The Testament of Solomon, Part 19

We’re still discussing the enormous ex-sorcerer dog demon from last time.  Solomon continues the discussion with him, and as we’ll see, the narrative becomes increasingly convoluted here.

After learning that the dog’s name is Scepter – a name suggesting a further challenge to the king? – Solomon asks him:

“What is your activity and why do you seem to me to be so prosperous?”

There’s no indication as to how exactly a gigantic dog looks like he’s doing well for himself.  Maybe he’s got a snazzy collar?

Two-part questions are always dangerous, so Scepter gets out of the first part easily.

 “Turn over your manservant to me and I shall spirit him of to a place in the mountains where I shall show him an emerald stone shaken loose from its foundation.  With it, you will adorn the temple of God.”

Solomon sends off his servant – with the ring – with Scepter.  Upon arriving at the emerald, the servant uses the ring to compel Scepter to  bring it back.  Solomon now has a further task for him and Murder, who we’d almost forgotten:

I then decided to have the two demons, the headless one and the dog, bound, and (to request that) the stone be carried about day and night like, as it were, a light for the working artisans.

That’s right.  He neglected to tell us that the gigantic emerald was glowing.

After cutting off some segments of the stone to fund the construction and sending the demons to cut rock, Solomon locks the gem in a chest.  Don’t the workers still need light?  Is he merely putting it away for safekeeping?  Or is this keeping for himself of an expensive treasure intended for a temple another sign of how Solomon is falling from grace?

And isn’t he forgetting something?  Oh, yes!

Also, I asked the dog in private, “By which angel are you thwarted?” He replied, “By the great Briathos.”

And what good does that do the magician reading this?  It could be that Scepter is a demon known for finding treasure.  Finding a demon here with that function is unusual – most demons from the time of the Testament are bringers of disease and misfortune – but such demons became quite popular.   The underworld of treasure hunters has often included with magicians seeking to call up spirits to reveal the location of wealth or to dismiss other spirits who guard it, and Scepter is just another example.

Once again, you can read the entire text in Duling’s translation.  Next time – lions and pigs, oh my!

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Published in: on January 11, 2008 at 4:40 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. It’s obviously conjecture, but the dog’s “prosperity” could be indicated by the dog being fat rather than the outfitting of any bling.


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