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What Do Spiders Mean in the Bible?
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What Do Spiders Mean in the Bible?

Spiders are mentioned several times in the Bible, often with symbolic meaning. As Christians seeking to understand God’s word, it’s important we explore what spiders represent in Scripture. In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll examine spider references in both the Old and New Testaments to gain insight for our spiritual walks.

Introduction

Spiders inhabit dark corners and spin intricate webs to catch their prey. Likewise in Scripture, spiders can represent craftiness, sin fulness, insignificance, fragility, and spiritual dangers. But they also symbolize wisdom, patience, perseverance, and divine care.

By studying spider symbolism throughout the Bible, we can derive the following key takeaways:

  • Spiders represent cunning plans and craftiness, both human and demonic
  • Their webs picture spiritual traps and the fatal consequences of sin
  • Spider metaphors emphasize human frailty and ephemerality
  • For believers, spiders illustrate the importance of clinging to God and resisting the Enemy’s schemes
  • Divine providence governs even seemingly insignificant creatures like spiders

As we explore what spiders mean in the Bible, we must tread carefully to avoid dangerous snares. But we can also draw encouragement by recognizing God’s sovereignty even over these creeping creatures. Through wisdom and vigilance, spiders’ negativity becomes an instrument for spiritual growth.

What do spiders mean in the bible?

Spiders as Symbols of Cunning and Craftiness

One predominant spider theme in Scripture is cunning. Spiders sit patiently in dark corners spinning intricate, sticky webs to trap prey. This crafty, patient hunting technique earns spiders a reputation for slyness and trickery.

For example, in Job 8:13-14, Bildad warns Job:

Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish. Their confidence is severed, and their trust is a spider’s web. (NKJV)

Here, flimsy spider webs represent the false confidence of those who reject God. Their cunning schemes cannot withstand adversity. This passage cautions against crafty plots or trusting in deceitful ways.

We also see spiders symbolizing the cunning of wicked people in Isaiah 59:4-6:

No one calls for justice, Nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity. They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And from that which is crushed, a viper breaks out.
Their webs will not become garments, Nor will they cover themselves with their works; Their works are works of iniquity, And the act of violence is in their hands.

Here, weaving spider webs represents plotting evil schemes. Like spiders, the wicked wait patiently to entrap the innocent and unsuspecting. Their destructive plans will come to nothing.

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In addition to human cunning, spiders can symbolize demonic craftiness. Consider Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. When they deceitfully hold back offerings from the church, Peter accuses them of being filled by Satan:

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4)

Satan filled Ananias and Sapphira’s hearts like a spider fills its web with bloodthirsty cunning. This incident warns believers to resist Satan’s craftiness through honesty and integrity.

Spider Webs Picture Sin’s Dangers

In addition to craftiness, spider webs themselves symbolize danger and sin’s inescapable consequences. Once entrapped in a web, escape is difficult. The more one struggles, the more entangled one becomes.

For instance, in Job 18:8-10, Bildad says this about the wicked:

He is cast into a net by his own feet, And he walks into a snare. The net takes him by the heel, And a snare lays hold of him. A noose is hidden for him on the ground, And a trap for him in the road.

Here, nets and snares represent the inescapable judgment awaiting those who reject God. Like flies caught in spider webs, the wicked fall irreversibly into sin’s consequences.

Similarly, Isaiah 59:5 warns:

They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out.

This associates spider webs with viper eggs. Eating either brings death, picturing the deadly entrapment and harm caused by sinful choices.

Spider webs also represent seduction into sin. Proverbs 7:6-23 describes an adulterous woman lurking and spinning her web like a spider:

For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, And saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, A young man devoid of understanding, Passing along the street near her corner; And he took the path to her house In the twilight, in the evening, In the black and dark night.
And there a woman met him, With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart.
She was loud and rebellious, Her feet would not stay at home. At times she was outside, at times in the open square, Lurking at every corner. So she caught him and kissed him; With an impudent face she said to him: “I have peace offerings with me; Today I have paid my vows. So I came out to meet you, Diligently to seek your face, And I have found you.”

This woman lurks like a spider waiting to catch prey. Her seductive web ensnares the innocent young man, illustrating temptation’s dangers.

These passages warn believers not to be enticed by sin’s fleeting pleasures. Like a spider web, they lead only to bondage, destruction, and death.

Spiders Represent Human Frailty and Ephemerality

In addition to symbolizing cunning and danger, spiders in the Bible also illustrate human frailty and fleeting mortality. Their minuscule size and fragility picture human ephemerality and sinfulness before God.

For example, Job notes in Job 27:18:

He builds his house like a moth, Like a booth which a watchman makes.

And again in Job 8:14, saying:

Whose confidence shall be cut off, And whose trust is a spider’s web.

Here, spider webs represent insubstantial human plans and fragile existence. Our lives are as brief and precarious as the thread of a web.

Isaiah also uses spider web metaphors this way. In Isaiah 59:5-6, he writes:

They hatch vipers’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And from that which is crushed a viper breaks out. Their webs will not become garments, Nor will they cover themselves with their works; Their works are works of iniquity, And the act of violence is in their hands.

Isaiah emphasizes the inadequacy of spider webs as clothing. While spiders’ webs appear intricate and beautiful, they cannot substitue for garments. This reminds us that even our greatest human achievements are but filthy rags before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). We require the righteousness of Christ to cover our frail, sinful condition.

Furthermore, spiders themselves epitomize lowliness and insignificance. In Proverbs 30:24-28, Agur notes how tiny creatures like ants and spiders are exceedingly wise. Despite their small stature, they fulfill important roles in God’s creation:

There are four things which are little on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; The rock badgers are a feeble folk, Yet they make their homes in the crags; The locusts have no king, Yet they all advance in ranks; The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, And it is in kings’ palaces.

Though often overlooked, spiders demonstrate wisdom in their constant industry. Their humility and prudence offer lessons for living.

Through spider metaphors, these passages emphasize human frailty and ephemerality. Our lives are as brief as threading dew (Job 8:14). We require divine grace and righteousness to overcome sin.

Clinging to God Helps Believers Avoid Sin’s Snares

If spiders represent the dangers of sin, their sticky webs also picture tenaciously clinging to God for salvation. Just as spiders cling to architectural crevices, believers must hold fast to the Rock of our salvation.

For instance, Psalm 119:25 says:

My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.

And in Jeremiah 8:5-6, God rebukes Israel:

Why has this people slidden back, Jerusalem, in a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit, They refuse to return. I listened and heard, But they do not speak aright. No man repented of his wickedness, Saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turned to his own course, As the horse rushes into the battle.

Unlike stubborn Israel, followers of Christ must cling tightly to God’s word to avoid sin’s entrapments. We spider-like tenaciously adhere to the Lord against evil’s stratagems.

Psalm 119:31 also encourages:

I cling to Your testimonies; O Lord, do not put me to shame!

When tempted, imitating a spider attached to its web, we must cling to and hide ourselves in Christ. As Colossians 3:3 promises:

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Through wholeheartedly cleaving to the Lord, we find victory over sins that entangle.

God is Sovereign Over Spiders

Though spiders represent tangible spiritual threats, Scripture also emphasizes God’s sovereignty even over these creeping creatures. The Lord reigns supremely over all He has fashioned, including lowly arachnids.

In Proverbs 30:24-28, Agur marvels that tiny creatures like spiders fulfill important purposes under heaven:

There are four things which are little on the earth, But they are exceedingly wise: The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; The rock badgers are a feeble folk, Yet they make their homes in the crags; The locusts have no king, Yet they all advance in ranks; The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, And it is in kings’ palaces.

Likewise, Job acknowledges God’s control over all Creation, even seemingly insignificant spiders:

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors, When it burst forth and issued from the womb; When I made the clouds its garment, And thick darkness its swaddling band; When I fixed My limit for it, And set bars and doors; When I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther, And here your proud waves must stop!’

“Have you commanded the morning since your days began, And caused the dawn to know its place, That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, And the wicked be shaken out of it? It takes on form like clay under a seal, And stands out like a garment. From the wicked their light is withheld, And the upraised arm is broken. “Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.

“Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, That you may take it to its territory, That you may know the paths to its home? Do you know it, because you were born then, Or because the number of your days is great?

“Have you entered the treasury of snow, Or have you seen the treasury of hail, Which I have reserved for the time of trouble, For the day of battle and war?
By what way is light diffused, Or the east wind scattered over the earth?

“Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, Or a path for the thunderbolt, To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, A wilderness in which there is no man; To satisfy the desolate waste, And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass? Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, And the surface of the deep is frozen.”

(Job 38:4-30 NKJV)

God maintains sovereign supervision even over the smallest spider. Their webs display His majestic creativity and intricate care.

Thus, though spiders represent very real spiritual threats, believers can take comfort that these creatures remain wholly subject to the Lord’s purposes. Our Almighty God reigns supremely over all enemies under heaven. Even spiders remain under His sovereign thumb.

Spiritual Lessons from Biblical Spider Symbolism

In studying spider symbolism throughout Scripture, important spiritual lessons emerge for believers today:

  • Avoid entanglement in sins and worldly affairs which lead to spiritual bondage or death. Tenaciously cling to Christ instead.
  • Remain vigilant against Satan’s crafty schemes and bait-like temptations. Resist the Devil so he will flee.
  • Do not trust in human plans or embrace the world’s dishonest, “cobweb” ideals. Pursue heavenly wisdom instead.
  • Remember that life is fragile and brief. Number your days carefully and seek righteousness. Our earthly works cannot hide or justify sin’s stains.
  • Have faith in God’s sovereignty, providence, and care, even amidst difficulties. If the Lord superintends lowly spiders, He will surely shepherd His saints.

By embracing these lessons, spiders’ negative symbolism transforms into encouragement for walking faithfully with Christ. We can rest in God’s control over all enemies, follow His ways, and trust in His deliverance from sin.

Conclusion

In both the Old and New Testaments, spider metaphors contain multilayered spiritual meaning. These small yet crafty creatures represent cunning plans, fatal entrapments, human frailty, clinging to God, and divine providence.

As Christians seeking discernment, we must remain vigilant against sinister spider webs that would entangle our hearts and minds. Yet we can also gain wisdom from these creeping creatures, remembering our dependence on God’s grace. Though dangers surround us, He remains sovereign over the spider.

By clinging wholeheartedly to Christ and His eternal truth, believers avoid Satan’s webs of deception. We rest securely in the hands of the One who reigns supremely over all. Just as a spider grasps with its hands, we must cling tightly to the Lord each day.

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Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.