Scarecrows and Saviors

In the Book of Jubilees, a prominent demon sometimes identified with Satan sends ravens to gobble up seed in Abraham’s homeland of Ur. Abraham, however, seems to have a talent for scaring away ravens. He is so good at it that the farmers throughout the land hire him to come and scare the birds out of their fields. Soon after, Abraham invents a machine that buries the seed underground as you plow, thus avoiding the whole raven problem.

Now lots of the Apocrypha and related Bible fanfic has a habit of being just plain weird, so there’s no telling why this randomness is in there. But a scholar named Jacques van Ruiten says that this story might have been worth recording because it shows Abraham fighting with the forces of evil over the land. This should sound familiar

The parable of the sower is a story from the Gospels which Jesus tells to the general public, but explains only to the disciples. A sower comes along and scatters seed. Immediately ravens comes along and gobble it up. The seed is the Word, we are told, and the ravens are Satan. But the story continues. More seed lands on rocky ground, springs up, and then withers because the soil is so shallow. Yet more lands among thorns and is choked out. Finally, some of the seed lands on good soil and yields a good crop.

In telling this story, is Jesus playing off of the older story of Abraham and the ravens? If so, are the differences important? For example, might Jesus be intentionally pointing out that ravens/Satanic forces are not the only reasons men stray from the Word? Is there no Abraham-figure to drive off the ravens in Jesus’ version┬ábecause that is not what the story is about, or is it implied that Jesus is the Abraham-figure and a time is coming soon when he will drive the ravens out of Israel? And in the original story, the land Abraham was driving the ravens from was not Israel, but the pagan land of Ur of the Chaldees. Is that significant?

Honestly, I have no clue what the answers to any of these questions might be, but I find the potential link between the stories intriguing.