What does the horse symbolize in the Bible? (Symbolism and meaning)

Growing up, I loved watching fairy tale movies with my sisters. It was more of a guilty pleasure. Being the only boy in a family of four kids exposed me to many fantasy films. The common element in my favorite types of movies were horses. The hero would always show up in grandiose fashion, riding a majestic horse. Even though my tastes in entertainment have evolved quite a lot in the last 30 years, I am still enamored by horses. What’s more, my 15 years in ministry have taught me that there is more to horses than meets the eye. Since scripture is rich in symbolism, many people wonder; what does the horse symbolize in the Bible?

The horse is an important fixture in the Old and New Testaments. The common theme throughout the Bible is combat and the deep-seated physical strength of horses. That explains why they were so essential during the war. When Pharaoh was pursuing the Israelites, he took some of his best chariots and horses. The book of Exodus 14:9 says that Pharaoh took his best troops and horsemen to prevent the departure of the Israelites. In Song of Solomon 1:9, the writer compares his lover to a mare. Here the horse signifies beauty and grace. In several other scriptures, horses have been used as symbols of courage and adventure.

In this article, we will get a better understanding of the horse. Join me as we study what horses represent in the Bible. We will explore the spiritual meaning of this magnificent creature and the ways it appears in the Bible. Keep reading to find the meaning behind horse-related dreams and encounters.

Are horses mentioned in the Bible?

Horses come up plenty of times in the Bible. In Psalms 33:17, David discourages people from relying on warhorses during times of trouble. That is because their might falls short compared to God’s power. In the book of Esther 6:8, the king honored Mordecai in the presence of everyone. He ordered Haman to parade Mordecai on a horse. During his time, horses were a symbol of grace and power.

In Jeremiah 12:5, Jeremiah is having a conversation with God that many of us would not mind taking part in. The prophet asks God a tough question, why do wicked people seem to prosper in life? In response, God questions Jeremiah’s ability to race against horses since he is having a hard time racing against men.

The sons of Jacob had to trade everything they had for food. In Genesis 47:17, the Bible says that they took their horses and livestock to Joseph, who gave them a one-year supply of food in exchange. According to 2nd Chronicles 9:25, Solomon was always prepared for battle, so much so that the Bible writes he had 4,000 stalls where his horses and chariots were kept.

The people of Israel refused to repent and change their sinful ways on several occasions in the Bible. In Jeremiah 8:16, the prophet speaks about the impending doom of the Israelites. He narrates how Israel’s enemies will attack with powerful horses that shake the land as they advance. Wealthy armies rode horses and chariots in battle.

Bible verses about horses

The Bible has several passages that contain specific details about horses. The following are some eye-catching examples:

Job gives a colorful description of a horse. He begins by talking about the physical appearance of the horse, in particular, the mane. Then Job gets into the typical behavior of an excited horse. He compares the leaping of horses to jumping locusts. This is rather funny, considering the size difference between the horse and the locust. The scripture continues to discuss the character of a horse. Bravery, strength, and courage come out clearly in Job’s illustration. At one point, he even suggests that horses “laugh at fear.” Job lauds the horse for its ability to charge fast toward danger without batting an eye. You can find this in the book of Job 39: 19-25.

Zachariah is another notable character who takes the time to describe horses. He talks about four chariots made up of differently colored horses. According to him, red horses powered the first chariot, while the second and third chariots had black and white horses, respectively. Zachariah’s account of the four chariots is in Zechariah 6:1-7.

In the book of James 3:3, the writer talks about easy it would be to gain full control of a horse’s body. During one of his visions, John remembers seeing a white horse coming from heaven. This scripture contains a rather unsettling description of the horse’s rider. The male figure is said to be clad in a blood-soaked robe with fiery eyes. Armies of men dressed in white, riding their white horses, follow the white horse and its mysterious rider. If you read the scripture more, it becomes clear that the horseman and his army were bringing punishment to a sinful world. All this is in the book of Revelations 19: 11-21.

The book of Revelations contains more horse imagery in Revelation 6:8. Here, we encounter a pale horse whose name was Death. This particular horse would destroy part of the earth with calamities such as war, sickness, and famine. The Psalmist urges people to avoid being as impulsive s horses. In Psalms 32:9, he describes how one has to bridle a horse to keep it still.

How do horses appear in the Bible?

On many different occasions, the horses appear in times of distress. They seem to make up for human weaknesses such as limited strength, speed, and sometimes, even courage. In ancient times, kings would take numerous horses and chariots to battle, which often guaranteed victory. David was a God-fearing man who understood battle. His experience taught him that even with chariots and horses, one needs God to succeed in warfare. David expresses this in Psalms 20:7.

In the book of Habakkuk 3:15, the prophet speaks about God coming to pass judgment on the earth. This verse states that the Lord will use horses to trample the sea in His fury. The book of Revelations provides detailed examples of where horses appear in combat. A chilling example is in Revelation 9:17, where John describes warhorses whose riders wore protective breastplates. What is most intriguing is that the horses had the heads of lions. Imagine millions of lion-headed horse chariots. This is the image painted in this scripture.

Another troublesome situation where horses take center stage is in Revelations 6:4. During judgment day; John writes that a red horse will appear with a rider. The rider’s job is to cause enmity in the world to the extent that people will start murdering each other. All these examples are proof that horses tend to appear during the turmoil in the Bible. That being said, sometimes horses appear during times of celebration. The case of Mordecai is a good example of that. The king wanted him to be paraded through the city in a horse to honor him.

4 symbolic meanings of horses in the Bible

What does the horse symbolize in the Bible - Symbolism and meaning?
Symbolic meanings of horses in the Bible. Image source: Pixabay

The Bible is rich in horse symbolism. The following are some symbolic meanings of horses, as illustrated in scripture.

Human limitation

If the Bible is anything to go by, David might have been one of the most skilled fighters in history. Even before he ascended the throne, David fought and won many battles. While he appreciated the convenience of horses and chariots, David did not rely entirely on these things for victory. In Psalms 33: 17 he acknowledged the fact that the grace and protection of God outweigh the might and bravery of horses. The book of Proverbs 21:31 clearly states that preparing the horse for battle is not enough. Seeking God’s guidance is the only sure way to guarantee triumph.


Horses are known to have an abundance of virility. During one of the many instances when the Israelites openly defied God, their lust was compared to that of stallions. In the book of Jeremiah 5:7-8, the Bible says that Israelites living in Jerusalem were adulterers and idol worshipers. Their defiance was compared to the stallion on heat. The book of Ezekiel 23:20 also compared the sexual urges of Babylonian men to those of horses. This suggests that they had little control over their impulses. In their case, the horse was a sign of disobedience and moral decay.

Jeremiah 8:6 is another instance where Israel’s attitude was likened to a horse charging into battle without direction. In this scripture, God sends the prophet Jeremiah to warn the Israelites about their impending punishment. The Lord is particularly unimpressed with their unwillingness to repent of their atrocious sins.

God’s wrath

If you have read the book of Revelation, you might have an idea of what the “anger of God” means. This book is filled with tarrying imagery of the end of times. As mentioned earlier, the chapter of Revelations 19 talks about the role of horses on judgment day. The lead horseman is joined by an army of horsemen riding their white horses. Their main duty was to pass judgment on the kingdoms of the world. Earlier in Revelation 6:8, a pale horse appears only to devastate the world with hunger, war, and disease. These chastisements are God’s way of dealing with the wicked when Jesus returns to get the church.

God’s war arsenal

Elijah lived in one of the most dangerous times for prophets in Israel. Queen Jezebel declared war on God’s prophets and murdered many of them. Still, Elijah continues to prophesy as God told him. He even went head-to-head with the false prophets of Baal in a comical exchange found in the book of 1st Kings 18:27. Elijah was God’s general in every sense of the world. When it was time for him to leave this world, Elijah did not die an ordinary death. God sent chariots powered by fiery horses to carry Elijah into heaven, as narrated in 2nd Kings 2:11. It would have been just as easy for God to order his body to ascend without the chariots. However, these horses and chariots were a symbol of God’s military prowess in the physical and spiritual world.

Spiritual meanings of horses in the Bible

There are various spiritual meanings for horses in the Bible. Some of these spiritual interpretations have been classified according to the color of the horse. In Revelation 6:5-6, a black horse scripture uses a black horse to signify poverty and hunger.

The red horse in Revelation 6:3-4 is a representation of calamity and bloodshed due to war. The pale horse in the same chapter is a sign of death, while the white horse is an emblem of justice and righteousness.

Pharaoh’s chariots in Exodus 15:1-21 were referenced to show the spiritual weaknesses of human beings. The same goes for Psalm 20:7. On several occasions, the Bible talks about horses of fire. From a spiritual perspective, the fire could symbolize divine protection from God. By this logic, horses denote power and strength in the Bible.

What does it mean when you dream about horses?

What the horse symbolize in the Bible
What does it mean when you dream about horses? Image source: Pixabay

Horses have been an important part of society for centuries. These creatures played vital roles in bringing down dynasties and setting up new ones. Apart from combat, horses were used by the wealthy as a means of transport. While many people owned donkeys, horses were a luxury left for kings and noblemen men (the rich). It is no wonder so many people have dreams featuring horses. These kinds of dreams carry deep meaning that requires exploring.

What does it mean to dream of petting a horse?

The bond between a horse and its handler can be quite strong. These sensitive animals have the emotional intelligence to form meaningful connections with human beings. This is why people find it therapeutic to pet a horse. If you happen to be petting a horse in your dream, you likely desire human connection. In case you dream of grooming the horse, it is a sign that you need to re-energize your spirit. It could also mean that you should trust the process and reach for your dreams unapologetically.

What does it mean when a horse bites you in a dream?

Some people go through life with regrets, self-doubt, and what-ifs. The very essence of horses is to charter new territory without fear. When a horse bites you in your dream, it could mean that you have been stalling on making a life-changing decision. The bite is a sign that you need to take immediate action regarding an important issue. You may take the horse bite as a sign to keep moving forward in pursuit of your goals.

What does it mean when you dream of a horse giving birth?

A horse giving birth in your dreams has various meanings. First, a pregnant horse could be a sign of toxicity within your social life. If you are a people pleaser, it might be time to stop that habit. Whether it is at home or work, a pregnant horse in your dreams suggests that you should re-evaluate your social skills. You may also benefit from analyzing your social circle to see what works and what does not. At times, the horse gives birth to a healthy foal in your dream. This implies that a fresh start is on the horizon. Most people consider this dream a positive sign for the near future. It is worth mentioning that the horse’s emotions in your dream are very important.

What is the meaning of dreaming of a horse in water?

If your dream involves a horse in the water, you might be up for a challenging situation soon. In the dream, the horse could be struggling, which suggests that the incoming challenge will threaten your survival. It’s not all bad news because the horse itself is a sign of your resilience and ability to bounce back.

Does the color of the horse in the dream matter?

What does the horse symbolize in the Bible?
Does the color of the horse in the dream matter? Image source: Pixabay

The color of a horse in your dream is extremely important. Even in the Bible, the color of horses has a special meaning.

What is the meaning of seeing a white horse in dreams?

According to the scriptures, a white horse signifies victory. This is based on John’s vision in the book of Revelations 6:2. It could mean that power is about to shift from evil to good, as illustrated in this awe-inspiring scripture. In your dreams, a white horse might be a sign of calmness. It is a positive sign that you and your loved ones are at peace. There is harmony and a proper balance of power.

What does a red horse mean in a dream?

Red is the color of passion. When a red horse shows up in your dreams, it possibly means that you are afraid to make a certain choice. This fear could be fueled by strong emotions such as love, anger, or hate.

What does it mean to dream of a grey horse?

Grey is the color of wisdom and experience. Dreaming about a grey horse could mean that you need to be more cautious. Take a step back and think about the current events in your life. Grey horses appearing in dreams is a sign that you need to take your time and consider possible outcomes in the case of a dilemma.

What does a brown horse in dreams symbolize?

Brown horses are wonderful to look at because they remind you of unbridled freedom and connection to nature. If you dream a majestic brown horse is eating off your hand, that is good news. It is a symbol of strong bonds within your family and social circle. When the dream involves you riding a brown mare, it is a reminder that change is unavoidable.

What do the horses in Revelation mean?

The horses in Revelation mean that God intends to wage war against the kingdom of darkness. This prophetic book paints the picture of four horsemen whose duty it is to bring punishment to a wicked world. The first horseman wears a crown while wielding a bow. He is referred to as the conqueror. The second horseman rides a red horse, bringing carnage and war into the world. The third horse is black in color and symbolic of famine, while the fourth is grey as the mark of death. The takeaway is that God will use war, famine, disease, and human cruelty to punish the wicked; sadly, innocent people will be affected by these events as well. However, the Bible assures Christians that whoever is slain in the name of the Lord will inherit the Kingdom of God.

Is encountering a horse good or bad luck?

An encounter with a horse is oftentimes a good omen. Even when it means there is a challenge ahead, horses can be a timely reminder of your inherent zeal. They connect one with nature’s beauty by just looking at their graceful movements.

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