That ravens fed Elijah by the brook Chorath has been questioned. The Hebrew text at 1 Kings 17:4–6 uses the word עֹרְבִים `ōrvīm, which means ravens, but with a different vocalization might equally mean Arabs. The Septuagint has κορακες, ravens, and other traditional translations followed.
Alternatives have been proposed for many years; for example Adam Clarke (d. 1832) treated it as a discussion already of long standing. Objections to the traditional translation are that ravens are ritually unclean as well as physically dirty; it is difficult to imagine any method of delivery of the food which is not disgusting. The parallelism with the incident that follows, where Elijah is fed by the widow, also suggests a human, if mildly improbable, agent.
Prof. John Gray chooses Arabs, saying “We adopt this reading solely because of its congruity with the sequel, where Elijah is fed by an alien Phoenician woman.” His translation of the verses in question is:
And the word of Jehovah came to Elijah saying, Go hence and turn eastward and hide thyself in the Wadi Chorath east of the Jordan, and it shall be that thou shalt drink of the wadi, and I have commanded the Arabs to feed thee there. And he went and did according to the word of Jehovah and went and dwelt in the Wadi Chorath east of the Jordan. And the Arabs brought him bread in the morning and flesh in the evening and he would drink of the wadi.