Who was Lilith? I heard she was Adam’s first wife before Eve. Was she a real biblical character or just a myth?
The character of Lilith appears to have originated in ancient Mesopotamian mythology 4000 years ago. The name of “Lilith” is the Hebrew form of the Akkadian word lilı̄tu , which was a species of lesser deities in ancient Mesopotamia known for their diabolical activities. Very little information has been found relating to the Akkadian and Babylonian view of these demons. Lilith was portrayed as a winged, seductive night creature and a demoness who preyed on pregnant women and infants. To protect oneself from this demon, one could write out incantations, wear amulets, or invoke gods or other demons.
Her character has been reinvented through the ages, including in Jewish Midrashic literature. One such myth places her as Adam’s first wife, before Eve. When Adam insisted she play a subservient role, she grew wings and flew away from Eden becoming a female demon. Her character and the stories about her continue to undergo transformation, reinterpretation, and adaptation up to our modern times.
There is no person in the Christian Bible by this name. The only use of the Hebrew word lilith occurs in Isaiah 34:14. In this passage, God is describing the results of his judgment on Edom. The word lilith is used to describe a night creature; however, this word is found within the context of a list of genuinely real birds or animals and most likely refers to an actual nocturnal animal.