The Raven and the Old Woman’s Garden – by Emma Foster

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

The Raven and the Old Woman’s Garden by Emma Foster

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)

Once there was a small raven that lived in a tree that stood in the middle of a large garden a woman had planted years ago. The woman had grown old now and spent most of the time in her small brick house. She did come out to devoutly water her plants so that her garden would be kept beautiful, but it was very difficult for her to pull out the weeds in the flower beds.

The raven would often watch the old woman from her nest in the tree as she watered her flowers. The raven enjoyed the garden the old woman had planted because so many of the flowers were different colors. During the day the raven would often fly through the flowers, and every day it seemed that there was a new and different flower for her to look at.

PAS-Corv Raven ©Pixabay

But one day the old woman didn’t come out of her house. The raven waited for her to come and water her flowers, but the old woman had become ill and couldn’t get out of her bed. Eventually, the raven saw from her nest a bright red and white vehicle with flashing lights come up the driveway. The raven watched some people in uniforms come into the house and take the old woman out on a bed and drive away.

A few days went by and the old woman did not come home. The raven began to worry because there was no one to water the flowers to keep the old woman’s garden looking beautiful. Several weeds had sprung up in the flower beds as well.

The raven suddenly had the idea to begin pulling out some of the weeds while the old woman was gone. She started in the flower bed closest to her nest and began pulling weeds out from the beds. While she was pulling out some of the weeds, the raven found a few seeds that the old woman hadn’t planted yet. The raven promptly decided to dig up a small place off to the side with her beak in order to plant them.

PAS-Corv Raven ©Pixabay

The raven continued to pull out more weeds for the rest of the day. Fortunately, because it wasn’t terribly hot outside the work was a little easier. Toward the end of the day, rain began to fall. The raven quickly retreated to her nest and watched from the protection of the tree as the rain watered the flowers to keep them from dying.

The rain stopped the next morning but continued occurring every now and then for the next couple of days. One morning the raven woke to see tiny buds had appeared out of the ground where she had planted the seeds. This made the raven very happy, but she became even happier when a car drove up into the driveway. The old woman had come back from the hospital but had to be taken into her house on a bed. The raven stayed in her nest, hoping that the old woman would be able to see the new flowers and her well-kept garden through her bedroom window.

Fortunately, the old woman was able to see her garden very clearly, but she was no longer able to come outside. The raven decided she would keep pulling out the weeds for her. It continued to rain nearly every day, which was good because the flowers had to be watered. But one day another loud flashing vehicle came back up to the house and took the old woman away, and the raven knew that she wasn’t coming back.

PAS-Corv Raven ©Pixabay

Eventually, several people came to the house and moved out all of the old woman’s things leaving the house bare and empty. To honor the old woman the raven kept pulling out weeds, hoping that she could keep the old woman’s garden as long as possible. But eventually it stopped raining and the flowers began to wilt. The raven began to fear that all of the old woman’s flowers would eventually die, until one day the raven woke up in her nest to see a family moving into the old woman’s house. The wife, who moved into the house with her husband and children, decided that she should continue tending the garden, which made the raven very happy. After a few weeks the garden and was healthy and beautiful again, and the flowers the raven had planted grew incredible large and tall.

My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalms 121:2 NKJV)


Lee’s Addition:

Another very entertaining and delightful story from Emma. Emma picks the birds in her tales and I supply the photos and scriptures. She may not be aware that the Ravens are very intelligent and can do some might surprising tasks. So, maybe this story is not really so “far-fetched”!

Enjoy her other tales at Emma’s Stories.

Lee’s Six Word Saturday – 4/2/16

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Raven Feeding ©Flickr Josh More

FOR THEY NEITHER SOW NOR REAP

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Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? (Luke 12:24 NKJV)

Raven Feeding ©Flickr Josh More

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More Daily Devotionals

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Northern Raven and Peregrine Falcon: Two Birds Supporting the Manx Coat of Arms

Northern Raven and Peregrine Falcon:

Two Birds Supporting the Manx Coat of Arms

 James J. S. Johnson

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

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.  (1st Peter 2:11)

https://kitundu.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/raven_rt.jpg

Raven and Peregrine Falcon in flight ©kitundu.wordpress

The Isle of Man has a strange and providential history, a mix of ravenous opportunists and hardy pilgrims, amidst the furious storms of the Irish Sea, weathering conflicts of Romans, Celts, and Nordic Vikings – all but concealing God’s clever and caring hand as He reaches the world with the Word of His Son.

Interestingly, the Isle of Man connects two aggressive birds together, the Peregrine Falcon and the Raven (often.   [See illustration below, by G. E. Lodge & H. Grönvold, in H. Eliot Howard’s TERRITORY IN BIRD LIFE (E. P. Dutton & Company, 1920), page 216.]

Territory in Bird Life - by G E Lodge - H Gronvold

Soon we shall see how that is. Let us begin by considering the Common Raven (a/k/a Northern Raven), which may be “common” but nonetheless is an amazing bird, worldwide.

The black Raven (Corvus corax – often called the “Common Raven” or “Northern Raven“, to distinguish it from other very similar, yet recognizably variant, ravens, such as the Thick-billed Raven, Chihuahuan Raven, Fan-tailed Raven, Brown-necked Raven, Chough, and Jackdaw – regarding which, see A Diet of Jackdaws and Ravens, like our English word “ravenous” (see Isaiah 46:11; Ezekiel 39:4), denotes aggressive hunger and resourceful hunting, reminding us of rough-and-ready opportunists, a fitting emblem displayed on some of the Viking ship sails (and pennant banners) of old.

Peregrine Falcon On The Edge by Ray

What of the grey-hued Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)?  Likewise, the word “peregrine” refers to a land-wanderer, a sojourner, a stranger-passing-through, an especially fitting label for Christians who daily experience the rough-and-tumble challenges of “pilgrim” life (Genesis 47:9; Exodus 6:4), on this presently fallen Earth, as we await our ultimate destiny that befits our heavenly citizenship (Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 11:13).  Before finishing that thought, however, let us consider these two stalwart birds, the Raven and the Peregrine Falcon – and their connection to the ISLE OF MAN, a quasi-autonomous territory of the British Commonwealth.

In particular, behold the official Manx Coat of Arms – notice the two birds supporting the Manx Coast of Arms, a stark Raven and an equally stern Peregrine Falcon.  Why do these birds so aptly match the Isle of Man?

Manx Coat of Arms of the Isle of Man ©WikiC

Manx Coat of Arms of the Isle of Man ©WikiC

Before appreciating some details about these two noble birds, the Raven and the Peregrine Falcon, it might help to gain a glimpse of the turbulent times that the Isle of Man has seen, centuries ago, when Vikings sailed the Irish Sea (and many seas beyond!) – and used the Isle of man as a staging ground for their naval adventures.

One illustration involves the tourney on the high seas, in AD1156, between a Norse-Manx Viking king, named Somerled (an ancestor of Dr. Bill Cooper), and his arch-foe, Godred.

“Godred … [alarmed that Somerled’s son was installed as ruler of the Isle of Man] hurriedly got ready a fleet and sailed north against the forces of Somerled. It was high time for Somerled to do something about Godred [so Somerled] collected a large fleet of eighty [80!] longships and sailed out to confront his enemy. The story that follows incites our admiration for the impressive seamanship of both kings, and the seaworthiness of their ships. The battle took place at night, in the dead of winter, in the open ocean somewhere off the coasts of Islay, on the 5-6 of January 1156. How they managed to manoeuvre under oars (no sails were used during battle), in darkness, in wild winter seas, without most of their ships colliding or foundering, was a miracle. It must have been a titanic struggle and the Chronicle of Man describes the terrible slaughter which ensued. By dawn both sides were exhausted, neither having won, so they agreed to make peace and divided up the sea kingdom between them, in a rather awkward division. Godred retained [the Isle of] Man and the islands to the north of the Ardnamurchan peninsula [of Scotland], while Somerled kept all the islands to the south including Kintyre, which was still class as an island [it being largely coastland].” (Quoting from Kathleen MacPhee’s Somerled, Hammer of the Norse (Glascow: Neil Wilson Publishing, 2004), pages 80-82, as quoted within “DNA says Manx King, Somerled, the Celebrated Founding Father of Scottish Clans, had a “Norse” Patrilinear Ancestry !”, posted at Somerled Family History.

In short, Viking sea battles were not an adventure for the faint of heart.  But, one might wonder:  who cares today about such people nowadays?

In other words:  why would we care about some Viking king (of the Isle of Man), who lived and adventured some 800 or 900 years ago?  Has that Norse-Manx Viking’s life impacted your life or mine, at all, in any kind of meaningful way?

The answer, if you read or speak English, is both simple and surprising:  as a direct ancestor of the King James who sponsored the Holy Bible in English translation, King Somerled’s biogenetic footprint has impacted our world–to God’s glory and our benefit–in a permanent and indispensable way.

Consider the following descent from King Somerled and Queen Ragnhild. Then try to imagine the big-picture providence of God, interacting through space and time … producing uncountable effects from the resultant galaxies of Great Commission “destiny dominoes”, all around the world, especially from AD1066 to AD1611 and beyond.…

P1 Somerled & wife Ragnhild begat Angus Somerledsson (F1);

F1 Angus Somerledsson & wife Ragnhild of the Isles begat James (F2);

F2 James & wife (whose name is lost) begat Jean (F3);

F3 Jean & husband Alexander 4th High Steward begat James 5th High Steward (F4);

F4 James 5th High Steward & wife Cecilia begat Walter 6th High Steward (F5);

F5 Walter 6th High Steward & wife Marjorie begat Scotland’s king Robert II (F6);

F6 Robert II & first wife Elizabeth Mure begat John l/k/a Scotland’s king Robert III (F7);

F7 Robert III & wife Annabella Drummond begat Scotland’s king James I (F8);

F8 James I & wife Joan Beaufort8 begat Scotland’s king James II (F9);

F9 James II & wife Mary of Gueldres begat Scotland’s king James III (F10);

F10 James III & wife Margaret of Denmark begat Scotland’s king James IV (F11);

F11 James IV & wife Margaret Tudor begat Scotland’s king James V (F12);

F12 James V & wife Mary of Guise begat Scottish queen Mary Queen of Scots (F13);

F13 Mary Queen of Scots & Lord Darnley begat James VI (F14, of the “King James” Bible)!

Thus, the “King James” of Great Britain (simultaneously “James VI” as Scotland’s king, and “James I” as England’s king), who authorized what became famous as the “King James Bible”, was an F14 descendant of Viking King Somerled and his wife, Queen Ragnhild. (This impacts the whole world!)

  •    The Holy Bible is the most-published and most-sold book of all time, with more than 6,000,000,000 copies (excluding mere portions, which in aggregate would further increase the statistics).
  •    Of the 6 billion copies of the Holy Bible [more than 2 billion of which were distributed by the GIDEONS INTERNATIONAL, as of AD2015!], the most-published and most-sold version of the Bible is the English translation known as the “King James Bible” (a/k/a “King James Version” and the “Authorized Version”).
  •    The largest amount of Bible-based missionary work, missionary literature, and Biblical education around the world, since the time of Christ, has been provided in English (e.g., from British missionaries, American missionaries, etc.)….”   [Quoting from “To Globally Sow His Word, Did God Use Vikings?”.]

In other words, Somerled’s family lineage was indispensable, 14 generations after, for the procreative arrival – in God’s providence – of the man whom history knows as KING JAMES of the King James Bible!

How many lives do you know, personally, who have been blessed by the English translation of the Holy Bible that we today call the King James Bible?  As you think of the answer to that question, consider also that God providentially protected the life of Norse-Manx Viking, named Somerled, in order that there would be – half a millennium later – a baby boy born in Edinburgh, Scotland (in a room that my wife and I visited, during AD2002), who would grow up – by God’s grace – to be King James VI (of Scotland) and also King James I (of England)!

 

Now back to the birds, starting with the Northern Raven.

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Kent Nickell

Northern/Common Raven (Corvus corax) by Kent Nickell

COMMON  RAVEN  a/k/a  NORTHERN RAVEN  (Corvus corax).

Ravens are repeatedly mentioned in Scripture; they are even mentioned once by Jesus Himself (Luke 12:24).  What a beautiful bird, the Raven! – its monochrome plumage is iridescent black, appearing as glossy bluish-purple when sunlight reflects off the feathers (see Song of Solomon 5:11).  Its omnivorous appetite matches its name:  ravens are ravenous (Job 38:41; Proverbs 30:17)!   Ravens eat small mammals, carrion (with its associated maggots and carrion beetles), small invertebrates (including roadkill invertebrates, such as dead grasshoppers and other bugs), amphibians, reptiles, bird eggs, human garbage (especially food with fat in it), —  as well as plant food (such as agricultural grains) — whatever!  Ravens are also infamous as “kleptoparasites” (prey thieves), i.e., they steal food from other carnivorous/omnivorous predators, such as grey wolf-kills in winter. Garbage dumps and landfills are special attractions — raven smörgåsbords!

Common Ravens Feeding At Landfill ©WikiC

Common Ravens Feeding At Landfill ©WikiC

The historic role of a raven who survived the worldwide Flood with Noah’s family is recounted in Scripture (see Genesis 8:7).  Ravens, ironically, were directed by God to feed the prophet Elijah (compare 1st Kings 17:4-6 with Luke 12:24).

The name “Common Raven” is not an exaggeration, because ravens  are known to live in virtually all of the Northern Hemisphere (see range map below).

Corvus_corax_map ©WikiC

The Raven is a corvid – a term that simply means “crow-like” – like its close cousins:  rooks, jays, carrion crows (and other crows), choughs, jackdaws, etc.  [See generally Lee Dusing’s “Crows, Jays, Ravens – Corvidae Family”.]

Ravens are well known for various behavior habits, including their harsh crow-like vocalizations (Job 38:41).

Common Raven at Cypress Provincial Park, British Columbia ©WikiC

Common Raven at Cypress Provincial Park, British Columbia ©WikiC

The Common Raven (Northern Raven) appears in various localized “subspecies”, based upon geographically localized population forms:  (1) the paradigmatic European Raven (Corvus corax corax), ranging over and beyond continental Europe; (2) the Icelandic-Faeroese Raven (Corvus corax varius), somewhat smaller and less glossy than the European Raven; (3) the Southwest Asia Raven (Corvus corax subcorax), ranging from Greece to India, and parts of western China; (4) the North Africa Raven (Corvus corax tingitanus), ranging in North Africa and the Canary Islands, with the Canary Islands variety being somewhat browner in color; (5) the Himalayan Raven (Corvus corax tibetanus), the largest and glossiest subspecies, ranging in Tibet and other regions of the Himalayan Mountains; (6) the Northeastern Asia Raven (Corvus corax kamtschaticus), thicker-billed than the European Raven, ranging from northeastern Asia into the Baikal region; (7) North American Raven (Corvus corax principalis, a/k/a “Northern Raven” — which is confusing because both the species and this subspecies are known as “Northern Raven”), close cousins to those of Europe, according to mitochondrial DNA studies, these corvids range all over North America and Greenland, having the thickest bill of any Common Raven subspecies; (8) the Western Raven (Corvus corax  sinuatus), ranging in south-central America and Mesoamerica.   The term “Northern Raven” is better used for the species (i.e., the “Common Raven”) that encompasses all of these subspecies, because all of these subspecies reside in the Northern Hemisphere  —  so they are all “Northern” Ravens.

Also, it is worth mentioning that a football-playing variant (of “Ravens”) is famous in Maryland (on the East Coast of America), the “Baltimore Ravens” (see picture below  —  yet please notice that the Baltimore Ravens are not the kind of ravens who are mentioned in Luke 21:24 – see Hidden Assumptions Play ‘Hide Seek’ !

Baltimore Ravens - Bleacherreport

Regarding Ravens, the husband-wife ornithologist team of Donald and Lillian Stokes have observed their wariness of humans:

“The raven is … extremely wary of humans, spotting you form almost as far as half a mile away as you approach a nest, and then flying up and calling at your approach. … [so] studying ravens is best done through a scope or powerful binoculars….”  [Quoting from Donald Stokes & Lillian Stokes, GUIDE TO BIRD BEHAVIOR, Volume 3 (Little, Brown & Company, 1989), page 299.]

ravens_2

Raven Chicks

Raven Chicks

Ravens build a nest for their young, as most birds do.  The behavior of the parent birds gives a clue as to when their eggs are being incubated, in expectation of hatching, according to the observations of the Stokes duo:

“One clue to incubation’s having started is seeing only one raven soaring above the nest.  That would generally be the male since the incubating female spends most of her time on the eggs.  During incubation, the male brings food to the female and gives it to her at the nest or nearby.  When the female is about to receive the food she may flutter her wings close to her body and give the Kra-kra-call.  … When the male is not actively hunting for food for himself or the female, he is usually perched near the nest on a dead branch or ledge. The female occasionally leaves he nest, at which time the male may come to the nest, but he does not actually incubate the eggs.”  [Quoting from Stokes & Stokes, GUIDE TO BIRD BEHAVIOR, Volume 3, page 307.]

The nestling phase in the Raven family’s life cycle has been observed, with one activity making it easier to recognize where a raven nest is raising young:

“The young hatch over a period of a day or two.  The female eats the shells [a good source of calcium!] and broods the young for about two and a half weeks.  During this time the male does most of the feeding; after that, both parents participate in feeding the young.  During the first weeks of intensive brooding, when the female takes periodic leaves, the male stays near or on the nest until she returns.  The parents at first bring small food items for the young, picking the items apart before offering them to the young.  Later in the nestling phase larger food items are left at the nest and the young pull them apart to eat.  The parents may also come to the nest with water in their crops, which is then fed to the young.  On cold days the young are buried in the nest lining for warmth; on hot days the female may wet her underfeathers and cover the young to give them relief from the heat.  The young lift their tails as they defecate over the rim of the nest [there being no in-house plumbing accommodations!].  The nest rim or cliff ledge can have large white stains resulting from this behavior; the stains may help you locate the nest.  The young may fledge over a period of days.”  [Quoting from Stokes & Stokes, GUIDE TO BIRD BEHAVIOR, Volume 3, page 308.]]

But now let us consider the other bird supporting the Manx coat-of-arms, the Peregrine Falcon.

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) by Ray

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) by Ray

PEREGRINE  FALCON  (Falco peregrinus).

The Peregrine Falcon (also called the “Peregrine”) is dominated by bluish-grey plumage, with a pale underside (barred white), and a slate-black head.  Its eyes are large, for hunting prey, and its pale-yellow beak is strong, with a shape convenient for its carnivorous lifestyle – so it can tear into its diet of

True to its name (“peregrine” meaning “wanderer”, “sojourner”, one that goes through/throughout the land), the Peregrine’s range is worldwide [see range map below: yellow = summer breeding migrant range; green = year-round breeding; indigo blue = winter migrant range; Carolina blue = migrant passage range].

Peregrine Falcon Map ©WikiC

Peregrine Falcon Map ©WikiC

The Peregrine Falcon appears in about 20 various localized “subspecies”, based upon geographically localized population forms [see range map below, showing subspecies].

Breeding ranges of the subspecies of Peregrine Falcons ©WikiC

Breeding ranges of the subspecies of Peregrine Falcons ©WikiC

Six of those Peregrine subspecies are:  (1) the paradigmatic Eurasian Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus peregrinus), ranging throughout all of Europe, except for its Mediterranean Sea coastlands and the Iberian Peninsula, extending eastward through Siberia, except not its Arctic Ocean coastlands; (2) the once-endangered Arctic Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus tundris), ranging in the tundras of northern Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland; (3) the once-endangered American Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum, a/k/a “Duck Hawk”), ranging throughout all of North America, except the Arctic coastlands habituated by its Arctic cousin – although its main population clustering is in the Rocky Mountains regions.  (However, Peregrine Falcons are making a “comeback” outside the Rockies, including revived populations in municipalities where they often prey on urban pigeons.)  The Mediterranean Sea coastlands, as well as all of Spain and Portugal, are habituated by the Mediterranean Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus brookei).  The endangered close cousin of the Peregrine, in America, is the Northern Aplomado Falcon (Falco femoralis septentrionalis).

Peregrine Falcon in Flight by Ray

Peregrine Falcon in Flight by Ray

The Peregrine Falcon typically lives in coastal lands, river valleys, and in mountain ranges – yet urban skyscrapers are deemed montane “cliffs” for these birds of prey, so don’t be shocked when you see a falcon “dive-bomb” (and kill, in midair) a pigeon, in the air between city office buildings or high-rise apartments.

Fair Use image credit peregrinefalcon

The typical nesting behavior of American Peregrine Falcons has been described as  “… on cliff ledges [near to] open habitats from tundra, savanna [grassland], and seacoasts to high mountains, on which the falcon makes a well-formed scrape in piled debris …  [sometimes using] abandoned tree nests or cavities  … [or, in urban contexts] on ledges of tall buildings and bridges”.  [Quoting Paul R. Ehrlich, David S. Dobkin, & Darryl Wheye, BIRDS IN JEOPARDY (Stanford University Press, 1992), page 48.]

Peregrine Falcon by ©©Weebly Uploads

Peregrine Falcon by ©©Weebly Uploads

The American Peregrine Falcon’s diet is quite a mixed bag:  “Birds, particularly doves and [other] pigeons, but also waterfowl [especially ducks], shorebirds, and passerines [i.e., perching songbirds, such as European Starlings] … [chasing and catching] prey in midair, dropping on flying birds from above and killing them in flight with a blow from their feet…. [sometimes involving speeds of] 60 miles per hour, in a [closed-wings] stoop on prey it can reach speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour”.  [Again quoting Ehrlich, Dobkin, & Wheye, BIRDS IN JEOPARDY, at page 48.]

In cities a Peregrine’s diet might consist 80% of mourning doves and pigeons.  Other avian fare (i.e., birds eaten as prey) include icterids (such as grackles and other blackbirds), thrushes (such as American robins), swifts, and other corvids (such as crows).  However, when available, Peregrines will also eat small rodents, such as mice, rats, voles, squirrels – or other small mammals such as shrews or rabbits (or sometimes even bats, at night!).

Peregrine Falcon (with doomed Pigeon in the falcon’s talons) ©DailyMail

Peregrine Falcon (with doomed Pigeon in the falcon’s talons)

The flying abilities of Peregrine Falcons are almost legendary – they fly “with shallow elastic wingbeats in which [wing] tips [are] very springy (characteristic of the larger falcons)”.  [Quoting Lars Jonsson, BIRDS OF EUROPE (Princeton University Press, 1992; translated by David Christie), page 160.]

And true to their name, they wander – they range to wherever they need to go.

Peregrine Falcoln ©Images Inc

Peregrine Falcoln ©Images Inc

Lessons for the Journey, as We “Hike” on our Earthly Pilgrimage

So, as “pilgrims” awaiting our future citizenship, in the Kingdom that is not yet here (Philippians 3:20) how should we approach our sometimes-stormy future – which mixes furies, frustrations, and failings with hopes, helps, and hallelujahs?

Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. (Psalm 119:54)

In other words, Jesus put a song in my heart!

Stormy weather or calm, I can be (and should be) at least as brave as a Manx Viking rowing in a rainstorm, tossed up and down, from side to side, in the cold salt-spray of the Irish Sea.

Pennant ©Pinimg.Com

Pennant ©Pinimg.Com

Mainsail ©crwflags.com

Mainsail ©crwflags.com

Just as the resilient and resourceful Nordic seamen of old, including ancient Norse-Manx Vikings (and their biogenetic progeny, including sjøfolk that sail the Seven Seas today) strove to stay afloat  — till they rhed their destined safe-haven — let us “labor at the oars” of (this) life, until God brings us securely Home (see  http://www.icr.org/article/why-we-want-go-home  ).

It is good to keep in mind that God Himself is our only real Home.  Meanwhile, He can guide and keep us, on the stormy seas of this temporal life, until it’s “our turn” to enter into His holy and happy presence, with everlasting joy.    ><> JJSJ

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Lee’s One Word Monday – 2/8/16

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CONSIDER

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Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? (Luke 12:24 NKJV)

Little Raven (Corvus mellori) Juvenile Calling to be fed the grub its mother just caught ©WikiC

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Sandra’s New Kooky Challenge

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Birds of the Bible – How Many Are There? I

Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus)Raven (Corvus corax) by Kent Nickell

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Kent Nickell

The list of the Birds of the Bible varies according to which version of the Bible you use. We have discussed this in other articles, but don’t think I ever actually listed them all. An article from Birding and the Bible says there are 29 and then questions 2 of them, the Glede and the Ossifrage, adding the Swift, his lists is 28 or 29.

The sidebar here has links to 33 pages of Bible Birds. There are a few more I am considering adding. After this study, I may find even more. I am going to write this as I do my research using my e-Sword program (free). Currently, I have quite a few versions of the Scriptures loaded and want to see what is listed. (Disclaimer About Bible Version Usage) Let’s get started.

The very first reference to birds or fowls, is in Genesis 1:21. That is where God created “every winged fowl after his kind” (KJV) or ” every winged bird according to its kind” (NKJV). Most agree with, “And God saw that it was good.” Here are some of the other ways of stating it:

  • “winged creature feathered  according to type.” (ABP+)
  • “every creature that flies with wings according to its kind,” (Brenton)
  • “every kind of bird that flies in the air.” (ERV)
  • ” all kinds of birds.” (GNB)
  • “He created every kind of bird that flies.” (NIrV)

So basically, all agree that the birds or fowls were created after their kind or type on the fifth day (1:23) and that God saw that it was good. That right there includes all the major families of birds, some have become extinct, some which interbred within their kinds, etc. until today we now have over 10,000 named species of birds. (Birds of the World)

In Genesis 1:25 God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion” over birds, etc. The term his is given as “dominion over”, “have rule over”, “power over” (GNB), “be masters over” (ISV), “So they can be responsible for” (MSG).

Then in Genesis 2:20, Adam named the birds that the LORD God brought to him. The version all agree that they are birds or fowls or the air or heavens.

In chapter 3, Adam and Eve sin against God and we all come under the judgement including the critters, birds included. By chapter 6, things are so bad that the LORD tells Noah to bring two of every kind of critter into the Ark and then in 6:20, the birds are again mentioned. They are to be preserved in pairs of sevens. Again, no specific named bird is mentioned throughout chapter 6 or 7.

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) by Lee

During and after the Flood, then we finally here of specific named birds. The first bird named in the Bible is the Raven. Noah opened the window of the ark and “sent forth a raven” and it flew back and forth “until the waters were dried up from off the earth.” (KJV) Other than spelling differences, they all agree on the Raven. The same is true of verse 8 where the Dove was released. The Dove kept coming back until the waters were totally dried up. The third time it was released, it did not return.

So now we have 2 Birds of the Bible – the Raven and the Dove.

The next reference to birds is in 9:2 where the birds now have a fear of humans placed on them. They, the birds, are told to multiply and fill the earth and are given a covenant or promise by God that the earth would never be destroyed by a worldwide flood again. Gen 9:10-17 – the Rainbow.

And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. (Genesis 9:2 KJV)

King Vulture Brevard Zoo 120913 by Lee

King Vulture Brevard Zoo by Lee

In Genesis 15:9 we find the next birds, a Turtledove, young pigeon and in 15:11, the vultures. Two are sacrificed birds, the other is coming to take from the alter.

So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. (Genesis 15:9-11 NKJV)

Let’s see how these birds are given in the various translations. “dove” several, “turtle” (DRB), “mourning dove” (GW), “even a nestling” (LITV), and “young bird” (YLT). Most are in agreement with spelling differences from the old English of some of the translations.

Verse 11 has: birds of prey, birds, fowls, large birds (DRB), swoopers (ECB), Vultures (GNB, MSG, NKJV), and ravenous birds (YLT). Never heard of “swoopers”, so I guess that one doesn’t count. What you think? They all realize that some birds came swooping down trying to get at the sacrifice, but Abram drove them away.

Our list of Birds of the Bible so far:

Also mentioned:

  • Swooper (Gen 15:11)

For now, that is enough. To be continued in Part II.

Birds of the Bible

Wordless Birds

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Birds of the Bible – Raven III

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

It has been several years since the Raven was featured in the Birds of the Bible. Let’s review the Raven’s part in the Scripture and see if we can add more details about this fantastic bird and his family members.

Ravens are mentioned eleven times in the Bible:

Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. (Genesis 8:7)
every raven after its kind, (Leviticus 11:15)
every raven after its kind; (Deuteronomy 14:14)
You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 1Kings 17:4)
And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. (1Kings 17:6)
Who provides food for the raven, When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food? (Job 38:41)
He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. (Psalms 147:9)
The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures. (Proverbs 30:17)
His head is like the finest gold; His locks are wavy, And black as a raven. (Song of Solomon 5:11)
But the pelican and the porcupine shall possess it, Also the owl and the raven shall dwell in it. And He shall stretch out over it The line of confusion and the stones of emptiness. (Isaiah 34:11)
Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! (Luke 12:24)

As you can see, the Raven is one of the more mentioned birds in God’s Word, therefore it deserves to be studied again. The  Corvidae – Crows, Jays, Ravens Family is where you will find the Raven and their kind, such as Ravens, Crows, Jackdaw, Magpies, Jays, Magpie-Jays and Ground-Jays, Treepies, Choughs and Nutcrackers. At present, there are 130 species in the family. The Raven is one of several larger-bodied members of the genus Corvus—but in Europe and North America the Northern (Common) Raven is normally implied. They have black plumage and large beaks. They are considered the most intelligent of the birds, and among the most intelligent of all animals. It appears that the Lord used the intelligence He created in the Raven to help find the food that was needed to feed Elijah, the prophet, and also to help Noah discern when the waters had dried up.

And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. (1 Kings 17:1-6 NKJV)

Today there are thirteen (11) Ravens plus several subspecies. (IOC 3.4) There are also two extinct; the Chatham and New Zealand Ravens.

Forest Raven (Corvus tasmanicus)
Little Raven (Corvus mellori)
Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides)
Pied Crow (Corvus albus)
Brown-necked Raven (Corvus ruficollis)
Somali Crow (Corvus edithae)
Northern Raven (Corvus corax)
Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus)
Fan-tailed Raven (Corvus rhipidurus)
White-necked Raven (Corvus albicollis)
Thick-billed Raven (Corvus crassirostris)

Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus) ©WikiC

Chihuahuan Raven (Corvus cryptoleucus) ©WikiC

The Northern (Common) Raven, which is North America’s main Raven, began in the Old World and crossed the Bering land bridge into North America. Recent genetic studies, which examined the DNA of Northern Ravens from across the world, have determined that the birds fall into at least two clades: a California clade, found only in the southwestern United States, and a Holarctic clade, found across the rest of the northern hemisphere. Birds from both clades look alike, but the groups are genetically distinct and began to diverge.

The findings indicate that based on mitochondrial DNA, Northern Ravens from the rest of the United States are more closely related to those in Europe and Asia than to those in the California clade, and that Northern Ravens in the California clade are more closely related to the Chihuahuan Raven (C. cryptoleucus) than to those in the Holarctic clade. Ravens in the Holarctic clade are more closely related to the Pied Crow (C. albus) than they are to the California clade. Thus, the Northern Raven species as traditionally delimited is considered to be paraphyletic.

One explanation for these surprising genetic findings is that Northern Ravens settled in California and became separated from their relatives in Europe and Asia during an ice age. A group from the California clade became into a new species, the Chihuahuan Raven. Other members of the Holarctic clade arrived later in a separate migration from Asia.

A recent study of raven mitochondrial DNA showed that the isolated population from the Canary Islands is distinct from other populations. The study did not include any individuals from the North African population, and its position is therefore unclear, though its morphology is very close to the population of the Canaries (to the extent that the two are often considered part of a single subspecies). (Wikipedia with editing)

Thick-billed Raven (Corvus crassirostris) ©WikiC

Thick-billed Raven (Corvus crassirostris) ©WikiC

Wikipedia and others break the Ravens into five groups along with their allies in the True Crows division.

  • Australian and Melanesian Species – Australian Raven, Little Raven, Forest Raven
  • Eurasian and North African Species – Fan-tailed Raven, Brown-necked Raven
  • Holarctic Species – Northern (Common) and Pied Ravens
  • North and Central American Species – Chihuahuan Raven, Western Raven
  • Tropical African Species – White-necked Raven, Thick-billed Raven, Somali Crow (Dwarf Raven)
Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) by Ian

Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) by Ian

Other articles about the Raven:

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Birds of the Bible – Prayer

Sandhill Cranes with "Colts"

Sandhill Cranes with “Colts”

“Ah, Soul, God does listen to the chattering of cranes! I know He does, for I have read in His Word what is tantamount to that in the text [Isaiah 38:14],

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me. (Isaiah 38:14 KJV)

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Kent Nickell

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Kent Nickell

“He hears the young ravens when they cry.”

And surely if He hears a raven’s cry and if not a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father, your prayer, though it may be very indistinct and the language, itself, may be very unworthy of the Divine ear, yet it shall command an audience and will bring down a blessing from above!”

American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) w chicks ©USFWS

American Tree Sparrow (Spizella arborea) w chicks ©USFWS

Above is a quote from C. H. Spurgeon’s Notable Quotes: —Volume 61, Sermon #3468

 Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. (Psalms 5:1-3 KJV)

See all the:

Birds of the Bible

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Birds of the Bible – Job 38 – 39

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Memphis Zoo by Lee

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) Memphis Zoo by Lee

Dan and I have been reading through Job for our devotions. Today was Job 38 and 39. Wow! All of Job’s “friends” have been trying to persuade Job how wrong and unrighteous he is and Job has been trying to figure out why he is being punished, yet defending his righteousness.

Finally in Job 38, God speaks. Job has been asking to speak to God about his situation. (From the Today in the Word, Vol II, Day 28) “So, when Job finally gets the audience with the Lord that he requested, he is not the one asking the questions!  Instead, like a prosecuting attorney, the Lord fires off the questions and informs Job ‘You will answer me’ (38:3). God challenges Job’s insinuation that He wasn’t administering justice fairly. This interrogation covers Job 38 and 39, but it could be paraphrased in this one penetrating question: ‘Were you present at creation?’ ”

If you haven’t read Job lately and especially Chapter 38 and 39, it worth reading.

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

Anyway, within those two chapters, God mentions the Raven and the Ostrich.

Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket? Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help, and wander about for lack of food? (Job 38:39-41 ESV)

Then in the next chapter God tells about the Ostrich that He created:

The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, but are they the pinions and plumage of love? For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground, forgetting that a foot may crush them and that the wild beast may trample them. She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers; though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear, because God has made her forget wisdom and given her no share in understanding. When she rouses herself to flee, she laughs at the horse and his rider. (Job 39:13-18 ESV)

Both of these birds have been covered in other Birds of the Bible articles, but just wanted to share them with you again. We know that God provides for the birds and He has promised to provide for His own, Christians. He also, makes birds different, at His will. Who are we to question His knowledge and wisdom. The same is true with us who know the Lord. He gives each of us different talents and abilities. We are not to question why He made us thus.

Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Ravens

Birds of the Bible – Ostrich

The Gospel Message

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Bible Birds – Ravens I

 

Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) by Ian

Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) by Ian

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
(Genesis 8:6-7 KJV)

(Relocated)

 

Birds in Hymns – Hear Me O God, Nor Hide Thy Face

Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) (captive) by Raymond Barlow

Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) (captive) by Raymond Barlow

A Prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD. Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. (Psalms 102:1-2 KJV)

Words by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), The Psalms of Da­vid, 1719.

Music: St. Mat­thew, Will­iam Croft (1678-1727), 1708

Al­ter­nate tune: Kings­foldRalph Vaugh­an Will­iams, 1906

Hear Me O God, Nor Hide Thy Face

Alternative

Hear me, O God, nor hide Thy face;
But answer, lest I die;
Hast Thou not built a throne of grace
To hear when sinners cry?

My days are wasted like the smoke
Dissolving in the air;
My strength is dried, my heart is broke,
And sinking in despair.

My spirits flag like withering grass
Burnt with excessive heat;
In secret groans my minutes pass,
And I forget to eat.

As on some lonely building’s top
The sparrow tells her moan,
Far from the tents of joy and hope
I sit and grieve alone.

My soul is like a wilderness
Where beasts of midnight howl;
There the sad raven finds her place
And there the screaming owl.

Dark, dismal thoughts, and boding fears,
Dwell in my troubled breast;
While sharp reproaches wound my ears,
Nor give my spirit rest.

My cup is mingled with my woes,
And tears are my repast;
My daily bread, like ashes, grows
Unpleasant to my taste.

Sense can afford no real joy
To souls that feel Thy frown;
Lord, ’twas Thy hand advanced me high
Thy hand hath cast me down.

My looks like withered leaves appear;
And life’s declining light
Grows faint as evening shadows are
That vanish into night.

But Thou for ever art the same,
O my eternal God;
Ages to come shall know Thy name,
And spread Thy works abroad.

Thou wilt arise and show Thy face,
Nor will my Lord delay
Beyond th’appointed hour of grace,
That long-expected day.

He hears His saints, He knows their cry,
And by mysterious ways
Redeems the prisoners doomed to die,
And fills their tongues with praise.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8 KJV)


Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) – See He That Hath Made His Refuge God

Will­iam Croft (1678-1727)

As a boy, Croft was a chor­is­ter at the Cha­pel Roy­al. From 1700-1712, he was or­gan­ist at St. Anne, So­ho, Lon­don. From 1704 on, he was, joint­ly with Jer­e­m­i­ah Clarke, or­gan­ist of the Cha­pel Roy­al. In 1708 he be­came Mas­ter of the Child­ren at Cha­pel Roy­al and or­gan­ist at West­min­ster Ab­bey. In 1713 he re­ceived a Doc­tor of Mu­sic de­gree from Ox­ford Uni­ver­si­ty. In 1726, the Aca­de­my of Vo­cal Mu­sic (lat­er the Aca­de­my of An­cient Mu­sic) was found­ed by 13 mu­si­cians, in­cluding Croft, Pep­usch, Bo­non­ci­ni, and Gem­i­ni­a­ni.

Croft was com­pos­er to Queen Anne and was rec­og­nized as the fore­most church mu­si­cian of his time. Croft al­so wrote in­stru­ment­al works (e.g., cem­balo and so­na­tas for flute (re­cord­er).

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More Birds in Hymns

See ~ Wordless Birds

Most information from The Cyber Hymnal  –  Hear Me O God, Nor Hide Thy Face

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Birds In Hymns – With Songs and Honors Sounding Loud

Birds In Hymns – With Songs and Honors Sounding Loud – Isaac Watts

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. (Psalms 147:1 NKJV)

Words – By Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David, 1719
Music – By Bedford, William Wheale, 1729
Alternate Tune Belfield by William Gilchrist, 1895

With Songs and Honors Sounding Loud


With songs and honors sounding loud,
Address the Lord on high;
Over the heav’ns He spreads His cloud,
And waters veil the sky.

He sends His showers of blessing down
To cheer the plains below;
He makes the grass the mountains crown,
And corn in valleys grow.

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

He gives the grazing ox his meat,
He hears the raven’s cry;
But man, who tastes His finest wheat,
Should raise His honors high.

His steady counsels change the face
Of the declining year;
He bids the sun cut short his race,
And wintry days appear.

His hoary frost, His fleecy snow,
Descend and clothe the ground;
The liquid streams forbear to flow,
In icy fetters bound.

When from the dreadful stores on high
He pours the rattling hail,
The wretch that dares this God defy
Shall find his courage fail.

He sends His Word, and melts the snow,
The fields no longer mourn;
He calls the warmer gales to blow,
And bids the spring return.

The changing wind, the flying cloud,
Obey His mighty Word:
With songs and honors sounding loud,
Praise ye the sovereign Lord.

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a Psalm of David. I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. (Psalms 9:1-2 NKJV)

Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power. (Psalms 21:13 NKJV)

Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power. (Psalms 21:13 NKJV)

Most information from The Cyber Hymnal

See ~ Wordless Birds

More ~ Birds in Hymns

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Birds of the Bible – Raven II

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

The first Birds of the Bible – Raven article covered many aspects of the Raven. It was written in February of 2008 when I first started writing about the Birds of the Bible. There is always more to learn about birds or the Lord for that matter. We never “arrive” in our learning.

Some verses about the Raven that are interesting have to do with the Lord or God providing for them.

Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat. (Job 38:41 KJV)

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

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 KJV)

With all the providing by the LORD God for the Raven, He (LORD God) then uses the Ravens to feed Elijah during a drought. Elijah was told to go to the brook Cherith and there he would be fed. Notice that the ravens came twice a day and brought “bread and flesh.”

Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 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 17:3-6 KJV)

Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) by Ian

Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) by Ian

Here are some interesting remarks from commentators about this:
Wesley – 1Ki 17:4,6 “God is said to command both brute creatures, and senseless things; when he causeth them to do the things which he intends to effect by them. The ravens – Which he chuseth for this work; to shew his care and power in providing for the prophet by those creatures, which are noted for their greediness, that by this strange experiment he might be taught to trust God in those many and great difficulties to which he was to be exposed. God could have sent angels to minister to him. But he chose winged messengers of another kind to shew he can serve his own purposes as effectually, by the meanest creatures as by the mightiest. Ravens neglect their own young, and do not feed them: yet when God pleaseth, they shall feed his prophet.”
“And flesh – Not raw, but boiled by the ministry of some angel or man, and left in some place ’till the ravens came for it: in all which, there is nothing incredible, considering the power and providence of God.”

K&D – “Through this miracle, which unbelievers reject, because they do not acknowledge a living God, by whom, as the Creator and Lord of all creatures, even the voracious ravens are made subservient to His plans of salvation, Elijah was not only cut off from (interaction) with men, who might have betrayed his place of abode to the king, but was mightily strengthened himself, through the confidence inspired in the almighty assistance of his God, for his approaching contests with the worshippers of idols, and for the privations and sufferings which awaited him in the fulfilment of his vocation.”

 

Common Raven (Corvus corax) by Kent Nickell

Matthew Henry – “Elijah was commanded to hide himself. If Providence calls us to solitude and retirement, it becomes us to go: when we cannot be useful, we must be patient; and when we cannot work for God, we must sit still quietly for him. The ravens were appointed to bring him meat, and did so. Let those who have but from hand to mouth, learn to live upon Providence, and trust it for the bread of the day, in the day. God could have sent angels to minister to him; but he chose to show that he can serve his own purposes by the meanest creatures, as effectually as by the mightiest. Elijah seems to have continued thus above a year. The natural supply of water, which came by common providence, failed; but the miraculous supply of food, made sure to him by promise, failed not. If the heavens fail, the earth fails of course; such are all our creature-comforts: we lose them when we most need them, like brooks in summer. But there is a river which makes glad the city of God, that never runs dry, a well of water that springs up to eternal life. Lord, give us that living water!”

Gill – “…it seems better to interpret them of ravens, as we do, these creatures delighting to be in solitary places, in valleys, and by brooks; nor need it be any objection that they were unclean creatures by the law, since Elijah did not feed upon them, but was fed by them; and supposing any uncleanness by touch, the ceremonial law might be dispensed with in an extraordinary case, as it sometimes was; though it is very remarkable that such creatures should be employed in this way, which are birds of prey, seize on anything they can, live on carrion, and neglect their own young, and yet feed a prophet of the Lord; which shows the power and providence of God in it.”

Elijah and the ravens help illustrate the following verse:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV)