Learning Biblical Hebrew
4/22/11 at 03:04 PM 0 Comments

The raven in the Old Testament

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The raven appears in the Old Testament in some important stories, and he is the animal that no one likes in the culture today, due to his egoistic behavior. The first appearance is at the end of the flood story. Noah sent him as the first bird to check if the flood ended, as written in Genesis 8:6-7-

" וַיְהִי, מִקֵּץ אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם; וַיִּפְתַּח נֹחַ, אֶת-חַלּוֹן הַתֵּבָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה. וַיְשַׁלַּח, אֶת-הָעֹרֵב; וַיֵּצֵא יָצוֹא וָשׁוֹב, עַד-יְבֹשֶׁת הַמַּיִם מֵעַל הָאָרֶץ"

"And sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth"

Usually in the Jewish tradition the raven is the first bird of the two that Noah sent in order to discover whether the flood ended or not, even tough this verse tells us that the land is dry!

By the way, in the Epic of Gilgamesh, there are three birds: the dove, the swallow and the raven, which is the last to be sent away!

Another important story of this impure animal (see Leviticus 11:15, Deuteronomy 14:14) is found in 1 Kings 17, when Elijah the prophet, the most loyal prophet to The Lord, some will say the most egoistic one, got his food from the raven as written in 1 Kings 17:6-

" וְהָעֹרְבִים, מְבִאִים לוֹ לֶחֶם וּבָשָׂר בַּבֹּקֶר, וְלֶחֶם וּבָשָׂר, בָּעָרֶב; וּמִן-הַנַּחַל, יִשְׁתֶּה."

"The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook."

The Raven also appears in Isaiah 34:11, in a passage that speaks about the judgment of all the nations, as we can read:

" וִירֵשׁוּהָ קָאַת וְקִפּוֹד, וְיַנְשׁוֹף וְעֹרֵב יִשְׁכְּנוּ-בָהּ; וְנָטָה עָלֶיהָ קַו-תֹהוּ, וְאַבְנֵי-בֹהוּ."

"The desert owl and screech owl will possess it; the great owl and the raven will nest there. God will stretch out over Edom .the measuring line of chaos and the plumb line of desolation"

Have a Good week, Eli

Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

Hebrew   Transcription    Translation

מָזוֹן        māzôn              Food

סְנוּנִית       sənûnît           Swallow

צִפּוֹר        tsippôr             Bird

הִתְנַהֲגוּת   hitnahăgût       Behavior

עוֹרֵב        'ôrēb                Raven

יוֹנָה          yônāh              Dove


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