I am Lilith, the unmarried,
Whom three strong angels could not haul
Back to Eden.
Let Adam howl like a whipped child,
The loss was my loss
I kneel upon the bank, and take my hair down
Weeping like a woman,
Let exiles and altarless men worship me
As night without stars.
I spread my hair over them.
LILITH (Hebrew: לילית; lilit, or lilith) is a Hebrew name for a figure in Jewish mythology, developed earliest in the Babylonian Talmud, who is generally thought to be in part derived from a class of female demons Līlīṯu in Mesopotamian texts of Assyria and Babylonia. The Hebrew term Lilith or “Lilit” (translated as “night creatures”, “night monster”, “night hag”, or “screech owl”) first occurs in Isaiah 34:14, either singular or plural according to variations in the earliest manuscripts, though in a list of animals. In the Dead Sea Scrolls Songs of the Sage the term first occurs in a list of monsters. In Jewish folklore, from the 8th–10th century Alphabet of Ben Sira onwards, Lilith becomes Adam’s first wife, who was created at the same time and from the same earth as Adam. This contrasts with Eve, who was created from one of Adam’s ribs. The legend was greatly developed during the Middle Ages, in the tradition of Aggadic midrashim, the Zohar, and Jewish mysticism. For example, in the 13th century writings of Rabbi Isaac ben Jacob ha-Cohen, Lilith left Adam after she refused to become subservient to him and then would not return to the Garden of Eden after she mated with archangel Samael. The resulting Lilith legend is still commonly used as source material in modern Western culture, literature, occultism, fantasy, and horror.
Lilith is one of my favorite demons and I think that her different desings are interesting to compare (I included SMT, Soul Hackers and SMTIV).
SMT AND SMTIV SPOILERS:
LILITH IN SMT:
From the 8th–10th century Alphabet of Ben Sira onwards, Lilit(h) (לילית)becomes Adam’s first wife, who was created at the same time and from the same earth as him. She is his equal. Lilith left Adam since she didn’t want to be subservient to him (she particularly didn’t want to lie at the bottom during intercourse).
She uttered God’s name and flew away to the Red Sea and then would not return to the Garden of Eden despite Adam and the angels (Sanvi, Sansanvi und Semangelaf) asking her to return. Her new mate was the archangel Samael (angel of death and seventh heaven) who is sometimes described as good and as evil and is very often connected to Satan and the snake, henceforth the snake Lilith carries around. Asmodeus is sometimes also said to be her new mate. Later on Lilith is described as a child-eating demon similar to the Greek Lamia.
SMT’s Lilith is based on this due to the Adam and Eve/Genesis plot of SMT which is why she is after the protagonist and which is why she cooperates with Louis/Lucifer kinda mirroring her connection with Samael in legend.
Her design is based on the Lilith picture by John Collier and resembles Gozer from Ghost Busters.
There are also two possible other influences namely from the movie Blade Runner.
Lilith’s demon form resembles Zhora who carries around a snake and basically wears very little except glitter as well.
Her Yuriko form resembles Rachel from Blade Runner with a very similar dress and hairstyle. The name Yuriko means Lily which can be seen as a wordplay with her true name Lilith.
Blade Runner is a cult dystopian film from 1982 with cyberpunk themes, religious, literature themes etc.
It is also known in Japan and has inspired several anime so it wouldn’t surprise me if Kaneko has seen it.
Her Rie form/Chaos Heroine form looks like an evil form of the Heroine. She uses the wish of Chaos Hero for a female partner since the Hero/Kazuya has Heroine/Yuka and Law Hero had his deceased girlfriend Yuka. She does this to get closer to the Hero via using Chaos Hero.
Pretty much the same as in SMT however Kaneko redrew her for Soul Hackers.
LILITH IN SMTIV:
It’s said that in the desert, Lilith spawned a hundred of demons (I liked how SMTIV included the Lilims as The Black Samurai’s company which I see as a reference to this).
The storyline of the Black Samurai/Yuriko/Lilith is being the one who offers the fruit of knowledge. Black Samurai spreading books and words of wisdom is based on the thought of Lilith being the snake that offers the fruit of knowledge to Eve.
This is also mentioned in Lilith’s SMTIV demon description.
“Adam’s first wife in apocryphal Biblical scripture. She became a demon after leaving Eden. Adam’s wife Eve, according to popular belief, is born in Genesis 2:22. However, in Genesis 1:22, because it says God created woman there, it is believed this is Lilith. Although she is often depicted as a symbol of infidelity, she originally was a Babylonian goddess. According to one legend, she is Samael’s wife and was the one who sent the snake at Eve, and is usually depicted with snakes.” —Shin Megami Tensei IV Compendium
This can be seen in several artworks (in Christian art the snake sometimes has feminine features)
The scene in which Yuriko is to be executed is the reverse version of the Heroine/Eve almost being executed in SMT:
Her human design isn’t that bad and I like the twist with her and Gabby/Gabriel looking the same. However I preferred the original Yuriko somehow.
As for her demon form:
Just like with the archangel design I don’t know what the guest designer was thinking about when designing this.
Sure Lilith is very often connected to owls but it doesn’t look owl like at all.
Lilith is also said to derive from a class of female demons called Līlītu in Mesopotamian texts of Assyria and Babylonia. There is a story about a female demon called Lilitu living in a branch of the Huluppu Tree but after Inanna asked to fell the tree she had to flee. Sometimes Lilith in Babylonian sources is also said to be a handmaiden of Inanna.
Since SMTIV also mentions Lilith’s Babylonian origin let’s take a look at the Burney relief:
This relief is sometimes said to depict Lilith. However the SMTIV design looks nothing like this and I don’t think that this design would be the best choice for Lilith anyway considering that it is debated whether the relief is depicting Inanna/Ishtar or Lilith etc.
I would have preferred a redrawing of Lilith’s original design or a reference to her being the snake who offers the fruit of knowledge in her demon form.