Fallow-deer (יִחמוּר, yachmur'; Sept. βούβαλος [but δορκάς in 1 Kings], Vulg. bubalus), mentioned among the beasts that may be eaten in De 14:5, and among the provisions for Solomon's table in 1Ki 4:23 [Heb 5:3]. There are three animals of the Cervidae family with which different writers have identified it. SEE ZOOLOGY.
1. Most commentators (following Bochart, Hieroz. 1:910; 2:260) regard it as properly translated in our version, deriving the word from חָמִר, chamar', in the sense of being red, and thus referring it to a species of deer of a reddish color; probably the Cervus dama of Linnaeus, originally a native of Barbary, where it is still found wild. It is stated to be found very generally dispersed over Western and Southern Asia, and is said to have been introduced into England from Norway (see Penny Cyclopcedia, s.v. Deer). It is smaller than the stag (Cervus elaphus), having horns or branches serrated on the inside, which it sheds annually. The color in winter is a darkish brown, but in summer bay, spotted with white. The fallow-deer. (Cervus dama) is deemed by most authorities to be undoubtedly a native of Asia; indeed, Persia seems to be its proper country. Hasselquist (Trav. page 211) noticed this deer in Mount Tabor. Oedmann (Verm. Samml. 1:178) likewise believes that the yachmur is best denoted by the Cervus dama. The female is called in the Talmud יִחמוּרָא, and is identified by Lewysohn with the German Damhirsch. It is, however, lifficult to suppose that Jerusalem could have received my appreciable amount of flesh-meat from such a source, remote as it is from a forest country. SEE DEER.
2. Kitto (Pict. Bibl. Deuteronomy 1. c.) says, "The yachmur of the Hebrews is without doubt erroneously identified with the fallow-deer, which does not exist in Asia," and refers the name to the Oryx leucoryx, citing Niebuhr as authority for stating that this animal is known among the Eastern Arabs by the name of yazmur. This is the opinion which we have adopted, from Hamilton Smith, who is the best modern authority on such questions. SEE ANTELOPE
3. Still others, on the authority of the Septuagint rendering in Deuteronomy, regard the term as denoting "the Antilope bubalus (Pallas); the βούβαλος of the Greeks (see Herod. 4:192; Aristotle, Hist. Anim. 3:6, ed. Schneider, and De Part. Anim. 3:2, 11, edit. Bekker; Oppian, Cyn. 2:300). From the different descriptions of the yachmur as given by Arabian writers, and cited by Bochart (Hieroz. 2:284 sq.), it would also seem that this is the animal designated; though Damir's remarks in some respects are fabulous, and he represents the yachmur as having deciduous horns, which will not apply to any antelope. Still Cazuinus, according to Rosenmuller, identifies the yachmur with the bekker el-wmash ('wild cow'), which is the modern name in North Africa for the Antilope bubalus (see Shaw's Travels, page 242, and Suppl. page 75, fol.; Buffon, Hist. Natur. 12:294). The term bubalus evidently points to some animal having the general appearance of an ox. Pliny (N.H. 8:15) tells us that the common people, in their ignorance, sometimes gave this name to the Bison (Auroch) and the Urus. He adds, the animal properly so called is produced in Africa, and bears a resemblance to the calf and the stag; a middle position between the cervine and bovine ruminants that corresponds to the external appearance of the animal in question. The bekker el-wash appears to be depicted in the Egyptian monuments, SEE CHASE, where it is represented as being hunted for the sake of its flesh, which Shaw tells us (Suppl. p. 75) is very sweet and nourishing, much preferable to that of the red deer (see Wilkinson's Anc. Egypt. 1:223, figs. 3, 4, and page 225, fig. 19). This animal, which is about the size of a stag, is common in North Africa, and lives in herds." SEE WILD OX.