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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Hebrew - satyr, satyrs
SATYR

(ssa' tihr) A hairy, demonic figure with the appearance of a goat, translating a Hebrew term otherwise translated, “hairy” or “male goat.” Bible students differ in interpreting passages as to whether a demonic figure or a normal animal is meant. Israelites apparently sacrificed to such desert-dwelling demons, since they had to have a law forbidding such sacrifice (Leviticus 17:7). Some have even interpreted the scapegoat rites (Leviticus 16:20-22) as sending Israel's sins back to their author, a desert demon with a different name from that translated, “satyr.” Jeroboam I (926-909 B.C.) appointed priests to serve these demons (2 Chronicles 11:15). Here idols in the forms of goats may be intended as parallel to the famous calves Jeroboam built. Isaiah promised that Babylon would become so desolate the desert-dwelling demons would live in the ruins (Isaiah 13:21; compare Isaiah 34:14). Some commentators read 2 Kings 23:8 to refer to worship places for these demons at a gate in Jerusalem (compare REB). A similar reality is expressed by a different Hebrew word in Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalms 106:37. Compare Matthew 12:43; Mark 5:13; Luke 11:24; Revelation 18:2. Lilith (Isaiah 34:14 NRSV) may also be a name for the desert demons.


Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'SATYR'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<http://classic.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T5501>. 1991.

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