What Do Crabs Symbolize in the Bible? Find out the Spiritual Significance of Crabs in Scripture

Crabs are one of those creatures that we don’t really think about on a daily basis. They scuttle around on the ocean floor, doing their own thing and most of us just let them be. But you may be surprised to find out that they actually have a pretty significant place in the Bible, where they’re often used as a symbol for a variety of ideas and concepts. So what exactly do crabs symbolize in the Bible? Let’s take a closer look.

For one thing, crabs can be seen as a symbol of wealth and prosperity. In ancient times, crabs were considered to be a delicacy, only eaten by the wealthy and powerful. This made them a perfect symbol for material wealth and luxury. They also represented a kind of spiritual wealth, as the ocean was seen as a source of abundance and blessing. This symbolism is still present in modern interpretations of the Bible, where crabs are often used to represent abundance and blessings from above.

However, there is also a darker side to the symbolism of crabs in the Bible. In some cases, they are seen as a symbol of sin and evil. This is often due to their association with the bottom of the ocean, which was seen as a place of chaos and darkness. Crabs were also considered to be scavengers and bottom-feeders, which made them a symbol of greed and gluttony. Despite this negative symbolism, crabs also held a place in folklore as a symbol of protection and defense. So, while they may be seen as a symbol of sin, they also have the power to protect and defend those who hold them dear.

The Symbolic Meaning of Crabs in Biblical Times

In biblical times, crabs were often seen as unclean and unfit for consumption. This is due to the fact that they are scavengers, feeding on decaying and dead organisms, which made them a symbol of impurity and sin. However, crabs also held a deeper symbolic meaning in the biblical context.

Symbolic Representations of Crabs in the Bible

  • Repentance: In biblical times, crabs were used as a metaphor for repentance. Just as a crab sheds its old shell and grows a new one, repentance involves shedding one’s old ways and embracing a new way of life.
  • Sin: The scavenging nature of crabs made them a symbol for sin and impurity. The Bible warns against sin and encourages us to stay away from practices that lead to impurity.
  • Transformation: In the Bible, the transformation of a crab from its old shell to a new one is used as a metaphor for transformation in the spiritual sense. The Bible encourages us to shed our old selves and embrace a new way of life.

The Role of Crabs in the Bible

Crabs in the Bible were seen as a representation of how we can transform our lives by shedding our old ways and embracing a new way of living. The Bible also warns against practices that lead to impurity and sin. However, it is important to note that crabs were not the only animals that held symbolic meaning in the Bible. Other animals such as lambs, fish, and doves were also used to represent different aspects of spirituality.

Biblical References to Crabs

The Bible does not explicitly mention crabs; however, some scholars believe that the Hebrew word “cherev” was used to refer to crabs. This word is also used to describe a sword or a weapon, which further emphasizes the idea of shedding old ways and embracing a new life.

Biblical References Relevance
Leviticus 11:9-12 Discusses the rules for clean and unclean food, which includes seafood such as crabs.
Proverbs 30:28 Compares the actions of a king to that of a spider, and implies that both are wise and strategic.

Overall, the symbolic meaning of crabs in biblical times reveals the deeper spiritual message of transformation, repentance, and staying away from practices that lead to impurity and sin.

The significance of crabs in the Old Testament

The Old Testament is the first part of the Christian Bible that consists of thirty-nine books. In this section, crabs are not as prominent as other animals like sheep, goats, and doves, but they still have significant symbolism throughout the scriptures.

Symbolism of crabs in the Old Testament

  • Impurity: Crabs were regarded as impure animals. According to Leviticus 11:9-12, “These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. But anything in the seas or the rivers that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you.” Since crabs didn’t have fins and scales, they were deemed unclean.
  • Abomination: In Deuteronomy 14:1-20, God commanded the Israelites not to eat certain animals regarded as an “abomination.” Among these creatures were crabs, which were considered detestable to eat.
  • Risk of enslavement: In the Old Testament, crabs, like other sea creatures, symbolized the risk of enslavement. Isaiah 51:9-11 compares the Israelites’ suffering and captivity in Egypt to being swallowed up by a sea monster. The passage mentions that the waters had covered the Egyptians, and “the deeps of the sea become their grave.”

The story of the crab in Ecclesiastes 9:11

In the book of Ecclesiastes, there is an allegory of a wise old man who saves a small city from war. Despite his contribution to the city, no one remembers him or acknowledges his deed. The allegory concludes with the words, “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

Symbolism Meaning
Crab A seemingly weak animal with a hard shell that can protect itself from danger and predators. It moves sideways and backward but can still get to its destination.
Wise old man Someone who has experience and knowledge and can use it wisely to save others.

The crab symbolizes the wise old man in the allegory, who, despite his wisdom and achievements, goes unnoticed. The story emphasizes that success and recognition do not always come to those who deserve it, but chance plays a vital role in life.

In conclusion, crabs in the Old Testament symbolized impurity, abomination, and risk of enslavement. Nevertheless, their symbolism has a significant message about the unpredictability of life and that success and recognition do not always come to those who deserve it.

The Spiritual Significance of Crabs in the New Testament – Number 3 Subsection

The number three is significant in the Bible as it often represents unity and completeness. When it comes to crabs, there are a few instances in the New Testament where the number three is associated with them. Here are a few examples:

  • Jesus predicts that Peter will deny Him three times before the rooster crows, and in the background of this scene are likely crabs scuttling along the shore. This can be seen in John 18:26-27.
  • In Acts 10, Peter has a vision where a sheet with various creatures, including crabs, is lowered down to him from heaven three times before being taken back up. This vision represents the inclusion of Gentiles in the Christian faith, which was a major shift for Jewish believers.
  • In Luke 13:32, Jesus refers to Herod as a “fox” and says He will continue to “heal and drive out demons today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.” While crabs are not mentioned directly in this passage, some scholars suggest that the mention of the third day may be a connection to their symbolism.
Symbolism Meaning
Three crabs Unity and completeness
Peter denying Jesus three times with crabs in the background The shame and regret of denying one’s faith
Sheet with crabs being lowered three times in Peter’s vision The inclusion of all people in the Christian faith
Jesus referring to the third day with a possible connection to crabs Salvation and victory over sin and death

Overall, the symbolism of the number three when it comes to crabs in the New Testament represents unity, completeness, and the shift towards including all people in the Christian faith. While crabs may seem like an odd choice of creature for these symbolic connections, they serve as a reminder that God can use all aspects of His creation to teach us important lessons.

The Relationship Between Crabs and the Sea in Biblical Symbolism

Creatures of the sea have always been symbolic in biblical references. In the Old Testament, the sea is often referred to as an entity in its own right, with its own personality and behavior patterns. The creatures that inhabit the sea are used to represent various aspects of human life, such as strength, agility, and adaptability. Crabs, in particular, have been used in biblical symbolism to represent a range of different themes and ideas.

  • Resilience: One of the major attributes associated with crabs in biblical symbolism is resilience. In the natural world, crabs are known for their ability to adapt to changing environments. They are able to move between land and sea with ease and can withstand extreme temperatures and conditions. In the Bible, crabs are used as symbols of resilience and the ability to bounce back from difficult situations.
  • Protection: Crabs are also used as symbols of protection in biblical references. The hard exoskeleton that covers their bodies provides a form of defense against predators. In the same way, the strength and protection of God is often compared to the protective shell of a crab.
  • Prosperity: The number four is associated with crabs in biblical symbolism. This is because crabs are creatures that have four pairs of legs, which are often used to symbolize prosperity, stability, and completeness. In the book of Ezekiel, for example, the prophet describes a vision in which he sees four creatures with the appearance of a man, each with four faces, four wings, and four legs like those of a calf or a lion. This vision is interpreted as a representation of divine order, symmetry, and completeness.

Overall, the relationship between crabs and the sea in biblical symbolism is complex and multi-layered. Like many other creatures of the sea, crabs have been used to represent a range of different themes and ideas, from resilience and protection to prosperity and divine order. By understanding the symbolism of crabs in biblical references, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the richness and complexity of biblical imagery and the ways in which it has been used to convey timeless truths and values.

Table: The Number Four in Biblical Symbolism

Book/Chapter Description
Exodus 20:9-11 The fourth commandment is to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
Joshua 6:4 God instructs Joshua to circle the city of Jericho with four groups of priests and with four trumpets on the seventh day.
Ezekiel 1:6-10 The prophet describes a vision in which he sees four creatures with four faces, wings, and legs.
Revelation 7:1-8 John sees four angels standing at the corners of the earth holding back the winds.

By examining these examples, we can see how the number four is often used in biblical symbolism to represent completeness, stability, and divine order. This is why crabs, with their four pairs of legs, are often associated with prosperity and completeness in biblical references.

The use of crabs as offerings in ancient Jewish practices

The ancient Jewish culture had strict offerings and sacrifice practices, and it’s no surprise that crabs were included in some of these practices. Crabs were not a regular offering, but were used on special occasions and festivals. Here are some of the instances where crabs were offered as sacrifices:

  • The Feast of Tabernacles – On the first day of the festival, various animals were used as offerings, including crabs.
  • The ordination of priests – When priests were ordained, they had to present different offerings, including crabs. The Bible specifies that they had to offer two male lambs, a basket of unleavened bread, and also a crab as a peace offering.
  • The cleansing of lepers – In Leviticus 14, the process of cleansing lepers involves different offerings, including a live crab, cedar wood, scarlet yarn, and hyssop.

The use of crabs as offerings in these ancient Jewish practices should not be taken lightly. It is important to understand that for the Jewish culture, all offerings were a way of acknowledging and honoring God. Therefore, when crabs were offered, it was seen as a way of giving thanks to God for his provision and blessings.

Interestingly, crabs are not specifically mentioned in the Bible as unclean animals. Leviticus 11:9-12 lists several animals that should not be eaten, including different kinds of fish, but does not mention crabs. This could be one of the reasons why crabs were included in some of the Jewish offerings.

Occasions where crabs were part of Jewish offerings:
The Feast of Tabernacles
The ordination of priests
The cleansing of lepers

In modern times, the use of crabs as offerings has largely vanished, as Jewish worship practices have evolved and many of the old traditions are no longer followed. However, the use of crabs as offerings remains an important part of Jewish history and the ancient culture’s relationship with God.

Biblical references to crabs in poetry and literature

The Bible contains several mentions of crabs in its poetry and literature, with noteworthy symbolism and meanings attached to its references.

  • Job 9:26 – Job refers to the fleeting nature of life by comparing it to a “skiff of reed” and a “swiftness of a weaver’s shuttle” in the context of the sea. Here, he also mentions the Leviathan and the Tannin, most probably denoting monsters of the sea. The next line, he mentions the Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades – iconic star groups and constellations. Among them, he mentions Chesil, which translates to “Crab” in Hebrew. Chesil or Crab is situated in the zodiacal belt and is associated with the moon.
  • Song of Solomon 2:14 – Solomon’s Song celebrates love between a man and a woman. One verse in chapter 2, verse 14, describes the maiden as a dove while calling the man a “young hart” munching on flowers in her garden. He asks her to show herself as her companions, including Chesil or the crab, look on. The crab here symbolizes onlookers or voyeurs who cannot interfere but can only observe.
  • Isaiah 11:8 – This verse speaks of the peaceful time when a child can play with even the most dangerous animals unharmed. It mentions a “weaned child” putting his hand on the “cockatrice’s den” or even the “den of the adder.” The following phrase discusses a child playing on the “hole of the asp.” The Chesil or crab is also mentioned, with its symbolism explaining the peace that exists even between animals not typically friendly to one another. The crab or even Chesil, in this context, portrays the safety of children at play in peaceful surroundings.

Biblical Meaning of Number 6

Throughout the Bible, the number 6 is richly symbolic, denoting not only human weakness and strength but also pain, sorrow, and idolatry. In Jewish and Christian traditions, the number 6 is the number of imperfection or shortcoming, referring to the six days of creation before God rested on the 7th day.

According to the biblical meaning of numbers, six signifies the incompleteness of man, as man was created on the sixth day, with the potential to fall, while 7, being the next number, refers to completion, rest, and perfection. Hence, the number 666 is famously known as the “number of the beast” in Revelation, portraying the ultimate imperfection, culminating in the Antichrist.

Similarly, the Chesil or crab mentioned in Job 9:26 showcases the duality of man. The Chesil that is attached to the zodiac sign of Cancer the Crab, signifies both the motherly, nurturing, and caring side of man, but also the frailty, weakness, and insignificance of man, who is small in comparison to the Leviathan of the sea, or the universe, depicted in verses before and after.

Symbolism of Crab in the Bible

Despite being a lower creature, the Bible refers to the Chesil or crab for specific symbolism and meanings. Its description is both heartwarming and cautionary, showcasing the dual nature of creatures and man.

Symbolism Explanation
Observation The Maiden’s companions watching on are compared to the crab in Song of Solomon 2:14.
Protection Isaiah 11:8 describes children playing safely around various animals, including the crab.
Incompleteness The Chesil or crab stands for human frailty and is attached to the sign of Cancer the Crab, signifying man’s potential to fall.

As can be seen from these references, crabs or Chesil may represent both danger or safety, caution or invitation, depending on the context it appears in. Thus, the Chesil or crab is a symbol of the dual nature of creatures and man, displaying both their strengths and weaknesses.

The Symbolic Meaning of the Hebrew Word for Crab

In the Bible, crabs are not specifically mentioned, but they can be associated with other sea creatures that are mentioned. One can find the symbolic meaning of crabs through the Hebrew word for them, which is “chomet.”

The Number 7

  • The number 7 is often associated with completion and perfection, as seen in the story of creation where God rested on the seventh day after creating the world in six days.
  • There are also seven days in a week, and in the New Testament, Jesus teaches to forgive others up to 70 times 7 times, implying the infinite nature of forgiveness.
  • In terms of crabs, they have seven pairs of appendages that help them navigate and survive in their environment. The symbolism of the number 7 may suggest that crabs are fully equipped and complete in their design.

Crabs as a Metaphor for Protection and Defense

Crabs are known for their hard exoskeletons and sharp claws that they use to protect themselves, making them a fitting symbol for defense and security. In Psalm 18:2, the Psalmist describes God as his rock, fortress, and deliverer, giving the image of protection similar to that of a crab’s shell.

Furthermore, crabs are also used as a metaphor for worldly possessions and materialism that can obstruct one’s spiritual growth and relationship with God. In the book of Job, Job describes those who hoard wealth and do not give to the poor as those who “build their houses like nests, setting themselves up in the safety of their crab’s den” (Job 27:18-19).

Characteristics of the Crab

Symbolism Crab Characteristics
Patience Crabs are slow and methodical in their movements, emphasizing the virtue of patience.
Adaptability Crabs have the ability to adapt to their surroundings and change colors to blend in with their environment, highlighting the importance of being able to adjust to new situations.
Opportunism Crabs are opportunistic creatures, taking advantage of any food or resources they can find. This trait can be seen as resourcefulness and the ability to make the most of available opportunities.

Overall, while crabs may not have a significant biblical presence, their symbolism can still shed light on various spiritual implications and serve as a reminder of valuable virtues and traits.

The connection between crabs and the story of Jonah and the whale

The story of Jonah and the whale has been interpreted in many different ways, with various symbols and analogies used to explain its meaning. One of the symbols often associated with this story are crabs, which play a unique role in its interpretation.

  • Crabs are often seen as a symbol of sin and temptation. Just as crabs have claws that can pinch and hold onto things, sin can have a strong hold on people and prevent them from following God’s will. Due to this association, crabs are thought to represent the obstacles and distractions that can prevent us from fulfilling our spiritual destinies.
  • Another interpretation of the crab symbol in the story of Jonah is related to the idea of uncleanliness. In Leviticus 11:9-12, crabs and other sea creatures were considered unclean and not fit for consumption. In the story of Jonah, the presence of a giant fish or whale is not only miraculous, but also has a symbolic significance. Just as a giant fish or whale is not a typical sea creature, it signifies a rare and exceptional intervention by God. In contrast, the presence of crabs suggests a more common and unclean manifestation of the sea, thus highlighting the contrast between God’s miraculous intervention and the worldly distractions that can obscure our spiritual journeys.
  • In addition, some theologians have suggested that the number eight, which appears frequently in the story of Jonah, is also related to the symbolism of crabs. According to Jewish tradition, the number eight represents both the completion of a cycle and a new beginning. Some scholars have suggested that the number eight may be linked to the cycle of creation, where each day represents a step in God’s plan for the world. In this context, the presence of eight crabs in the story of Jonah could suggest that despite the presence of temptation and distraction, God’s plan for redemption and renewal will ultimately be fulfilled.

In conclusion, the symbolism of crabs in the story of Jonah and the whale provides a fascinating insight into the challenges and distractions that can prevent us from fulfilling our spiritual destinies. Despite these obstacles, the story ultimately reminds us of the power of divine intervention and the importance of staying true to our spiritual paths.


  • https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/the-strange-creatures-of-the-bible/
  • https://aleteia.org/2017/09/29/whats-the-significance-of-the-big-fish-in-the-book-of-jonah/
Symbol Meaning
Crabs Sin and temptation, uncleanliness, distraction
Number Eight Completion and new beginning, cycle of creation, divine plan for redemption

Image source: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/864550459794607538/

The role of crabs in ancient Near Eastern mythology and religious beliefs

In ancient Near Eastern mythology and religious beliefs, crabs played various roles and held different meanings. As a creature that can walk both on land and in water, it was seen as a symbol of adaptability and flexibility. Here are some of the roles and meanings of crabs in ancient Near Eastern mythology and religious beliefs:

  • Symbol of rebirth: In ancient Egyptian mythology, the crab was believed to be a symbol of rebirth. The crustacean’s ability to shed its shell and regenerate a new one was seen as a powerful metaphor for resurrection and renewal.
  • Symbol of protection: In ancient Babylonian mythology, the crab was associated with the goddess Tiamat, who was often depicted as a giant sea serpent. The crab served as a symbol of protection against Tiamat’s attacks, as its hard shell could deflect her razor-sharp fangs and claws.
  • Symbol of immortality: In ancient Persian mythology, the crab was believed to be a symbol of immortality. The creature’s ability to survive in harsh environments and its long lifespan were seen as evidence of its supernatural powers.

The symbolism of crabs in ancient Near Eastern mythology and religious beliefs is rich and varied. These creatures were seen as powerful symbols of resilience, adaptability, and strength, and they played a significant role in shaping the cultures that revered them.

In fact, the crab’s symbolism and importance have carried over into modern times. In Chinese mythology, for example, the crab is associated with the Moon and is believed to help bring good luck and fortune to those who keep it in their homes.

The significance of the number 9

The number 9 is significant in many cultures around the world, and it has been associated with a variety of meanings and symbolism. In ancient Near Eastern mythology and religious beliefs, the number 9 was often seen as a symbol of completeness and perfection.

Here are some examples of the significance of the number 9:

  • Nineveh: The ancient city of Nineveh was an important center of trade and culture in ancient Near Eastern civilization. Its name was derived from the number 9, which was seen as a symbol of the city’s power and importance.
  • Nine Muses: In ancient Greek mythology, the Nine Muses were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. They were associated with the arts and sciences, and their number was seen as a symbol of the completeness of knowledge and creativity.
  • Nineveh’s walls: The walls of Nineveh were said to be 60 miles long, 200 feet high, and wide enough for three chariots to pass side by side. According to legend, it took 1,200,000 workers 8 years to build them, which adds up to 9 million man-days.

These are just a few examples of the significance of the number 9 in ancient Near Eastern mythology and religious beliefs. Whether it was used to convey power, completeness, or perfection, the number 9 was an important symbol that held deep meaning for many cultures in the ancient world.

Symbolism of crabs in ancient Near Eastern mythology and religious beliefs Significance of the number 9
Symbol of rebirth Completeness and perfection
Symbol of protection Power and importance
Symbol of immortality Completeness of knowledge and creativity

In conclusion, both crabs and the number 9 held significant meaning in ancient Near Eastern mythology and religious beliefs. These symbols helped to shape the cultures that revered them, and their legacy continues to influence the way we view the world today.

The portrayal of crabs in Christian art and iconography

The symbolism of crabs in Christian art and iconography is abundant and intriguing. These crustaceans are often used as a metaphor to represent various biblical ideas and concepts.

  • The number 10: In biblical numerology, the number 10 represents divine order and perfection. The ten legs of a crab symbolize the ten commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The crab reminds Christians of the importance of keeping God’s commandments.
  • The resurrection of Christ: In many medieval paintings, crabs were used to symbolize the resurrection of Christ. The crab’s ability to come back to life after shedding its old shell was seen as a powerful illustration of the resurrection of Jesus.
  • Evil and deception: In some Christian art, crabs are depicted as sinister creatures associated with demons and the devil. This portrayal may have originated from their sideways movement, which was believed to represent a deceitful nature.

The use of crabs in Christian art and iconography shows the versatility and complexity of religious symbolism. While the crab may seem like a humble and insignificant creature, it can carry rich meaning and significance in the context of Christian theology and symbolism.

One example of the use of crabs in Christian art is the “Crab and the Fox” story in the Aberdeen Bestiary, an illuminated manuscript from the early 13th century. The tale tells the story of a crab that accuses a fox of stealing his cheese, leading to a trial in which the animals present evidence and witnesses. The crab ultimately triumphs over the fox, showing the importance of truth and justice.

Symbolism Meaning
Ten legs Ten commandments
Resurrection Rebirth and renewal
Deceitfulness Evil and deception

The use of crabs in Christian art and iconography reflects the rich history and symbolism of the Christian faith. Whether representing the ten commandments, the resurrection of Christ, or the battle between good and evil, the crab remains an intriguing and versatile symbol in Christian art.

What do crabs symbolize in the bible?

Q: Is there any mention of crabs in the bible?
A: Yes, there is a mention of crabs in the bible. In Leviticus 11:9-12, they are classified as non-kosher animals that are not to be eaten.

Q: Are crabs a symbol of anything in the bible?
A: Yes, crabs are often seen as a symbol of impurity and danger in the bible. They are considered unclean creatures that are not fit for human consumption.

Q: Are there any instances where crabs are used symbolically in a positive way?
A: No, crabs are not used symbolically in a positive way in the bible. They are always associated with negative connotations such as danger, impurity, and uncleanliness.

Q: Do crabs have any significance in biblical stories?
A: There are no major biblical stories that feature crabs as a significant symbol or element.

Q: How do crabs compare to other animals in terms of symbolism in the bible?
A: Compared to other animals, crabs are not often used as symbolic imagery in the bible. They are a relatively minor reference in comparison to animals such as lions, sheep, and serpents.

Q: Are there any lessons we can learn from the symbolism of crabs in the bible?
A: One lesson that can be derived from the symbolism of crabs in the bible is the importance of purity, cleanliness, and avoiding anything that may be harmful or dangerous.

Closing Thoughts

Crabs have a very limited presence in the bible, and their meaning and symbolism are not positive. However, they can still serve as a reminder to us of the importance of purity and cleanliness in our lives. Thanks for reading, and we hope you visit again soon!