7 Biblical Things that Deer Symbolize in the Bible

Deers present themselves multiple times in the Bible. They show up mostly throughout the Old Testament scriptures and are most commonly used in a poetic sense. Because deer are used in a poetic way, their Biblical meaning can be unclear. Deer in the Bible has some incredible symbolic meanings that are applicable to our lives today. Deer symbolizes a desire for God, God’s desire for us, God’s provision, God’s positioning, and more throughout the Bible. 

The Spiritual Meanings of Deer in the Bible 

The  Word of God is full of symbolism of deer. Their symbolic meaning creates a powerful message about the character of God and our relationship with Him. The Biblical meaning of deer helps us to decipher what life as a Christian should be like. It helps us to view God in the right way and encourages us to stay firmly planted in a life with Him. 

All of these Bible verses about deer come from the Old Testament because deer are not mentioned in the New Testament. 

Deer in the Bible Symbolize God’s Positioning 

The first thing that deer represent in the Bible is that God positions us. There are multiple verses in the Bible where deer are referenced as placed by God. Specifically, they are used metaphorically to show that God determines our steps.

In the book of Habakkuk, deer are mentioned in this way. “The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.” Habakkuk 3:19

In this passage, a song is portrayed. Many songs lean on metaphor to communicate a point, and that is exactly what is happening here. The writer starts by declaring that God is his strength. That is straightforward, however, the next part takes some interpreting. 

The writer of Habakkuk wrote that God made his feet like a deer’s feet. He elaborates by declaring that God makes him walk in high places. High places usually symbolize prestige, honor, and favor.  Therefore, Habakkuk is declaring that just like the feet of deer, he is positioned in a place of honor. 

Habakkuk was a prophet, which meant he had an intimate relationship with God. It can be deduced from this passage that having a close relationship with God leads to supernatural positioning. 

Today, the Holy Spirit guides us in our lives. He helps us to make decisions that align with God’s will. Clearly, this passage takes the stance that God positions us with honor. Now the Holy Spirit guides us into those places of honor. 

A major theme in the Bible is that God takes care of us. This verse is a testament to that because it shows God positions us both for our good and for the good of the Kingdom of God. 

God’s Provision 

Another thing that deer symbolizes in the Bible is God’s provision. Throughout scripture, we see that God promises to provide for us. Jesus taught that if God takes care of the birds, He will take care of us. In one specific passage of the Bible, deer echo that message. 

Deuteronomy 12:15 says, “Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart.”

During the Old Testament, God divided animals into categories: clean and unclean. During that portion of scripture, God declared that deer were clean to eat. In this specific passage, we see a call to eat the meat God provides. 

Therefore, deer are a symbol of God’s provision for people. God gave them meat to eat, and similarly today God still provides for His people. This passage reveals that God is a providing God, who cares about His people’s well-being. 

Furthermore, deer might be looked at as a symbol of strength from God in this passage. Nutrition from food brings us well-being, and if God provides us with food, He is also providing us with strength.

Here, deer represent the provision that God has for our lives. Today, we might have a financial, physical, or spiritual need, and if we follow God, He can provide. It can give us confidence that God will provide for us no matter what happens. 

Deer in the Bible Symbolize God’s Desire for Us

Another example of what deer in the Bible symbolizes is God’s desire for us. There is a book in the Bible called the Song of Solomon. In this book, King Solomon exchanges letters with a woman that he loves. The book (also called the Song of Songs) is meant to symbolize how God is passionate about us. 

Song of Solomon 8:14 says, “Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.”

As mentioned previously, this passage is meant to symbolize God’s desire for us. He tells us that we shouldn’t delay seeking Him. In the New Testament, it is made clear that we should not put off a relationship with Him, but we should run to God. 

Furthermore, we see in the parable of the prodigal son that as the lost son approaches the father, the father runs towards him. Similar to this passage, God runs towards us. He is not slow to pursue us, but He has a deep desire to speak to us. 

Although it might feel like God is slow to respond, He is constantly trying to reveal Himself to us. Through nature and our situation, God is regularly demonstrating His love for us. Deer represent God’s desire for us. 

Our Desire for God

As we read scripture another meaning for deer arises. In the Bible, there is a book called Psalm. Psalm is a collection of many different songs that were written to God. The book of Psalms is full of symbolism and metaphor, so deer are mentioned in the book.

In Psalm 42:1 the Bible says, “For the choir director. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.

Just like a deer desires water, the writer of this Psalm needs God. A deer’s priority is survival, and its number one need is water. Without water, all living things die, including deer. It is a necessity for their lives. 

In the same way, the writer of this Psalm has a need for God. Their desperation for God is so deep, that their soul would die without Him. That is powerful imagery. 

In the Gospels, Jesus Christ remarks that He is the living water and that whoever comes to Him will never thirst again. This is a parallel in scripture and teaching that should be taken to heart. 

We can go to things in this world to satisfy us, but it’s all temporary. Christ Jesus is the only one who can truly satisfy our soul’s desires. Our soul thirsts for God. 

Deer in the Bible Symbolize God’s Healing 

Deer in the Bible also symbolizes God’s healing. In one particular scripture, deer are used as a reference to the health God can bring. 

In the King James Version, Isaiah 35:6 says, “Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”

The theme that God is a healer is observed many times throughout scripture. This is one of those times. A deer is used in this passage to show the completion of God’s healing. The lame man in the passage can’t just walk again, but he can leap. 

God’s healing is not halfway, instead, true healing from God means full rejuvenation. This can be observed in the physical, spiritual, and emotional contexts. God can physically heal our ills. He can spiritually heal our sins, and He can heal our emotional trauma as well. 

Deer in the Bible Symbolize the Power of Words 

In the book of Genesis, Jacob has 12 sons. He is giving each one a blessing. As he comes to his son Naphtali, here is what he says, “Naphtali is a doe let loose, He gives beautiful words.” Genesis 49:21 

Deer are beautiful creatures, and our words can be too. Just like the beautiful animal, our words can bring joy and excitement to our lives. 

The Bible tells us that the power of life and death is in our tongues. During this passage specifically, Naphtali is being given the blessing of encouraging speech. It was customary for fathers to give blessings during this time, and Naphtali was a meaningful one. 

Deer in the Bible Symbolize Speed

There is one more way that I found deer being used thematically in the Bible. Deer were oftentimes characterized as fast creatures in the Bible. Although it might not be an incredibly meaningful interpretation, it is a fun fact that deer are used to symbolize speed and agility in the Bible. 

There are two accounts in the Bible where deer are used to demonstrate speed. One of those is in 2 Samuel 2:18 where it says, “And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe.”

The second moment is in 1 Chronicles 2:18. “And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains;” 

Deer is used to symbolize many different things in scripture, and there are even more verses about deer that I did not reference. Ultimately, deer symbolizes God’s healing, His provision, His desire for us, the power of words, our need for Him, and speed in the Bible.