Rendering by the English versions of the Hebrew "se'irim" in Isa. xiii. 21, xxxiv. 14 (R. V., margin, "he-goats"; American R. V., "wild goats"), while in Lev. xvii. 7 and II Chron. xi. 15 the Authorized Version renders the word by "devil," the Revised Version by "he-goat," and the Revised Version, margin, by "satyr." The old versions use for it a word denoting a demon, false god, or a hairy being. It is certain that a natural animal is not intended in these passages. Thus in Isaiah the se'irim are mentioned together with Lilith and animals of the desert and desolate places, and are described as "dancing" and "calling to one another"; in the other passages they are referred to as objects of worship. Possibly the versions reflect the ancient conception of the se'irim as hairy and perhaps goat-shaped beings. The association of monstrous beings with ruins and desert places is still a prevalent element in the folk-lore of Arabia and Syria; and the Arabian jinn also are represented as having monstrous hairy forms.
In Ḳid. 72a the Ishmaelites are compared to the se'irim of unclean places, i.e., the spirits ("shedim") which inhabit retreats. Of other monstrous, half-human and half-animal beings referred to in the Talmud may be mentioned here the "adne [or "abne"] sadeh" (Kil. viii. 5, and Maimonides ad loc.), and the "yiddoa'" (Sanh. 65b), explained as a being with human shape and attached to the earth by its umbilical cord (comp. Bertinoro on Sanh. vii. 7).
- Tristram, Nat. Hist. p. 131;
- Lewysohn, Z. T. pp. 64, 356.