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Smith's Bible Dictionary

(black). The Hebrew oreb is applied to the several species of the crow family, a number of which are found in Palestine. The raven belongs to the order Insessores , family Corvidae . (It resembles the crow, but is larger weighing three pounds; its black color is more iridescent, and it is gifted with greater sagacity. "There is something weird and shrewd in the expression of the raven's countenance, a union of cunning and malignity which may have contributed to give it among widely-revered nations a reputation for preternatural knowledge." One writer says that the smell of death is so grateful to them that when in passing over sheep a tainted smell is perceptible, they cry and croak vehemently. It may be that in passing over a human habitation, if a sickly or cadaverous smell arises, they should make it known by their cries, and so has arisen the idea that the croaking of a raven is the premonition of death.--ED.) A raven was sent out by Noah from the ark. (Genesis 8:7) This bird was not allowed as food by the Mosaic law. (Leviticus 11:15) Elijah was cared for by ravens. (1 Kings 17:4,6) They are expressly mentioned as instances of God's protecting love and goodness. (Job 38:41; Luke 12:24) The raven's carnivorous habits, and especially his readiness to attack the eye, are alluded to in (Proverbs 30:17) To the fact of the raven being a common bird in Palestine, and to its habit of flying restlessly about in constant search for food to satisfy its voracious appetite, may perhaps be traced the reason for its being selected by our Lord and the inspired writers as the especial object of God's providing care.

Scripture Alphabet Of Animals

The raven has always been very well known to man, and is mentioned almost at the beginning of the Bible. You remember that this was the first bird that Noah sent out of the ark to see whether the waters had begun to dry up; and that it did not go back to him again. I suppose it was very glad to be at liberty after it had been shut up more than a year; and as it lives upon the flesh of other animals, it probably found food enough from the bodies of those that had been drowned.

It is a large bird, considerably larger than the crow; and its feathers are very black, very glossy, and very beautiful. People in ancient times seem to have liked a black color, and were especially pleased with black hair; so we read in the Song of Solomon, where one who is beautiful is described, "His locks are bushy, and black as a raven."

It is said that the raven always attacks the eye of an animal first; seeming to prefer that to every other part. This may explain one of the verses in Proverbs, "The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it." It has been the custom, in many countries, to hang those who have been guilty of great crimes on a tree or on a gallows in the open air; and there to leave the body for the birds to peck at and devour if they chose. I suppose this verse means that stubborn and disobedient children, or those who are not kind and respectful to their parents, must expect to come to some sad end; and they very often do so.

I have heard that the raven drives out its young ones very early from the nest, almost before they are able to seek their food. This may explain a verse in the Psalms, "The Lord giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry;" and another in Job, "Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, wandering for lack of meat." Our Savior speaks of this bird in the Luke 12, "Consider the ravens; for they neither sow nor reap; they have neither store-house nor barn; and God feedeth them." He was speaking to his disciples, and it was as much as to say, "If God takes care of the ravens, he will certainly take care of you; so you need not be anxious or afraid."

Have you read in the Bible how a good prophet's life was once saved by ravens? The people who were living then were very wicked, and would have been glad to kill the prophet Elijah; so God told him to go into the wilderness and live there alone by the side of a small brook. Elijah went to the brook, and there was water enough for him to drink, of course, but no food to keep him from starving. You may be sure that God did not forget his servant; but you would hardly believe, if it was not in the Bible, that he would send the ravens to carry food to him. Yet so it was: "the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook." It is supposed that he was fed in this way for as much as a year. It was a long time to stay there by himself; but I do not think he was lonely or afraid, for he loved God, and felt sure that He was always near him, even in the wilderness.

ATS Bible Dictionary

Genesis 8:7; Le 11:15, a bird similar to the crow, but larger, and not gregarious. It feeds on dead bodies; and in its general characteristics resembles the crow of America. The eyes of its victim are the first part to be devoured, Proverbs 30:17; and it drives away its young as soon as they can begin to shift for themselves, Job 38:41; Psalm 147:9. Elijah was miraculously fed by ravens, 1 Kings 17:6.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Hebrews `orebh, from a root meaning "to be black" (Comp. Cant. 5:11); first mentioned as "sent forth" by Noah from the ark (Genesis 8:7). "Every raven after his kind" was forbidden as food (Leviticus 11:15; Deuteronomy 14:14). Ravens feed mostly on carrion, and hence their food is procured with difficulty (Job 38:41; Psalm 147:9). When they attack kids or lambs or weak animals, it is said that they first pick out the eyes of their victims (Proverbs 30:17). When Elijah was concealed by the brook Cherith, God commanded the ravens to bring him "bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening" (1 Kings 17:3-6). (see ELIJAH.)

There are eight species of ravens in Palestine, and they are everywhere very numerous in that land.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) A large black passerine bird (Corvus corax), similar to the crow, but larger. It is native of the northern parts of Europe, Asia, and America, and is noted for its sagacity.

2. (a.) of the color of the raven; jet black; as, raven curls; raven darkness.

3. (n.) Rapine; rapacity.

4. (n.) Prey; plunder; food obtained by violence.

5. (v. t.) To obtain or seize by violence.

6. (v. t.) To devour with great eagerness.

7. (v. i.) To prey with rapacity; to be greedy; to show rapacity.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

ra'-vn (`orebh; korax; Latin Corvus corax): A large family of the smaller birds of prey belonging to the genus Corvus corax. A bird of such universal distribution that it is known from Iceland to Japan, all over Asia, Europe and Africa, but almost extinct and not of general distribution in our own country. In no land is it more numerous than in Palestine In general appearance it resembles the crow, but is much larger, being almost two feet long, of a glossy black, with whiskers around the beak, and rather stiff-pointed neck feathers. A bird exhibiting as much intelligence as any, and of a saucy, impudent disposition, it has been an object of interest from the beginning. It has been able to speak sentences of a few words when carefully taught, and by its uncanny acts has made itself a bird surrounded by superstition, myth, fable, and is connected with the religious rites of many nations. It is partially a carrion feeder, if offal or bodies are fresh; it also eats the young of other birds and very small animals and seeds, berries and fruit, having as varied a diet as any bird. It is noisy, with a loud, rough, emphatic cry, and its young are clamorous feeding time.

Aristotle wrote that ravens drove their young from their location and forced them to care for themselves from the time they left the nest. This is doubtful. Bird habits and characteristics change only with slow ages of evolution. Our ravens of today are, to all intents, the same birds as those of Palestine in the time of Moses, and ours follow the young afield for several days and feed them until the cawing, flapping youngsters appear larger than the parents. In Pliny's day, ravens had been taught to speak, and as an instance of their cunning he records that in time of drought a raven found a bucket containing a little water beside a grave and raised it to drinking level by dropping in stones.

Palestine has at least 8 different species of ravens. This bird was the first sent out by Noah in an effort to discover if the flood were abating (Genesis 8:6-8). Because it partially fed on carrion it was included among the abominations (see Leviticus 11:15 Deuteronomy 14:14). On 1 Kings 17:4-6, see ELIJAH and the present writer's Birds of the Bible, 401-3. Among the marvels of creation and providence in Job 38:41, we have this mention of the raven,

"Who provideth for the raven his prey,

When his young ones cry unto God,

And wander for lack of food?"

The answer to this question is in Psalm 147:9:

"He giveth to the beast his food,

And to the young ravens which cry."

Both these quotations point out the fact that the young are peculiarly noisy. In Proverbs 30:17 it is indicated that the ravens, as well as eagles, vultures and hawks, found the eye of prey the vulnerable point, and so attacked it first. The Hebrew `orebh means "black," and for this reason was applied to the raven, so the reference to the locks of the bridegroom in the So of Solomon becomes clear (Songs 5:11). The raven is one of the birds indicated to prey upon the ruins of Edom (Isaiah 34:11). The last reference is found in Luke 12:24: "Consider the ravens, that they sow not, neither reap; which have no store-chamber nor barn; and God feedeth them." This could have been said of any wild bird with equal truth.

Gene Stratton-Porter


rav'-n, rav'-in: "Raven" (verb) is from "rapine," "violent plundering, used for Taraph, in Genesis 49:27 Psalm 22:13 Ezekiel 22:25, 27, while "ravin" (noun) is the object ravened, in Nahum 2:12 the torn carcasses (Terephah). So "ravenous bird" (Isaiah 46:11 Ezekiel 39:4) is a bird of prey (not a "hungry bird"), `ayiT, literally, "a screecher." "Ravenous beast" in Isaiah 35:9 is for parits, "violent one." In the New Testament harpax, "rapacious," is translated "ravening" in Matthew 7:15, while for the cognate harpage (Luke 11:39), the King James Version gives "ravening," the Revised Version (British and American) "extortion."

2876. korax -- a raven
... korax. 2877 . a raven. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration: korax
Phonetic Spelling: (kor'-ax) Short Definition: a raven Definition: a raven, crow ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2876.htm - 6k

2896. krazo -- to scream, cry out
... 2896 -- an onomatopoetic term for a raven's piercing cry ("caw"); (figuratively)
cry out with an or shriek, using "inarticulate shouts that express emotion ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2896.htm - 8k

Strong's Hebrew
6158. oreb -- a raven
... 6157, 6158. oreb. 6159 . a raven. Transliteration: oreb Phonetic Spelling:
(o-rabe') Short Definition: raven. Word Origin from an ...
/hebrew/6158.htm - 6k

"Who Provideth for the Raven his Food?"
1899. All the world lay still and silent in the morning grey,. ...
/.../hymns of ter steegen and others second series/who provideth for the raven.htm

His Head is as the Most Fine Gold, his Locks as the Clusters of ...
... CHAPTER V. 11. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks as the clusters
of the palm, black as a raven. By the locks covering ...
//christianbookshelf.org/guyon/song of songs of solomon/11 his head is as.htm

Chapter viii
... AV is ambiguous. 7-12. And he sent forth a raven, which went flying back and
forth until the waters were dried up from upon the earth. ...
/...//christianbookshelf.org/leupold/exposition of genesis volume 1/chapter viii.htm

'Clear Shining after Rain'
... And it came to pass at the end of forty days that Noah opened the window of the
ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture k/clear shining after rain.htm

The Survival of the Fittest.
... Noah and his family. Seven days the waters rose, and at intervals of seven
days he sent out a raven and a dove. The flood from its ...
/.../christianbookshelf.org/kent/the making of a nation/study iv the survival of.htm

The Story of Noah and the Ark
... So, after waiting for a time, Noah opened a window, and let loose a bird
called a raven. Now the raven has strong wings; and this ...
/.../marshall/the wonder book of bible stories/the story of noah and.htm

Christ Teaching by Miracles
... of need. "The Dead Raven." A poor weaver in Edinburgh lost his situation
one winter, on account of business being so dull. He begged ...
/.../newton/the life of jesus christ for the young/christ teaching by miracles.htm

Spiritual Significance of the Precepts of Moses Respecting ...
... Now, wherefore did Moses say, "Thou shalt not eat the swine, nor the eagle, nor
the hawk, nor the raven, nor any fish which is not possessed of scales?" [1575 ...
/.../barnabas/the epistle of barnabas /chapter x spiritual significance of the.htm

The Knight's Return
... The were wolves mutter, the night hawks moan, The raven croaks from the Raven-stone;
What care I for his boding groan, Riding the moorland to come to mine own? ...
/.../kingsley/andromeda and other poems/the knights return.htm

The Great Flood.
... But after ten months the tops of the mountains were seen, and Noah sent
out a raven and a dove. The raven flew to and fro, but the ...
/.../lathbury/childs story of the bible/chapter ii the great flood.htm

Raven (7 Occurrences)
... 5:11); first mentioned as "sent forth" by Noah from the ark (Genesis 8:7). "Every
raven after his kind" was forbidden as food (Leviticus 11:15; Deuteronomy 14 ...
/r/raven.htm - 14k

Oreb (4 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary Raven, a prince of Midian, who, being defeated by Gideon
and put to straits, was slain along with Zeeb (Judges 7:20-25). ...
/o/oreb.htm - 10k

Ravin (1 Occurrence)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary 1. (a.) Ravenous. 2. (n.) Alt. of Ravine. 3. (vt & i.)
Alt. of Ravine. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. RAVEN; RAVIN. ...
/r/ravin.htm - 8k

Croak (1 Occurrence)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary 1. (vi) To make a low, hoarse noise in the throat, as
a frog, a raven, or a crow; hence, to make any hoarse, dismal sound. ...
/c/croak.htm - 7k

Pelican (5 Occurrences)
... See Isaiah 34:11: "But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it; and the owl
and the raven shall dwell therein: and he will stretch over it the line of ...
/p/pelican.htm - 11k

Dove (27 Occurrences)
... In Genesis 8:8-12, we read, "And he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters
were abated." Noah first sent out a raven, because it was a strong ...
/d/dove.htm - 28k

Locks (29 Occurrences)
... careful of his exterior. It is called bushy (the Revised Version margin
"curling") and black as a raven. the King James Version ...
/l/locks.htm - 18k

Nest (22 Occurrences)
... Pagan Rome executed the shoemaker who killed a raven that built on a temple, and
Athens took the same revenge on the man who destroyed the nest of a swallow. ...
/n/nest.htm - 18k

Ravine (26 Occurrences)
... 2. (n.) Food obtained by violence; plunder; prey; raven. 3. (vt & i.) See Raven.
4. (n.) A torrent of water. Multi-Version Concordance Ravine (26 Occurrences). ...
/r/ravine.htm - 14k

Deluge (17 Occurrences)
... Tops of the mountains visible on the first day of the tenth month (Genesis 8:5).
Raven and dove sent out forty days after this (Genesis 8:6-9). ...
/d/deluge.htm - 47k

Why did Noah release a raven? Why did he later release a dove (Genesis 8)? | GotQuestions.org

Is there any special meaning/symbolism to owls in the Bible? | GotQuestions.org

Questions about "The Passion of the Christ" movie | GotQuestions.org

Raven: Dictionary and Thesaurus | Clyx.com

Bible ConcordanceBible DictionaryBible EncyclopediaTopical BibleBible Thesuarus
Raven (7 Occurrences)

Genesis 8:7
and he sent forth a raven. It went back and forth, until the waters were dried up from the earth.

Genesis 49:27
"Benjamin is a ravenous wolf. In the morning he will devour the prey. At evening he will divide the spoil."

Leviticus 11:15
any kind of raven,

Deuteronomy 14:14
and every raven after its kind,

Job 38:41
Who provides for the raven his prey, when his young ones cry to God, and wander for lack of food?

Song of Songs 5:11
His head is like the purest gold. His hair is bushy, black as a raven.

Isaiah 34:11
But the pelican and the porcupine will possess it. The owl and the raven will dwell in it. He will stretch the line of confusion over it, and the plumb line of emptiness.



Raven: A Black Carnivorous Bird

Raven: Cared for by Divine Providence

Raven: Fed Elijah

Raven: Forbidden As Food

Raven: Preserved by Noah in the Ark

The Raven: Black

The Raven: Called the Raven of the Valley

The Raven: Carnivorous

The Raven: Elijah Fed By

The Raven: God Provides Food For

The Raven: Improvident

The Raven: Plumage of, Illustrative of the Glory of Christ

The Raven: Sent by Noah from the Ark

The Raven: Solitary in Disposition

The Raven: Unclean and not to be Eaten

Related Terms

Oreb (4 Occurrences)

Ravin (1 Occurrence)

Croak (1 Occurrence)

Pelican (5 Occurrences)

Dove (27 Occurrences)

Locks (29 Occurrences)

Nest (22 Occurrences)

Ravine (26 Occurrences)

Deluge (17 Occurrences)

Kinds (110 Occurrences)

Birds (125 Occurrences)

Abomination (78 Occurrences)

Vacancy (3 Occurrences)


Zeeb (3 Occurrences)

Nourishment (14 Occurrences)

Unclean (393 Occurrences)

Living-places (17 Occurrences)

Go (17871 Occurrences)

Gier (2 Occurrences)

Wander (43 Occurrences)

Wavy (1 Occurrence)

Fro (54 Occurrences)

Finest (23 Occurrences)

Flying (22 Occurrences)

Flew (10 Occurrences)

Raveneth (1 Occurrence)

Raved (2 Occurrences)

Emptiness (17 Occurrences)

Drying (11 Occurrences)

Doorstep (11 Occurrences)

Dates (4 Occurrences)

Dried (66 Occurrences)

Plummet (4 Occurrences)

Purest (2 Occurrences)

Plumb (6 Occurrences)

Porcupine (3 Occurrences)

Plummets (1 Occurrence)

Provides (18 Occurrences)

Provideth (5 Occurrences)

Prepares (9 Occurrences)

Bushy (1 Occurrence)

Crying (247 Occurrences)

Clusters (12 Occurrences)

Curled (2 Occurrences)

Cry (431 Occurrences)

Cormorant (4 Occurrences)

Chaos (4 Occurrences)

Screech (4 Occurrences)

Sea-mew (2 Occurrences)


Seamew (1 Occurrence)

Puteoli (1 Occurrence)

Hedgehog (3 Occurrences)

Hedge-hog (2 Occurrences)

Sort (143 Occurrences)

Dog (19 Occurrences)

Beard (23 Occurrences)

Doorways (26 Occurrences)

Measuring (42 Occurrences)

Delicate (32 Occurrences)

Noah (55 Occurrences)

Bittern (4 Occurrences)

Hair (135 Occurrences)



Elamites (2 Occurrences)

Tops (37 Occurrences)

Measured (91 Occurrences)

Owl (11 Occurrences)

Hawk (6 Occurrences)

Black (52 Occurrences)

Provision (50 Occurrences)

Elam (24 Occurrences)

Gideon (45 Occurrences)

Lack (86 Occurrences)

Prey (105 Occurrences)

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