While traveling in Egypt we noticed pigeon roosts several places, but especially in the eastern Delta region (the biblical land of Goshen). The photo below was made along the desert road between Cairo and Alexandria.
Pigeons may serve many purposes: food, eggs, making fertilizer, message carriers, etc. Our guide explained that many people thought of the pigeon as an aphrodisiac.
Every reference to pigeons in the Bible is related to sacrifices. Most of the references are in Leviticus (1:14; 5:7, 11; 12:6, 8; 14:22, 30; 15:14, 29). Note two other references:
- When the LORD made the land covenant with Abram at Shechem, He asked Abram to bring “a three year old heifer, and a three year old female goat, and a three year old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon” (Genesis 15:9). The Hebrew word here is different. Fox, in The Five Books of Moses, uses the term fledgling.
- Mary’s offering of purification in Jerusalem was “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:24).