From Bible Encyclopedia
woolf ((1) זאב, ze'ēbh (Genesis 49:27; Genesis 11:6; 65:25; Jeremiah 5:6; Ezekiel 22:27; Habakkuk 1:8; Zephaniah 3:3; also as proper name, Zeeb, prince of Midian, Judges 7:25; Judges 8:3; Psalm 83:11); compare Arabic dhi'b, colloquial dhîb, or dîb; (2) λύκος, lúkos (Matthew 7:15; Matthew 10:16; Luke 10:3; John 10:12; Acts 20:29; Ecclesiasticus 13:17; compare 2 Esdras 5:18, lupus); (3) איּין, 'īyīm, the Revised Version (British and American) “wolves” (Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:14; Jeremiah 50:39)):
While the wolf is surpassed in size by some dogs, it is the fiercest member of the dog family (Canidae), which includes among others the jackal and the fox. Dogs, wolves and jackals are closely allied and will breed together. There is no doubt that the first dogs were domesticated wolves. While there are local varieties which some consider to be distinct species, it is allowable to regard all the wolves of both North America, Europe, and Northern Asia (except the American coyote) as members of one species, Canis lupus. The wolf of Syria and Palestine is large, light colored, and does not seem to hunt in packs. Like other wolves it is nocturnal. In Palestine it is the special enemy of the sheep and goats. This fact comes out in two of the seven passages cited from the Old Testament, in all from the New Testament, and in the two from Apocrypha. In Genesis 49:27 Benjamin is likened to a ravening wolf. In Ezekiel 22:27, and in the similar Zephaniah 3:3, the eiders of Jerusalem are compared to wolves. In Jeremiah 5:6 it is a wolf that shall destroy the people of Jerusalem, and in Habakkuk 1:8 the horses of the Chaldeans “are swifter than leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves.” Babylon and Edom (Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:14; Jeremiah 50:39) are to be the haunts of'īyīm (the Revised Version (British and American) “wolves”) and other wild creatures.
The name of Zeeb, prince of Midian (Judges 7:25; Judges 8:3), has its parallel in the Arabic, Dîb or Dhîb, which is a common name today. Such animal names are frequently given to ward off the evil eye.
Heb. zeeb, frequently referred to in Scripture as an emblem of treachery and cruelty. Jacob's prophecy, “Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf” (Genesis 49:27), represents the warlike character of that tribe (see Judges 19 - 21). Isaiah represents the peace of Messiah's kingdom by the words, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb” (Isaiah 11:6). The habits of the wolf are described in Jeremiah 5:6; Habakkuk 1:8; Zephaniah 3:3; Ezekiel 22:27; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 10:16; Acts 20:29. Wolves are still sometimes found in Israel, and are the dread of shepherds, as of old.
See also Totemism.