The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
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Rendering in the Authorized Version of the Hebrew which is sometimes translated also "roebuck" and "wild roe," and occasionally in the Revised Version "gazel." The roe is mentioned as an animal permitted as food (Deut. xiv. 5); and it was furnished for Solomon's table (I Kings iv. 23). Its swiftness, gentleness, and grace are often alluded to (II Sam. ii. 18; Prov. vi. 5; Cant. ii. 9, v. 17). The feminine form "ẓibyah" (Aramaic, "tabita") was used as a proper name (II Kings xii. 2, "Zibiah"; Acts xi. 36, "Tabitha"). The Authorized Version renders "ya'alah" (Prov. v. 19) also by "roe," and "'ofer" (Cant. iv. 5, vii. 3) by "young roe." Of the Cervidœ the Gazella dorcas is the most abundant of all large game in Palestine.

In the Talmud the Hebrew "ẓebi" and "ayyal" are the generic terms for all species of Cervidœ, so that it is impossible to determine which is meant in each case. In some passages, however, the roe seems specifically intended: e.g., Ḥul. 132a, where reference is made to the mating of the goat with the ẓebi; ib. 59b, a reference to the ẓebi with unbranched horns, the roe having as a rule only one branch on its antler, and sometimes none at all; Kil. i. 6, where the similarities between the goat and the ẓebi are enumerated. In the same passage the "ya'el" is said to resemble the hart. The Antilope doreas is perhaps mentioned under the name = "goat of Kerkus" (Ḥul. 59b). See Goat; Hart; Unicorn.

  • Tristram, Nat. Hist. p. 127;
  • Lewysohn, Z. T. pp. 113, 126.
S. I. M. C.
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