[Heb., zeʼevʹ; Gr., lyʹkos].
A carnivorous animal resembling a dog, a large German shepherd, but having longer legs, larger feet, a broader head, and stronger jaws. It is reported that in Palestine and Syria wolves usually hunt singly or in twos or threes, not in packs. They seek their prey under the cover of darkness, remaining in hiding during the day. (Hab 1:8; Zep 3:3) Wolves are fierce, voracious, bold, and greedy, often killing more sheep than they can eat or drag away. The shepherd of ancient times therefore had to be courageous and resourceful to protect the flock from wolves.—Joh 10:12, 13.
Most of the Scriptural references to the wolf are illustrative. In his deathbed prophecy, Jacob likened his son Benjamin to a wolf, this undoubtedly with reference to the tribe’s fighting abilities. (Ge 49:27; see BENJAMIN No. 2.) The unscrupulous princes of Judah (Eze 22:27), false prophets (Mt 7:15), vicious opposers of the Christian ministry (Mt 10:16; Lu 10:3), as well as false teachers that would endanger the Christian congregation from within (Ac 20:29, 30), are compared to wolves. In contrast with the well-known despoilings by wolves (Jer 5:6), the wolf and the lamb are depicted as being at peace during Messiah’s rule, feeding together as one; in addition to its application to changes in the lives of people, this prophetic picture doubtless indicates that such peace will prevail among animals.—Isa 11:6; 65:25.