The Testament of Solomon, Part 12

After sending Asmodeus off to make clay, Solomon realizes he hasn’t given Beelzeboul or Beelzebub the third degree when they first met.  He calls back the prince of demons, asking him how he got the gig.

Sadly, Beelzeboul gives the worst answer you can give for that question:  attrition.

“Because I am the only one left of the holy angels (who fell). I was the highest-ranking angel in heaven, the one called Beelzeboul.”

Previously, the demons we had seen were only really half-angel a la the Book of Enoch, like Asmodeus and Ornias, or had some weird Gnostic-sounding origin, like Onoskelis.  Beelzeboul is the first spirit who fits into our modern conceptions of demons as fallen angels.  Although this gives the spirit an exalted status, it’s clear that the bulk of the infernal legions are made up of other beings.

Oddly enough, though, Beelzeboul’s the only one left.  What happened to the rest?  The Testament doesn’t say, save for one exception:

“There 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.”

Don’t worry; we’ll meet that guy eventually.

Solomon gets on with the questioning.  What does Beelzeboul do? Quite a lot, as it turns out.  One variant reading of the text includes the following lines:

“I destroy kings; I ally myself with foreign tyrants.”

For all his wisdom, Solomon doesn’t realize that this is probably not the sort of demon he wants hanging about. Nonetheless, it’s time to get to the binding. What angel stops him?

As it turns out, none.

“The Almighty God” he replied… he is called by the Greeks Emmanouel. I am always afraid of him, and trembling.

As best we can tell, the term “Emmanuel” doesn’t come into use until Isaiah starts speaking his prophecies nearly two hundred years after the king.  It really doesn’t come into prominence until Christians heralded Isaiah’s prophecies as showing the coming of Jesus.  As Klutz points out in his study, it’s likely that this passage was written – or revised – by a Christian thinking of contemporary debates as to the power of Jesus as opposed to Solomon.  Even a man as wise as Solomon, the author suggests, is helpless without the help of Christ.

Solomon, however, lacks the hindsight of over a millennium and doesn’t get Beelzeboul’s prophetic reference.  He sends him to cut marble – for a little while.

Next time – what?  Beelzeboul’s back again?

Published in: on December 20, 2007 at 11:39 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] with the conversation with Beelzeboul, Solomon misses a golden opportunity to ask what in the blazes this guy is talking about and just […]

  2. […] – I think it was Klutz – observes that these little hints of the demon – the one from the Red Sea that Beelzeboul mentioned – appear alongside the references to other demons being thwarted by explicitly Christian words and […]

  3. Deuteronomy 28:68= TransAtlantic Slave Trade

    The KHAZAR Jig is OVER !

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