Posted by: cindybythesea | August 16, 2010

Elul 10 and the Raven

    Noah dispatches the raven Elul 10 2105 BC

It’s official.  Unless something changes between now and this coming Saturday, August 21, uranium fuel shipped by Russia will be loaded in to Iran’s first nuclear power plant.  According to former Bush administrator U.N. ambassador John Bolton, (in an article that has been all over the news this past weekend) this presents a very short window of opportunity in which Israel must act if they want to effectively shut down Iran’s nuclear aspirations.–Bolton–Iran–Nuclear–israel/2010/08/13/id/

I find this interesting as Elul 10, (August 20)  is the anniversary of Noah sending out the raven in search of dry land.  A raven as we know, is an unclean animal, which means that two would have been brought aboard the ark.  In Genesis chapter 8 verse 6, it says:

“After 40 days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried from the earth.”

Now this is interesting because had the raven not returned, God’s future use of this carrion bird in feeding Elijah the Tishbite, when he fled wicked King Ahab in 1 Kings 17: 16 would have been in jeopardy.  Without a doubt, God had in mind to preserve this bird for a future use.  In thinking about this, it reminded me that we often don’t see the full purpose for an event until a later time.  But, God because he is not bound by time, is a master of exactly that; tieing some times seemingly unrelated and distant events together.

More than likely, Israel will have to act. They really don’t have any choice.  In the last few months, it has become more than apparent to Israel and to every one else watching that the international community will do nothing to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions and most likely will stand idly by until full capability is reached by Iran for carrying out one of the many threats to Israel, which they have made.

Israel also knows, once they act, they will most likely face worldwide condemnation from the international community; a community, who will condemn them for not waiting for sanctions to work, (all the while knowing they had no intention of ever enforcing them).

When Noah released the raven, the raven flew back and forth across the water, and it wasn’t until the time was right, that the dove was released and although the dove did not immediately find dry ground, it eventually returned with an olive leaf in its beak. 

In other words, what happens with Iran and Israel in the next few days and months may just be the pre-cursor of a chain of events that God in his sovereign plan will use in bringing about the end of the age and the establishment of the Messianic kingdom.  To me, the raven flying back and forth is symbolic of a process that must take place, but, eventually, the dove, when it is sent out, will return with an olive leaf in its beak – a symbol of the peace and reconciliation that will come with Jesus as King!

 *For a great little article about ravens in the Bible, click here:

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee!”  Psalm 122:6   Waiting and watching with YOU for the soon return of Jesus!  Cindy



  1. An unclean bird to represent an unclean “process.” This is a very insightful analogy. Very good. I always wondered why the raven was sent first and knew it must mean something. Now, I think I have a beginning knowledge of what the raven means in context.

    What I do know, absolutely, is that every day brings more and more nails in the coffin of secular society. Every day, we see logs being placed on a bonfire yet to be lit. It’s going to burn we just don’t know exactly when yet. However, to drive the analogy a bit further, you can only build a bonfire so big and I think we are about done.

    The torch cometh.

  2. Timely subject, Cindy! Best as I can tell from the text though, the raven never returns to Noah.

    Yes, it survives and is preserved (e.g., to feed Elijah) but it does so under its own power — fleeing (one might even say ‘rebelling’) seeking land on its own. Unlike the dove, it never again comes back to Noah. It never again seeks (or finds) sanctuary in the ark.

    • Hi Art, I think we have to surmise the raven returned because only two were taken aboard even though the text does not state so specifically – but, I could be wrong – anyway, I like the additional thought you added regarding the raven seeking its own way and the dove returning back – oneway or the other, it’s great text to ponder! Cindy

  3. Very interesting post. I always wondered what was the point of sending the raven first. A teacher I recently heard said that there must have been plenty of flesh out there to eat in order for it to have not returned.

  4. Thanks Cindy, a thought provoking article.

    The raven did not return because it was well suited to an environment of floating corpses, I am sure it’s mate found it, as the article states the raven is monogamous for life. The dove returned because the resting place that suited it best was the branch or the nest.

    I think within this we can see the clean and unclean, and draw a lesson. Elul is a month for repentance, returning to God. Where do we find our rest? If we find it in the world we are like the raven, if our hearts find our rest in Scripture and prayer we are more like the dove. This personally challenges me to spend less time on the news and more on the Psalms.


    • Mike, Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts; I really liked your point about the dove returning to its resting place – esp in light of the olive leaf it carried in its beak. The flood was judgment, the olive leaf a symbol of new life and restoration. Blessings! Cindy

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