A name common to different species of Bovidœ. The best known is the Bubalus buffelus, or Bos bubalus, generally called in Eastern countries jamoos or chamoosh, a word of Persian origin, meaning "ram-cow." From India, its native home, the buffalo has been gradually introduced into western Asia, Greece, southern Italy, and northern Africa. Some writers have tried to identify the buffalo with the "re'em" () of the Bible, and Gesenius ("Thesaurus," p. 1249) was one of them. This theory of identity, however, is now generally abandoned. The re'em appears to have been a much wilder animal, an animal utterly impossible to domesticate (Job xxxix. 9-12). Besides it seems established that the buffalo was not introduced into western Asia until shortly before the common era. Hence the re'em, identical with the Assyrian "rimu," is now generally regarded as the wild ox of the mountain.
- Hommel, Die Namen der Säugethiere, p. 229;
- Lydekker, Wild Oxen, Sheep, and Goats, p. 123;
- Wood, Animals of the Bible, p. 55;
- Tristram, The Natural History of the Bible, pp. 56 and 72.