From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

זאב , in Arabic, zeeb,   Genesis 49:27;  Isaiah 11:6;  Isaiah 65:25;  Jeremiah 5:6;  Ezekiel 22:27;  Zephaniah 3:3;  Habakkuk 1:8; λυκος ,  Matthew 7:15;  Matthew 10:16;  Luke 10:3;  John 10:12;  Acts 20:29; Ecclesiastes 13:17. M. Mains derives it from the Arabic word zaab or daaba, "to frighten;" and hence, perhaps, the German word dieb, "a thief." The wolf is a fierce, strong, cunning, mischievous, and carnivorous quadruped; externally and internally so nearly resembling the dog, that they seem modelled alike, yet have a perfect antipathy to each other. The Scripture observes of the wolf, that it lives upon rapine; is violent, bloody, cruel, voracious, and greedy; goes abroad by night to seek its prey, and is a great enemy to flocks of sheep. Indeed, this animal is fierce without cause, kills without remorse, and by its indiscriminate slaughter seems to satisfy its malignity rather than its hunger. The wolf is weaker than the lion or the bear, and less courageous than the leopard; but he scarcely yields to them in cruelty and rapaciousness. His ravenous temper prompts him to destructive and sanguinary depredations; and these are perpetrated principally in the night. This circumstance is expressly mentioned in several passages of Scripture. "The great men have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bonds; wherefore, a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them,"  Jeremiah 5:6 . The rapacious and cruel conduct of the princes of Israel is compared by  Ezekiel 22:27 , to the mischievous inroads of the same animal: "Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, to destroy lives, to get dishonest gain;" and  Zephaniah 3:3 , says, "Her princes within her are roaring lions, her judges are evening wolves: they gnaw not the bones till the morrow." Instead of protecting the innocent and restraining the evil doer, or punishing him according to the demerit of his crimes, they delight in violence and oppression, in blood and rapine; and so insatiable is their cupidity, that, like the evening wolf, they destroy more than they are able to possess. The dispositions of the wolf to attack the weaker animals, especially those which are under the protection of man, is alluded to by our Saviour in the parable of the hireling shepherd: "The wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the flock,"  Matthew 7:15 . And the Apostle Paul, in his address to the elders of Ephesus, gives the name of this insidious and cruel animal to the false teachers who disturbed the peace and perverted the faith of their people: "I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock,"  Acts 20:29 .

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]


In AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘wolf’ is always tr. [Note: translate or translation.] of ze’çb (cf. Arab [Note: Arabic.] , zeeb ‘wolf’),   Genesis 49:27 ,   Isaiah 11:6;   Isaiah 65:25 ,   Jeremiah 5:6 ,   Ezekiel 22:27 ,   Habakkuk 1:8 ,   Zephaniah 3:8 . Cf. also proper name Zeeb,   Judges 7:25 . For ‘iyyîm (tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘wolves’ in   Isaiah 13:22 RV [Note: Revised Version.] ) and tannîm see Jackal . The NT term is lykos (  Matthew 7:15;   Matthew 10:16 ,   Luke 10:3 ,   John 10:12 ,   Acts 20:29 ).

The wolf of Palestine is a variety of Canis tupus , somewhat lighter in colour and larger than that of N. Europe. It is seldom seen to-day, and never goes in packs, though commonly in couples; it commits its ravages at night, hence the expression ‘wolf of the evening’ (  Jeremiah 5:6 ,   Zephaniah 3:3 ); it was one of the greatest terrors of the lonely shepherd (  John 10:12 ); persecutors are compared to wolves in   Matthew 10:18 ,   Acts 20:29 .

E. W. G. Masterman.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [3]

Wolf. There can be little doubt that the wolf of Palestine is the common Canis lupus , and that this is the animal so frequently mentioned in the Bible.

(The wolf is a fierce animal of the same species as the dog, which it resembles. The common color is gray with a tinting of fawn, and the hair is long and black. The Syrian wolf is of lighter color than the wolf of Europe it is the dread of the shepherds of Palestine. - Editor).

Wolves were doubtless far more common in biblical times than they are now, though they are occasionally seen by modern travellers. The following are the scriptural allusions to the wolf:

Its ferocity is mentioned in  Genesis 49:27;  Ezekiel 22:27;  Habakkuk 1:8;  Matthew 7:15,

its nocturnal habits, in  Jeremiah 5:6;  Zephaniah 3:3;  Habakkuk 1:8,

its attacking sheep and lambs,  Matthew 10:16;  Luke 10:3;  John 10:12,

Isaiah  Isaiah 11:6;  Isaiah 65:25, foretells the peaceful reign of the Messiah under the metaphor of a wolf dwelling with a lamb:

cruel persecutors are compared with wolves.  Matthew 10:16;  Acts 20:29.

Webster's Dictionary [4]

(1): ( a.) A white worm, or maggot, which infests granaries.

(2): ( a.) Any one of several species of wild and savage carnivores belonging to the genus Canis and closely allied to the common dog. The best-known and most destructive species are the European wolf (Canis lupus), the American gray, or timber, wolf (C. occidentalis), and the prairie wolf, or coyote. Wolves often hunt in packs, and may thus attack large animals and even man.

(3): ( a.) One of the destructive, and usually hairy, larvae of several species of beetles and grain moths; as, the bee wolf.

(4): ( a.) Fig.: Any very ravenous, rapacious, or destructive person or thing; especially, want; starvation; as, they toiled hard to keep the wolf from the door.

(5): ( a.) In bowed instruments, a harshness due to defective vibration in certain notes of the scale.

(6): ( a.) An eating ulcer or sore. Cf. Lupus.

(7): ( a.) The harsh, howling sound of some of the chords on an organ or piano tuned by unequal temperament.

(8): ( a.) A willying machine.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

A ferocious wild animal, the Canis Lupus of Linnaeus, belonging to the dog genus. Indeed, it closely resembles the dog; and it is only by a few slight differences of shape that they are distinguished. Wolves never bark, but only howl. They are cruel, but cowardly animals; they fly from man, except when impelled by hunger; in which case they prowl by night in great droves through villages, and destroy any persons they meet,  Jeremiah 5:6   Ezekiel 22:27   Habakkuk 1:8 .

They are swift of foot, strong enough to carry off a sheep at full speed, and an overmatch for ordinary dogs. In severe winters, wolves assemble in large troops, join in dreadful howlings, and make terrible devastation. They are the peculiar object of terror to shepherds, as the defenselessness and timidity of the sheep render it an easy prey to wolves,  Luke 10:3   John 10:12 . So persecutors and false teachers have been "grievous wolves" to the flock of Christ,  Matthew 10:16   Acts 20:29 . The wolf inhabits the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. Driven in general from the populous parts of the country, he is yet everywhere found in large forests and mountainous regions.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [6]

 Ezekiel 22:27 (a) It was a most unhappy situation that existed when the leaders became beasts to destroy the people over whom they were supposed to rule beneficently. The wicked rulers of Israel were suppressing, robbing and injuring the people whom they should have been protecting and preserving. (See also  Zephaniah 3:3).

 Matthew 7:15 (a) This animal represents religious leaders of the present day, who pretend to be GOD's servants, but who rob the people of their faith, their peace, and their money.

 Matthew 10:16 (a) The Lord knew that His disciples would be subject to persecution wherever they went. The people who prosecuted and sought to execute the servants of the Saviour are described as these wild beasts. (See also  Luke 10:3).

 Acts 20:29 (a) The wolf is used in this case to represent wicked, cruel leaders who, in the name of Christianity and the Church, will burn, maim, torture, kill and seek to destroy GOD's people and GOD's testimony. History reveals that this is the course pursued by the great apostate church.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

The well-known animal, described in scripture as 'ravening,' and seeking its prey in the evening. They are very destructive among the sheep, worrying and destroying more than they can eat. This makes the wolf a fit emblem of the wicked, who molest the sheep and lambs of God's flock, and even creep in among them. How great will be the change in the millennium is denoted, among other things, by the wolf and the lamb dwelling together.  Genesis 49:27;  Isaiah 11:6;  Isaiah 65:25;  Jeremiah 5:6;  Ezekiel 22:27;  Habakkuk 1:8;  Zephaniah 3:3;  Matthew 7:15;  Matthew 10:16;  Luke 10:3;  John 10:12;  Acts 20:29 . The Hebrew is zeeb, Arabic dhib, the common Canis lupus.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Wolf. The Hebrew Zeeb, "wolf," was so called from its tawny color. It is the common Canis Lupus, still found in some parts of Palestine.  Isaiah 11:6;  Isaiah 65:25;  Jeremiah 5:6;  Habakkuk 1:8. It is of an unsated appetite; and often indiscriminately killing sheep and goats, apparently rather to satisfy its fierce nature than its hunger.  Zephaniah 3:3;  Matthew 7:15;  John 10:12. Persecutors are compared to wolves.  Matthew 10:16;  Acts 20:29. The peaceful reign of the Messiah is spoken of under the metaphor of the wolf dwelling with the lamb.  Isaiah 11:6;  Isaiah 65:25.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [9]

Zeeb . The Canis Lupus . Fierce ( Genesis 49:27;  Ezekiel 22:27;  Habakkuk 1:8;  Matthew 7:15); prowling in the night ( Jeremiah 5:6;  Zephaniah 3:3); devouring lambs and sheep ( John 10:12); typifying persecutors and heretical leaders ( Matthew 10:16;  Matthew 7:15;  Acts 20:29); hereafter about to associate peacefully with the lamb under Messiah's reign ( Isaiah 11:6;  Isaiah 65:25). Tawny in color in Asia Minor.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [10]

1: Λύκος (Strong'S #3074 — Noun Masculine — lukos — loo'-kos )

occurs in  Matthew 10:16;  Luke 10:3;  John 10:12 (twice); metaphorically,   Matthew 7:15;  Acts 20:29 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [11]

 Genesis 49:27 Judges 19-21 Isaiah 11:6 Jeremiah 5:6 Habakkuk 1:8 Zephaniah 3:3 Ezekiel 22:27 Matthew 7:15 10:16 Acts 20:29

Holman Bible Dictionary [12]

Canis lupus Canis pallipes  John 10:12 Genesis 49:27 Jeremiah 5:6 Ezekiel 22:27 Matthew 7:15 Isaiah 65:25Animals

King James Dictionary [13]

WOLF, n. Wulf. G Gr.

1. An animal of the genus Canis, a beast of prey that kills sheep and other small domestic animals called sometimes the wild dog. The wolf is crafty, greedy and ravenous. 2. A small white worm or maggot, which infests granaries. 3. An eating ulcer.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [14]

WOLF. —See Animals in vol. i. p. 65a.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

(the invariable rendering in the A. V. of זְאֵב , Zeeb, so called either from. its Fierceness or its Yellow color, or perhaps the word is primitive; Λύκος ) , a fierce carnivorous animal, very nearly allied to the dog, and so well known as to require no particular description, excepting as regards the identity of the species in Palestine, which, although often asserted, is by no means established; for no professed zoologist .has obtained the animal in Syria, while other travelers only pretend to have seen it. Unquestionably a true wolf, or a wild canine with very similar manners, was not infrequent in that country during the earlier ages of the world, and even down to the commencement of our era. At this day the true wolf is still abundant in Asia Minor, as well as in the gorges of Cilicia, and, from the traveling disposition of the species, wolves may be expected to reside in the forests of Libanus. Hemprich and Ehrenberg, the most explicit of the naturalists who have visited that region, notice the dib, or zeb, under the denomination of Canis lupaster, and also, it seems, of Lupus Syriacus.

They describe it as resembling the wolf, but smaller, with a white tip on the tail, etc.; and give for its synonym Canis anthus and the wolf of Egypt,that is, the Λύκος of Aristotle and Thoes Anthus of Ham. Smith. This species, found in the mummy state at Lycopolis, though high in proportion to its bulk, measures only eighteen inches at the shoulder, and in weight is scarcely more than one third of that of a true wolf, whose stature rises to thirty and thirty-two inches. It is not gregarious, does not howl, cannot carry off a lamb or sheep, nor kill men, nor make the shepherd flee; in short, it is not the true wolf of Europe or Asia Minor, and is not possessed of the qualities ascribed to the species in the Bible. The next in Hemprich and Ehrenberg's description bears the same Arabic name; it is scientifically called Canis sacer, and is the piseonch of the Copts.

This species is, however, still smaller, and thus cannot be the wolf in question. It may be, as there are no forests to the south of Libianus, that these ravenous beasts, who never willingly range at a distance from cover, have forsaken the more open country, or else that the derbonn, now only indistinctly known as a species of black wolf in Arabia and Southern Syria, is the species or variety which anciently represented the wolf in Syria an appellation fully deserved if it be the same as the black species of the Pyrenees, which, though surmised to be a wild dog, is even more fierce than the common wolf, and is equally powerful. The Arabs are said to eat the derbonn as game, though it must be rare, since no European traveler has described a specimen from personal observation. Therefore, either' the true wolf or the derbonn was anciently more abundant in Palestine, or the ravenous powers of those animals, equally belonging to the hyena and to a great wild dog, caused several species to be included in the name. See Dog. " There is also an animal of which travelers in Arabia and Syria hear much, under the name of the shib, which the natives believe to be a breed between a leopard and a wolf. They describe it as being scarcely in its shape distinguishable from the wolf, but with the power of springing like a leopard, and attacking cattle. Its bite is said to be mortal, and to occasion raving madness before death.

In 1772 Dr. Freer saw and measured the forepart and tail of one' of these animals, and supplied Dr. Russell with the description which he has inserted in his book. The animal was one of several that followed the Basrah caravan from Basrah to the neighborhood of Aleppo. Many persons in the caravan had been bitten, some of whom died in a short time raving mad. It was also reported that some persons in the neighborhood of Aleppo were bitten, and died in like manner; but the doctor saw none of them himself. Dr. Russell imagines that the shib might be a wolf run mad. But this is a hazardous assumption, as it is doubtful whether canine madness exists in Western Asia; and unless we conclude with Col. Hamilton Smith that the shib is probably the same as the Thous acnon, or the wild wolf-dog of Natolia, it is best to await further information on the subject. Burckhardt says that little doubt can be entertained of the existence of the animal, and explains its fabulous origin (between a wolf and leopard) by stating that the Arabs, and especially the Bedawin, are in the common practice of assigning to every animal that is rarely met with parents of two different species of known animals"(Kitto, Phys. Hist. of Palest. 2, 364).

The following are the scriptural allusions to the wolf: Its ferocity is mentioned in Genesis 49, 27;  Ezekiel 22:27;  Habakkuk 1:8;  Matthew 7:15; its nocturnal habits in Jeremiah 5, 6;  Zephaniah 3:3;  Habakkuk 1:8; its attacking sheep and lambs in  Sirach 13:17;  John 10:12;  Matthew 10:16;  Luke 10:3; Isaiah ( Isaiah 11:6;  Isaiah 65:25) foretells the peaceful reign of the Messiah under the metaphor of a wolf dwelling with a lamb. Cruel persecutors are compared with wolves ( Matthew 10:16;  Acts 20:29). (See Zeeb).

Wolves were doubtless far more common in Biblical times than they are now, though they are occasionally reported by modern travelers (see Russell, Nat. Hist. of Aleppo, 2, 184): "The wolf seldom ventures so near the city as the fox, but is sometimes seen at a distance by the sportsmen among the hilly grounds in the neighborhood; and the villages, as well as the herds, often suffer from them. It is called dib in Arabic, and is common all over Syria." The wolf is now, as of old, the dread of the shepherds of Palestine. Not so numerous, but much more formidable than the jackal, he lurks about the fields, hunting not in noisy packs, but secreting himself till dark among the rocks; and without arousing the vigilance of the sheep- dogs, he leaps into the fold, and seizes his victim by stealth. Their boldness at times, however, is very remarkable, especially in the less-frequented regions. "In every part of the country we occasionally saw the wolf. In the open plain of Gennesaret my horse one day literally leaped over a wolf. In the hill country of Benjamin the wolves still remain. We found them alike in the forests of Bashan and Gilead, in the ravines of Galilee and Lebanon, and in the maritime plains" (Tristram, Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 154).

Wolves, like many other animals, are subject to variation in color. The common color is gray with a tinting of fawn and long black hairs. The variety most frequent in Southern Europe and the Pyrenees is black; the wolf of Asia Minor is more tawny than those of the common color. The Syrian wolf likewise is of a lighter color than the wolf of Europe, being a pale fawn tint, and seems to be a larger and stronger animal. See Fox.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [16]

Fig. 344—Egyptian Wolf

Wolf (; ; ; , etc.; ; ; ; ; ; ), a fierce carnivorous animal, very nearly allied to the dog, and so well known in Europe as to require no particular description; but the identity of the species in Palestine, though often asserted, is by no means established; for no professed zoologist has obtained the animal in Syria, while other travelers only pretend to have seen it. Unquestionably a true wolf, or a wild canine with very similar manners, was not infrequent in that country during the earlier ages of the world, and even down to the commencement of our era. The prophets, as well as the Messiah, allude to it in explicit language. At this day the true wolf is still abundant in Asia Minor, as well as in the gorges of Cilicia, and from the traveling disposition of the species, wolves may be expected to reside in the forests of Libanus; but there is no satisfactory evidence that this is at present the case. It may be, as there are no forests to the south of Lebanon, that these ravenous beasts, who never willingly range at a distance from cover, have forsaken the more open country.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [17]

woolf ((1) זאב , ze'ēbh (  Genesis 49:27;  Genesis 11:6; 65:25;  Jeremiah 5:6;  Ezekiel 22:27;  Habakkuk 1:8;  Zephaniah 3:3; also as proper name, Zeeb, prince of Midian,  Judges 7:25;  Judges 8:3;  Psalm 83:11 ); compare Arabic dhi'b , colloquial dhı̂b , or dı̂b  ; (2) λύκος , lúkos ( Matthew 7:15;  Matthew 10:16;  Luke 10:3;  John 10:12;  Acts 20:29; Ecclesiasticus 13:17; compare 2 Esdras 5:18, lupus ); (3) איּין , 'ı̄yı̄m , the Revised Version (British and American) "wolves" ( Isaiah 13:22;  Isaiah 34:14;  Jeremiah 50:39 )):

While the wolf is surpassed in size by some dogs, it is the fiercest member of the dog family ( Canidae ), which includes among others the jackal and the fox. Dogs, wolves and jackals are closely allied and will breed together. There is no doubt that the first dogs were domesticated wolves. While there are local varieties which some consider to be distinct species, it is allowable to regard all the wolves of both North America, Europe, and Northern Asia (except the American coyote) as members of one species, Canis lupus . The wolf of Syria and Palestine is large, light colored, and does not seem to hunt in packs. Like other wolves it is nocturnal. In Palestine it is the special enemy of the sheep and goats. This fact comes out in two of the seven passages cited from the Old Testament, in all from the New Testament, and in the two from Apocrypha. In   Genesis 49:27 Benjamin is likened to a ravening wolf. In   Ezekiel 22:27 , and in the similar  Zephaniah 3:3 , the eiders of Jerusalem are compared to wolves. In  Jeremiah 5:6 it is a wolf that shall destroy the people of Jerusalem, and in   Habakkuk 1:8 the horses of the Chaldeans "are swifter than leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves." Babylon and Edom (  Isaiah 13:22;  Isaiah 34:14;  Jeremiah 50:39 ) are to be the haunts of 'ı̄yı̄m (the Revised Version (British and American) "wolves") and other wild creatures.

The name of Zeeb, prince of Midian ( Judges 7:25;  Judges 8:3 ), has its parallel in the Arabic, Dı̂b or Dhı̂b , which is a common name today. Such animal names are frequently given to ward off the evil eye. See also Totemism .