25 Bible Verses About Cattle (Explained)

Livestock, including cattle, played a significant role in biblical times. Let’s delve into verses that reference cattle, offering lessons on stewardship, provision, and the symbiotic relationship between humans and animals.

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Bible Verses About Cattle

Genesis 4:20

“Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock.”

This verse mentions Jabal, who is known as the father of those who raise livestock. It highlights the early recognition of the importance of cattle rearing for sustenance and livelihood.

Genesis 26:14

“He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him.”

In this verse, it is evident that having abundant cattle brings prosperity and attracts envy from others. God blessed Isaac with numerous flocks and herds, symbolizing divine favor and provision.

Genesis 30:31

“What shall I give you?” he asked. “Don’t give me anything,” Jacob replied. “But if you will do this one thing for me, I will go on tending your flocks and watching over them.”

Here, Jacob expresses his commitment to tending Laban’s flocks. Cattle were a primary means of sustenance and a valuable asset in their society.

Genesis 47:17

“Then they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, their flocks and herds, and their donkeys. So he brought them through that year with food in exchange for all their livestock.”

This verse illustrates how cattle held immense value as a form of currency or trade. People traded their livestock for food during times of famine, emphasizing the crucial role of cattle in their society.

Exodus 9:19

“Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every person and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.”

During the plague of hail in Egypt, God instructed the Israelites to bring their cattle and animals to a place of shelter. This verse emphasizes the importance of protecting and caring for livestock.

Exodus 12:38

“A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock.”

As the Israelites left Egypt during the exodus, they took with them not only their own livestock but also acquired additional flocks and herds. Cattle served as a sign of wealth, and their possession symbolized prosperity.

Leviticus 1:2

“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When anyone among you brings an offering to the LORD, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.’”

In this verse, God instructs the Israelites to bring offerings to Him, which often included animals from their herds and flocks. Cattle were considered a worthy sacrifice and a means of worshiping God.

Leviticus 11:2

“Speak to the Israelites and say, ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat.’”

God provides specific guidelines on which animals the Israelites can eat in this verse. The inclusion of cattle among the permissible animals for consumption highlights their significance as a source of sustenance.

Numbers 31:9

“The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks, and goods as plunder.”

When the Israelites defeated the Midianites, they took plunder, including their cattle. This indicates the perceived value of cattle as spoils of war.

Deuteronomy 7:13

“He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine, and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land He swore to your ancestors to give you.”

In this verse, God promises blessings and abundance to the Israelites, including increased numbers in both their crops and livestock. Cattle are specifically mentioned as a source of prosperity.

Deuteronomy 14:4

“These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat.”

Similar to Leviticus, this verse outlines the animals permissible for consumption, including cattle. It reaffirms the significance of cattle as a source of food for the Israelites.

Joshua 6:21

“They devoted the city to the LORD and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.”

During the conquest of Jericho, as part of their devotion to God, the Israelites destroyed everything in the city, including cattle. This illustrates the practice of dedicating spoils of war to the Lord.

Job 1:3

“He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.”

Job’s immense wealth and prosperity included a significant number of cattle. This portrayal emphasizes the association between cattle ownership and material abundance.

Proverbs 27:23

“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.”

This verse highlights the importance of diligently caring for and overseeing one’s cattle and livestock. It promotes responsible stewardship and good husbandry.

Jeremiah 12:9

“Has not my inheritance become to me like a speckled bird of prey that other birds of prey surround and attack? Go and gather all the wild beasts; bring them to devour.”

This metaphorical verse compares the plundering of God’s inheritance to a bird of prey attacking. It does not specifically focus on cattle, but it emphasizes the loss and destruction of all God’s possessions.

Jeremiah 33:12

“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In this place, desolate and without people or animals—in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks.’”

God’s promise of restoration includes the presence of animals, such as flocks. This verse implies that the return of cattle and livestock signifies the restoration of abundance and prosperity.

Ezekiel 34:15-16

“I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”

Although not specifically about cattle, this verse portrays God as the shepherd who cares for His flock. Symbolically, God’s care for His people extends to the care and provision of their livestock.

Amos 4:1

“Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, ‘Bring us some drinks!’”

In this verse, the prophet Amos addresses the wealthy and oppressive women, referring to them metaphorically as cows. The mention of cows demonstrates their connection to affluence and exploitation.

Zechariah 10:3

“My anger burns against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the LORD Almighty will care for his flock, the people of Judah, and make them like a proud horse in battle.”

This verse talks about God’s anger towards the shepherds, but it also points to His care for the flock, metaphorically represented as cattle. It signifies God’s protection and strength bestowed upon His people.

Luke 15:22

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.’”

While not directly addressing cattle, this verse is part of the parable of the prodigal son. The father’s command to bring the best robe symbolizes celebration and implies the possibility of feasting, possibly involving cattle as a significant part of the festivities.

1 Corinthians 9:9

“For it is written in the Law of Moses: ‘Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.’ Is it about oxen that God is concerned?”

Although focused on oxen, this verse highlights the concern for animal welfare found in the Mosaic law. It implies that God is not solely concerned about human well-being but also cares about the treatment of animals, including cattle.

James 5:11

“As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

This verse refers to Job’s perseverance and God’s mercy. Although not directly related to cattle, it suggests that God can restore and bless even in situations where one’s possessions, including cattle, have been taken away or destroyed.

Each of these Bible verses provides insight into the significance of cattle in various contexts. They reveal the practical and symbolic nature of cattle in ancient societies, emphasizing their value as a source of livelihood, provision, and even religious practice. Cattle ownership often denoted wealth and prosperity, while their care and protection were regarded as important responsibilities. Additionally, these verses highlight God’s concern for both humans and animals, teaching principles of stewardship, compassion, and justice. The mention of cattle within these verses helps paint a broader picture of the social, economic, and spiritual aspects of biblical times.

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