CHAMOIS shăm’ ĭ (זֶ֫מֶר, H2378); chamois KJV, ASV; mountain goat RSV; leaper. There is no support for the tr. chamois, which is impossible on geographical grounds. This is a small goatantelope living in the high mountains of Europe, mostly above the tree line, and just extending into Asia Minor. There is no evidence that it was ever found in Pal. Zemer more likely refers to a mountain sheep q.v. (see
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
sham’-i, sha-mwa’, sha-moi’ (zemer; kamelopdrdalis): Occurs only once in the Bible, i.e. in the list of clean animals in
Tristram (NHB) who is followed by Post (HDB) suggests that zemer may be the Barbary sheep (Ovis tragelaphus), though the latter is only known to inhabit the Atlas Mountains, from the Atlantic to Tunis. Tristram supports his view by reference to a kebsh ("ram") which the Arabs say lives in the mountains of Sinai, though they have apparently neither horns nor skins to show as trophies, and it is admitted that no European has seen it. The true chamois (Rupicapra tragus) inhabits the high mountains from t he Pyrenees to the Caucasus, and there is no reason to suppose that it was ever found in Syria or Palestine.