50,000 BCE to 20,000 BCE

  • Lilith is first mentioned in ancient Babylonian texts as a class of winged female demons that attack pregnant women and infants.
  • The Anunnaki fashioned Lilith from dust and placed her in the garden alongside Adam.
  • Disagreeing with Adam, Lilith chose to depart the Garden of Eden.


  • Lilith
  • Lilitu
  • Lillake
  • Qarinah
  • Lillu

The tziyyim (martens) shall also encounter iyyim (wild cats), and a sa’ir (wild goat) calls to its companion, and lilit (night creature) dwells there and finds for itself a mano’ach (place of rest).OJB 

Isaiah 34:14

Lilith is first mentioned in ancient Babylonian texts as a class of winged female demons that attacks pregnant women and infants. From Babylonia, the legend of “the lilith” spread to ancient Anatolia, Syria, Israel, Egypt and Greece. In this guise—as a wilderness demoness—she appears in Isaiah 34:14 among a list of nocturnal creatures who will haunt the destroyed Kingdom of Edom. This is her only mention in the Bible, but her legend continued to grow in ancient Judaism.

In Jewish folklore, Lilith emerges as a highly controversial figure. Her name remains absent from the Torah’s creation narrative, yet she surfaces in various midrashic texts. Numerous origin stories surround Lilith, with the most prevalent narrative depicting her as Adam’s initial spouse.

According to the “first Eve” account, God fashioned Lilith from dust and placed her in the garden alongside Adam. However, conflicts arose when Adam attempted to assert dominance over Lilith. One version recounts Lilith’s refusal to assume a subservient position during intimate relations, asserting her belief in equality as both were created from the earth’s dust. Disagreeing with Adam, Lilith chose to depart the Garden of Eden.

Upon Lilith’s departure, Adam informed God, prompting the dispatch of three angels – SenoiSansenoi, and Sammangelof – to retrieve her. Discovering Lilith in a cave, bearing children, the angels urged her to return, but she steadfastly declined.

The angels told her they would kill 100 of her children every day for her disobedience. In revenge, she is said to rob children of life and is responsible for the deaths of still-born infants and crib deaths (SIDS). Male children are at risk of Lilith’s wrath for 8 days after birth (until circumcision) and girls are at risk for 20 days. Although Lilith stole children’s lives in the night, she agreed not to kill the children who had amulets of either of the three angels.

Lilith had many children, instead of seeing her as a person, it’s more likely that the name ‘Lilith’ referred to a classification or (sub)group of humans or a bloodline.

If so, can we find evidence that ‘Eve’ also represents a group of humans or a bloodline?

The earliest known mention of a female demon of similar name appears in the Sumerian King List– an ancient manuscript recording the kings and dynasties of Sumer dating from about 2400 BC.

This document asserts that the father of the Sumerian hero Gilgamesh was a Lillu-demon.

The Lillu was one of four demons belonging to a class of vampires or incubi-succubi.

The other three were Lilitu (Lilith), the she-demon; Ardat Lilli (or Lilith’s handmaid), who visited men at night and bore them ghostly children; and Irdu Lilli (apparently Ardat Lilli’s male counterpart), who would visit women at night and make them pregnant. Originally these were members of a class of wind and storm demons – nature spirits that came out of the desert to terrify settled populations and were, as we have seen, forerunners of the jinn.

The 4,000-year-old Sumerian epic poem Gilgamesh describes Lilith (there called Lillake) as building a house in a huluppu or willow tree that had grown on the banks of the Euphrates River since the days of Creation.

The tree had been cultivated by the mother goddess Inanna (or Ishtar), who wanted to make herself a throne and a bed from its wood.

However, to her dismay, a dragon had nested at the base of the tree, and a Zu-bird (another Sumerian storm demon) had placed its young in the highest branches.

Lilith had made her home in between the other two creatures. The hero Gilgamesh, seeking to rescue the tree for the goddess, slew the dragon with a bronze axe, whereupon the Zu-bird fled with its young into the mountains, and a terrified Lilith tore down her house and escaped into the desert.

Gilgamesh and the Huluppu Tree

The “Huluppu Tree” story is found in a fragmentary text that is often considered an appendix or related tale to the “Epic of Gilgamesh.” This tale is set in the early days of the world, shortly after creation, and involves the following key elements:

The Huluppu Tree: A willow tree (or huluppu tree) is said to have been planted by the goddess Inanna on the banks of the Euphrates River. The tree grew strong and was intended to be used by Inanna to create a throne and a bed.

The Inhabitants of the Tree:

  • A Snake: A serpent that cannot be charmed made its nest at the base of the tree.
  • Anzu Bird: In the branches, the Anzu bird (sometimes identified as a lion-headed eagle) built its nest.
  • Lillake (Lilith): In the middle part of the tree, Lillake (an early form of the figure known later as Lilith) established her dwelling.

Gilgamesh’s Intervention: Inanna, distressed by the occupation of her tree, seeks help from Gilgamesh, the hero-king of Uruk. Gilgamesh responds to her plea, comes to the tree, and drives away the snake. The Anzu bird flies away with its young, and Lillake flees into the wilderness. After this, Gilgamesh uproots the tree and gives it to Inanna.

Significance of Lillake/Lilith

The figure of Lillake (or Lilith) in this context is significant because it represents one of the earliest mentions of a female demon or spirit associated with wilderness and desolation. Over time, the character of Lilith evolved in various mythologies and folklore, especially in Jewish traditions, where she became known as a demoness and a figure associated with the night and unholy powers.


The “Huluppu Tree” episode reflects ancient Sumerian themes of order versus chaos and civilization versus wilderness. Gilgamesh’s act of driving out the creatures from the tree symbolizes the imposition of order and the establishment of human civilization, aided by divine favor.

Ben Sira

In this account, Lilith is described as refusing to assume the ‘missionary position’ during sexual intercourse with Adam and consequently leaving him: ‘She said, “I will not lie below,” and he said, “I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while I am to be the superior one.” ’According to this account, Lilith uttered the name of God (a sign of great power), took flight in the air and left the Garden of Eden, flying to the Red Sea coast, which she made her new home.

Ibn Ishaq

According to Ibn Ishaq, after Iblis was expelled from the Garden of Eden, he married the serpent whose mouth he had entered when he spoke to Adam, and they had offspring. At various times, Iblis also mated with other beings to produce a number of demons. One of these mates was Lilith or the Qarinah, who, as we shall see later, bore numerous jinn offspring.

Five sons of Iblis are noted among the most celebrated of the evil jinn:

  • T ̧ ıˉr (Bird), who causes disaster, injury and loss;
  • al-A’war (the One-Eyed), who promotes lewd and lascivious behavior;
  • Suˉt, a consummate liar and the father of lies;
  • Daˉsim, who ruins marriages by generating hostility between husband and wife;
  • Zalambuˉr, who presides over dishonesty, thievery and fraud in the business world.
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