The Hart And Hind (Deer)

From The Scripture Alphabet Of Animals
Harriet Newell Cook (1814-1843)
Published In 1842 – Public Domain

Several animals of the deer kind are mentioned in the Bible under the names of Fallow-deer, Hart, Hind, and Roe-buck. They were all numbered among the clean animals, or those which the Israelites were allowed to eat; as we see in Deuteronomy 14:4, 5, “These are the beasts which ye shall eat; the ox, the sheep, the goat, the hart, the roe-buck and the fallow-deer.” In 1 Kings, 4:23, we read of the daily provision which was made for king Solomon’s table, and among the rest were “ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and a hundred sheep, besides harts, and roe-bucks, and fallow-deer.”

Deer

As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God.

These animals are all harmless, gentle, timid, loving and beautiful; noted for their branching horns, for the elegance of their form, and for their surprisingly swift and graceful motion. It has long been a favorite amusement in eastern countries to pursue them in the chase; and as the swiftest greyhound can scarcely overtake them, it is usual to train hawks or falcons to attack them, and so delay them till the dogs come up. They bound along over the plains, “fleet as the wind,” seeming scarcely to touch the ground: no motion can be more beautiful. In the last verse of Solomon’s Song we read, “Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe, or to a young hart on the mountains of spices.” Isaiah 35 contains a beautiful description of the peaceful kingdom which Christ will one day establish in the earth; and among other things it is said, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.”

The hart or hind is remarkably sure-footed as well as swift: this may explain one or two verses in the Bible. David says, 2 Samuel 22:33, 34, “God is my strength and power, and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.” In the last verse of Habakkuk we read, “The Lord is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet.” The male deer is called a hart, the female a hind; and their affection for each other is beautiful. Solomon says in the Proverbs, “Rejoice with the wife of thy youth; let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe.”

The hart often suffers from thirst in the dry and sandy countries where it lives-especially when pursued by the hunters; it then longs for water, and plunges with the greatest eagerness into the cooling stream. David says in the Psalm 42, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God?” Nothing could more strongly express his love to God, or his ardent desire for communion with him. Happy is the child who has in his heart such feelings towards God, and who finds pleasure in praying to him, from day to day; he has been taught by the Holy Spirit, and is preparing to meet God in peace.

 

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.

(Isaiah 35:4-6 <NLT>)

 

Selected Hart and Hind (Deer) References In The Bible

Deuteronomy 12:13-25

Deuteronomy 14:1-6

2 Samuel 22:29-37

Psalm 42:1-11

Song of Solomon 2:1-17

Isaiah 35:1-10

Habakkuk 3:16-19

 

 

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Image: Dr Joseph Valks Photography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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