Q: What Does ‘The Apple of God’s Eye’ Mean?
People often use the phrase the apple of my eye to express how precious a loved one is in their sight. The word apple is an English idiom used metaphorically for the pupil or contractile aperture (center) in the iris of the eye that lets in light. The contracting iris regulates the amount of light hitting the retina to produce an image. It is extremely delicate and sensitive to any foreign object, and impairment to this portion of the eye is irreparable.
When you look into someone’s pupil, you’ll see it acts as a mirror, reflecting your image back to you. In the biblical context, the Jewish people are metaphorically reflected in God’s eye. They are so precious to Him that He protects them as He would the pupil of His own eye.
Moses first used the phrase as a poetic description to express God’s providential care for Israel during the nation’s wilderness wanderings: “He kept him as the apple of His eye” (Dt. 32:10). In practical terms, the phrase speaks of God’s awareness of all abuse and harmful actions against the nation of Israel. The Lord is extremely sensitive to how countries over the centuries have treated His Chosen People.
King David used the phrase in a prayer for God’s guidance and protection from his enemies, as did Moses for Israel. In desperation, David cried out to God, “Keep me as the apple of Your eye” (Ps. 17:8). In other words, David asked God to protect him from harm and death at the hands of his enemies. Moses requested the same for Israel.
The prophet Zechariah said, “He who touches you touches the apple of His eye” (Zech. 2:8). In other words, anyone who harms Israel is harming God.
When Israel is afflicted, God feels it as though the affliction happened to Him. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “In all their [Israel’s] affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old” (Isa. 63:9).
The “Angel of His presence” is a personification of God’s protective presence over Israel. God’s watchful care guarantees Israel’s survival and ultimate deliverance from every aggressor outside His will who seeks Israel’s annihilation. God’s love for Israel is unconditional (Dt. 7:6–8), unfailing (Isa. 63:9), and unending (Jer. 31:3). Israel will be preserved as long as the world exists (vv. 35–37).
7 thoughts on “Q: What Does ‘The Apple of God’s Eye’ Mean?”
Good evening & God bless.
Very good commentary on this biblical text. I learned something I did not know.
I am very interested in the word of God & to learn from others who have a little more knowledge.
I thank God He is a promise keeper, and a miracle worker.
No other way to explain Israel!
“Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep”. Psalm 121:4
I’ve never liked reading most of my life..I’ve always carried faith and have prayed since childhood. Singing “yes Jesus Loves me” I remember learning about a KJV Giant print Bible as I had lived with an ex Grace Pastor in 1/5/07 this great man that influenced me buying it and is a reason I am where I am today religiously..I have picked it up here and there taking it to Church Raised in Wincog..An expanding and growing church over the years since childhood in VA…Hit a point in life some of us go through being younger partying, dating, experiencing with drugs etc…Fast forward 10/2021 had some evil enter my life but none to the less had been reading the same Bible I’ve had years now..since 10/2021 the signs and wonders the Book of Life speaks of started appearing in various places in my life..Not only am a steady reader that loves to read and learn it from my KJV I have been blessed with a gift from God and I hope and pray for every walk of life on this planet..That he heals and comforts any and every evil thing on this Earth. Learning my surname and family coat of arms really amazed me that we in fact come from 5 different countries through migrating centuries ago. None the less I pray these prayers for everyone in my life and in this Earth on Jesus’s Holy name and Israel remains the Apple of his eye and in fact mine as well..God bless Everyone and may a life full of peace, prosperity, and love be fulfilled in all of your lives today…..Thanks, Brian Franks
That’s lovely Brian keep praying for souls and I was touched by that short testimony.
I also pray for the people of Israel. I believe in Christ Jesus and the Lord’s will be done in Jesus Christ as Lord name I pray.