I did my Biblical significance of The Ram study last week. And for the second time this month I may have to abandon a theory not long after posting it, (the other being my Historical Arthur post). That theory could still be right, but some things have come to my attention as I've tried to go deeper on this.
I do still feel pretty certain my theory is correct that Ayil (Ram in the KJV) and Ayal (Hart in the KJV) were originally the same word, and Ayalah (Hind in the KJV) it's feminine form. But I decided I really should consider the opposite conclusion one could draw from that. That Ayil means Hart and it's the Deer who's Biblical significance has been obscured by all this.
Deer do seem to be the only major kind of animal listed among those clean to eat in Deuteronomy 14 that are never mentioned in Sacrifices, Ayil meaning Deer would change that. Archaeologists have in fact found a large percentage of fallow deer among the remains of animals sacrificed at an altar at Mt Ebal.
I've been reading recently that Rams are not really a separate species of Animal from Lambs, Ram is a word used specifically of adult male Sheep. Which would mean Ayalah as a female Ram would not make sense. In Deuteronomy 14 Seh is used as a Prefix for both Kebes and Sayir (Goat). Like Seh is the broader term and Kebes and Sayir refer to more specific animals. Ewe Lamb gets used to translate the feminine form of Kebes.
In Numbers 28-29 the word Seh is never used, it's the Kebes that refers to the daily offerings, and the 7 or 14 Lambs offered on each New Moon and Holy Day.
The thing that has to be discussed on this are the horns. The Ayil is absolutely described as having Horns, but while what Horn has come to mean in modern English does not apply to Deer Antlers, the Hebrew Qeren (Strongs 7161) absolutely can. In fact you could argue getting caught in a thicket like in Genesis 22 does make more sense for Antlers then Ram's Horns. One Robert Graves book was originally titled The Roebuck in The Thicket, so it seems he considered that a Deer or Hart was originally the animal offered in Genesis 22.
The key issue is the Shofar however. I read recently that not all Shofars are Ram's Horns, they can be made from Goat's Horns too. But Antlers are made of actual Bone (that is often why they're not considered Horns in modern terminology, but I'd suspect to the ancients who hadn't put that much thought into it all Horns were thought of as Bone like), and Trumpets can't be made from them because they can't be hollowed out.
The thing is there is no passage in the Hebrew Bible defining the Shofar as coming from an Ayil, Kebes, Sayir, Ez, Seh or anything else, it's just refereed to without really explaining where it came from in depth. New Torah students are often surprised how many of it's concepts the Torah doesn't fully explain.
In the KJV you see the term "Ram's Horns" in Joshua 6 and nowhere else. The Hebrew word translated that however is actually Jubliee, same word translated that in Leviticus 25-27 and Numbers 36:4. (It seems some were confused by the idea of that word being used for more then just the Jubilee year.) No animal is mentioned, and only verse 5 uses the word for Horn, Qeren.
Bonus note, In Daniel the KJV translated Qeren as Cornet when used specifically of a Trumpet, likewise when Shofar and the word for the Silver Trumpets appear in the same verse the KJV renders one of them Cornet. Cornet does look like it's derived from Qeren, the Hebrew Qoph sometimes becomes a K in transliteration which in turn can become a C when it makes the same sound.
So in Joshua 6 verses 4, 6, 8 and 13 "The Seven Trumpets of Ram's Horns" should be "The Seven Shofars of Jubilee". And in verse 5 "Ram's Horn" should be "Jubilee Cornet".
Deuteronomy 14 does not put Seh before Ayal like it does both Kebes and Sayir. And it's listed right alongside two other words for Deer, seemingly in their category more so then the Sheep category.
If Deer or a type of Deer is what Ayil is meant to refer to, that even more vindicates the theory about that Japanese Suwa Taisha festival.
What if the Greek myth linked to the constellation Aries is the origin of the Ram being misidentified as the Genesis 22 animal? If it is an outcome of Hellenization, then the Lost Tribes who broke off before then wouldn't be influenced by it.
Genesis 22:7&8 use Seh when Isaac is asking about the animal before hand, so that could justify a Lamb or Ram being affiliated with the story. But we Christians know the future Lamb to be provided was Jesus.
This still has Naphtali in Genesis 49 identified with the same animal as Medo-Persia in Daniel 8. Using a Deer rather then Ram to represent Persia isn't without precedent, today the Fallow Deer is a National Symbol of Iran.
I'm also rethinking what Arnion could mean, but I'll make that a separate post.