Ravens in Biblical Mythology

Posted by in Literature & History, Raven Lore

Regardless of  anyone’s personal philosophy, we believe it is important to learn the significance symbols such as the Crow and Raven have had in cultures throughout the centuries.  Ravens appear several times throughout the Bible, and without having a background in theology it is hard to say if they are used as symbols of greater meaning because of their intelligence, or because they were just prolific in that time period.

What we do know is that Crows and Ravens have appeared more times and across greater expanse of earth, history, and culture than any other bird in existence. They play prominent roles in Native American, Japanese, Wiccan, and Hindu mythology, many tales which still hold religious meaning today.

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


Leviticus 11:13 instructs the Israelites not to eat certain birds because they are “detestable”.  One of these birds,of course, is the raven although no further indication is given as to why the Raven is considered detestable (likely due to eating carrion).


The same command not to eat the meat of detestable birds is repeated in Deut. 14:14.  Ironically the stork, commonly thought of today as a  baby courier, is categorized alongside the raven as detestable.


According to Job 38:40-41, God feeds the ravens and their young , a belief also shared by Hindus.



Echoing this sentiment, Psalm 147:9 says that God gives the young ravens food when they call.



Luke 12:24 and Psalm 137 offer a common adage, “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”


Song of Solomon describes the man’s hair as  “black as a raven” (SOS  5:11)


Psalm 30: 17 says that “the eye that mocks the father will be pecked out by the ravens in the valley”.  This passage has later been translated or adapted to include vultures and hawks to appeal to the current day man’s association with carrion.


In talking about the desert and its distinct desolation, Isaiah 34:11 describes the ‘owl and raven’ as nesting there, attempting to portray a place where there was once life and now where there is only death. This passage has later been translated to include cormorants, storks, pelicans, somehow hedgehogs, and porcupines, but the raven part has stayed consistent.


By Lorna Effler


The first bird Noah sent out from the ark was a white raven (Gen. 8:7), which kept flying back and forth until the water dried up from the earth.   Today this has evolved into a dove with an olive branch.

7 Comments

  1. for #1, who is ‘him’?

  2. I was told to remember raven and Genesis. what does it mean?

    • Creation…In many cultures Raven represents the Creator and as Genesis deals with another explanation of Creation,it would be my guess that is why you are being told to look in that direction.

  3. The Bible is no myth.

    • But the bible has full of hidden meanings and symbols, that is the truth. That is why many people interpreted it in different ways, that is why many sects popped out from the true CHRISTIANITY religion.

  4. Someone needs to get there facts straight here (Gen. 7-12) and he sent forth a raven, and it went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. And he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; but the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him to the ark; for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: and he put forth his hand, and took her, and brought her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; and the dove came in to him at eventide; and, lo, in her mouth an olive-leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. And he stayed yet other seven days, and sent forth the dove; and she returned not again unto him any more. (‭Genesis‬ ‭8‬:‭7-12‬ ASV)

  5. (8.)
    As there is no Psalm
    30: 17 I think it maybe referring to Proverbs
    30:17

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