Goat 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 Ge 15:9; Ge 30:35; Ge 31:38; Ge 32:14; Nu 15:27), and in several passages undoubtedly so used (Ge 31:38; Ge 32:14; Nu 15:27; Pr 27:27); but it is equally certain that it is used also to denote the he-goat (Ex 12:5; Le 4:23; Nu 28:15; 2Ch 29:21; Da 8:5,8, 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 (Ge 27:16; Ge 30:32-33; Ge 37:31; Le 1:10; Le 3:12; Le 7:23; Le 22:19; 1Sa 25:2; 1Ki 20:27). It is used also to designate a kid (as rendered in Ge 38:17,20; Nu 15:11; Jg 6:19; Jg 13:15,19; Jg 15:1; 1Sa 16:20 [1Ki 20:27; 2Ch 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 גּדַי עַזַּים, a kid of the goats, עזַּים שֵׂה, a flock of "goats," i.e. any of the goat species (Geas. 27:9; De 14:4). Hochart (Hieroz. book 2, c. 51) derives the word עֵז froes עֹז, oz, strength; Gesenius 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 Ex 26:7; Ex 36:14; Nu 31:20), the Sept. renders σκύτινος, τρίχινος, or αἴγειος; is 1Sa 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" (Ge 31:10,12), often "he-goats" (Nu 7:17-88; Ps 1; Ps 9; Isa 1:11; Jer 51:40; Eze 34:17), but usually simply "goats" (De 22:14; Ps 1; Ps 13; Ps 66:15; Pr 27:26; Isa 34:6; Eze 27:21; Eze 39:18; Zec 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 (Ps 66:15), and formed an article of commerce (Eze 27:21; Pr 27:26). In Jer 1:8, the word is employed for the leaders of a flock ("chief ones"); and in Isa 14:9, and Zec 10:3, it is used metaphorically for princes or chiefs. SEE HE-GOAT.
3. גּדַי, gedi', is the young of the goat, a kid. The name is derived by Fürst 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 גּדַי 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, saïr', signifies properly a he-goat, being derived from שָׂעִר, to bristle, i.e., the shaggy ("he-goat," only 2Ch 29:23; "goat," in Le 4:24; Le 9:15; x,16; 16:7-27; Nu 28:22; Nu 29:22-38; Eze 43:25; "satyr," in Isa 13:21; Isa 34:14; "devil," in Le 17:7; elsewhere "kid"). It occurs frequently in Leviticus and Numbers (הִחִטָּאת שׂעַיר), and is the goat of the sin-offering (Le 9:3,15; Le 10:16). The word is used as an adjective with צָפַיר in Da 8:21, "and the goat, the rough one, is the king of Javan," and also in Ge 27:11,23, "a hairy man." SEE SATYR. The fem. שֹׁעַירָה, seirah', a she-goat, likewise occurs ("kid," Le 4:28; Le 5:6). SEE SACRIFICE.
5. צָפַיר, tsaphir', occurs in 2Ch 29:21, and in Da 8:5,8; 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 Ezr 6:17, we find the Chald. form of the word, צפַיר, tsephirs.
6. תִּיַשׁ, ta'yish, a buck, is from a root תַּישׁ, to strike. It is invariably rendered "he-goat" (Ge 30:35; Ge 32:15; Pr 30:31; 2Ch 17:11).
⇒See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
7. In the N.T. the words rendered goat in Mt 25:32-33, are ἔριφος and ἐρίφιον = a young goat or kid; and in Heb 9:12-13,19; Heb 10:4, τράγος = hegoat. Goat-skins, in Heb 11:37, are in the Greek αἴγεια δέρματα; and in Jg 2:17, αϊvγες is rendered goats.
8. For the undomesticated species several Heb. terms are employed: (I.) יָעֵל, yael', only in the plur. יעֵלַים, wild or mountain goats, rendered "wild goats" in the passages of Scripture in which the word occurs, viz. 1Sa 24:2; Job 39:1; and Ps 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 Pr 5:19, the fem. יִעֲלָה, yaalah', "roe" occurs. See ROE. (2.) אִקּוֹ, akko', rendered wild goat in De 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.) חֲשׂיּŠ, chasiph', a flock, i.e., little flock: "two little flocks of kid"' (1Ki 20:27); and (2.) שֶׂה, seh, one of the flock of sheep and goats mixed (Le 22:28, and frequently "goat" or "kid" in the margin). See FLOCK.
10. For the עֲזָאזֵל, Azazel' (" scape-goat," Le 16:8,10,26), 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.
There appear to be two or three varieties of the common goat (Hircus cegagrus) at present bred in Palestine and Syria, but whether they are identical with those which were reared by the ancient Hebrews it is not possible to say. The most marked varieties are the Syrian goat (Capra Mambrica, Linn.), with long, thick, pendent ears, which are often, says Russell (Nat. Hist. of Aleppo, 2:150, 2d edit.), a foot long, and the Angora goat (Capra Angorensis, Linn.), with fine long hair. The Syrian goat is mentioned by Aristotle (Hist. An. 9:27, § 3). There is also a variety that differs but little from British specimens. Goats have from the earliest ages been considered important animals in rural economy, both on account of the milk they afford and the excellency of the flesh of the young animals. The goat is figured on the Egyptian monuments (see Wilkinson's Ancient Egypt. 1:223). Colossians Ham. Smith (Griffiths, An. King. 4:308) describes three Egyptian breeds: one with long hair, depressed horns, ears small and pendent; another with horns very spiral, and ears longer than the head; and a third, which occurs in Upper Egypt, without horns.
Besides the domestic goats, Western Asia is possessed of one or more wild species — all large and vigorous mountain animals, resembling the ibex or bouquetin of the Alps. Of these, Southern Syria, Arabia, Sinai, and the borders of the Red Sea contain at least one species, known to the Arabs by the name of Beden or Beddan, and Taytal — the Capra Jaela of Ham. Smith, and Capra Sinaitica of Ehrenberg. We take this animal to be that noticed under the name of יָעֵל, yael or jaal (1Sa 24:2; Job 39:1; Psalm civ. 18; Pr 5:19). The male is considerably taller and more robust than the larger he-goats, the horns forming regular curves backwards, and with from 15 to 24 transverse elevated cross-ridges, being sometimes near three feet long, and exceedingly ponderous: there is a beard under the chin, and the fur is dark brown; but the limbs are white, with regular black marks down the front of the legs, with rings of the same color above the knees and on the pasterns. The females are smaller than the males, more slenderly made, brighter rufous, and with the white and black markings on the legs not so distinctly visible. This species live in troops of 15 or 20, and plunge down precipices with the same fearless impetuosity that distinguishes the ibex. Their horns are sold by the Arabs for knife handles, etc.; but the animals themselves are fast diminishing in number. SEE IBEX.
In De 14:5, אֲקּוֹ, ako is translated "wild goat." Schultens (Origines Hebraicae) conjectures that the name arose from its shyness, and Dr. Harris points out what he takes to be a confirmation of this conjecture in Shaw's travels, who, from the translations of the Sept. and Vulgate, makes it a goat-deer or tragelaphus, under a mistaken view of the classification and habitat of that animal. Akko, therefore, if it be not a second name of the zemer, which we refer to the kebsh, or wild sheep SEE CHAMOIS, as the species must be sought among ruminants that were accessible for food to the Hebrews, we should be inclined to view as the name of one of the gazelles, probably the ahu (Ant. Subgutturosa), unless the Abyssinian ibex (Capra Walie) had formerly extended into Arabia, and it could be shown that it is a distinct species. SEE WILD GOAT.
From very remote antiquity goats have formed an important part of pastoral wealth in the East. They are not mentioned by name in the enumeration of Abram's possessions (Ge 12:16), nor in those of Job (Job 1:3; Job 42:12); but perhaps they are included under the generic term of "flocks," which Lot (Ge 13:5), and, a fortiori, Abram possessed; and a she-goat formed part of the sacrifice offered by Abram on the occasion of the promise of Isaac (Ge 15:9). In the account of the miraculous increase of Jacob's cattle (Ge 31:10,12) we find goats conspicuously mentioned. Their milk has always constituted an important article of food in Palestine (Kitto, Pict. Palestine, 2:304). — Fairbairn. Goats were extensively reared among the Israelites (Le 3:12; Le 9:15; Ex 12:5, etc.); their milk was used as food (Pr 27:27); their flesh was eaten (De 14:4; Ge 27:9); their hair was used for the curtains of the tabernacle (Ex 26:7; Ex 36:14) and for stuffing bolsters (1Sa 19:13); their skills were sometimes used as clothing (Heb 11:37). Notwithstanding the offensive lasciviousness which causes it to be significantly separated from sheep, the goat was employed by the people of Israel in many respects as their representative. It was a pure animal for sacrifice (Ex 12:5), and a kid might be substituted as equivalent to a lamb: it formed a principal part of the Hebrew flocks, and both the milk and the young kids were daily articles of food. Among the poorer and more sober shepherd families, the slaughter of a kid was a token of hospitality to strangers, or of unusual festivity; and the prohibition, thrice repeated in the Mosaic law, "not to seethe a kid in its mother's milk" (Ex 23:19; Ex 34:26; and De 14:21), may have originated partly in a desire to recommend abstemiousness, which the legislators and moralists of the East have since invariably enforced with success, and partly with a view to discountenance a practice which was connected with idolatrous festivals, and the rites they involved. It is from goatskins that the leathern bottles to contain wine and other liquids are made in the Levant. For this purpose, after the head and feet are cut away, the case or hide is drawn off the carcass over the neck, without opening the belly; and the extremities being secured, it is dried with the hair in or outside, according to the use it is intended for. The old worn-out skins are liable to burst: hence the obvious propriety of putting new wine into new bottles (Mt 9:17). Harmner (Obs. 4:162) appears to have rightly referred the allusion in Am 3:12 to the long-eared race of goats: " As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs or a piece of ear, so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria and Damascus." — Kitto. The passage in Song 4:1, which compares, the hair of the beloved to "a flock of goats that eat of Mount Gilead," probably alludes to the fine hair of the Angora breed. In Pr 30:31, a he-goat is mentioned as one of the "four things which are comely in going;" in allusion, probably, to the stately march of the leader of the flock, which was always associated in the minds of the Hebrews with the notion of dignity. Hence the metaphor in Isa 14:9, "all the, chief ones (margin, "great goats") of the earth." So the Alexandrine version of the Sept. understands the allusion καὶ τράγος ἡγούμενος αἰπολίον (comp. Theocr. Id. 8:49; Virgil, Ecl. 8:7). — Smith. Goats, from their offensiveness, mischievous and libidinous disposition, etc., are symbols of the wicked, who are, at the clay of judgment, to be finally separated from the good (Mt 25:33). SEE SHEEP.
From Le 17:7, it appears that the rebellious Hebrews, while in the desert, fell into the idolatrous worship of the he-goat (rendered "devils," comp. 2Ch 11:15), after the example of the Egyptians, under whose influences they had grown up. Herodotus says (1:46) that at Mendes, in Lower Egypt, both the male and female goat were worshipped; that the god Pan had the face and thighs of a goat; not that they believed him to be of this figure, but because it had been customary to represent him thus. They paid divine honors, also, to real goats, as appears in the table of His. The Sairim (" wild beasts") of Isa 13:21 were, according to the popular notion, supposed to be wild men SEE APE in the form of he-goats, living in unfrequented, solitary places, and represented as dancing and calling to each other. — Calmet. SEE SPECTRE.
A he-goat was the symbol of the Macedonian empire in the prophetic vision of Daniel (Da 8:5) — a goat that had a notable born between his eyes. It is interesting to know that this was the recognized symbol of their nation by the Macedonians themselves.
There are coins of Archelaus, king of Macedon (B.C. 413), having as their reverse a one-horned goat; and there is a gem in the Florentine collection, a on which are engraved two heads united at their occiputs, the one that of a ram, the other that of a one-horned goat. By this is expressed the union of the Persian and Macedonian kingdoms, and Mr. T. Combe, who gives us the information, thinks that "it is extremely probable that the gem was engraved after the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great." SEE MACEDDONIA.