The ‘yonah’ dove, in the Bible is much more than just a beautiful, lovely bird. It is the most symbol-rich creature in the Bible.
First, the Yonah with the olive branch in its beak is the world’s symbol of peace. This is after the famous verse:
“And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off; so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth”
This dove symbolized peace on earth because the olive branch it brought back to the ark indicated the end of God’s wrath over mankind and his Creation.
The Yonah is also a symbol of love, or more precisely, the female beloved:
“Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves”
“I sleep, but my heart is awake. Knocking; it is the voice of my beloved; Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night”
It is also mentioned as an imagery of the eyes of a male beloved:
“His eyes are like doves by the water courses, washed with milk, and fitly set”
The most powerful symbol of the Yonah may be found in the metaphor of God’s appearance as a dove:
“Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him”
Yonah, dove, is the exact same Hebrew name of the prophet Jonah. ‘J’ sounds do not exist in Hebrew, and if you came across an English biblical name with this letter, you can convert the ‘J’ to a ‘Y’ and keep the vowels as they are.
Quick quiz questions: What is then the Hebrew name of Joseph? How about the Ancient Biblical name ‘Jerusalem’?
The answers are: 1. Yosef 2. Ye•ru•sha•lem. This name was later in the Bible changed to: ‘Ye•ru•sha•la•yim,’ which is the name we use today. Yonah is also a common name, and nowadays it has become both a male’s and female’s name.