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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Belial (Beliar)

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BELIAL (BELIAR) . This word, rendered by AV [Note: Authorized Version.] and RV [Note: Revised Version.] as a proper noun in the majority of the OT passages, is in reality a compound, meaning ‘worthlessness,’ whence ‘wickedness,’ ‘destruction,’ and as such is construed with another noun. In the sense of’ wickedness,’ it occurs in 1 Samuel 1:16 ‘daughter of wickedness,’ i.e. ‘a wicked woman’ (cf. Deuteronomy 13:13; Deuteronomy 15:9 , Judges 9:22; Judges 20:13 , 1Sa 2:12; 1 Samuel 10:27; 1 Samuel 25:17; 1Sa 25:25 , 2 Samuel 16:7; 2 Samuel 20:1; 2Sa 23:6 , 1 Kings 21:10; 1 Kings 21:13 , 2 Chronicles 13:7 , Proverbs 6:12; Proverbs 16:27; Proverbs 19:28 , for similar usage). As ‘destruction,’ it is found in Psalms 17:5 (cf. 2 Samuel 22:5 ) Psalms 41:8 and Nahum 1:11; Nahum 1:15 (note in Nahum 1:15 independent use, ‘man’ understood; RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘wicked one’; others, ‘destroyer’). Having such a meaning, it is used by St. Paul as a name for Satan (personification of unclean heathenism, 2 Corinthians 6:15 ), the Greek text spelling it ‘Beliar’ (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] and RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘Belial’), a variation due to the harsh pronunciation of ‘l ’ in Syriac.

N. Koenig.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Belial (Beliar)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/b/belial-beliar.html. 1909.

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