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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Belial

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bē´li -al , bēl´yal ( בּליּעל , belı̄ya‛al ; Βελίαρ , Belı́ar ): This name, occurring very frequently in the Old Testament, has the sense of "worthlessness" (compare 2 Samuel 23:6 margin); accordingly in such phrases as "sons of Belial" ( Judges 20:13; 1 Samuel 10:27 , etc.), "men of Belial" (1 Samuel 30:22; 1 Kings 21:13 , etc.), which the English Revised Version usually retains, the American Standard Revised Version more correctly renders, "base fellows" (so "daughter of Belial" 1 Samuel 1:16 , "wicked woman"). There is here no suggestion a proper name. Afterward, however, "Belial" became a proper name for Satan, or for Antichrist (Thus frequently in the Jewish Apocalyptic writings, e.g. in XII the Priestly Code (P), Book Jubilees, Asc Isa, Sib Or). In this sense Paul used the word in 2 Corinthians 6:15 , "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" (Beliar ). Bousset thinks that Paul's "man of sin" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 , where some authorities read "man of lawlessness," is a translation of this term. The sense at least is similar. See ANTICHRIST; MAN OF SIN .

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Belial'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/b/belial.html. 1915.

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