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Shaggy Devils

A "satyr" was the Greek term, meaning hairy one, which was used to describe "wilderness demons" that had the combined appearance of a man and a wild goat. The Hebrew word for the same desert-dwelling creature is pronounced saw-eer; it means a shaggy devil. Some English translations use the Greek word satyr to translate the Hebrew word, while others render it goat or devil.

The choice of the translation word isn't just due to different Bible versions. The King James Version alone variously renders the same original Hebrew word, saw-eer, as either "devil," "satyr" or "goat" (note carefully, as quoted below, where it's translated as "goat" i.e. the "devil goat" that was sent out into the wilderness on the Day of Atonement).

"17:7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils [the RSV renders it satyrs in this verse], after whom they have gone a whoring." (Leviticus 17:7 KJV)

"34:14 The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest." (Isaiah 34:14 KJV)

"9:15 And he brought the people's offering, and took the goat, which was the sin offering for the people, and slew it, and offered it for sin, as the first." (Leviticus 9:15 KJV)

"Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit"

The Israelites, even while still out in the Sinai after the Exodus, idolized the "shaggy devils." The practice continued however long afterward - and is described in the Book of Revelation regarding the future fall of Babylon. Note again how the original word is translated as "devil," "satyr" or "goat."

The Holy Scriptures

"17:7 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." (Leviticus 17:7 KJV)

"13:21 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 31:21 KJV)

"18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." (Revelation 18:2 KJV)

The vile practice of worshipping the desert devils continued, or was revived, by King Jeroboam after the kingdom of Israel divided into two kingdoms (see Jeroboam Of Israel and Rehoboam Of Israel And Judah). It was that idolatry that caused the Levites (those who were faithful to the LORD) to leave the northern kingdom entirely (see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?).

"11:14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest's office unto the LORD: 11:15 And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. 11:16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers." (2 Chronicles 11:14-16 KJV)

Two goats were used on the Day of Atonement observance by the Levites. Although the word used for both of them is "satyr," one of the goats was innocent (i.e. it represented Christ) - it merely had all of the sin of the other goat placed upon it. The other goat is sent alive out into the wilderness (it represents Satan, who cannot die, who will be sent into the abyss with the other fallen angels) where it dwelt with all of the lesser "devil goats" that were already there (see the Fact Finder question below to understand what "scapegoat" means).

"16:7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

16:8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.

16:9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.

16:10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness." (Leviticus 16:7-10 KJV)

Fact Finder: What does "scapegoat" actually mean in the Holy Bible?
See The Devil Goat


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