3.17) Lilith in Isaiah

The most overt evidence for Lilith in the Bible comes in Isaiah chapter 34.  That chapter contains the Bible’s only direct mention of Lilith by name.  Isaiah portrays Lilith as playing a critical role in God’s final judgment of the nations in the end times.  Her role is consistent with that prophesied by God for the Serpent of the garden.  At the crux of the final judgment of man, Isaiah sees Lilith engaged in rivalry with a woman named Ishshah (the first name of Eve).  For Isaiah, Lilith is emblematic of all the wicked, and God eternally damns her to a land of withering drought, cursing, and fire.  There all her seed perishes from her cursing.  Isaiah contrasts Lilith’s fate to Ishshah’s.  For Isaiah, Ishshah is emblematic of Israel and all the righteous who shall be redeemed.  Although Ishshah initially suffers alongside Lilith in the same curses, God redeems her from this situation.  He delivers Ishshah and her seed into the Messianic kingdom. 

Isaiah uses the symbolism of the Yom Kippur ceremony in his contrast between the two women.  This is not unexpected, as Yom Kippur foreshadows the great Day of Judgment, when the entire world shall be judged.  In Isaiah the Serpent Lilith and her seed represent the damned of that great day.  Ishshah (Eve) and her seed represent those who receive salvation.

Isaiah not only links the name Lilith to the Serpent in rivalry to Eve, he also corroborates many other mundane details of her legend.  He confirms the notion that Lilith dwells in the midst of the sea; that she is a deadly birdlike creature; that she is the slayer of stray younglings; that she is closely associated with a snake; and that she is the mother of failed seed that perishes from a cursing of God. 

3.17.1 Context of Isaiah 34

In order to fully understand Lilith’s role in Isaiah 34, a little background on the chapter is needed.  Chapters 34 and 35 of Isaiah discuss God’s final judgment of the nations in the end times.  Chapter 34 covers the cursing of the nations in that day, whereas chapter 35 covers blessing of Israel and the initiation of the Messianic era.  These two chapters are somewhat strange intrusions to Isaiah’s ongoing account of Sennacherib’s doomed siege of Jerusalem.  In chapters 28 to 33, the prophet predicts of the demise for the Assyrian siege.  In chapters 36 to 39, he then provides the historical narratives that document the siege’s failure.  However, between these passages lie chapters 34 and 35 and their discussion of the end times.  Many critics hold that the interruption of Sennacherib’s account by chapters 34 and 35 indicates that the text was corrupted by later editors.  However, supporters of the integrity of Isaiah’s text hold that the chapters are clever inclusions by the prophet.  They hold that Isaiah placed the chapters concerning the end times before Sennacherib’s defeat so that Israel could take heart that the distant future events of the end times would surely come to pass, just as the events of Sennacherib did in their day. 

Isaiah’s account of Sennacherib’s failed siege documents the destruction of Israel’s enemies and the subsequent age of peace and prosperity.  Likewise, chapters 34 and 35 discuss the eventual destruction of all of Israel’s enemies in the end times, and the subsequent ushering in of the Messianic era, which is an unprecedented time of peace and prosperity upon the earth.  By placing the two accounts in juxtaposition, Isaiah was reassuring Israel that they could trust his end time promises would come true, just as his previous promises concerning Sennacherib did. 

3.17.2 The Judgment of the Nations

Isaiah chapter 34 documents the judgment of the nations.  Isaiah heavily uses elements of Yom Kippur in his description.  In the first two verses, God calls all the nations to him and declares his indignation is on all them.  In verse 5 God states that his sword shall, “come down on Idumea, and on the people of my curse, to judgment.”  Thus, Idumea (i.e. Edom) is emblematic of all the enemy nations of Israel in the end times and the wicked who shall be judged on Yom Kippur.  Isaiah uses Idumea to symbolize the wicked because Idumea was a sister nation to Israel, but it hated Israel more than any other nation.  Throughout all its history Idumea was in bitter rivalry against Israel.[1]  As we shall see, this rivalry mirrors that between Lilith and Ishshah (Eve), and the general rivalry between the Sotah and the innocent woman of the bitter water trial.

Verse 6 makes an important declaration.  It declares that God’s sword in verse 5 shall take up two types of sacrifice.  This is again in keeping with the elements of Yom Kippur.  The first sacrifice, that of Bozrah, is Messiah.  It corresponds to the goat to Jehovah on Yom Kippur.  The second sacrifice, the great slaughter in Idumea, corresponds to the rejected sacrifice of Yom Kippur, the goat to Azazel. 

Isa 34:6 (KJV)

The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.

It is generally acknowledged that the sacrifice in Bozrah in verse 6 is in reference to Messiah.  Bozrah means “sheep pen.”  Isaiah 63 reveals that Messiah comes from Bozrah to his people Israel in power and glory.  His cloths are stained red with blood like one who treads the winepress.  He alone bore his burden of the winepress.  This blood is his own shed blood, and it refers to his redemptive act upon Golgotha.  Thus, the sacrifice in Bozrah in verse 6 refers to the accepted sacrifice of Jehovah.  This is mirrored in the goat to Jehovah on Yom Kippur that achieves atonement for all Israel.  It is the same accepted sacrifice for the innocent woman of the bitter water trial. 

The “slaughter in Idumea” is the rejected sacrifice of the iniquitous on Yom Kippur.  It is the goat to Azazel sent out in the wilderness bearing all the sins of the world.  This is the same rejected sacrifice of the defiled Sotah in the bitter water trial.  It is telling that in Isaiah’s judgment, Lilith abides in Idumea.  This links her to the judgment of Azazel on Yom Kippur, and indicates that she is the mother of Azazel. 

In verse 9 Isaiah details the cursing of the land of Idumea in its day of judgment.  Its streams shall be turned into rivers of molten tar, its dust transformed in brimstone, and the land itself shall become burning pitch.  The prophet declares that the smoking fires of the land shall never be quenched.  This mirrors the curses of the Sotah in the bitter water trial. 

Verses 11 through 13 reveal that Idumea shall become desolate and the habitation of various demons and creatures.  In verse 14 Lilith is the last of these mentioned demons.  Unfortunately, one will not see the name Lilith in the KJV translation.  The KJV renders Liyliyth (tylyl – Strongs 3917) as “screech owl.”  This is now commonly recognized as an error.  The ASV acknowledges that Liyliyth refers to a night monster.  The Gesenius lexicon likewise identifies it is as a nocturnal specter, and Strongs states that Liyliyth is the proper name of a night demon.  All these sources recognize that the passage refers to the demon Lilith, who is traditionally described as a night hag and succubus. 

Lilith has a very special and prominent role in Isaiah 34.  She appears at the crux of God’s eternal judgment between Idumea and Israel.  Isaiah gives her much more attention than any other demon in the chapter.  Whereas other demons and creatures in Isaiah 34 are just listed with little or no elaboration, Lilith is discussed in detail for four full verses (14-17).  Furthermore, she is rivaled by a female counterpart named Ishshah (the first name of Eve) who dwells alongside Lilith.  Isaiah declares that through a mystery of Jehovah’s word, Ishshah shall not remain in Idumea with Lilith on the Day of Judgment.  Rather she shall be redeemed from that place and inherit the Messianic kingdom.  As we shall see, Ishshah is emblematic of Eve in her struggle against the Serpent Lilith.  As such, she represents innocent Israel on Yom Kippur, and the innocent woman of the Sotah trial.  The Serpent Lilith is emblematic of Idumea, the damned of Yom Kippur, and the defiled Sotah.  Ishshah dwells in the curses of Idumea for a time because she is sinful and deserving of it by God’s standard.  Nevertheless, she shall be redeemed in that Day of Judgment.  Lilith shall not, but shall remain in the land of cursing. 

Verse 17 records the final judgment.  There God cast lots, and the eternal fates of the inhabitants of Idumea and of Israel are determined.  Idumea becomes the hellish abode of Lilith and her companions forever and ever.  However, Ishshah shall no longer be the neighbor counterpart of Lilith.  Her lot is with Israel.  This blessed fate is described beginning in the next passage, which starts chapter 35.  There the revival of the land of Israel is described.  It states God will come and save his people.  The wilderness and desert shall be glad for them that remain, and the plains shall rejoice and blossom as a rose.  The blind shall see and deaf shall hear.  Streams of fresh water will break out in the wilderness and the desert.  Lakes and pools shall form in the parched ground, and reptiles will dwell there amongst reeds and rushes.  In addition, a highway of holiness shall be built, and the unclean shall not pass over.  Sorrow shall depart from the land.  The people shall see God.  It is the Messianic era.

3.17.3 Isaiah’s Discussion of Lilith

Isaiah’s relatively lengthy discussion of Lilith comes in verses 14 through 17.  Unfortunately, the KJV translation of the passages is quite muddled.  Its rendition paints a rather tranquil setting where various animals take shelter in the ruins of the desolate land of Idumea.  Undoubtedly, the KJV’s difficulties with the passages stems from Isaiah’s unusual Hebrew and unexpected message.  The literal meaning of what is written is simply too fantastic to be believed at face value, and the symbolism needed to understand the passages is obtuse.  The KJV translation is provided below.

Isa 34: 14-17 (KJV)
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.
15  There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.
16  Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.
17  And he hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.

I believe the best and most literal translation of the three verses is that given below.  The word-by-word breakdown is given in Table 3‑18.  This literal translation, once its symbolism is understood, yields a surprising detailed account of Lilith. 

Isa 34:14-16 (My Literal)
14 And deserts shall meet islands, and the kid upon his neighbor shall call out, only there he had disturbed Lilith, because she had caught for herself a perch. 
15 Thence of her a snake had made a nest.  And she shall slip away, but she had torn open and she had covered in her shadow.  Only there had been assembled flying ones. 

      Ishshah is her counterpart.  16 Seek from upon the book of Jehovah, and read it.  One from them not shall remain. They had not visited Ishshah her counterpart.  Because my mouth, it is commanded, and his spirit, it has gathered them. 

The first verse indicates that a kid goat encounters Lilith where the deserts[2] meet the islands[3] and that this locale is a place where Lilith had found a perch.  From this, we learn that Lilith’s abode is the depths of the sea.  The odd phraseology of deserts meeting islands indicates that a catastrophic drought has taken place that has evaporated the oceans.[4]  The drought causes the deserts and islands to expand such that they extend into the ocean and meet in the former depths of the sea.  The notion that this phraseology indicates a catastrophic drought is also supported by the use of the same phrase in Jer 50:39.  There the cause of the deserts meeting the islands is linked to a severe draught upon the waters. 

wsgp:w 14
his neighbor  36
and kid 35
the islands 33
deserts 32
And shall meet
a perch 39
for herself
because she had caught
had disturbed her 37
shall call out
h:ms 15
and she had covered 43
but she had torn open 42
And she shall slip away 41
a snake 40
she had made a nest 38
Thence of her
is her counterpart 36
flying ones 44
they had been assembled
in her shadow
wsrd 16
from them
and read it
of Jehovah
from upon
they had visited
her counterpart 36
shall remain
has gathered them
and his spirit
it is
my mouth

Table 3‑18: A Transliteration of Isa 34:14-16

Verse 14 relates that the kid he-goat[5] calls out his counterpart[6], only to disturb[7] Lilith.  Some explain that the kid he-goat perhaps refers to a demonically possessed goat.  This is certainly in keeping with the demon-filled nature of the land.  I hold that there are two levels of interpretation.  The surface interpretation is that kid goat is calling for its lost mate, or mother.  This indicates that he was alone and unprotected, exactly the type of child prey upon which the Lilith of legend is said to feed.  However, there is a deeper interpretation.  The kid goat could represent the supernaturally animated seed of adultery in the bitter water trial and also the goat sent to Azazel on Yom Kippur.  In terms of the bitter water trial, the kid goat is the seed of adultery that calls out to his counterpart, hoping to find the promised seed of the innocent woman who shall bear his curses for him.  However, instead of finding his saving counterpart, he discovers the slaying spirit of Lilith and perishes.  Likewise, the kid goat also represents the goat sent to Azazel on Yom Kippur, who dies by the curses of Lilith.

Verse 14 also demonstrates the birdlike characteristics of Lilith.  The Hebrew words for “had made a nest”[8] and “perch”[9] are both words normally used in describing birds.  It is also demonstrated by the word for “she had covered” in her shadow, which implies a bird’s motherly “brooding over” her young.  The word’s only other use in the Bible comes in Jer 17:11.  There it is used to describe how a bird sits over or broods over her eggs.  Hence, it implies a motherly “brooding over.” 

Verse 15 reveals that a snake[10] had made a nest in the place where Lilith abides.  The making of a nest with Lilith implies that they had formed a union for the purpose of raising seed together.  This certainly conforms to the Serpent’s agenda of raising its infamous seed in rivalry to Eve’s.  Just as rabbis teach that Leviathan referred to the spirit of Lilith (fused with Samael) and the dragon referred to her body, so too here in Isaiah 34, the snake refers to her body and the winged Lilith refers to her spirit.  Thus, the physical body of the snake had made a nest for the spirit of Lilith. 

The middle part of verse 15 requires care to understand.  It consists of three major verb actions performed by Lilith.  The first verb is in the present or future tense and indicates that Lilith “will slip away.”[11]  This could be a poetic allusion at her escape from the garden and her nature at the fleeing serpent before God.  The next two verbs are in the past tense and must indicate actions she had performed before slipping away.  The first indicates that “she had torn open.”[12]  The second indicates that “she had covered”[13] in her shadow.  As we have seen, this second word indicates a motherly brooding over, like a bird sitting upon her nest.  I hold that the first verb is her response to the first mentioned creature – the kid who disturbed her.  The second verb is her response to the second mentioned creature – the snake who nested with her.  She tore open the kid goat who disturbed her, and she covered or brooded over the younglings of the nest the snake had made with her. 

There is a mystery to be learned from the word Isaiah selected to relate that Lilith “had torn open.”  The word is from the verb root baqa and literally translates “but she had torn open.”  The KJV translates the word as “and hatched”, but that really cannot be the understanding of the verb.  Baqa is used 51 times in the Bible.  Every time the KJV translates it as some form of “to break open” or “to tear open.”  The only exceptions being here in Isa 34 and once again in Isa 59:5, where baqa is once more rendered “hatch.” However, I hold that even in that passage it would best be rendered as “break open.”  It should be understood to say that iniquitous schemers “break open” cockatrice eggs and that whoever eats them dies.  That baqa should be rendered “break open” is demonstrated later in the same verse.  It explains why the people who eat their eggs die, it is vipors that baqa (“break out”) from this crushing. 

Isa 59:5 (KJV)

5  They hatch (baqa) cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh (baqa) out into a viper.

Isa 59 brings to light an important teaching of Isaiah that seems to come into play in chapter 34 concerning Lilith.  In Isaiah chapter 59 cockatrice eggs of the iniquitous supernaturally give rise to vipers.  The hatchlings are not in the image of its supposed parent.  Likewise, in chapter 34 there is the intriguing possibility that the snake’s eggs give rise to “flying ones.” 

3.17.4  Lilith and her Flying Ones

Verse 15 states that after Lilith had torn open the kid goat and had covered the snake’s nest in her shadow, “Only there had been assembled dayot (flying ones).”  What are these winged creatures?  The word dayot is translated as “vultures” by the KJV, but it literally means “flying ones.”[14]  No one really knows to what dayot refers.  The ASV renders it “kites.”  Gesenius is uncommitted, saying only that it only refers to some type of bird of prey.  However, it does suggest it may indicate falcons or kites.  The ILB goes with “hawks.”  The problem with identifying the creatures arises because dayot is used nowhere else in the Bible, and the singular root from which it is derived is used but once in De 14:13.  There it apparently refers to an unclean bird.  However, is not entirely clear that dayot refer to birds in Isaiah 34.  The root meaning “to fly” from which the word is derived is apparently used in the names of two different kinds of birds in the Bible.  It might be used to generate a name denoting any flying creature. 

It is certainly a possibility that dayot should be understood as vulture or some type of bird of prey.  Verse 15 could be understood as saying that vultures were gathered around the carcass of the slain kid goat.  Even more likely is that the passage is relating that the vultures were gathered around the failed brood of Lilith and the snake.  This is indicated by the phrase “only there” in verse 15.  It implies that the outcome of Lilith’s nest with the snake went contrary to her intentions.  Just as the kid goat had called to its neighbor, “only there” he disturbed Lilith, so too Lilith brooded over her nest, “only there” assembled the flying ones — vultures ready to dine on her dead seed.

There may be an even deeper mystery indicated by the flying ones assembled at Lilith’s nest.  Instead of dayot referring to birds feasting on her dead seed, perhaps the dayot are the failed seed of the snake and Lilith.  I hold out the intriguing possibility that the flying ones surrounding Lilith could be a poetic reference to her enumerable seed which are taught by certain rabbis to be forever flying around her.  According to rabbinic tradition concerning Lilith’s role as a succubus, any semen she steals with a man results in him siring supernatural illegitimate seed with her.  These seed are among her 100 that die every day.  However, other rabbinic tradition holds that these seed do not perish from the world until the death of the man. 

Abraham Sabba, an early 16th century Kabbalist writes of the strange connection between this supernatural siring of seed and a man’s death.  All the illegitimate children that a man has begotten with Lilith in the course of his life appear after his death to take part in the mourning for him and in his funeral.  This is because all those spirits that have built their bodies from a drop of his semen regard him as their father.  On the day of his burial, he thereby suffers punishment at their hand.  They swarm around him like bees, crying, “You are our father.” [15]  They complain and lament because they have lost their home and are now being tormented along with the other demons who roam bodiless in the air.  These seed contend with the man’s natural born children, seeking their share of his inheritance.  Therefore, the children of a deceased man are warned not to follow their father’s corpse to the graveyard until it has been cleansed and buried, lest they fall prey to these evil spirits. 

Now Sabba holds that the evil seed does not harass and swarm around the man until his death.  Yet they complain because they have lost the physical body in which they use to dwell.  What is this physical body which the swarming spirits could inhabit?  I hold it is Lilith.  The seed she sires dwells with her as long as the man lives.  When he dies, her seed departs, and in anguish, they harangue the man.  So could the flying ones in Isaiah 34 refer to a swarm of seed which continually fly around Lilith like bees?  They dwell with her and die by the hundreds each day.  It is an intriguing possibility.  The notion is also consistent with notions in the Zohar the Lilith clings to seed and does not let it go until it dies.  It is very possible that Sabba was inspired to teach of this swarming seed based on the passages of Isaiah.

3.17.5  Lilith and Ishshah

The most provocative evidence in Isaiah identifying his Lilith as the Serpent of the garden comes in the final portion of verse 15 and the entirety of verse 16.  Unfortunately, the text in question has notoriously given translators headaches.  The problem for them is that Isaiah is couching a very profound statement within a bit of a riddle, and the literal Hebrew does not seem to make sense without understanding the riddle.  Verse 15 concludes, “Ishshah is her counterpart.”  Verse 16 says, “They had not visited Ishshah her counterpart.”  Ishshah is a common word appearing 777 other times in the Bible.  It practically always means “woman.”[16]  However, most translators assume ishshah here must be some exotic pronoun used in a clause referring to the previous flying ones.  Otherwise, the passage makes little sense to them.  The KJV, ASV, ILB, and YLT render the first phrase, “every one with her mate” and the second “none shall want her mate.”  This twists the plain meaning of the words and adds a phantom preposition “with” that is not in the Hebrew.  Even with these distortions, the sentence still does not make sense, because it implies a pleasant situation for the creatures of the cursed land.  The opposite must be true of the hellish abode of Idumea. 

Fred P Miller, in his Translation of the Book of Isaiah, goes so far as to suggest a text corruption.  He says concerning verse 16, “If the reading in the Masoretic or received text is faithful reconstruction of Isaiah’s actual words then this is one of his most confused constructions and does not conform to his ordinary literary excellence, which at almost all times is the work of a genius.”  He goes on to say, “The M[asoretic] text for this verse actually defies a translation that would not be extremely clumsy with out altering the word order greatly. Complicating this in M[asoretic] the word ishshah (woman) is translated ‘none’ in the KJV.”  

There is an easy solution to the translators’ problems — read the words of Isaiah with the exact plain meaning they always have.  I hold that the ishshah should be understood with its nearly universal meaning of “woman” in the passages.  Furthermore, I hold that Isaiah intended that ishshah be understood as the proper name Ishshah, which is the name Eve bore when God cursed her and Lilith in the garden (see section 3.10 for a discussion of the Eve’s name as Ishshah). 

That Isaiah intends Ishshah to refer to Eve and symbolically to innocent Israel is clear.  In verse 16 Isaiah interrupts his narrative to warn the reader of the deep mystery he is unveiling.  He understands that what he is writing will be too difficult for most future readers to understand, and wants to insure that the reader is aware of a deep mystery.  He admonishes the reader, “Seek from upon the book of Jehovah, and read it.”  He then states, “One from them not shall remain.”[17]  By this, he is saying that from all the various creatures inhabiting the desolate land he has discussed, one of them shall not remain in the cursed abode.  He then boldly states, “They had not visited Ishshah her counterpart.”  “They” is in apparent reference to the dayot flying ones assembled around Lilith.  Thus, Isaiah is stating that Ishshah shall not be visited by the flying ones as Lilith was.  Ishshah’s brood shall not fail, but shall live.  It also means that Ishshah shall be delivered from the cursed land of Idumea, for she “shall not remain.”  She shall inherit Israel’s Promised Land that shall be healed, as revealed in the following verses of chapter 35. 

In the last half of verse 16 Isaiah clinches the import of his word.  He declares it is the truth because “my mouth, it is commanded” from God.  He also declares that Ishshah’s redemption from the land of Idumea is possible because it was by the power of God’s spirit that the flying ones were gathered together.[18]  This could be interpreted in two ways.  First, it could be saying that God had gathered the flying ones destined for Ishshah to some other location, possibly Lilith’s abode.  Second, it could be relating that if it was in God’s power to gather the flying ones about Lilith, it was in his power to redeem Ishshah from such a fate. 

3.17.6 Lilith, the Final Judgment, and Yom Kippur

Verse 17 marks Isaiah’s transition from discussing the cursed land of Edom to discussing the revived promised land of Israel.  It states that God had cast the lot to his people, and his hand has divided up the land, and Israel shall be their abode from generation to generation.  This casting of a lot for them invokes the image of the Yom Kippur ceremony.  In that ceremony, which celebrates and mirrors the final judgment discussed here by Isaiah, lots are cast to determine the fates of people judged on Yom Kippur.  In the ceremony a lot is cast upon each of two sacrificial goats.  One lot designates the goat to Jehovah.  The other lot designates the goat to Azazel; this is the scapegoat.  Isaiah implies that the redemption of Ishshah from the land is somehow tied up in this casting of lots.  We shall see this is because Azazel is Lilith’s infamous seed, and when the lot is cast upon his goat, all the sins of Israel are placed upon the goat and sent to Azazel.  We shall discuss this topic in more detail in chapter 6.4. 

3.17.7 Summary of Lilith in Isaiah 34

Isaiah 34 provides a remarkable glimpse into Lilith.  It provides the only direct Biblical discussion of Lilith by name.  In four brief passages we find all the essential elements of the Lilith legend confirmed.  Lilith is the counterpart to Ishshah, who is Eve.  Lilith and her failed seed lie at the crux of God’s great judgment of the nations on Yom Kippur.  She is a bird-like demon dwelling in the depths of the sea.  She is a slayer of the young not protected.  She is described as fleeing and escaping.  She is innately fused with a snake, who makes a nest with her to the purpose of raising seed.  She is mother of failed seed.  These are the flying ones which God’s spirit has assembled around her like a swarm of bees.  Ishshah shares in Lilith’s curses at the onset.  However, in the day of God’s final judgment associated with Yom Kippur, Ishshah shall not be visited by flying ones.  Instead, when the lots are cast, she shall be delivered from the cursed land and receive the inheritance of God’s promised land.  However, to Lilith is cast the lot for Azazel.  Upon this lot is heaped all the sins of the world.  Lilith and her seed Azazel shall bear these curses for all eternity in the hellish Idumea. 

[1] Commentary on Isaiah, Harry Bultema, Kregel Publications; 1991.

[2] The word meaning ‘desert’ (translated by KJV as “wild beasts of the desert”) is tsiyim (Myyu).  Tsiyim is the plural form of tsiyiy (yyu – Strongs 06728), which means a ‘dry desert’.  All 22 times either form of tsiyiy is used in the Bible, it means dry desert. 

[3] The word meaning ‘islands’ (translated by KJV as “wild beast of the islands”) is ay’im (Myya).  Ay’im is the plural form of ay (ya – Strongs 338, 339), which means ‘island’.  All 39 times either form of ay is used in the Bible it means ‘islands’.  

[4] Note that even if KJV translation of “beasts of the desert” and “beasts of islands” is maintained, the same logical conclusion is still reached.  Animals of the deserts can only meet animals of the islands if the ocean disappears.

[5] The word meaning ‘kid he-goat’ (translated by KJV translates as “satyr”) is sa’iyr (ryes – Strongs 8163).  In 55 other appearances of sa’iyr in the Bible, it is translated by the KJV as a “kid” goat or “goat” 52 times.  The remaining times it appears in the prophets and is rendered either satyr or devil.  In those passages, like here, it probably refers to a demonically possessed kid he-goat.   

[6] The word meaning ‘counterpart’ (translated by the KJV as “neighbor”) is re’uwth (twer – Strongs 7468).  The KJV often translates it “neighbor”, but the word doesn’t necessarily imply physical closeness.  It is also sometimes translated “companion” or “mate”, but the word doesn’t imply such a union.  It more properly means ‘associate’ or ‘counterpart’.  For example, in Ex 11:2 Moses commands the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians just before there exodus.  Each man was to take from his Egyptian re’uwth (counterpart) and each woman was to take from her Egyptian re’uwth (counterpart).

[7] The word meaning ‘had disturbed her’ (translated by the KJV as “shall rest”) is h’ragy’eh (heygrh).  H’ragy’eh is the Hiphal, or causative, form of raga (egr – Strongs 7280), which means ‘to stir up’ or ‘to disturb’.  It is also in the feminine perfect tense.  Hence, h’ragy’eh means ‘had disturbed her’. 

[8] The word meaning ‘she had made a nest’ is qananah (hnnq).  It is the feminine perfect tense of qanan (Nnq – Strongs 7077), which means ‘to nest’.  Qanan appears only 4 other times in the Bible.  In all its usages qanan describes the making of nests by birds.  The first appearance of qanan comes in Ps 104:17.  There it is related that the birds make their nests in the cedars of Lebanon. 

[9] The word meaning ‘perch’ (translated by KJV as “place of rest”) is manowach (xwnm – Strongs 4494).  Manowach is used but 6 other times in the Bible.  Its first overall appearance (which is also an exact spelling match with Isa 34:14) comes in Ge 8:9.  There it is related that the dove that Noah sent out from the Ark returned because it found no manowach for its feet amongst the flooded earth. 

[10] The word meaning ‘snake’ (which the KJV rather woefully translates as “great owl”) is qippowz (zwpq – Strongs 7091).  The Gesenius and Strongs lexicons identify qippowz as meaning ’arrow snake‘, from a root meaning to contract in order to dart forth.  The ASV likewise updates the KJV to say “dart-snake.”  The ILB also renders it “snake.” 

[11] The word meaning ‘and she will slip away’ (translated by the KJV as “and to lay”) is v’tamalat (jlmt:w).  Tamalat is singular feminine imperfect tense of the verb malat (jlm – Strongs 4422), which means ‘to escape’ or ‘to slip away’, plus a vahv (w) conjunctive prefix meaning ‘and’.  The first root spelling match of tamalat in the Bible comes in Jer 34:3 (jlmt), where it is translated “escape” by the KJV. 

[12] The word meaning ‘and she had broken open’ (translated by the KJV as “and hatch”) is v’baqah (heqb:w).  V’baqah is the feminine perfect tense of the root baqa (eqb – Strongs 1234), which means ‘to cleave’ or ‘to tear open’, plus a vahv (w) conjunctive prefix meaning ‘and’ or ‘but’.  Thus, v’baqah means ‘but she had broken open’.  Baqa is used some 51 times in the Bible.  Except for 2 times when the KJV translates it as “hatch”, it means some variant of ‘to break open’ or ‘to tear open’.  The first use of baqa comes in Ge 7:11 in the Niphal (passive) form.  There it relates that the fountains of the deep were n’baqa (broken up) causing Noah’s flood. 

[13] The word meaning ‘and she had covered’ (translated by the KJV as “and shall gather”) is v’dagarah (hrgd:w).  V’dagarah is the feminine perfect tense of the root dagar (rgd – Strongs 1716), which means ‘to cover’, plus a vahv (w) conjunctive prefix.

[14] The word literally meaning ‘flying ones’ (translated by KJV as “vultures”) is dayot (twyd).  Dayot is the plural form of dayah (hyd – Strongs of 01772).  Dayah, in turn is the intensive form of verb da’ah (had – Strongs 01675), which means ‘to fly fast’. 

[15] On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism, Gershom Scholem, p. 155.

[16] There are a few instances (less than 10) where ishshah is used to poetically denote items, such as the tabernacle curtains in Ex 26:3, 5-6. 

[17] The word meaning ‘remain’ (translated by KJV as “fail”) is nadarah (hrden).  It is feminine Niphal tense of adar (rde – Strongs 5737).  According to Gesenius lexicon, adar means ‘to desert perfidiously’.  Adar is never used in the Qal in the Bible.  In Isa 34 it is used in the Niphal, or passive tense, and means ‘to be left behind’ and thus ‘to remain’.  The KJV usually translates the Niphal tense of adar as “fail” or “lacking.”  This stems from the way the word is usually used.  Consider 2Sa 17:22, which reads in the KJV, “Then David arose, and all the people that were with him, and they passed over Jordan: by the morning light there lacked (nadarah) not one of them that was not gone over Jordan.”  However, the precise literal reading of the verse should be, “… there remained (nadarah) not one of them that was not gone over Jordan.”

[18] That what the spirit of God had ‘gathered together’ was the flying ones is indicated by the word for ‘gathered together’, which is the same word used for the ‘assembled’ flying ones of Lilith in verse 15.