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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Goat

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an animal of the genus Capra, found in every part of the world, and easily domesticated. There are various names or appelations given to the goat in the original text of the Scriptures. (See CATTLE).

1. Most frequently עֵז, ez, generally said to denote the she-goat (as it is rendered in Genesis 15:9; Genesis 30:35; Genesis 31:38; Genesis 32:14; Numbers 15:27), and in several passages undoubtedly so used (Genesis 31:38; Genesis 32:14; Numbers 15:27; Proverbs 27:27); but it is equally certain that it is used also to denote the he-goat (Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 4:23; Numbers 28:15; 2 Chronicles 29:21; Daniel 8:5; Daniel 8:8, etc.), which the etymology would seem to show was the original sense. In most of the passages in which it occurs it may denote either the male or the female animal (Genesis 27:16; Genesis 30:32-33; Genesis 37:31; Leviticus 1:10; Leviticus 3:12; Leviticus 7:23; Leviticus 22:19; 1 Samuel 25:2; 1 Kings 20:27). It is used also to designate a kid (as rendered in Genesis 38:17; Genesis 38:20; Numbers 15:11; Judges 6:19; Judges 13:15; Judges 13:19; Judges 15:1; 1 Samuel 16:20 [1 Kings 20:27; 2 Chronicles 35:7]). From this we are led to conclude that properly it is the generic designation of the animal in its domestic state, a conclusion which seems to be fully established by such usages as גְּדַי עַזַּים, a kid of the goats, עְזַּים שֵׂה, a flock of "goats," i.e. any of the goat species (Geas. 27:9; Deuteronomy 14:4). Hochart (Hieroz. book 2, c. 51) derives the word עֵז froes עֹז, oz, strength; Ge senius and Finrst prefer tracing it up to עָזִז, azaz', to become strong; in either case the ground-idea is the superior strength of the goat as compared with the sheep; Syr. ozo; Arab. onaz (where the n represents the rejected ז of עזז ); Phomen. oz. of which ozza or azza is the feminine form. Whether there is any affinity between this and the Sanse. dga, fem. agae, Gr. αἰξ, αἰγός, Gott. gaitan, and our goat, may be doubted. In the Sept. עֵז is usually represented by αἴξ, in a few instances by ἔριφος; and when עַזַּים is used elliptically to denote goat's hair (as in Exodus 26:7; Exodus 36:14; Numbers 31:20), the Sept. renders σκύτινος, τρίχινος, or αἴγειος; is 1 Samuel 19:13 it gives the strange rendering ῏ηπαρ τῶν αἰγῶν, reading כבד for כביר (comp. Joseph. Ant. 6:11, 4). (See BOLSTER).

2. The next most frequent term is עִתּוּד, attud, which is used only in the plur. עִתּוּדַים . In the A.V. it is translated sometimes "rams" (Genesis 31:10; Genesis 31:12), often "he-goats" (Numbers 7:17-88; Psalms 1, 9; Isaiah 1:11; Jeremiah 51:40; Ezekiel 34:17), but usually simply "goats" (Deuteronomy 22:14; Psalms 1, 13; Psalms 66:15; Proverbs 27:26; Isaiah 34:6; Ezekiel 27:21; Ezekiel 39:18; Zechariah 10:3). The singular occus frequently in Arabic atud, and is defined is the Kasnu's as a young goat of a year old (Bochart, Hieroz. book 2, chapter 53, page 646, where other authorities are adduced). The name is derived from עָתִד, atad to set a place, prepare, and hence Bochart infers it describes the animal as fully grown, and so prepared for all its functions and uses; Gesenius, a goat four months old; while others think no more is implied by the name than that this animal was strong and vigorous. The attudim were used in sacrifice (Psalms 66:15), and formed an article of commerce (Ezekiel 27:21; Proverbs 27:26). In Jeremiah 1:8, the word is employed for the leaders of a flock ("chief ones"); and in Isaiah 14:9, and Zechariah 10:3, it is used metaphorically for princes or chiefs. (See HE-GOAT).

3. גְּדַי, gedi', is the young of the goat, a kid. The name is derived by Fü rst from the obsolete verb גָּדָה, gadat', to canstalorth, so that it is equivalent to the Latin faetus, but was afterwards restricted to one kind, that of the goat. Gesenius traces it to גָּדָה, yodeh', to crop, and supposes the name was given to it from its cropping the herbage. Both etymologies are purely conjectural. The phrase גְּדַי הָעַזַים, kid of the goats, is frequently used. See above. The reason of this Kischi finds in the generic sense of גדי as applicable originally to the young either of the sheep or goat, so that it required the addition of העזים to specialize its meaning, until it came by usage to denote only the latter. Ibn-Ezra thinks the addition was made because the gedi, being yet tender, could not be separated from its mother. The flesh of the kid was esteemed a delicacy by the Hebrews. (See KID).

4. שָׂעַיר, saï r', signifies properly a he-goat, being derived from שָׂעִר, to bristle, i.e., the shaggy ("he-goat," only 2 Chronicles 29:23; "goat," in Leviticus 4:24; Leviticus 9:15; x,16; 16:7-27; Numbers 28:22; Numbers 29:22-38; Ezekiel 43:25; "satyr," in Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14; "devil," in Leviticus 17:7; elsewhere "kid"). It occurs frequently in Leviticus and Numbers (הִחִטָּאת שְׂעַיר ), and is the goat of the sin-offering (Leviticus 9:3; Leviticus 9:15; Leviticus 10:16). The word is used as an adjective with צָפַיר in Daniel 8:21, "and the goat, the rough one, is the king of Javan," and also in Genesis 27:11; Genesis 27:23, "a hairy man." (See SATYR). The fem. שֹׁעַירָה, seirah', a she-goat, likewise occurs ("kid," Leviticus 4:28; Leviticus 5:6). (See SACRIFICE).

5. צָפַיר , tsaphir', occurs in 2 Chronicles 29:21, and in Daniel 8:5; Daniel 8:8; it is followed by חָעַזַּים, and signifies a "he-goat" of the-goats. Gesenius derives it from צָפִר, tsaphar', to leap, indicative of the sex. It is a .word found only in the later books of the O.T. In Ezra 6:17, we find the Chald. form of the word, צְפַיר, tsephirs.

6. תִּיַשׁ , ta'yish, a buck, is from a root תַּישׁ, to strike. It is invariably rendered "he-goat" (Genesis 30:35; Genesis 32:15; Proverbs 30:31; 2 Chronicles 17:11).

7. In the N.T. the words rendered goat in Matthew 25:32-33, are ἔριφος and ἐρίφιον = a young goat or kid; and in Hebrews 9:12-13; Hebrews 9:19; Hebrews 10:4, τράγος = hegoat. Goat-skins, in Hebrews 11:37, are in the Greek αἴγεια δέρματα; and in Judges 2:17, αϊ v γες is rendered goats.

8. For the undomesticated species several Heb. terms are employed: (I.) יָעֵל, yael', only in the plur. יְעֵלַים, wild or mountain goats, rendered "wild goats" in the passages of Scripture in which the word occurs, viz. 1 Samuel 24:2; Job 39:1; and Psalms 104:18. The word is from a root יָעִל, to ascend or climb, and is the Heb. name of the ibex, which abounds in the mountainous parts of the ancient territory of Moab. In Job 39:1, the Sept. have τραγελάφων πἐτραι. In Proverbs 5:19, the fem. יִעֲלָה, yaalah', "roe" occurs. See ROE. (2.) אִקּוֹ, akko', rendered wild goat in Deuteronomy 14:5, and occurs only in this passage. It is a contracted form of אנקוה, according to Lee, who renders it gazelle, but it is probably larger, more 'nearly approaching the tragelaphus or goat-deer (Shaw, Supplement, page 76). (See WILD GOAT).

9. Other terms less directly significant of this animal are, (1.) חֲשְׂיּ, chasiph', a flock, i.e., little flock: "two little flocks of kid"' (1 Kings 20:27); and (2.) שֶׂה, seh, one of the flock of sheep and goats mixed (Leviticus 22:28, and frequently "goat" or "kid" in the margin). See FLOCK.

10. For the עֲזָאזֵל, Azazel' (" scape-goat," Leviticus 16:8; Leviticus 16:10; Leviticus 16:26), (See AZAZEL).

The races either known to or kept by the Hebrew people were probably, 1. The domestic Syrian long-eared breed, with horns rather small and variously bent; the ears longer than the head, and pendulous; hair long, often black. 2. The Angora, or rather Anadoli breed of Asia Minor, with long hair, more or less fine. 3. The Egyptian breed, with small spiral horns, long brown hair, very long ears. 4. A breed from Upper Egypt, without horns, having the nasal bones singularly elevated, the nose contracted, with the lower jaw protruding the incisors, and the female with udder very low, and purse-shaped.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Goat'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/g/goat.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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