Ravens are known for their skills and abilities, they can be trained to do tricks. Ravens are considered the most intelligent birds, displaying high learning ability and use of logic for solving problems, in some tests bypassing the chimpanzees. Ravens put other animals to do tasks for them. Their beak cannot open tough skins of the carcasses, that’s why when they encounter a big corpse, they make calls that attract wolves and foxes to the site and the large carnivores can break the carcass to expose the meat for the birds.
The raven’s developed intelligence is connected to their complex social lives and scavenging lifestyles. The birds must find out very rapidly how to locate themselves far enough from a wolf or fox not to be exposed to an attack when sharing a dead animal but close enough to get food.
The book of Leviticus, which has within it many rules and regulations relating to health and eating has this to say.
“And these you shall detest among the birds; they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon of any kind, every raven of any kind, the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind, the little owl, the cormorant, the short-eared owl, … “
No one is really sure as to whether these are the actual birds which were originally referred to, nor is there any indication as to why they should not be eaten. A number of them are birds of prey and now some of them are in danger of extinction.
There are references to ravens in the bible which are better known to us. The raven according to the story of the flood in Genesis was the first bird which Noah sent out from the ark:
Ravens were used by God to feed Elijah. “1 Kings 17: 5-6
“He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. “ The ravens as providers of sustenance.
There are also two references in the Old Testament of God providing food for the raven
In Psalm 147 the writer offers gratitude to God, Creator and Liberator . These words are part of the thanksgiving.
“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; with the lyre celebrate our God, who covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the mountains, who gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.”
Within these few verses we can see one of the principles of our faith, That we need to trust God, as seen in the reference to God feeding the young ravens, but that also that having faith and trust is insufficient in themselves, appropriate action needs to be taken as well, it is the ravens that bring Elijah food.
Thank you God for ravens, strong determined birds.
Like the raven may we seek opportunities to bring help and support to others. Amen
Janice Clark – Area Trustee for Yorkshire North & East, Yorkshire West & Sheffield