Specter A belief in apparitions was universal among the ancients, especially in the East; and the Israelites, even before the Captivity, notwithstanding the aversion of their religion to demonology (see Crusius [B.], Bibl. Theol. p. 293), had in popular superstition their spectral forms with which they peopled desert regions. SEE AZAZEL. At a later period the specters and evil spirits were confounded together (Tobit 8:3; Baruch 4:35). The canonical books refer (Isa 34:13) to a female night monster (לַילַית) and goat like savages (שׂעַרַים), who danced and called to each other (8:21). SEE SATYR. In the Targum, and by the rabbins, this popular belief is more fully unfolded as a part of foreign demonology; but much of it may have come down from earlier times. These ghostly beings are classed as night, morning, and mid-day specters (Targum at Song 4:9). The last (δαιμόνια μεσημβρινά, Sept. at Ps 90:6; טַיהֲרַין, Targum at Song 4:6) appear at noon, when people unconcernedly resign themselves to repose (the siesta; see Philostr. Her. 1, 4); and they are especially dangerous (Aben-Ezra, On Job 3, 5). Morning specters are called צַפרַירַין in the Targum (Ps 121:6). Among the night specters (comp. Mt 14:26; similar was the Greek Empusa [see the Scholiast on Aristoph. Ran. 295; Volcken, Diatr. p. 132; Bernhardy on Dionys. Perieg. p. 721]) was the Lilith, a beautiful woman who especially waylaid children and killed them (like the Lamias [comp. the Vulg. at Isa 34:14] and Striges of the Romans [Bochart, Hieroz. 3, 831; Meineke on Menander, p. 145; comp. Philostr. Apoll. 4, 25], and the ghouls of the modern Arabians); male infants to the eighth, and female to the twentieth, day after their birth (see Eisenmenger, Entdeckt. Judenth. 2, 413 sq., 452; Selden, De Diis Syr. p. 249 sq.). Another spirit inimical to children, particularly to such as do not keep clean hands (Mishna, Joma, 77, 2; Taanith, 20:2), was called שַׁבתָּא (but it does not appear that the Jews used to threaten their children with sprites, as the Romans did with their larvae [Spanheim on Callim. Dian. 69], like modern vulgar bugaboos). See Van Dale, Idol. p. 94 sq.; Doughtsei Analect. 1, 246. SEE SUPERSTITION.

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