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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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The first bird specifically mentioned in the Old Testament (Genesis 8:7 ), where it is referred to in connection with Noah and the ark. It is included among the unclean brids in Leviticus 11:15 and Deuteronomy 14:14 , where the term embraces the whole family of Corvidœ — crows, rooks, jackdaws, etc. It has eight species in Palestine. The raven lives generally in deep, rocky glens and desolate places (comp. Isaiah 34:11 ). Its habit of commencing its attack by picking out the eyes of its victim is alluded to in Proverbs 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. Psalm 147:9 ). Ravens are said to have provided Elijah with food (IKings 17:3-6). The dark, glossy plumage of the raven is compared to the locks of youth (Song of Song of Solomon 5:11 ).

In the Talmud, besides "' oreb" (B. Ḳ . 92b, etc.), the raven is designated "pushḳ anẓ a" (B.B.73b), and, from its croaking, "ḳ orḳ or" (B. B. 23a). "Shalak" in Leviticus 11:17 is explained in Ḥ ul. 63a as a bird which takes fishes from the sea, and Rashi adds, "It is the water-raven" (comp. Targ. ad loc. , and see Cormorant ). "Zarzir" is considered a species of raven, and this gave rise to the proverb: "The zarzir goes to the raven, for it is of its kind"— the equivalent of the English "Birds of a feather flock together" (see Ḥ ul. 62a, 65b and, for other species, Ḥ ul. 63a, 64a). While ravens love one another (Pes. 113b) they lack affection toward their young as long as the latter remain unadorned with black plumage (Ket. 49b) but Providence takes care of them by causing worms to arise from their excrement (B. B. 8a et al. ). In copulation the spittle ejected from the mouth of the male into that of the female effects conception (Sanh. 108b). The wealthy domesticated the raven (Shab. 126b), but on account of its filthiness the bird was frightened away from the Temple by means of a scarecrow (Men. 107a). The croaking of the raven was an ill omen (Shab. 67b). The comparison of dark locks with the plumage of the raven is found also in Ḥ ag. 14a. See Dove .

Bibliography : Tristram, Nat. Hist. p. 198 Lewysohn, Z. T. p. 172. E. G. H. I. M. C.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Raven'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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