Dove is mentioned 18 times in the King James Bible. More than any other bird. The beautiful and gentle dove has been emblematic of love and affection and is used sometimes today in celebration of weddings and other tender occasions. King Solomon, in one of his passionate writings mentions this bird in The Song of Solomon:
“My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past; The rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; The time of the singing [of birds] is come, And the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our land;” (Song of Solomon 2:10-12 ASV)
Under the Old Testament Law of Moses, where a lamb or bull was to be offered for various purposes, if the person, especially widows, the poor and unable to afford such an animal, they were permitted to bring two turtle-doves or two young pigeons in its stead. This is given under the several circumstances five times in the book of Leviticus and once in the book of Numbers.
It is worthy of note that these two birds, doves and pigeons, were the only birds which were authorized to be used as a sacrifice.
The dove is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 8:8ff. The setting here is that Noah and his family had been on the ark for ten months when the tops of the mountains began to appear out of the water. And after forty more days, this:
“Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.” (Genesis 8:8-12 KJV)
The psalmist mentioned the dove as a sign of purity in Psalm 68:13.
And all four of the gospel writers depicted the Holy Spirit descending like a dove upon Jesus at his baptism. Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, John 1:32.
King Solomon used the dove as a sign of tender devotion:
“Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes.” (Song of Solomon 1:15 KJV)
“O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” (Song of Solomon 2:14 KJV)
The wisdom of the biblical writers to choose the dove as symbolic of peace and tenderness is shown in this beautiful and mild tempered bird. And even its call for its mate is a melancholy sound of kindness. Here is a link to the call of a Mourning Dove. Page down once you reach the site and you will find the “unmated male call”, the male “nest call”, the distress call of a captive bird, and also the whistle of one’s wings as it is flushed and mounting quickly, plus one in which you can hear the whistle of the wings when one is in full speed flight.
I can’t believe that sportsmen relish the killing of these wonderful creatures of God.