In Vulgate, in Psalmi 104:18, it says:

Montes excelsi cervis, petra refugium herinaciis.

I thought cervus meant deer, but the New International Version translates this verse as:

The high mountains belong to the wild goats, the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.

What is going on here?

1 Answer 1


The New International Version gives the translation for the Hebrew יָעֵל (yael), which means mountain goat.

Concerning the Vulgate's translation, John Gill notes in his Exposition of the Entire Bible:

The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions, render it "for the harts", or deer; and so Apollinarius: but the word is not used of them.

  • 1
    I'm a bit surprised by this: did the Septuagint translators just get it wrong? Regarding the Vulgate, it's important to note that the current version of the Psalms is (essentially) a literal translation from the Septuagint. Jerome didn't do a de novo translation from the Hebrew until later, but that version was never much used. I noticed that the 1945 psaltery changes cervis to ibicibus.
    – brianpck
    Feb 26, 2022 at 17:49
  • 2
    @brianpck: Sure looks like it. But would αίγαγρος have been known to the Jewish community in Egypt?
    – Joshua
    Feb 27, 2022 at 0:01
  • 1
    @Joshua What Jewish community in Egypt? Feb 28, 2022 at 5:10
  • 2
    @FlatAssembler: According to thoughtco.com/the-story-of-the-septuagint-bible-119834 , the Septuagint was translated in Alexandria, which is in Egypt.
    – Joshua
    Feb 28, 2022 at 5:22

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