“Satyrs” or “Goats” in Isaiah 13:21 et al.?
"But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there." (Isaiah 13:21, KJV)
The Hebrew word for goat is "שׂעיר (saiyr)." It refers to the animal, but also to goat demons (Leviticus 17:7). The term “satyr” is Greek, but it strongly resembles the Hebrew "saiyr." The Greek "satyr" may actually be based on the Hebrew "saiyr." The roguish and debaucherous half-goat creature of Greek mythology strongly resembles the “goat demon” mentioned in Scripture. The ESV and NASB also translate "saiyr" as "goat demons" in Leviticus 17:7. The NASB even has “satyrs” in 2 Chronicles 11:15 where the KJV has “devils.” In Isaiah 13:21, the satyrs “dance” – a trademark activity of satyrs in mythology. Rather than assuming that the KJV's satyr is based on Greek mythology, it may be more reasonable to think that the Greek mythology is based on the Hebrew goat demon referred to as "saiyr."
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