In the New American Bible translation I see these for Isaiah 34:14

(12) Her nobles shall be no more, nor shall kings be proclaimed there; all her princes are gone. (13) Her castles shall be overgrown with thorns, her fortresses with thistles and briers. She shall become an abode for jackals and a haunt for ostriches. (14) Wildcats shall meet with desert beasts, satyrs shall call to one another; There shall the Lilith repose, and find for herself a place to rest. (15) There the hoot owl shall nest and lay eggs, hatch them out and gather them in her shadow; There shall the kites assemble, none shall be missing its mate. (16) Look in the book of the LORD and read: No one of these shall be lacking, For the mouth of the LORD has ordered it, and His spirit shall gather them there. (17) It is He who casts the lot for them, and with His hands He marks off their shares of her; They shall possess her forever, and dwell there from generation to generation.

Looks like that is the only mention of Lilith in the bible.

  1. Are there any more references in Early Christian Scriptures?
  2. Saw somewhere that Lilith was a female evil spirit borne using the same earth that the first Man was pot-borne with..Is this by the Scriptures?
  3. Also, that a regular exorcism will not work on Lilith, but the Jehovah has to intervene to cast her out. Again, any scriptural basis for such a claim?
  • Lilith laughs. Our Holy Spirit is a Screech Owl, ha? 😜 Jul 11, 2023 at 14:38

4 Answers 4


LEB has this as Lilith, in the sense of the night-hag or demon:

And desert creatures shall meet with hyenas, and a goat-demon shall call to his neighbor; surely there Lilith shall repose, and she shall find a resting place for herself.

In no gloss that I've seen has "screech owl" as the primary meaning of lilit. Every gloss refers to a night-hag, night demon from many witnesses in Assyrian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and other ANE languages as the primary and most-likely meaning. To the best of my knowledge, the translation as "screech owl" is conjectural and is not attested to by ancient witnesses:

The birds are surely not various kinds of owl, as Aharoni believes, even identifying lîlîṯ and śeʿîrîm as owls.

Frevel, C. (2006). תַּן. G. J. Botterweck, H. Ringgren, & H.-J. Fabry (Eds.), D. E. Green (Trans.), Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (Revised Edition, Vol. 15, p. 719). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Also note the reference to goat-demon or satyr, sa'ir, in the same passage, which is another supernatural creature.

Here is the HALOT entry on sa'ir:

III שָׂעִיר = I; MHeb. a type of demon: pl. שְׂעִירִ(י)ם: the hairy one, a goat (buck) demon, satyr ? (for bibliography see Gesenius-B.; Reicke-R. Hw. 325, 316; see further N.H. Snaith VT 25 (1975) 115-118; see also the versions on the following instances; cf. also SamP. versions לשערים laššārəm, Tg. לתערים. —1. Lv 17:7 Is 13:21 34:14 2C 11:15; cj. 2K 23:8 for בָּמוֹת הַשְּׁעָרִים prp. בָּמַת הַשְּׂעִירִים, see BHS and ZürBib.; cf. Gesenius-B. under I שַׁעַר (p. 855a); REB: he dismantled the shrines of the demons; NEB: the hill-shrines of the demons (margin: satyrs) :: Gray Kings3 730: cj. בָּמַת הַשֹּׁעֲרִים the sanctuary of the gatekeepers (the spirits), :: TOB and Snaith VT 25 (1975) 116: MT; NRSV: he brokedown the high places of the gates.
—General remark: according to Snaith the שְׂ׳ of Lv 17:7 2C 11:15 (on Dt 32:2 → IV *שָׂעִיר) are rain deities or fertility deities, the Baals of the rainstorms; he suggests that the שְׂ of Is 13:21 34:14 should also be interpreted thus (see VT 25 (1975) 118) but simple animals without any religious connection could also be intended (see p. 115). —2. expressions: with זבח (לַשְּׂ׳) Lv 17:7; with נָתַץ 2K 23:8, see above for cj.; with עמד hif. (כֹּהֲנִים לַבָּמוֹת וְלַשְּׂ׳) 2C 11:15; with II קרא (qal, cj. nif.) Is 34:14; with רקד pi. Is 13:21. †

Here is the HALOT entry on Lilit:

Donner-R. Inschriften 2:46; JArm., Montgomery Inc. Texts 75ff; Rossell 137b also with לילי דיכרא as well as לילית ניקבתא; Syr. lēlītā, Mnd. (Drower-M. Dictionary 236b, also pl. liliata), in incantations MAOG 4:110ff; Akk. < lilū, lilītu and ardat lilī, group of three storm demons, < Sum. lil (Zimmern 69; AHw. 553b; Haussig Wb. 1:48, 275); derived in folk-etymology from לַיִל: Lilit, (fem.) demon connected with sexual relationships (incubus-succubus, RLA 2:110f, → חנק: ? in the “Burney-Relief” AfO 11:350ff, 554ff; 12:128ff, 269ff; Syria 29:85ff; Albright BASOR 67:16ff; Böhl JbEOL 2:725f; :: Vaccari Osiris 5:469ff; female apparition in the night, screech-owl; Driver PEQ 91:55ff; nightjar (the goat-sucker bird); see further → Rudolph Mandäer 1:2107; Enz. Judt. 10:972f: Is 34:14 (1QIsa pl. ליליות), cj. Jb 18:15 for מִבְּלִי־לוֹ (Beer; Hölscher; Fohrer). †

Koehler, L., Baumgartner, W., Richardson, M. E. J., & Stamm, J. J. (1994–2000). The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament (electronic ed., pp. 528–529). Leiden: E.J. Brill.

Note that these two animals are not the only supernatural references in Isaiah. There are references to serpents, sea-monsters, etc. E.g.:

Is 27.1 (LEB)

On that day, Yahweh will punish with his cruel, great and strong sword Leviathan, the fleeing serpent, and Leviathan (liwyathan), the twisting serpent, and he will kill the sea monster (tannin) that is in the sea.

Isaiah 51.9 (LEB)

Awake! Awake; put on strength, O arm of Yahweh! Awake as in days of long ago, the generations of a long time back! Are you not the one who cut Rahab (Rahab) in pieces, the one who pierced the sea-dragon (tannin)?

When monsters appear in prophetic imagery, it does not mean that the author is claiming there are physical monsters, dragons, satyrs or night hags. This is prophetic imagery, like references to dragons and Apollyon in Revelation. What matters is the message being conveyed in the prophecy. So for example, Rahab, the sea-monster is a reference to Egypt, itself a reference for the world of gentiles. Night hags can be references to women wandering around without a husband and thus barrenness (thus an appropriate image for the desolation of Edom in this passage).

To add another layer of interpretation, in prophecies against a people, animals can be a reference to the nobility of the foreign power. Thus the description of animals being slaughtered and dark spirits left to roam the barren landscape is a powerful image of the scope of destruction. That is Hermeneia's commentary:

But it is also clear that the animals mentioned are only metaphors for the human population of Edom and its important city Bozrah. There is a long convention in West Semitic of using animal names as designations for human nobility, so the prophet’s audience would immediately have thought of Edom’s human leaders as the sacrificial animals God was slaughtering. Moreover, this motif of Yahweh’s sacrifice of his human enemies is found already in Zeph 1:7–8, from the time of Josiah; in Jer 46:10, from c. 605 BCE; and in Ezek 39:17–19, from the first half of the Babylonian exile. Here this slaughter of Edom’s nobility is not restricted to the mid-level nobility, the rams and billy goats. As v. 7 indicates, the most powerful of Edom’s leaders, the wild oxen (רְאֵמִים, rĕʾēmîm) will go down with them, and the young bulls (וּפָרִים, ûpārîm) with the mighty bulls (עִם־אַבִּירִים, ʿim-ʾabbîrîm). The slaughter will be so great that their land will be saturated (וְרִוְּתָה, wĕriwwĕtâ) with blood, and their dust will be greasy (יְדֻשָּׁן, yĕduššān) with fat. This is coming, because Yahweh will have his day of vengeance and year of recompense for the cause of Zion (v. 8). [..] Edom’s dry water-courses or wadis will be turned to pitch, its dust to brimstone, and its land to burning pitch (v. 9). The burning land will never be quenched, day or night; its smoke will rise forever; it will remain a ruin throughout the generations with no one ever crossing through it (v. 10). The imagery here of an utterly desolate, inhospitable, and abandoned landscape, burning with an unquenchable fire, comes close to the traditional descriptions of the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain (Gen 19:24–28; Deut 29:23; Isa 13:19–20; Jer 49:18; 50:40; Amos 4:11; Zeph 2:9), then, via the pagan tophet, of the sacrificial burning of children in the valley of the son of Hinnom (בְּגֵיא בֶן־הִנֹּם, bĕgêʾ ben-hinnōm, 2 Kgs 23:10; Jer 7:31–32; 19:2–6; 32:35; cf. Isa 66:24), and of the later descriptions of hell (γέενναν, geennan, Matt 5:22, 29–30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; Jas 3:6; cf. Rev 20:14–15; 21:8). At v. 11 the prophet drops the fire imagery to elaborate on the imagery of an abandoned landscape inhabited only by wild creatures of the deserted steppe. The identification of many of these desert creatures is highly uncertain. The jackdaw (קָאַת, qāʾat, or “owl”) and the hedgehog (וְקִפּוֹד, wĕqippôd, or “short-eared owl”), the great owl (יַנְשׁוֹף, yanšôp, or “ibis” or “bee-eater”), and the raven (עֹרֵב, ʿōrēb) will dwell there. There will be no human builder there to stretch out a measuring line (קַו, qaw) or drop a stone plumb line to check the depth of a well or to see that the wall he is building is vertical (cf. Isa 28:17; Amos 7:7–8; Zech 4:10). The only line there will be the line of chaos that Yahweh stretches over it; the only stones, those of empty badlands. [..] Wildcats (צִיִּים, sîyîm) will meet hyennas (אִיִּים, ʾîyîm, or “jackals”) and a goat-demon (שָׂעִיר, śāʿîr) will call to its companion; there too the Lilithdemon (לִּילִית, lîlît) will repose and find a resting place for herself (v. 14). Here the prophet leaves the actual fauna of deserted places for the common superstitious fear of them that populates them with frightful demons as well as wild and sometimes dangerous animals. The goat-demons were similar to the satyrs of the Greek world, while Lilith was a female demon feared for killing babies and otherwise creating havoc with human sexuality.

Roberts, J. J. M. (2015). First Isaiah: A Commentary. (P. Machinist, Ed.) (p. 436). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

In terms of the other questions about Lilit, these are medieval rabbinical traditions. If you look at ancient near east traditions, the issue with Lilit was one of fertility and killing of children. Thus a figure of barrenness and wind blowing over a barren landscape. Here is the excellent Dictionary of deities and demons in the Bible entry on Lilith:

I. The Heb term lîlît as a →demon in Isa 34:14 is connected by popular etymology with the word laylâ ‘night’. But it is certainly to be considered a loan from Akk lilı̄tu, which is ultimately derived from Sum líl. II. The Mesopotamian evidence for this demon reaches back to the 3rd millennium BCE as we can see from the Sumerian epic ‘Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Netherworld’. Here we find Inanna (→Ishtar) who plants a tree later hoping to cut from its wood a throne and a bed for herself. But as the tree grows, a snake makes its nest at its roots, Anzu settled in the top and in the trunk the demon ki-sikil-líl-lá makes her lair. Gilgamesh has to slay the snake. Anzu and the demon flee so that he can cut down the tree and give the timber to Inanna. From the term líl we can see that these demons are related to stormy winds. In Akk texts lilû, lilı̄tu and (w)ardat lilî often occur together as three closely related demons whose dominion are the stormy winds. Thus lilû can also be seen as the southwest wind, lilı̄tu can flee from a house through the window like the wind or people imagine that she is able to fly like a bird. Of greater importance, however, is the sexual aspect of the—mainly—female demons lilı̄tu and (w)ardat lilî. Thus the texts refer to them as the ones who have no husband, or as the ones who stroll about searching for men in order to ensnare them or to enter the house of a man through the window (see the references given by FAUTH 1982:60–61; LACKENBACHER 1971; HUTTER 1988:224–226). But their sexuality is not a normal kind of sexuality because (w)ardat lilî is a girl with whom a man does not sleep in the same way as with his wife, as the texts tell us. In this aspect we can compare these demons with Ishtar who stands at the window looking for a man in order to seduce him, love him and kill him. The fact that Lilith’s sexuality is not a regular kind of sexuality is also illustrated by references which show that she cannot bear children and that she has no milk but only poison when she gives her breast as a deceitful wet-nurse to the baby. In all these aspects Lilith has a character similar to that of Lamashtu. Thus, since the Middle Babylonian period Lilith and Lamashtu have been assimilated to each other. This also led to the spreading of Lilith from the Mesopotamian to the Syrian area. The traditional reading of Arslan Tash amulet I (ANET 658) suggests that she was revered in Phoenicia. A reconsideration of the original, however, forces a reading ll wym ‘night and day’ instead of lly[… ‘Lili[th … (BUTTERWECK TUAT II/3:437). Aramaic magical texts and the scriptures of the Mandaeans in southern Mesopotamia have clear allusions to the demon (FAUTH 1986). In conclusion we can say that the female demon—lilı̄tu, (w)ardat lilî)—can be considered a young girl who has not reached maturity and thus has to stroll about ceaselessly in search of a male companion. Sexually unfulfilled, she is the perpetual seductress of men. III. The only reference to this demon in the OT occurs in Isa 34:14. The whole chapter describes the prophetic judgement on →Edom which will become waste land. Then all kinds of demons will dwell there: among them hyenas, tawny owls, vultures and also Lilith. The different versions and ancient translations of the OT are of some interest in this case as we can see how they interpreted ‘Lilith’. The LXX gives the translation ὀνοκένταυρος (cf. also LXX Isa 13:22; 34:11), Aquila’s version has the transliteration Λιλιθ, while Symmachos’ version gives the name of the Greek demon Λαμία, which corresponds to Jerome’s Vulgate (also Lamia). In his commentary Jerome says: “Lamia, who is called Lilith in Hebrew. (…) And some of the Hebrews believe her to be an Ἔριννυς, i.e. fury”. Still, these translations and interpretations of Lilith show her ancient connection to Lamashtu. The onokentauros of the LXX reminds us of those amulets where Lamashtu is standing upon a donkey. The Greek name Lamia might ultimately derive from Akkadian Lamashtu. Although Isa 34 contains the only biblical reference to Lilith, she occurs fairly often in Jewish and Christian scriptures (KREBS 1975; BRIL 1984). In the Talmud she is a demon with long hair and wings (Erub. 100b; Nid. 24b), and Shab. 151b warns all men not to sleep alone in a house lest Lilith will overcome them. B. Bat. 73a makes her the daughter of Ahreman, the opponent of Ohrmizd in the Zoroastrian religion. Well known is also the legend of Lilith who was →Adam’s first wife but flew away from him after a quarrel; since then she has been a danger to little children and people have to protect themselves against her by means of amulets. Solomon in his great wisdom also possessed might over demons and the Liliths; in later Jewish legends one of the two wives from 1 Kgs 3:16–28 was identified with Lilith; so was the Queen of Sheba (1 Kgs 10). Such legends spread until the Middle Ages. In popular belief Lilith became not only the grandmother of the →devil or the devil himself, but also the arch-mother of witchcraft and witches.

Hutter, M. (1999). Lilith. In K. van der Toorn, B. Becking, & P. W. van der Horst (Eds.), Dictionary of deities and demons in the Bible (2nd extensively rev. ed., pp. 520–521). Leiden; Boston; Köln; Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: Brill; Eerdmans.


The Wycliffe 1382 (translated from Jerome's Vulgate) gives :

and an heeri schulen meete; oon schal crie to an other.

The Coverdale Bible of 1935, Matthews Bible of 1937, The Great Bible of 1539, and The Bishop's Bible of 1568 all call it a 'lamia' :

There shal straunge visures and monstruous beastes mete one another, & the wylde kepe company together. There shal the lamia lye, & haue hir lodginge.

This is a superstitious reference to mythology, it would seem.

From 1611 onwards, 'screech owl' is accepted by the KJV 1611 and 1769 and Webster's 1833 but Robert Young favours 'night-owl' in his Literal Bible of 1862.

There is some evidence to suggest that 'lilith' is derived from or influenced by 'lamia' as they both have a certain superstitious or mythological meaning within their spectrum of usage.

I would be inclined, myself, to go with 'screech owl' or 'night owl' and ignore the superstition and mythology for Isaiah's book is not in the least superstitious or mythological in the rest of its content.

All bible references are from Textus Receptus Bibles.


If you check Strong's Concordance you can find that there is at least some consensus of Hebrew scholars that the word underlying " Lilith " is properly taken to mean a screech owl rather than a proper name.This goes back further than the KJV in Hebrew comprehension. A search on the subject of the use of the word as a name will yield sources for the ideas of an alternative wife to Adam etc.

  • Please cut and paste the relevant entry in Strong's (or better yet, Thayer's) into your answer. Thanks. +1
    – Ruminator
    Nov 20, 2018 at 1:04
  • I'd be happy to, but for some reason my device is having a bad day and won't permit me to cut and paste. Very sorry Nov 20, 2018 at 1:09

The Strong's concordance number for "Lilith" is 3917, "a night spectre:--screech owl. ".

While "Lilith" held great fascination as a night female nymph/spirit/demon of wanton sexual prowess, there is nothing in the Bible about such a creature. The Hebrew word "Lilith" simply means "screech owl" but in Akkadian it means wicked demon.

There are theories, hotly debated, that the two related languages, Hebrew and Akkadian possibly influenced each other and the fascination with Lilith reached its zenith during the high middle ages. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilith

Wycliffe does not use this word in his 1385 translation of the Bible.

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