Many claim that Adam had a wife before Eve and that her name was Lillith. It is even said by some that she was the first feminist or even the first lesbian and that she was strong and determined enough to leave Adam and not take the role she was supposed to have. There is even an entire Lillith Society created for women who want to follow her ideals.
Is all that true? Was there really a Lillith in the Bible? Is that a Hebrew word? Where did the name Lillith come from?
You might be surprised to find that lilith is indeed a Hebrew word.
It is even used one place in the Bible. The Jerusalem Bible (a Catholic
modern English version) even leaves it untranslated and it appears in the
text as Lilith. But don't let that be an encouragement to you if
you want to believe it was Adam's first wife. Why?
The one place in the Bible where Lilith occurs is Isaiah 34:14 where it is translated "screech owl" in the King James, night monster, nightjar, and night hag in other Bible versions. (Catholic modern English Bibles and some Protestant modern English Bibles leave the word untranslated as Lilith.) In the Hebrew language, Lilith was not the name of a woman, but a night bird. In other pagan lands of the time, Lilith was a well known and feared female demon. The use as a name for a woman came from Babylon and Assyria where the name means "the night".
Lillith was a demoness who harassed children in Jewish mythology until a medieval era Jewish writing called "The Alphabet of Ben Sira" came into existence. (The medieval era is post-Biblical, ca. 700 AD to 1,500 AD and is also called the "Middle Ages", long after Jesus' human life.) In modern times, she is considered to have been a real person by Jewish women who are part of the feminist movement. (Man made Jewish traditions, mythology, at the time of Christ caused Jews to wash their hands up to the elbow before eating, not out of cleanliness, but because another demon was supposed to get on your hands as you slept and later would crawl in through your mouth and cause demon possession if you ate without first ceremonially cleansing your hands to rid them of the demon.)
Eve is also Hebrew word, the name given to her in the Bible by Adam. Her name means that she had to become the mother of all living. Genesis 3:20 A natural name to give to your first and only wife.
To find out more about the meanings of the names Eve and Lillith, you can check for yourself in any of those little baby name books you find at the grocery checkout. Or look in Bible dictionaries under screech owl or other of the terms found above.
Those having Bible questions or wanting free Bible studies (ladies) can email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested men can email John Golden (email@example.com) or Peter Briant (firstname.lastname@example.org).