Offering Sacrifices to the He-Goat
[Home] [Contacts] [Comparisons]

 

On page 154 in his book Bible History: Old Testament, Alfred Edersheim states in a footnote that "he-goat" is erroneously rendered "devils" in Leviticus 17: 7 in the Authorized (King James) Version. In this essay, forty-two versions of the Old Testament are examined. There are thirteen ways of translating the word in question. One version, the Amplified Bible, offers three possibilities. The whole verse from thirteen versions is quoted, but only one term is examined. Other versions which use the same term are listed with the version that is quoted. Following the passages are footnotes from five versions and quotes from four other reference books.


Versions Compared

 

AAT An American Translation (Beck)
AB Amplified Bible
DHB Darby Holy Bible
EBR The Emphasized Bible
EVD English Version for the Deaf
GW God's Word
HBME The Holy Bible in Modern English
HBRV Holy Bible Revised Version
HSH Holy Scriptures (Harkavy)
IB Interlinear Bible
IV Inspired Version
JBK Jerusalem Bible (Koren)
KJV King James Version
KTC Knox Translation
LB Living Bible
LBP Lamsa Bible
LXX The Septuagint
MNT Moffatt New Translation
MRB Modern Reader's Bible
NAB New American Bible
NAS New American Standard Version
NBV New Berkeley Version
NCV New Century Version
NEB New English Bible
NIV New International Version
NJB New Jerusalem Bible
NJPS New JPS Version
NKJ New King James Version
NLT New Living Translation
NLV New Life Version
NRS New Revised Standard Version
NTJ A New Translation
NWT New World Translation
REB Revised English Bible
RSV Revised Standard Version
SARV Standard American Edition, Revised Version
SGAT An American Translation (Smith-Goodspeed)
SNB Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bibles
SSBE The Sacred Scriptures, Bethel Edition
TEV Today's English Version
TJB The Jerusalem Bible (Catholic)
YLR Young's Literal Translation, Revised Edition


Leviticus 17: 7

 

EVD They must not offer any more sacrifices to their 'goat idols'! They have chased after those other gods. In that way, they have acted like prostitutes. These rules will continue forever!
Other Versions: GW, NCV, NIV.
HSH And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto evil spirits, after whom they have gone astray. This is a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.
Other Versions: AAT, LB, NLT.
IB And they shall not sacrifice their sacrifices any more to goats, after which they have gone whoring. This is a never-ending statute to them throughout their generations.
Other Versions: YLR.
JBK And they shall no more offer their sacrifices to the demons, after whom they have gone astray. This shall be a statute for ever to them throughout their generations.
Other Versions: AB, DHB, EBR, HBME, LBP, NEB, NKJ, REB, SNB.
KJV And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a-whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.
Other Versions: IV.
KTC You have prostituted yourselves to the worship of false gods; to them you must offer victims no longer. Such is the law they and their descendants must obey for all time; ... .
Other Versions: [None.]
LXX And they shall no longer offer their sacrifices unto the vain gods after which they go a whoring; it shall be a perpetual statute to you for your generations.
Other Versions: [None.]
NBV They shall no longer present their offerings to field spirits whom they are adulterously courting.
Other Versions: AB.
NJPS ...; and that they may offer their sacrifices no more to the goat-demons after whom they stray. This shall be to them a law for all time, throughout the ages.
Other Versions: NAS, NRS, TEV.
NLV So they will no longer give their gifts to the goat-like gods to whom they sell themselves. This will be a Law to them for all their people forever.
Other Versions: AB.
NTJ And they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices unto the satyrs, after whom they go astray. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.
Other Versions: MNT, NAB, NJB, RSV, SGAT, TJB.
NWT So they should no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat-shaped demons with which they are having immoral intercourse. This will serve as a statute to time indefinite for YOU, throughout your generations.
Other Versions: [None.]
SARV And they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices unto the he-goats, after which they play the harlot. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.
Other Versions: HBRV, MRB, SSBE.


Notes

Darby Holy Bible:
Lit. 'hairy,' hence 'a buck-goat.' Sacrifices were offered to imaginary beings thus designated.

Living Bible:
Literally, "hairy ones."

The Jerusalem Bible (Catholic):
"Goats," contemptuously used of the demons in animal form thought to live in deserts and ruins.

New Berkeley Version:
The whole Hebrew nation had been married to Jehovah [Deut. 4:13, 23] at Sinai, and again [Deut. 29:1], a new generation on the plains of Moab.

New Living Translation:
Or goat idols.

Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon:
(1) hairy, rough; (2) a he-goat, hircus; as to the [idolatrous] worship of the he-goat among the Hebrews (following the example of the Egyptians), see Leviticus 17:7; 2 Chronicles 11:15; (3) wood demons, satyrs, resembling he-goats, inhabiting deserts.

Smith's Bible Dictionary:
Satyr: a sylvan deity or demigod of Greek mythology, represented as a monster, part man and part goat. Isaiah 13:21; 34:14. The Hebrew word signifies "hairy" or "rough," and is frequently applied to "he-goats." In the passages cited it probably refers to demons of woods and desert places. Comp. Leviticus 17:7; 2 Chronicles 11:15.
Devil (slanderer). The name describes Satan as slandering God to man and man to God. [SATAN; DEMON.]

Strong's Concordance:
Sā 'īr: as noun, a he-goat; by anal. a faun: devil, goat, hairy, kid, rough, satyr.

Vine's Expository Dictionary:
Leviticus 17:7: This passage demonstrates that the word [goat-demons] represents beings that were objects of pagan worship. Worship of these "demons" persisted long in the history of Israel, appearing under Jeroboam (929-909 B. C.), who "... ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves he made" (Chronicles 11:15).


Commentary

 

According to the reference notes, any of the various terms used is theoretically correct. However, the range of meanings is wide. According to Edersheim, Gesenius, and Smith, the best term in the context is "he-goat." It would appear that the various translators picked a term that they thought would fit. Does it make any difference which is right? Examine each rendition and see how each translation may or may not fit.