24 Mar Horses In The Bible: Top Bible Verses About Horses
Bible Verses About Horses
While I am passionate about horses, I’m even more passionate about the Word of God! I like to open up the Bible to read and find verses about horses. Horses, donkeys, and other livestock were prevalent in biblical times and are reflected in the Bible in a largely symbolic nature, from the very first book of Genesis to the book of Revelation.
What are the top Bible verses about horses? Horses are mentioned throughout scripture, both in the Old and New Testaments. Early mentions of the horse typically revolve around war and military might, while later mentions are generally prophetic in nature.
What scriptures mention horses specifically? Keep reading to get a complete list of where horses are mentioned in the Bible and in what context.
Horses In The Old Testament
Many horses in Old Testament scripture relate to horses in war – particularly in the armies of the enemies of God’s people. Horses were seen as powerful and intimidating tools of war and were often used as a testimony of God’s provision and protection, even when vastly outnumbered. Though horses became more accessible throughout history, they were not typically kept by the common people during this era and were somewhat reserved for nobility and the military.
As said in Isaiah 31:1, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the LORD!” Isaiah is making it clear that regardless of the number of horses and the military might, there is no protection worth putting your trust in but the Lord.
David speaks similarly in Psalm 20:7 when he says: “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.”
Horses were also used to symbolize the power of the Lord’s judgment during times of disobedience. “Behold, he goes up like clouds, and his chariots like the whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are ruined!” Jeremiah 4:13. This is a warning to Jerusalem to turn back to God.
Still, other verses about horses depict God’s retribution against the enemies of Israel, as seen in Habakkuk 1:8 – “Their horses are swifter than leopards and keener than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen come galloping; their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swooping down to devour.” This is God’s promise to judge Judah.
Horses were not only seen as tools of war but were also greatly beloved by many. King Solomon himself was a horse enthusiast, as is implied by the following verses: “Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots and 12,000 horsemen.” 1 Kings 4:26.
Interestingly, the same stables were described in 2 Chronicles 9:25, but in this verse, 4,000 stalls are described as opposed to the 40,000 stalls in 1st Kings. Scholars agree that 4,000 is likelier, and 40,000 may have been a copy error. Either number is quite impressive – imagine the magnitude of a barn with 4,000 horse stalls.
“… and they were bringing horses for Solomon from Egypt and from all countries.” 2 Chronicles 9:28. This passage details the degree of wealth that King Solomon experienced ends with a description of the exotic horses gifted to him.
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Biblical Proverbs And Wisdom About Horses
There are several sayings about horses in the Bible, some in the book of Psalms, one in the book of Proverbs, and even one in the New Testament. Not all are flattering to horses (with one version of Psalm 32:9 calling horses “stupid”), but all use the animals to express a more significant point.
“Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.” Psalm 32:9. Horses are intelligent and often willing to please, but as anyone with experience training horses knows, it is not always a simple task. In this, David is likely pleading for the people to follow God without struggle – instead of submitting to training grudgingly, as can be the case, follow Him willingly. This particular wording is from the New King James Version. Others are even less flattering, with the Good News Translation starting the verse with “Don’t be stupid like a horse or a mule.” Ouch!
“A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.” Psalm 33:17. Agan, David is saying that trust should ultimately be in God, not horses, which were the great military tools of that time.
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” Proverbs 21:31. Solomon inherited his father’s faith in the Lord instead of earthly militaries. Though he amassed horses in great numbers, as we saw earlier, he did not put all of his trust in his military, unlike many other kings.
“He does not take delight in the strength of the horse; he does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.” Psalm 147:10. The “He” in this verse refers to God – He takes pleasure in our hearts, not in fleeting virtues like physical strength.
“Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.” James 3:3. The ability of one to display self-control is evident through the words we say. Just as the horse is controlled with a bit in the mouth, we can show self-control through our mouths and what we say.
Prophetic Bible Verses About Horses
Horses are prevalent in prophecies throughout scripture, especially in the book of Revelation. Some verses are easier than others to interpret, and some are harder. Prophecy is believed to account for a large percentage of scripture. Much discussion and study have been devoted to the many prophetic verses, including the following.
“… I saw at night, and behold, a man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtle trees which were in the ravine, with red, sorrel, and white horses behind him.” Zechariah 1:8. Zechariah does not imply this vision is one of judgment but rather one of observation by heavenly hosts. Some believe the riders are angels, and some believe the main rider is Jesus. There is no general agreement on what red, sorrel, and white signify.
“Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold; four chariots came out from between two mountains… The first chariot had red horses, the second black horses, the third white horses, and the fourth chariot dappled horses – all of them strong.” Zechariah 6:1-3. Based on other scriptural evidence, it is suggested that the color red may symbolize war, the color black may symbolize famine and death, the color white represents victory, and the dappled may indicate disease.
“… and this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three plagues, a third of mankind was killed – by the fire and smoke and brimstone which came out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm.” Revelation 9:17-19. In the Book of Revelation, horses are mentioned many times. I believe the reason for this is that horses can “carry” things and bring them from one place to another. During the time of Revelation, these horses will carry things from the spiritual realm into the natural realm.
“And I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, He judges and wages war.” Revelation 19:11. John’s vision is of Jesus on a white horse. White is symbolic as it speaks to victory. These horses are depicted much differently than the horses in chapter 9.
John then says, “… and the armies which are in Heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.” Revelation 19:14. Again, the white horses symbolize victory before the battle has even begun.
Horses In The Bible
While not the most prominent livestock mentioned in the Bible (that title would go to sheep, which are mentioned, along with their lambs, more than 500 times), they are rich throughout the Word in symbolization. Horses signify strength, power, and at times, stubbornness. They, at times, symbolize the strength of the enemy’s army when God’s people feel hopeless (and thus the strength of God who gives them hope). At other times they signify the great victory during the end times. If you love horses (and you do, since you’re here) and you have a Bible, it can be fun to see what the scriptures say about these magnificent animals.
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