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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

'Oreb , from a root "black," including the crow. Not allowed as food ( Leviticus 11:15). Of the order Ιnsessores , family Corvidae .  Genesis 8:7, Noah's first messenger from the ark, which kept going forth and returning, resting on the ark but never entering, feeding on the floating carcasses; type of the carnal soul that having left God finds no rest ( Isaiah 57:20-21); like Satan ( Job 1:7;  Job 2:2). Ravens fed Elijah at the brook Cherith ( 1 Kings 17:4;  1 Kings 17:6) when cut off from intercourse with men, who might have betrayed him to Ahab. When even the voracious ravens were against their nature made to care for him more than for themselves, his confidence was strengthened in Jehovah's illimitable resources to help him in his coming conflict with the idolatrous priests, dislikes the raven as of ill omen God cares for it ( Job 38:41;  Psalms 147:9;  Luke 12:24).

The raven is singled out as exemplifying God's care for His creatures because of their restless flying in search for food to satisfy their voracious appetites. With their hoarse cry they unconsciously appeal to their Maker and Preserver for their necessary food, and never in vain, though they neither sow nor reap neither have storehouse nor barn. A lesson of faith to us. The ravens build their nests in solitary "valleys," hence a sign of desolation ( Isaiah 34:11). Birds of prey attack the eye especially. The mocker of his father shall die a death of shame, and be a prey to the "raven of the valley" ( Proverbs 30:17). The shrewd and ill visage of the raven, its mourning hue, its solitary haunts, harsh croak, instant scenting of premonitory decomposition even before death, made it be regarded as of ill omen. The glossy steel-blue black of the raven is the image of the bridegroom's locks ( Song of Solomon 5:11).

Smith's Bible Dictionary [2]

Raven. (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. - Editor).

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;  1 Kings 17:6. 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.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [3]

The raven is classed among the unclean by the law, ( Leviticus 11:15) Notwithstanding, we have an account in Scripture of the ministry of this bird upon two remarkable occasions. The former from the ark of Noah, ( Genesis 8:7) and the other feeding the prophet Elijah at the brook Cherith. ( 1 Kings 17:4-6) Some have supposed that the word Orebim, which our translators render ravens, means the inhabitants of Oreb, near to Bethshan. But in this case the prophet would not have been hid; and this was the reason wherefore the Lord bid him go to Cherith. Besides, if any human beings brought the prophet bread and flesh, so they might also water. But the Scriptures have uniformly held forth this history of Elijah as miraculous, which would not have been the case but in the supposition of his being fed by ravens. The church sets forth the headship and beauties of her husband Christ under the similitude of the fine lustre of the gold, and the rich black shining gloss of the raven. "His head is as the most fine gold; his locks are bushy and black as a raven." ( Song of Song of Solomon 5:11) And to those who know Christ, and eye him as the Head of his body the church, he is all this, and infinitely more.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [4]

The word oreb, from a root signifying 'to be black,' appears to be used not only for the common raven, but for birds of the same genus ( corvus ), as the crow, the rook, etc., for we read of "every raven after his kind" as being unclean.  Leviticus 11:15;  Deuteronomy 14:14 . The raven, when sent from the ark by Noah, could doubtless find food (though the dove could not), because it can feed upon carrion, though it went 'to and fro' till the waters were dried up.  Genesis 8:7 . That the carnivorous ravens should bring flesh as well as bread to Elijah shows God's miraculous power; He caused them to feed His servant.  1 Kings 17:4,6 . They are greedy eaters, and have no storehouse nor barn, yet God feeds them, and will surely feed those who trust in Him.  Job 38:41;  Psalm 147:9;  Proverbs 30:17;  Song of Solomon 5:11;  Isaiah 34:11;  Luke 12:24 . There are several species of the raven in Palestine: it belongs to the order Insessores, family Corvidae.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

1: Κόραξ (Strong'S #2876 — Noun Masculine — korax — kor'-ax )

"a raven" (perhaps onomatopoeic, representing the sound), occurs in the plural in  Luke 12:24 . The Heb. oreb and the Arabic ghurab are from roots meaning "to be black;" the Arabic root also has the idea of leaving home. Hence the evil omen attached to the bird. It is the first bird mentioned in the Bible,  Genesis 8:7 . Christ used the "ravens" to illustrate and enforce the lesson of God's provision and care.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [6]

Raven ( ‘ôrçb , Arab. [Note: Arabic.] ghurâb ). An ‘unclean’ bird (  Leviticus 11:15 ,   Deuteronomy 14:14 ), numbers of which may always be seen gathered, together with the dogs, around the carrion thrown out into the valley of Hinnom (cf.   Proverbs 30:17 ). Its glossy plumage is referred to in   Song of Solomon 5:11; it often dwells in the wilderness (  Isaiah 34:11 ), and yet God cares for and watches over it (  Job 38:41 ,   Psalms 147:8 ,   Luke 12:24 ). The name ‘ôrçb is doubtless generic, and includes all the eight species of the Corvidæ known in Palestine.

E. W. G. Masterman.

King James Dictionary [7]

RAVEN, n. ra'ven. Heb. from its color. But this may be L. corvus, rapio.

A large fowl of a black color, of the genus Corvus.

RAVEN, rav'n.

1. To devour with great eagerness to eat with voracity.

Our natures do pursue, like rats that raven down their proper bane, a thirsty evil, and when we drink, we die.

Like a roaring lion, ravening the prey.  Ezekiel 22 .

2. To obtain by violence.

RAVEN, rav'n. To prey with rapacity.

Benjamin shall raven as a wolf.  Genesis 49 .

RAVEN, n. rav'n.

1. Prey plunder food obtained by violence.  Nahum 2 . 2. Rapine rapacity.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [8]

 Genesis 8:7;  Leviticus 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 [9]

 Song of Solomon 5:11 Genesis 8:7 Leviticus 11:15 Deuteronomy 14:14 Job 38:41 Psalm 147:9 Proverbs 30:17 1 Kings 17:3-6Elijah

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

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [10]

 Isaiah 49:16 (a) The indelible and ineffaceable marks of Calvary are forever to be seen in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ They are a constant reminder of our tremendous need and CHRIST's sufficient supply for that need.

 Jeremiah 17:1 (a) The sins of Israel are indelibly written upon the pages of history and can never be erased or effaced from their persons.

Webster's Dictionary [11]

(1): ( p. p.) of Grave

(2): ( v. t.) Carved.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [12]

RAVEN. —See Animals in vol. i. p. 66a.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

rā´v ' n ( ערב , ‛ōrēbh  ; κόραξ , kórax  ; 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 ‛ōrēbh means "black," and for this reason was applied to the raven, so the reference to the locks of the bridegroom in the Song of Solomon becomes clear ( Song of Solomon 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.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

The raven is very generally confounded with the carrion crow, but though very similar is quite distinct from it. Its size is larger, its black color more iridescent; it is gifted with greater sagacity; is naturally observant and solitary, while the crow is gregarious in its habits; lives in pairs; has a most acute scent; and flies to a great height.

Whether the raven of Palestine is the common species, or the Corvus Montanus of Temminck, is not quite determined; for there is of the ravens, or greater form of crows, a smaller group including two or three others, all similar in manners, and unlike the carrion crows, which are gregarious, and seemingly identical in both hemispheres. Sometimes a pair of ravens will descend without fear among a flight of crows, take possession of the carrion that may have attracted them, and keep the crows at a distance till they themselves are gorged. The habits of the whole genus render it unclean in the Hebrew law; and the malignant, ominous expression of the raven, together with the color of its plumage, powers of voice, and solitary habits, are the causes of that universal and often superstitious attention with which mankind have ever regarded it. This bird is the first mentioned in the Bible, as being sent forth by Noah out of the ark on the subsiding of the waters; and in , ravens bring flesh and bread at morning and eve to the prophet Elijah.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Raven'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/r/raven.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.