Beelzebub | Beelzebub Wiki, Characters, Demon | Who Is Beelzebub?Beelzebub, literally "Lord of the Flies". One of the oldest and most famous demonic figures, Beelzebub also had command over disease — flies congregate around the corpses of the dead, and spread disease from the dead to the living — and his role is to tempt men with pride.
Beelzebub, pronounced /biːˈɛlzɨbʌb/ bee-EL-zə-BUB or /ˈbiːlzɨbʌb/ BEEL-zə-BUB; in Arabic: ألذبا بعل, Ba‘al Azabab, in Hebrew: בעל זבוב, Ba‘al Zəbûb, literally "Lord of the Flies"; and in Greek: βεελζεβούβ, Beelzeboub; and Latin: Beelzebūb. The name of a demon mentioned in the New Testament as chief of the demons (Matthew 12:24-27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15-18).
Beelzebub was also known as Achor by the Cyreneans, which probably meant ”Lord of the High House”, referring to the Canaanite's chief god ”Baal the prince”. The Jews changed the name to Beelzebub which translates as ”Lord of Flies”, possibly because of his supposedly role as creator and controller of the flies in the Philistine city of Ekron.
One of the oldest and most famous demonic figures, Beelzebub also had command over disease — flies congregate around the corpses of the dead, and spread disease from the dead to the living — and his role is to tempt men with pride.
According to demonology's lore, when Satan first rebelled, he recruited several very powerful seraphim, Beelzebub among them, to fight at his side. Once he took up his new residence in Hell, Beelzebub learned to tempt men with pride. When summoned by witches or sorcerers, he appeared in the form of a fly, because "Lord of the Flies" was his nom de guerre, as it were. He'd acquired it by visiting a plague of flies upon the harvest of Canaan, or, perhaps, simply because flies were once believed to be generated in the flesh of decaying corpses. Another tale suggests that God created every creature, except the fly — which was made by the Devil.
Beelzebub came to be regarded as the leading representative of the fallen gods, referred to as the Devil himself; in Matthew 12:24 he is mentioned as ”Prince of the Devils”. Other demonologists also regarded Beelzebub as the ruler of the infernal regions:
"Beelzebub was Prince of the Seraphim, the next unto Lucifer. For all the princes, that is to say all the chief of the nine choirs of angels, are fallen; and of the choir of Seraphim there fell the three first, to wit, Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Leviathan, who did all revolt." (Possessed Catholic nun Sister Madeleine of Aix-en-Provence)
"There are some of the school of the theologians who distribute the evil spirits into nine degrees, as contrary to the nine orders of the angels. Therefore the first of these are those which are called False Gods, who usurping the name of God, would be worshipped for gods, and require sacrifices and adorations, as that Devil, who saith to Christ, 'if thou wilt fall down and worshop me, I will give thee all these things', showing him all the kingdoms of the world; and the prince of these is he who said, 'I will ascend above the height of the clouds, and will be like to the Most High'; who is therefore called Beelzebub, that is, an old god." (Renaissance magician Cornelius Agrippa)
"As a monarch of hell, Beelzebub is of a prodigious size with a swollen chest and a bloated face with flashing eyes and raised eyebrows. He also gives a menacing aura and sits on a throne surrounded by fire. He is black as a Moor, with large nostrils and two horns on his head. He has two bat-like wings attached to his shoulders, two duck feet, a lion's tail, and is covered from head to foot in shaggy fur." (Palingene's Zodiaco Vitae)
"Then I summoned Beelzeboul to appear before me again. When he was seated, I thought it appropriate to ask him, 'Why are you alone Prince of the Demons?' He replied, 'Because I am the only one left of the heavenly angels (who fell). I was the highest-ranking angel in heaven, the one called Beelzeboul. There is also accompanied me another ungodly (angel) whom God cut off and now, imprisoned here, he holds in his power the race of those bound by me in Tartarus. He is being nurtured in the Red Sea; when he is ready, he will come in triumph. I said to him, 'What are your activities?' He replied, 'I bring destruction by means of tyrants; I cause the demons to be worshiped alongside men; and I arouse desire in holy men and select priests. I bring about jealousies and murders in a country, and I instigate wars." (Testament of Solomon, 6:1-4).
Beelzebub, or Baalzebûb, the Philistine god of Accaron (Ekron), scarcely 25 miles west of Jerusalem, whose oracle King Ochozias (Ahaziah) attempted to consult in his last illness, IV (II) Kings, i, 2. It is only as an oracle that the false god is known to us; no other mention of him occurs in the Old Testament. The name is commonly translated "the lord of the flies", and the ”god” is supposed to be so called either because as a sun god he brings the flies, though the Ba'al was probably not a sun god, or more likely because he is invoked to drive away the flies from the sacrifice, like the Zeus Apomuios, who drove them from Olympia, or the hero Myiagros in Arcadia. Halévy and Winckler interpret the name, according to the analogy of very many names compounded with baal, as "the lord of Zebub", supposed to be a locality in Accaron; there is no proof, however, for the existence of such a locality, and besides Beelzebub is called the god of Accaron. Cheyne thinks the original form of the name is Ba'al Zebul, "the lord of the mansion," or high house, which would refer to the ”god's” temple or to the mountain on which the ”gods” dwelt, or rather, in his opinion, to both. But the textual evidence, as Lagrange objects, is entirely in favour of Zebub. Cheyne, admitting this, holds that the title "lord of the high house", which would suggest to the writer of Kings a reference to Yahweh's temple or to His heavenly dwelling place, would be considered offensive, and would induce him, in contempt, to change it to Ba'al Zebub, the lord of flies. The tradition of the true name, lingering on, accounts for its presence in the Gospels (Zeboul). This conjecture, which has a certain plausibility, leaves unexplained why the contempt should lead to the particular form, Baal Zebub, a name without parallel in Semitic religions. It seems more reasonable, then, to regard Baalzebub as the original form and to interpret it as "lord of the Flies".
In the New Testament, there is question of an evil spirit, Beelzeboul. On account of the great similarity of names, he is usually identified with Baalzebub, beel being the Aramaic form of baal, and the change from the final b to l such as might easily occur. The meaning of the term is "lord of the mansion" or dwelling, and it would be supposed by the Jews of this time to refer to the nether regions, and so be an appropriate name for the prince of that realm. Beelzeboul (Beelzebub) is used, then, merely as another name for Satan (Matthew 12:24-29; Luke 11:15-22) by whom the enemies of Our Lord accused Him of being possessed and by whom they claimed He cast out demons. Their charge seems to have been that the good Our Lord did was wrought by the Evil One in order to deceive, which Jesus showed to be absurd and a wilful blindness. If the New Testament name be considered a transformation of the old, the question arises as to how the ”god” of the little town of Accaron came to give a name to the Prince of Darkness. The mission on which Ochozias sent his followers seems to show that Beelzebub already had a wide renown in Palestine. The narrative (2 Kings 1) was a very striking one, well known to the contemporaries of Our Lord (Luke 9:54); from it might easily be derived the idea of Beelzebub as the special adversary of God, and the change in the final letter of the name which took place (ex hypothesi) would lead the Jews to regard it as designating the prince of the lower regions. With him was naturally connected the idea of demoniacal possession; and there is no need of Cheyne's conjecture that Beelzebub's "name naturally rose to Jewish lips when demoniacal possession was spoken of, because of the demoniacal origin assumed for heathen oracles". How can we account for the idea of Beelzebub exorcizing the demons? On the assumption that he is to be identified with the Philistine god, Lagrange thinks the idea is derived from the special prerogative of Beelzebub as fly-chaser (chasse-mouche). In the Babylonian epic of the deluge, "the gods gather over the sacrificer like flies" (see Driver, Genesis, 105). It was easy for the heathen Semites, according to Lagrange, to come to conceive of the flies troubling the sacrifice as images of spirits hovering around with no right to be there; and so Beelzebub, the ”god” who drove away the flies, became the prince of demons in whose name the devils were exorcised from the bodies of the possessed. Others think the idea naturally arose that the lord of the demons had power to command them to leave the possessed. It seems much more reasonable, however, to regard this faculty of Beelzebub not as a tradition, but simply as a change invented by Our Lord's enemies to throw discredit on his exorcisms. His other miracles were probably accounted for by ascribing them to Beelzebub and so these likewise. Allen (Comm. on Matt., 107, 134) has endeavored to simplify the problem by the use of higher criticism. According to him, the role of Beelzebub as arch-demon and exorcist was not a Palestinian belief. Beelzebub does not appear in the Jewish literature of the period; there we usually find Beliar (Belial) as an alternative name for Satan.