olive branch

a sign of peace
—Their fighting has continued for years, without anyone willing to offer the other side an olive branch.

Adam and Eve’s family increased, and over they years, as the number of people grew, their sins also increased. Because of the wickedness of mankind, God decided to flood the earth and destroy all people—except for the righteous man Noah, and his family. God told Noah to build an ark, in which God put pairs of very kind of animal so that they, too, would survive the flood. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights, with the water covering the earth for 150 days. When the water began to recede, the ark rested on a mountain, and Noah sent out a dove to see if it could find a place to land. It did not, and returned to him. Then after seven days, he released the dove again:

When the dove returned to him in the evening, there was a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak! Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. (Genesis 8:11)

The flood was over, and those in the ark soon were able to return to dry ground. This is where we get the symbol of a dove carrying an olive branch as a sign of peace. Today, we call a person who supports peace a dove (or peace dove“), while a hawk (or “war hawk”) is someone who pushes for war.

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