israel, worry about silly things.
Another interesting tidbit, most of the biblical references to honey are found in the Old Testament. Very few are found in the New Testament.
Did you learn something new about honey in the Bible? If so, please share in the comments below.
Are You a Foodie? Do you want to learn more about food in the Bible and its symbolism?
A guide to the symbolism of many foods in the Bible, including milk, honey, bread, and more. Looking at scripture to describe food in biblical times and what it represents in our spiritual life.
You may enjoy this video: What is the meaning of honey in The Bible? | Short Bible Study
For deeper study on honey in the Bible, consider one of these recommended resources:
Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey by Margaret Feinberg
Taste and See: Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, and Fresh Food Makers by Margaret Feinberg
Taste and see is an amazing biblical culinary adventure. If you love to cook and study the Bible, you will love this book!
Personally, I love my subscription to ArtzaBox. Each quarter includes food from Israel (their date honey is incredible), home decor, self-care, and faith-related items all from the Holy Land. No code is necessary for 20% off for my readers.
Because He Lives,
ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”