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)

Did you know that is the first bird in the Bible that we are told its name. In Genesis 1 and 2 we are told that the LORD created the birds or fowls, but we don’t know what their names were. Adam gave them names in Genesis 1, but their names are not mentioned.

Ravens are in 11 verses in the Bible (KJV). We will be telling you about them.

The Raven is the largest bird in the Passerine order (Perching and songbirds), able to grow up to 27.1 inches (69 cm) in length. Males are not much different from the females, though the female might be a bit smaller. Both genders are known for their iridescent (shiny)  black feathers covering their bodies, with a bluish hint in the light. Ravens are distinguished from other birds in the Corvus Genus (such as the crows) by their wedge-like tail, large beak, hackles (shaggy neck feathers), and their tendency to soar in flight.

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) ©CreationWikiC

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) ©CreationWikiC

Did you know that the Ravens fed a prophet? God told them to feed him and they obeyed. I Kings 17 tells us about it. We tell you about it in another article.

How about Ravens not building barns? Luke 12:24

The Lord used the Ravens to do errands for Him. Do you do the errands your parents ask you to do?

Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. (Colossians 3:20 NKJV)

See:

Bible Birds – Raven

Bible Birds

Ravens – CreationWiki

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Vulture

White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) by Africaddict

White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) by Africaddict

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Vulture

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

The vulture is called a bird of prey, because it lives on flesh; but it has not such strong claws as the eagle, to seize and tear its food. It does not often kill other animals; but preys upon those that have been killed in some other way, or have died of themselves. It is a disagreeable bird, and one that you would not like very well to see; no wonder the Israelites were forbidden to eat it. It is about a yard long from the top of its head, and it sometimes measures two yards across the wings.

Black Vultures at Saddle Creek by Lee

Black Vultures at Saddle Creek by Lee

It lives only in warm or hot climates, and there it is very useful, though you might at first be puzzled to think how this can be. It is because it lives upon such things as would be very injurious to man if they were left to decay in the open air. It not only consumes the dead bodies of animals, but takes away many things from the streets of the cities which the inhabitants are too indolent to remove. It is for this reason that in the city of Cairo, in Egypt, there is a law forbidding any person to kill a vulture. These birds sometimes follow an army, and prey upon the bodies of those poor soldiers who have been killed in battle. Ah ! it is a sad thing to go to war; almost every thing about it is sad.

The vulture has a very keen eye, and, like the eagle, can see what is on the ground, even when it is very high in the air. This is referred to in the book of Job.

There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen.

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) by Nikhil

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) by Nikhil

It often happens in those countries that almost as soon as an ox, or a horse, or any other large animal has been killed, great multitudes of vultures will gather around, though not one could be seen in the sky before. they seem to fly down from every part of the heavens, and being to pull and struggle for the flesh of the animal; until in the course of a few hours nothing is left but the bones. We read in Isaiah,

There shall the vultures be gathered, every one with her mate.

This must have been written by one who had seen these birds coming together, as they do in great flocks or companies.

(Blog formatted by Lee)

See:

Harriet Newell Cook – Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Vulture

Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks & Eagles

Nave’s Topical Bible – Vulture

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Turtle-Dove

Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) by Nikhil Devasar

Oriental Turtle Dove (Streptopelia orientalis) by Nikhil Devasar

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Turtle-Dove

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

This is a very beautiful and innocent bird, and no one is mentioned more frequently in the Bible. It does not live upon the flesh of animals: so when Noah sent one out of the ark, she soon came back again, because she could find nothing to eat, and no rest for the sole of her foot. Noah put out his hand and gently took her in, and she did not go out again for a whole week. Then Noah let her fly, and the beautiful creature came back in the evening, having in her mouth a green leaf which she had plucked from an olive-tree; as though she wanted to tell him that the waters were beginning to dry up. After another week she went out, and did not come back again to the ark, because the earth was dry.

Dusky Turtle Dove (Streptopelia lugens) ©WikiC

Dusky Turtle Dove (Streptopelia lugens) ©WikiC

The dove was often offered as a sacrifice in ancient times; and was a type of our innocent Savior, to show how he would afterwards be put to death for the guilty. The Holy Spirit once condescended to take the form of a dove, when he rested upon Christ at the time of his baptism. Our Savior speaks of the innocence of this bird when he says to his disciples,

I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

This bird has a very sweet but mournful voice; and this is referred to in the Bible. Hezekiah, one of the Jewish kings, had been very sick and expected to die; but as he lay on his bed, he prayed that God would be pleased to spare his life. God heard his prayer, and promised that he should live fifteen years longer; and soon after he became quite well. He was grateful to God for his goodness, and wrote a beautiful song of praise to be sung in the temple. Among other things he told how he felt when he lay so sick upon his bed. He says,

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter; I did mourn as a dove.

Adamawa Turtle Dove (Streptopelia hypopyrrha) ©WikiC

Adamawa Turtle Dove (Streptopelia hypopyrrha) ©WikiC

The turtle-dove is a bird of passage. It appears in Judea early in the spring, when the leaves are coming out, the flowers opening, and every thing looking lovely and beautiful. This will explain some verses in the Song of Solomon,

Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away, for lo ! the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (or turtle-dove) is heard in our land.

It remains until summer is gone; and then flies away to a warmer climate to spend the winter. It is in reference to this that David says,

Oh ! that I had wings like a dove ! for then would I flee away, and be at rest; lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness; I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.

You will find these beautiful verses in the 55th Psalm.

Who would not wish to be like the gentle, peaceful dove?

(Blog formatted by Lee)

See:

Harriet Newell Cook -Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Birds of the Bible

Doves and Pigeons

Columbidae Family – Pigeons, Doves

Nave’s Topical Bible – Dove, Turtle

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Dove

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Stork

Wood Stork at S. Lake Howard Nature Park

Wood Stork at S. Lake Howard Nature Park

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Stork

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

The Bible name of this bird means gentleness or affection, and the stork very well deserves such a name. It is very kind indeed to its young ones, and takes pains to find some things for them that it does not itself eat. It is said that when a house, on the top of which was a stork’s nest, once took fire, the mother bird would not fly away, because the young ones were not large or strong enough to go with her, and so they were all burned together. They are very kind to the old birds, too; and I have read that the younger storks sometimes carry the old ones on their wings when they have become tired with flying a great way; and bring food to them in their nests just as the old ones used to bring it to them. I am not quite certain that this is true, though many people have said so; but if it is, I am sure it is a beautiful example for every child, teaching him to repay his parents in every way he can for all their love and care.

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) by Ian

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) by Ian

The stork is about a yard long from its head to the end of the tail; its color is white, excepting some of the great quill feathers, which are black. Its nest is large and flat, and made mostly of sticks; the eggs are about as large as those of a goose, and a little yellowish.

It does not sing; the only noise it makes is by striking one part of its bill upon the other. While it is sleeping it stands on one leg, with its neck bent backward, and its head resting between its shoulders. The Jews were forbidden by God to use the stork for food; perhaps this was because it lives upon such animals as frogs, fishes and serpents.

The stork is a bird of passage; it spends the summer in Holland and other countries in the north of Europe, but flies to a warmer climate before cold weather comes. They seem to have a kind of agreement among themselves about starting on these long journeys; and for a fort-night before they are ready, they may be seen collecting in great numbers-then all take to their wings at once. This explains a verse in the eighty chapter of Jeremiah,

The stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times;

that is, her times of going to a warmer climate or returning.

Black-necked Stork (Jabiru) (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) by Ian

Black-necked Stork (Jabiru) (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus) by Ian

After the winter has gone, the storks fly back to their summer home, and very often take their old nests again. In Europe, these are generally made on the tops of houses or old chimneys, and the birds are so gentle and harmless that the people never disturb them, but are glad to see them come back. In some countries the roofs of the houses are flat, and the people walk and sleep on them; in these places the storks often build their nest on the flat branches of some spreading tree. In the 104th Psalm we read,

As for the stork, the fir-trees are her house.

(Blog formatted by Lee)

See:

Harriet Newell Cook -Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Birds of the Bible

Storks

Ciconiidae Family – Storks

Nave’s Topical Bible – Stork


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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Raven

Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) by Ian

Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) by Ian

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Raven

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)

The raven has always been very well known to man, and is mentioned almost at the beginning of the Bible. You remember that this was the first bird that Noah sent out of the ark to see whether the waters had begun to dry up; and that it did not go back to him again. I suppose it was very glad to be at liberty after it had been shut up more than a year; and as it lives upon the flesh of other animals, it probably found food enough from the bodies of those that had been drowned.

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

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

It is a large bird, considerably larger than the crow; and its feathers are very black, very glossy, and very beautiful. People in ancient times seem to have liked a black color, and were especially pleased with black hair; so we read in the Song of Solomon, where one who is beautiful is described, “His locks are bushy, and black as a raven.”

It is said that the raven always attacks the eye of an animal first; seeming to prefer that to every other part. This may explain one of the verses in Proverbs,

The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

It has been the custom, in many countries, to hang those who have been guilty of great crimes on a tree or on a gallows in the open air; and there to leave the body for the birds to peck at and devour if they chose. I suppose this verse means that stubborn and disobedient children, or those who are not kind and respectful to their parents, must expect to come to some sad end; and they very often do so.

I have heard that the raven drives out its young ones very early from the nest, almost before they are able to seek their food. This may explain a verse in the Psalms,

The Lord giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry;

and another in Job,

Who provideth for the raven his food ? when his young ones cry unto God, wandering for lack of meat.

Our Savior speaks of this bird in the 12th chapter of Luke, “Consider the ravens; for they neither sow nor reap; they have neither store-house nor barn; and God feedeth them.” He was speaking to his disciples, and it was as much as to say,

If God takes care of the ravens, he will certainly take care of you; so you need not be anxious or afraid.

Brown-necked Raven of Israel

Brown-necked Raven, Israel ©WikiC

Have you read in the Bible how a good prophet’s life was once saved by ravens? The people who were living then were very wicked, and would have been glad to kill the prophet Elijah; so God told him to go into the wilderness and live there alone by the side of a small brook. Elijah went to the brook, and there was water enough for him to drink, of course, but no food to keep him from starving. You may be sure that God did not forget his servant; but you would hardly believe, if it was not in the Bible, that he would send the ravens to carry food to him. Yet so it was:

the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.

It is supposed that he was fed in this way for as much as a year. It was a long time to stay there by himself; but I do not think he was lonely or afraid, for he loved God, and felt sure that He was always near him, even in the wilderness.

(Blog formatted by Lee)

See:

Harriet Newell Cook -Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Birds of the Bible

Ravens

Corvidae Family – Crows, Jays, Ravens

Nave’s Topical Bible – Raven

Torrey’s Topical Textbook – Raven

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Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Quail

King Quail (Excalfactoria chinensis) Asian Blue by Kent Nickell

King Quail (Excalfactoria chinensis) by Kent Nickell

Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Quail

By Harriet N. Cook (1814-1843)
The quail is about the size of a pigeon. It is called a bird of passage, because it does not always live in the same place, but spends the winter in one country, and in the spring flies away to another. In their journies, they fly together in very large flocks, as you have perhaps seen wild geese or pigeons do. A great many spend the summer north of the Black Sea, and when autumn comes they fly away to spend the winter in some warmer place, farther south. They usually start early some fine evening in August, when there is a north wind to help them on, and fly perhaps a hundred and fifty miles before morning. The people on the opposite shore of the Black Sea know about what time to look for them, and catch a great many of them for food.

Californian Quail by Ian

Californian Quail by Ian

God sometimes sent quails to the children of Israel when they were in the wilderness. Once they complained because they had no meat to eat, pretty soon after God had saved them from the hand of Pharaoh; and then he brought a great many quails into their camp, so that they had as many as they wanted for food. At another time, when they were on their journey, these ungrateful people complained again, and wished they were back in Egypt, where they could have “fish, and melons, and cucumbers,” as they said. Then God saw fit to send them quails again, though he was very much displeased with their wickedness; so much so that he sent a dreadful sickness among them, of which many died. The Bible says,

And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails; he that gathered least, gathered ten homers; and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.

Painted Buttonquail (Turnix varius) by Ian

Painted Buttonquail (Turnix varius) by Ian

The number of these quails was very wonderful. They covered the ground all around the camp, and as far every way as a person could go in a “day’s journey,” by which they meant twenty miles or more. And they not only covered all that ground, but were piled upon each other, to the height of more than a yard. The people gathered great quantities of them; probably they intended to dry a part, which is still a custom in those hot and sandy countries. “He that gathered least,” we read, “gathered ten homers.” A homer was about eight bushels, or as much as an ass could carry at a load; and ten homers, of course, was about eighty bushels. You see how eager the people were to get them, for they could not even sleep at night through fear that they should not have as many as they wanted; so they stood up to gather them “all that day, and all that night, and all the next day.”

These things are several times spoken of in other parts of the Bible, especially in the 78th Psalm. It is there said,

He rained flesh upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea. And he let it fall in the midst of the camp, round about their habitations. So they did eat, and were well filled, for he gave them their own desire; but while the meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them.

Perhaps it was not wrong for the children of Israel to ask for meat to eat, but God was displeased with them for their complaining spirit notwithstanding all his goodness; and although he gave them what they asked, it proved to be only a curse to them. This may teach us to be grateful for the thousand blessings that God has given us, and when we ask any thing from him, to be willing that he should deny us if he sees best.

(Blog formatted by Lee)

See:

Harriet Newell Cook -Scripture Alphabet of Animals

Birds of the Bible

Quail

Odontophoridae Family – New World Quail

Phasianidae Family – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies

Turnicidae – Buttonquail

Nave’s Topical Bible – Quail

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