Se’īrīm (Hebrew: שע‬י‬רי‬‬ם‬, singular sa'ir) are a kind of demon. Sa’ir was the ordinary Hebrew word for "he-goat", and it is not always clear what the word's original meaning might have been. But in early Jewish thought, represented by targumim and possibly 3 Baruch, along with translations of the Hebrew Bible such as the Peshitta and Vulgate, the se’īrīm were understood as demons.[1][2] Se'īrīm are frequently compared with the shedim of Hebrew tradition, along with satyrs of Greek mythology and jinn of Arab culture.[3]

Thus Isaiah 13:21 predicts, in Karen L. Edwards's translation: "But wild animals [ziim] will lie down there, and its houses will be full of howling creatures [ohim]; there ostriches will live, and there goat-demons [sa’ir] will dance." Similarly, Isaiah 34:14 declares: "Wildcats [ziim] shall meet with hyenas [iim], goat-demons [sa’ir] shall call to each other; there too Lilith [lilit] shall repose and find a place to rest."[4]

In the Latin Vulgate translation of the Old Testament, sa’ir is translated as "pilosus", which also means "hairy".[5] Jerome, the translator of the Vulgate, equated these figures with satyrs.[6]

The se'irim are also mentioned once in Leviticus 17:7[7] probably a recalling of Assyrian demons in shape of goats.[8] Samuel Bochart and other Biblical scholars identified the Se'irim with Egypt Goat-deities.[9] Leviticus 17:7 admonishes Israel to keep from sacrificing to the Se'irim.[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Alexander Kulik, 'How the Devil Got His Hooves and Horns: The Origin of the Motif and the Implied Demonology of 3 Baruch', Numen, 60 (2013), 195–229 (p. 200) doi:10.1163/15685276-12341263.
  2. ^ Edwards, Karen L. (2015), "The King James Bible and Biblical Images of Desolation", The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530-1700, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, pp. 71–82, ISBN 978-0-19-968697-1 (pp. 75–76).
  3. ^ Emil G. Hirsch, Richard Gottheil, Kaufmann Kohler, Isaac Broydé, 'Demonology', Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-6).
  4. ^ Edwards, Karen L. (2015), "The King James Bible and Biblical Images of Desolation", The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530-1700, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, pp. 71–82, ISBN 978-0-19-968697-1 (p. 75).
  5. ^ Edwards, Karen L. (2015), "The King James Bible and Biblical Images of Desolation", The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1530-1700, Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, pp. 71–82, ISBN 978-0-19-968697-1 (p. 76).
  6. ^ Link, Luther (1995), The Devil: A Mask Without a Face, London, England: Reaktion Books, ISBN 978-0-948462-67-2 (pp. 44–45).
  7. ^ Emil G. Hirsch, Richard Gottheil, Kaufmann Kohler, Isaac Broydé, 'Demonology', Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-6).
  8. ^ Benjamin W. McCraw, Robert Arp Philosophical Approaches to Demonology Routledge 2017 ISBN 978-1-315-46675-0, p. 9.
  9. ^ Löwinger, Adolf. “Der Windgeist Keteb.” Mitteilungen Zur Jüdischen Volkskunde, 26/27, 1924, pp. 157–170. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41459639 (German)
  10. ^ Henry Baker Tristram The Natural History of the Bible: Being a Review of the Physical Geography, Geology, and Meteorology of the Holy Land, with a Description of Every Animal and Plant Mentioned in Holy ScriptureSociety for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1873 p. 132