Friday, March 25, 2011

The Raven

And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. . . .And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. 1 Kings 17:4,6

He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. Psalms 147:9

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? Luke 12:24

The raven is the first bird specifically mentioned in the Old Testament (Gen. 8:7), where it is referred to in connection with Noah and the ark. It is included among the unclean birds in Lev. 11:15 and Deut. 14:14, where the term embraces the whole family of CorvidÅ“—crows, rooks, jackdaws, etc. It has eight species in Palestine.

The raven lives generally in deep, rocky glens and desolate places (comp. Isa. 34:11). Its habit of commencing its attack by picking out the eyes of its victim is alluded to in Prov. 30:17. The figure of the raven is used illustratively where references are made to the care with which God watches over His creatures (comp. Ps. 147:9). Ravens are said to have provided Elijah with food (I Kings 17: 3-6). Source: Jewish Encyclopedia

Someone asked me whether I thought a raven was a positive or negative symbol in scripture. They thought it was negative because it was listed as an unclean bird under the law of Moses. Here are my thoughts:

When you consider that the birds in the Garden of Eden were all pure and harmless, I have no problem with its later designation as unclean for eating. Eagles come under the same ban, yet they are an extremely positive symbol in scripture. Lions, horses, elephants, bears and other animals are also "unclean", whose natures in a telestial sphere are associated with warlike nations, yet in the restored millenial Eden to come, we are told that they will return to their previously harmless state.

Symbolically, ravens could also represent unclean (Gentile) peoples--yet the Lord loves them and uses them to bless Israel. Think of Rahab. They are adopted into Abraham's line and receive all the blessings pertaining to it commensurate with their faithfulness.

No comments:

Post a Comment