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Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words


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1: Βελίαλ
(Strong's #955 — Noun Masculine — belial — bel-ee'-al )

is a word frequently used in the Old Testament, with various meanings, especially in the books of Samuel, where it is found nine times. See also Deuteronomy 13:13 ; Judges 19:22 ; 20:13 ; 1 Kings 21:10,13 ; 2 Chronicles 13:7 . Its original meaning was either "worthlessness" or "hopeless ruin" (see the RV , margin). It also had the meanings of "extreme wickedness and destruction," the latter indicating the destiny of the former. In the period between the OT and the NT it came to be a proper name for Satan. There may be an indication of this in Nahum 1:15 , where the word translated "the wicked one" is Belial.

The oldest form of the word is "Beliar," possibly from a phrase signifying "Lord of the forest," or perhaps simply a corruption of the form "Belial," due to harsh Syriac pronunciation. In the NT, in 2 Corinthians 6:15 , it is set in contrast to Christ and represents a personification of the system of impure worship connected especially with the cult of Aphrodite.

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Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Belial'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. 1940.

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