It would seem that most (if not all) translators follow the ‘Ktiv Menuqad’ of the ‘Masoretic’ text when attempting to render 1 kings 17:6 into English. In doing so translators have either knowingly or unwittingly accepted the Masoretes’ interpretation of scripture. The text that lay before the Masoretes was probably the ambiguous והערבים . Without, the Neqqudot the word could be read either as ‘ravens’ or ‘Arabs’ depending on its literary context or on the interpreter’s decision. However, the Masoretes who added the Neqqudot had to decide whether to point the word with the ‘patach’ vowel under the letter ‘Ayin’ or a ‘Holam’ above the letter ‘Ayin’. A simple change of even a single vowel point can sometimes radically alter the meaning of a word in classical Hebrew and that actually is the only difference between the reading ‘ravens’ or ‘Arabs’.
Examine the image below carefully. The vowel points are in red to make it easier to spot the difference between these two readings/vocalizations/interpretations:
What’s your opinion or take on the above?