Mountain-Sheep

MOUNTAIN-SHEEP (זֶ֫מֶר, H2378; CHAMOIS KJV, ASV; MOUNTAIN SHEEP RSV, Deut 14:5 only). The context shows only that it is a wild ruminant. It has long been considered a mountain animal but the KJV “chamois” (q.v.) is impossible. “Mountain sheep” is indefinite, for it is applied to several distinct species. Only two possibilities need consideration: (1) aoudad or “barbary sheep.” This is not closely related to true sheep and seems never to have lived outside the mountains of N Africa, including Egypt; (2) one or other form of mouflon. Various races are found, some in S Europe and others in SW Asia, mostly in Asia Minor; earlier perhaps, in the hills of Pal. This is a true sheep, dark reddish brown in color, with white and yellow flank patches developing in winter. It is thought to be, in small part, an ancestor of domestic sheep. This is the more likely identification, but not at all certain.