Click to donate today!
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(ὁ Διάβολος, of which the English term is but a variation). This term signifies one who travesties another's character for the purpose of injuring it, a slanderer, and is sometimes applied to any calumniator, e.g. a gossip- monger (1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 2:3); but it is spoken especially, by way of eminence, of the arch enemy of man's spiritual interest, whom the Jews represented as continually impugning the character of saints before God (comp. Job 1:6; Revelation 12:10; Zechariah 3:1). (See ACCUSER). In 1 Peter 5:8, he is expressly called "the accuser (ἀντίδικος ) "of the brethren," with a reference to forensic usages. (See ADVOCATE). The word is found in the plural number and adjective sense in 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:3; and Titus 2:3. In all other cases it is used with the article as a descriptive name of Satan, except that in John 6:70, it is applied to Judas (as "Satan' to Peter in Matthew 16:23), because they — the one permanently, and the other for the moment — were doing Satan's work. (On John 11:31, see Engelhard's Commentatio, Erf. 1794; "Hane, Schriferkl. p. 51-75; on Hebrews 2:14, Anon. De Diabolo, Gö tt. 1784; Oestmann, De loco 1 Peter 5:8, Gryph. 1816). The name describes him as slandering God to man, and man to God. (See DIABOLUS).
a. The former work is, of course, a part of the great work of temptation to evil; and is not only exemplified, but illustrated, as to its general nature and tendency, by the narrative of Genesis in. We find there that its essential characteristic is the representation of God as an arbitrary and selfish ruler, seeking his own good, and not that of his creatures. The effect is to stir up in man the spirit of freedom to seek a fancied independence; and it is but a slight step further to impute falsehood or cruelty to God. The success of the devil's slander is seen, not only in the scriptural narrative of the Fall, but in the corruptions of most mythologies, and especially in the horrible notion of the divine φθόνος, or envy, which ran through so many (see, e.g. Herod. 1:32; 7:46). The same slander is implied rather than expressed in the temptation of our Lord, and is overcome by the faith which trusts in God's love even where its signs may be hidden from the eye (comp. the unmasking of a similar slander by Peter in Acts 5:4).
b. The other work, the slandering or accusing of man before God, is, as it must naturally be, unintelligible to us. The All-seeing Judge can need no accuser, and the All- Pure could, it might seem, have no intercourse with the Evil One. But, in truth, the question touches on two mysteries, the relation of the Infinite to the finite spirit, and the permission of the existence of evil under the government of him who is "the Good." ‘ As a part of these it must be viewed — to the latter especially it belongs; and this latter, while it is the great mystery of all, is also one in which the facts are proved to us by incontrovertible evidence. (See SATAN).
The word "devil" also often stands, but improperly, in our version as a rendering of δαίμων, an impure spirit from the other world acting upon a human being. (See DAEMON).
In Leviticus 17:7, the word translated "devil" is שָׂעַיר (saï r´, hairy), ordinarily a "goat," but rendered "satyr" in Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14; probably alluding to the wood-daemons, resembling he-goats, supposed to live in deserts, and which were an object of idolatrous and beastly worship among the heathen. (See SATYR). The term rendered "devil" in Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalms 106:37, is שֵׁד (shed, properly lord, Sept. and Vulg. demon), an idol, since the Jews regarded idols as demons that caused themselves to be worshipped by men. (See IDOLATRY).
The belief of the Hebrews down to the Babylonian exile seems but dimly to have recognized either Satan or daemons, at least as a dogmatic tenet, nor had it any occasion for them, since it treated moral evil as a properly human act (comp. Genesis 3), and always as subjective and concrete, but regarded misfortune, according to teleological axioms, as a punishment deserved on account of sin at the hands of a righteous God, who inflicted it especially by the agency of one of his angels (2 Samuel 24:16; comp. 2 Kings 19:35), and was accordingly looked upon as the proper author of every afflictive dispensation (Amos 3:6). Apparitions were part of the popular creed: there were beings inimical to mankind inhabiting solitudes, but not yet adopted in the association of religious ideas. (See SPECTRE).
The Azazel (q.v.) is thought by many to have been held to be such a daemon; yet, if we grant even this, it still remains but an isolated being, one might almost say, a mere liturgical idea. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that these representations were fitted to serve as introductory to dogmatic daemonology, when the belief was eventually carried out to its full conclusion. The period of the exile is the time of this development; and when also the Medo-Persian tenets of Ahriman and his emanations came into direct contact with the Israelitish faith, they exerted so powerful an influence in drawing out the national conceptions that the Amshaspands of the Zend-Avesta (q.v.) are strongly reflected in the Jewish angelology. Earlier, indeed, a Satan, so called by way of eminence, occasionally appears as the malicious author of human misfortune, but only under the divine superintendence: e.g. he incites David to a sinful act (1 Chronicles 21:1); casts suspicions upon Job's piety (Job 1:6 sq.), and, with Jehovah's permission, inflicts upon him a lot gradually more severe to the utmost point of endurance; appears as the mendacious impeacher (ὁ κατήγωρ, Revelation 12:10) of the high-priest Joshua before the Angel of God, but draws upon himself the divine malediction (Zechariah 3:1 sq.). Yet in all this he is as little like the Ahriman of the Zend-Avesta (Rhode, Heil. Sage, p. 182 sq.; Matthai, Religionsglaube d. Apostel, II, 1:171 sq.; Creuzer, Symbol. 1:705) as an indifferent prosecuting attorney-general or judicial superintendent commissioned by Jehovah: ill-will actuates him, and desire for the misery of the pious. Daemons are not mentioned in the canonical books of the Old Test., unless (with many interpreters) we understand "the host of the high ones" in Isaiah 24:21 (צְבָא הִמָּרוֹם, army of the lofty, comp. Daniel 8:10), of the evil angels (comp. Isaiah 14:12), and interpret the whole passage as referring to their punishment. (See LUCIFER).
"In the Apocrypha, the old Hebrew notion of Jehovah's angels who allot disaster occurs but partially, and in case mishap overtakes the enemies of the pious, the angels are alluded to as auxiliaries and friends of the latter (2 Maccabees 15:23 sq.), although we may search in vain such passages for a single mention of daemons. On the other hand, the books of Tobias and Baruch are full of representations concerning them (δαιμόνια ), while they never refer to Satan. These beings dwell in waste places (Baruch 4:35; Tobit 8:3; comp. Sept. at Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14); also; ruins (Gemara, Berachoth, p. 16, Rabe's trans.; they are the heathen gods, Baruch 4:7; comp. Sept. at Psalms 95:5; 1 Corinthians 10:20); but mingle among men, take their abode in them as tormenting spirits (Tob. vi, 9), and can only be expelled by mystical means (Tob. 6:20). One of them, Asmodaeus (q.v.), is licentious (on the lust of daemons as being signified in Genesis 6:2, see the book of Enoch, ch. vii, and the Testam. Reuben, c. 5, in Fabricii Pseudepigr. V. T. 1:530), falls in love with a beautiful maiden, and through jealousy kills her seven successive bridegrooms on the wedding night (Tobit 3:8; comp. 6:15). In the took of Wisdom (ii. 24), the devil (ὁ διάβολος ) comes plainly forward as an interpretation of the serpent that seduced Eve (Genesis in; the Targum of Jonathan actually names, at Genesis 3:6, Sammael as the "angel of death," מִלְאִךְ מוֹתָא : see Gerlach, De angelo mortis, Hal. 1734), and here the Zend-avestic parallel becomes more evident (the serpent was a symbol of Ahriman, Creuzer, Symbol. 1:724). Josephus knows nothing of Satan, but daemons (δαίμονες or δαιμόνια ), souls of dead men (War, 7:6, 3), are with him tormenting spirits, which take possession of men (ib.), and inflict upon them severe, incurable diseases, particularly of a psychical character (Ant. 6:8, 2; 11, 3, in explanation of 1 Samuel 16:14). Their expulsion can be effected (see Gemara, Berachoth, p. 28, Rabe's tr.) by magical formulae (Ant. 8:2, 5) and mystical means (War, 7:6, 3). Such daemoniacs (δαιμονιζόμενοι ) are, as is well known, mentioned in the gospels, and Jesus restored many of them by a simple word. (See POSSESSED (WITH A DEVIL).)
But perhaps the daemonology of the New Test. is exhibited in a more strictly dogmatic light than any other. The daemons have Satan as their chief (ἄρχων, Matthew 12:24), dwell in men as "unclean spirits" (πνεύματα ἀκάθαρτα or πονηρά, Matthew 12:43; Luke 8:2; Luke 10:20; Luke 11:24; Ephesians 6:12; one inferior to the other, Luke 11:26), and induce maladies as "spirits of infirmities"' (πνεύματα ἀσθηνειῶν, Luke 8:2; Luke 13:11; comp. 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20). They appear in association with Satan in the Apocalypse (Revelation 12:7; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 16:13 sq.). Satan himself (ὁ Σατανᾶς, ὁ Διάβολος, ὁ πονηρός, Βεελζεβούλ, (See BEELZEBUB), Βελίαλ [בְּלַיִּעִל ] or Βελίαρ, 2 Corinthians 6:15 (See BELIAL) ), is the originator of all wickedness and mischief (Luke 10:19; Luke 13:16; Luke 22:31; Acts 5:3; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 2:2), therefore the opponent (ὁ ἐχθρος ) of the kingdom of God (Matthew 13:39; Luke 10:18; Luke 22:3 sq.; for whose subjugation Christ came, John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11), and the tempter (ὁ πειράζων ) of the faithful (1 Corinthians 7:5; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 1 Peter 5:8 sq.), as Jesus himself was tempted by him in the beginning of his ministry (Matthew 4). Satan's first act towards mankind was the leading of Eve into sin (2 Corinthians 11:3; comp. Revelation 12:9; John 8:44), and so he became the originator and king of death (1 Corinthians 15:26; Hebrews 2:14; the Sammaell', סַמָּאֵל, of the later Jews, see Buxtorf, Lex. Chald. col. 1495). He and his angels (Revelation 12:9; comp. 2 Corinthians 12:7), i.e. apparently the daemons, were originally created good (inasmuch as from the hand of God only good can come, but against him, the Creator of the universe, no opposing being could originally exist); but through their own fault they fell (John 8:44 [?]; 2 Peter 2:4; Judges 1:6); yet they rule in the kingdom of darkness (Ephesians 6:12; comp. Colossians 1:13; roving about in the atmosphere, Ephesians 2:2), as well as over all mankind alienate from God (ὁ κόσμος, as κοσμοκράτορες, Ephesians 6:12; but Satan as ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου or θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2), although destined to a future fearful sentence (2 Peter 2:4; Judges 1:6), when Christ shall appear to overthrow the kingdom of Satan (1 John 2:8); indeed, Satan has already through him received his condemnation (John 12:31; John 16:11; comp. Hebrews 2:14). The later speculations of the Jews on the subject of Satan and daemons may be seen in Eisenmenger (Entdeckt. Judenth. ii, c. 8, p. 408 sq.). The Targums often introduce Satan into the O.T. text; in fact, whenever an opportunity presents itself (e.g. Jonath. on Exodus 32:19; Leviticus 9:2). On this subject, see especially Mayer, Historia Diaboli (2d ed. Tub. 1780); Ode, De angelis (Traj. ad Rh. 1739), sect. 4, p. 463 sq.; Schmidt, in his Biblioth. fiur Krit. u. Exegese, 1:525 sq. ("Comparison of the New.-Test. daemonology with the Zendic books"); Winzer, De daemonologia in N.T. proposita (Viteb. 1812, Lips. 121, incomplete); Matthai, Religionsglaube der Apostel, II, 1:98 sq.; Colln, Bibl. Theol. 1:423 sq.; 2:69 sq.; 229 sq.; M. Stuart, in the Bibliotheca Sacra (1843), 1:120 sq. (See ANGEL); (See EXORCISM); (See SATAN).
These files are public domain.
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Devil'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/d/devil.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27