Wild Goat

Wild Goat is the rendering in the A.V. of two Heb. words which seem to refer to cognate species of the caprid tribe. SEE GOAT.

1. The more frequent term is always found in the plur. יעֵלַים, yeelim (Sept. τραγέλαφοι,or ἔλαφοιVulg. ibices), which occurs 1Sa 24:2; Job 39:1; Ps 104:18; besides the fem. sing. יִעֲלָח, yaalah ("roe," Pr 5:19), it is not at all improbable, as the Vulg. interprets the word, that some species of ibex is denoted, perhaps the Capra Sinaitica (Ehrenb.), the beden or jaela of Egypt and Arabia. This ibex was noticed at Siniai by Ehrenberg and Hemprich (Sym. Phys. t. 18), and by Burckhardt (Trav. page 526), who (page 405) thus speaks of these animals: "In all the valleys south of the Mojeb, and particularly in those of Mojeb and El-Ahsa, large herds of mountain goats, called by the Arabs beden, are met with. This is the steinbock or bouquetin of the Swiss and Tyrol Alps. They pasture in flocks oft forty and fifty together. Great numbers of them are killed by the people of Kerek and Tafyle, who hold their flesh in high estimation. They sell the large knotty horns to the Hebrew merchants who carry them to Jerusalem, where they are worked into handles for knives and daggers.... The Arabs told me that it is. difficult to get a shot at them, and that the hunters hide themselves among the reeds on the banks of streams where the animals resort in the evening to drink. They also asserted that, when pursued, they will throw themselves from a height of fifty feet and more upon theirheads without receiving any injury." Hasselquist (Trav. page 190) speaks of rock goats, (Capra cervicapra, Linn. ) which he saw hunted with falcons near Nazareth. But the C. cervicapra of Linnaeus is an antelope (Antilope cervicapra, Pall.). The Capra Sinaitica, however, is not identical with the Swiss ibex or steinbock (C. ibex), though it is a closely allied species. The wild goat of Arabia and Palestine differs only from the European in the shape and marking of the horns and in its lighter color. It is still occasionally found in the neighborhood of Engedi, its old resort, which thence took the name (see Tristram, Nat. Hist. of the Bible, page 96). SEE IBEX.

2. The other word rendered, "wild goat" is אִקּוֹ, akko, which occurs only in De 14:5, as a clean animal, and in which the Sept. and Vulg. understand to be a kind of deer (τραγέλαφος, tragelphus), and the Targums and Syriac a wild goat (יעלא). Gesenius concludes in favor of the roebuck; while others prefer the chamois, and others the gazelle.

Gesenius derives it from Arab. anak, while Furst says it is to be traced to a radix nominalis, common to both the Sanscrit and Shemitic tongues. Schultens (Origines Hebraicae) conjectures that the name arose. ob fugacitatem, from its shyness and consequent readiness to flee; and Dr. Harris points out what he takes to be a confirmation of this conjecture in Shaw's Travels, which, from the translations of the Sept. and Vulg., makes it a goat-deer, or Tragelaphus, such as the lerwi or fishtal, by mistake referred to Capra mambrica of Linnaeus; whereas that naturalist (System. Nat. 13th ed. by Gmelin) places lerwi among the synonyms of Ant. cervicapra, which does not suit Shaw's notice, and is not known in Western Asia. The fishtal is, however, a ruminant of the African desert, possibly one of the larger Antilopidae, with long mane, but not as yet scientifically described. Some have referred the akko to the ahu of the Persians, i.e., the Capreolus pygargus, or the "tailless roe" (Shaw, Zool. 2:287), of Central Asia. If we could satisfactorily establish the identity of the Persian word with the Hebrew, the animal in question might represent the akko of the Pentateuch, which might formerly have inhabited the Lebanon, though, it is not now found in Palestine. Perhaps the paseng (Cap. cegagrus, Cuv.), which some have taken to be the parent stock of the common goat, and which at present inhabits the mountains of Persia and Caucasus, may have in Biblical times been found in Palestine, and may be the akka of Scripture. It is, on the whole, as likely to have been the beden, or wild goat of Mt. Sinai, as any other. SEE DEER; SEE ROE.

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