(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, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. (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.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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