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Jews of New Testament times used ‘Beelzebul’ as a name for Satan, the prince of demons (Matthew 10:25; Matthew 12:24-27). It was a variation of the name Baal-zebub, a Baal god whose home (according to an ancient Canaanite belief) was in the Philistine town of Ekron (2 Kings 1:2). The name meant ‘lord of flies’, probably because the local people believed this god gave the citizens of Ekron protection against disease-carrying flies that plagued the area.

By contrast other people interpreted the name in a bad sense – lord of flies, and therefore lord of filth. This was the meaning the Jews had in mind when they used the name as a title for Satan. Satan was Beelzebul, for he was lord of all things unclean, in particular unclean spirits, or demons (Mark 3:21-22; Luke 11:14-15). (Concerning the Jews’ accusation that Jesus cast out demons by Beelzebul, see BLASPHEMY.)

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Beelzebul'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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