|Noah Webster's Dictionary|
1. (n. sing. & pl.) Any animal; especially, a wild animal.
2. (n. sing. & pl.) A ruminant of the genus Cervus, of many species, and of related genera of the family Cervidae. The males, and in some species the females, have solid antlers, often much branched, which are shed annually. Their flesh, for which they are hunted, is called venison.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
der ('ayyal, feminine 'ayyalah, and 'ayyeleth (compare Arabic, 'ayyal and 'iyal, "deer" and 'ayil, "ram," and Latin caper and capra, "goat," caprea, capreolus, "wild goat," "chamois," or "roe deer")); yachmur (compare Arabic, yachmur, "deer"); ya`alah, feminine of ya`el (compare Arabic, wa`l, "Pers wild goat"); tsebhi, and feminine tsebhiyah (compare Arabic, zabi and feminine zabiyah, "gazelle"); `opher (compare Arabic, ghafr and ghufr, "young of the mountain goat"):
Of the words in the preceding list, the writer believes that only the first two, i.e. 'ayyal (with its feminine forms) and yachmur should be translated "deer," 'ayyal for the roe deer and yachmur for the fallow deer. Further, he believes that ya`el (including ya`alah) should be translated "ibex," and tsebhi, "gazelle." `Opher is the young of a roe deer or of a gazelle.
'Ayyal and its feminine forms are regularly in English Versions of the Bible rendered "hart" and "hind," terms which are more commonly applied to the male and female of the red deer, Cervus elaphus, which inhabits Great Britain, the continent of Europe, the Caucasus and Asia Minor, but which has never been reported as far south as Syria or Palestine. The roe deer, Capreolus caprea, however, which inhabits the British Isles, the greater part of Europe, the Caucasus and Persia, is certainly found in Palestine. The museum of the Syrian Protestant College at Beirut possesses the skeleton of a roe deer which was shot in the mountains near Tyre. As late as 1890 it was fairly common in southern Lebanon and Carmel, but has now (1912) become very scarce. The fallow deer, Cervus dama, is a native of Northern Africa and countries about the Mediterranean. It is found in central Europe and Great Britain, where it has been introduced from its more southern habitat. A variety of the fallow deer, sometimes counted as a separate species under the name of Cervus Mesopotamicus, inhabits northeastern Mesopotamia and Persia. It may in former times have been found in Palestine, and Tristram reports having seen the fallow deer in Galilee (Fauna and Flora of Pal), but while Tristram was a remarkably acute observer, he appears sometimes to have been too readily satisfied, and his observations, when unaccompanied, as in this case, by specimens, are to be accepted with caution. Now 'ayyal (and its feminine forms) occurs in the Bible 22 times, while yachmur occurs only twice, i.e. in the list of clean animals in Deuteronomy 14:5, and in 1 Kings 4:23, in the list of animals provided for Solomon's table. In both places the King James Version has "fallow deer" and the Revised Version (British and American) "roebuck." In view of the fact that the roe deer has within recent years been common in Palestine, while the occurrence of the fallow deer must be considered doubtful, it seems fair to render 'ayyal "roe deer" or "roebuck," leaving yachmur for fallow deer.
The Arabs call the roe deer both 'ayyal and wa`l. Wa`l is the proper name of the Persian wild goat, Capra aegagrus, and is also often used for the Arabic or Sinaitic ibex, Capra beden, though only by those who do not live within its range. Where the ibex is at home it is always called beden. This looseness of nomenclature must be taken into account, and we have no reason to suppose that the Hebrews were more exact than are the Arabs. There are many examples of this in English, e.g. panther, coney, rabbit (in America), locust, adder and many others.
Ya`el (including ya`alah) occurs 4 times. In Job 39:1 Psalm 104:18 1 Samuel 24:2, English Versions of the Bible render ya`el by "wild goat." For ya`alah in Proverbs 5:19, the King James Version has "roe," while the Revised Version (British and American) has "doe," which is non-committal, since the name, "doe," may be applied to the female of a deer or of an ibex. Since the Arabic, wa`l, which is etymologically closely akin to ya`el, means the Persian wild goat, it might be supposed that that animal was meant, were it not that it inhabits the plains of the Syrian desert, and not the mountains of Southern Palestine, where the ibex lives. At least two of the passages clearly indicate the latter locality, i.e. Psalm 104:18: "The high mountains are for the wild goats," and 1 Samuel 24:2: "Saul. went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats." The conclusion then seems irresistible that ya`el, and consequently ya`alah, is the ibex.
Tsebhi (including tsebhiyah) is uniformly rendered "roe" or "roebuck" in the King James Version, while the Revised Version (British and American), either in the text or in the margin, has in most cases "gazelle." In two places "roe" is retained in the Revised Version (British and American) without comment, i.e. 2 Samuel 2:18: "Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe," and 1 Chronicles 12:8: "were as swift as the roes upon the mountains." 'Ayyal and tsebhi occur together in Deuteronomy 12:15, 22; Deuteronomy 14:5; Deuteronomy 15:22 1 Kings 4:23; Songs 2:9, 17, i.e. in 7 of the 16 passages in which we find tsebhi. If therefore it be accepted that 'ayyal is the roe deer, it follows that tsebhi must be something else. Now the gazelle is common in Palestine and satisfies perfectly every passage in which we find tsebhi. Further, one of the Arabic names of the gazelle is zabi, a word which is etymologically much nearer to tsebhi than appears in this transliteration.
'Opher is akin to `aphar, "dust," and has reference to the color of the young of the deer or gazelle, to both of which it is applied. In Songs 2:9, 17 and 8:14, we have `opher ha-'ayyalim, English Versions of the Bible "young hart," literally, "fawn of the roe deer." In Songs 4:5 and 7:3, we have `opharim te'ome tsebhiyah, the King James Version "young roes that are twins," the Revised Version (British and American) "fawns that are twins of a roe," the Revised Version, margin "gazelle" (for "roe"). For further reference to these questions, see ZOOLOGY.
With the exception of mere lists of animals, as in Deuteronomy 14 and 1 Kings 4, the treatment of these animals is highly poetical, and shows much appreciation of their grace and beauty.
Alfred Ely Day
Deer (15 Occurrences)
Deuteronomy 12:15 Notwithstanding, you may kill and eat flesh within all your gates, after all the desire of your soul, according to the blessing of Yahweh your God which he has given you: the unclean and the clean may eat of it, as of the gazelle, and as of the hart. (See NAS NIV)
Deuteronomy 12:22 Even as the gazelle and as the hart is eaten, so you shall eat of it: the unclean and the clean may eat of it alike. (See NAS NIV)
Deuteronomy 14:5 The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois. (KJV WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Deuteronomy 15:22 You shall eat it within your gates: the unclean and the clean shall eat it alike, as the gazelle, and as the hart. (See NAS NIV)
2 Samuel 22:34 He makes his feet like hinds' feet, and sets me on my high places. (See NIV)
1 Kings 4:23 Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl. (Root in KJV DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Job 39:1 "Do you know the time when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears fawns? (See NAS)
Psalms 18:33 He makes my feet like deer's feet, and sets me on my high places. (WEB NIV)
Psalms 29:9 Yahweh's voice makes the deer calve, and strips the forests bare. In his temple everything says, "Glory!" (WEB NAS)
Psalms 42:1 For the Chief Musician. A contemplation by the sons of Korah. As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants after you, God. (WEB NAS NIV)
Proverbs 5:19 A loving doe and a graceful deer- let her breasts satisfy you at all times. Be captivated always with her love. (WEB NIV)
Proverbs 7:22 The simple man goes after her, like an ox going to its death, like a roe pulled by a cord; (See NIV)
Isaiah 35:6 Then the lame man will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing; for waters will break out in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. (WEB NAS NIV)
Lamentations 1:6 From the daughter of Zion all her majesty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, they are gone without strength before the pursuer. (See NAS NIV)
Habakkuk 3:19 Yahweh, the Lord, is my strength. He makes my feet like deer's feet, and enables me to go in high places. For the music director, on my stringed instruments. (WEB NIV)