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The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia
—Biblical, Talmudical, and Post-Talmudical:
Angelology is that branch of theology which treats of angels. Angels (from αγγελōς = messenger, Greek equivalent of the Hebrew ) are according to the usual conception superhuman beings dwelling in heaven, who, on occasion, reveal to man God's will and execute His commands. In one form or another, the belief in angels appears in the earliest stages of Jewish history, and continues to live in the spiritual world of the Jews and those professing the religions that sprang from Judaism; namely, Christianity and Mohammedanism. It can not be denied that the belief in such beings was also held by other peoples and other religions; but here the concern is only with Jewish Angelology, which can hardly be said to have ever been reduced to a complete system, such as is maintained by the Catholic Church (Oswald, "Angelologie, die Lehre von den Guten und Bösen Engeln im Sinne der Katholischen Kirche," Paderborn, 1883). To admit of a comprehensive survey of the historical development of Angelology, the subject may best be treated according to three periods: (1) the Biblical, (2) the Talmudical and Midrashic, and (3) the Medieval.
1. The Biblical Period:
The Biblical name for angel, , meaning, according to derivation, simply "messenger," obtained the further signification of "angel" only through the addition of God's name, as ("angel of the Lord," or "angel of God" Zechariah 12:8). Other appellations are , or ("Sons of God," Genesis 6:4; Job, 1:6 [R. V. 5:1]; Psalms 29:1 [R. V. margin]); and ("the Holy Ones" [perhaps equivalent to "fiery ones," "unapproachable"; see Holiness. K.], Psalms 89:6,8 [R. V. 5, 7]).
Angels appear to man in the shape of human beings of extraordinary beauty, and are not at once recognized as angels (Genesis 18:2, 19:5; Judges, 6:17, 13:6; 2 Samuel 29:9); they fly through the air; they become invisible; sacrifices touched by them are consumed by fire; they disappear in sacrificial fire, like Elijah, who rode to heaven in a fiery chariot; and they appear in the flames of the thornbush (Genesis 16:13; Judges, 6:21,22; 2 Kings, 2:11; Exodus 3:2). They are pure and bright as heaven; consequently they are formed of fire and are encompassed by light (Job, 15:15), as the Psalmist says (Psalms 104:4, R. V.): "Who maketh winds his messengers; his ministers a flaming fire." Although they have intercourse with the daughters of men (Genesis 6), and eat heavenly bread (Psalms 78:25), they are immaterial, not being subject to the limitations of time and space.
Appearance of Angels.
Though superhuman, they assume human form. This is the earliest conception. Gradually, and especially in post-Biblical times, they come to be bodied forth in a form corresponding to the nature of the mission to be fulfilled—generally, however, the human form. They bear drawn swords or destroying weapons in their hands—one carries an ink-horn by his side—and ride on horses (Numbers 22:23, Joshua 5:13, Ezekiel 9:2, Zechariah 1:8 et seq.). A terrible angel is the one mentioned in 1 Chronicles 21:16,30, as standing "between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand." In the Book of Daniel, probably written 165 B.C., reference is made to an angel "clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: his body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude" (Daniel 10:5,6). It is an open question whether at that time angels were imagined to possess wings (Daniel 9:21).
Angels are powerful and dreadful, endowed with wisdom and with knowledge of all earthly events, correct in their judgment, holy, but not infallible; for they strive with each other, and God has to make peace between them. When their duties are not punitive, angels are beneficent to man (Psalms 103:20, 78:25; 2 Samuel 14:17,20, 19:28; Zechariah 14:5; Job, 4:18, 25:2).
The number of angels is enormous. Jacob meets a host of angels; Joshua sees the "captain of the host of the Lord"; God sits on His throne, "all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left"; the sons of God come "to present themselves before the Lord" (Genesis 32:2; Joshua 5:14,15; 1 Kings, 22:19; Job, 1:6, 2:1; Psalms 89:6; Job, 33:23). The general conception is the one of Job (25:3): "Is there any number of his armies?"
Though the older writings usually mention one angel of the Lord, embassies to men as a rule comprised several messengers. The inference, however, is not to be drawn that by God Himself or one particular angel was designated: the expression was given simply to God's power toaccomplish through but one angel any deed, however wonderful.
Angels are referred to in connection with their special missions; as, for instance, the "angel which hath redeemed," "an interpreter," "the angel that destroyed," "messenger of the covenant," "angel of his presence," and "a band of angels of evil" (Genesis 48:16; Job, 33:23; 2 Samuel 24:16; Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 63:9; Psalms 78:49, R. V.). When, however, the heavenly host is regarded in its most comprehensive aspect, a distinction may be made between cherubim, seraphim, ḥayyot ("living creatures"), ofanim ("wheels"), and arelim (the meaning of which term is unknown). God is described as riding on the cherubim and as "the Lord of hosts, who dwelleth between the cherubim"; while the latter guard the way of the tree of life (1 Samuel 4:4, Psalms 80:2, Genesis 3:24). The seraphim are described by Isaiah (6:2) as having six wings; and Ezekiel describes the ḥayyot (Ezekiel 1:5 et seq.) and ofanim as heavenly beings who carry God's throne.
In post-Biblical times the heavenly hosts became more highly organized (possibly as early as Zechariah [3:9, 4:10]; certainly in Daniel), and there came to be various kinds of angels, some even being provided with names, as will be shown below.
Angels appear to man as the medium of God's power and will and to execute His dispensations. Angels reveal themselves to individuals as well as to the whole nation, in order to announce events, either good or bad, affecting them. Angels foretell to Abraham the birth of Isaac, to Manoah the birth of Samson, and to Abraham the destruction of Sodom. Guardian angels are mentioned, but not, as was later the case, as guardian spirits of individuals and nations. God sends an angel to protect the people after their exodus from Egypt, to lead them to the promised land, and to destroy the hostile tribes in their way (Exodus 23:20, Numbers 20:16). In Judges (2:1) an angel of the Lord—unless here and in the preceding instances (compare Isaiah 42:19, Ḥag. 1:13, Malachi 3:1) a human messenger of God is meant —addresses the whole people, swearing to bring them to the promised land. An angel brings Elijah meat and drink (1 Kings, 19:5); and as God watched over Jacob, so is every pious person protected by an angel that cares for him in all his ways (Psalms 34:7, 91:11). There are angels militant, one of whom smites in one night the whole Assyrian army of 185,000 men (2 Kings, 19:35); messengers go forth from God "in ships to make the careless Ethiopians afraid" (Ezekiel 30:9); the enemy is scattered before the angel like chaff (Psalms 35:5,6). Avenging angels are mentioned, such as the one in 2 Samuel 24:15, who annihilates thousands. It would seem that the pestilence was personified, and that the "evil angels" mentioned in Psalms 78:49 are to be regarded as personifications of this kind. "Evil" is here to be taken in the causative sense, as "producing evil"; for, as stated above, angels are generally considered to be by nature beneficent to man. They glorify God, whence the term "glorifying angels" (Psalms 29:1, 103:20, 148:2; compare Isaiah 6:2 et seq.). They constitute God's court, sitting in council with him (1 Kings, 22:19; Job, 1:6, 2:1); hence they are called His "council of the holy ones" (Psalms 89:7, R. V.; A. V. "assembly of the saints"). They accompany God as His attendants when He appears to man (Deuteronomy 33:2; Job, 38:7). This conception was developed after the Exile; and in Zechariah angels of various shapes are delegated "to walk to and fro through the earth" in order to find out and report what happens (Zechariah 6:7). In the prophetic books angels also appear as representatives of the prophetic spirit, and bring to the prophets God's word. Thus the prophet Haggai was called God's messenger (angel); and it is known that "Malachi" is not a real name, but means "messenger" or "angel." It is noteworthy that in 1 Kings, 13:18, an angel brings the divine word to the prophet.
Upon the important problem of the origin of angels Biblical writers do not touch; but it is inferred that angels existed before the Creation (Genesis 1:26; Job, 38:7). The earlier Biblical writings did not speculate about them; simply regarding them, in their relations to man, as God's agents. Consequently, they did not individualize or denominate them; and in Judges, 13:18, and Genesis 32:30, the angels, when questioned, refuse to give their names. In Daniel, however, there already occur the names Michael and Gabriel. Michael is Israel's representative in heaven, where other nations—the Persians, for instance—were also represented by angelic princes. More than three hundred years before the Book of Daniel was written, Zechariah graded the angels according to their rank, but did not name them. The notion of the seven eyes (Zechariah 3:9, 4:10) may have been affected by the representation of the seven archangels and also possibly by the Parsee seven amshaspands (compare Ezekiel 9:2).
2. Talmudical and Midrashic Literature:
The writer of the Book of Daniel was the first by whom angels were individualized and endowed with names and titles. Not long after that time Essenism came into existence. It possessed a highly developed Angelology; but knowledge of the system was confined to Essenes. The Sadducees, on the contrary, disputed the very existence of angels.
Development of Angelology.
Upon the foundations of Scripture a gigantic structure was reared at the time of the completion of the Talmud. Post-Talmudic mysticism extravagantly enlarged this structure, until it reached from earth to heaven; and the fanciful ideas of the Apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, of the Talmudic and Midrashic works, and of the mystic and cabalistic literature rush along like a wild stream that overflows its banks. From this wealth of material the assumption may be drawn that the Angelology was not systematically organized. The Judaic intellect is little inclined to systematization; and a systematic Angelology was a matter of impossibility with the vast number of haggadists, who lived and taught at different times and places, and under a manifold variety of circumstances. In this regard it is difficult to distinguish between Palestinians and Babylonians, between the Tannaim and the Amoraim; for descriptions of heaven varied according to the exegetic needs of the homily and the social condition of the audience.
Following the Bible as a model, the Maccabean warriors invoked the angel that smote Sennacherib's army (I Macc. 7:41; II. Macc. 15:22; Syriac Baruch Apocalypse, 63:7; Book of Jubilees, 17:11, 27:21 et seq.). But the scholars handled the material after their individual inclinations. It is impossible, in consequence, to fix the boundaries between the speculations of scholars and popular notions, between individual and general views, between transient and permanent ideas. On the whole, however, the dominant beliefs concerning Angelology may be gathered from the traditions that continued even after the extinction of the Essenes. If these traditions did not originate with the people, they were transmitted to them by the scholars, who were held in undisputed popular esteem; and they thus cameto form part of the popular belief. Since the Bible was interpreted only in the light of tradition, haggadic teachings are quite as important for the understanding of the religion and its forms as is the Bible itself.
Embellishment of Biblical Accounts.
Not infrequently the ministration of angels is inferred in Biblical narratives when no mention is made of them. For instance, when God wishes to create man, the angels ask, "Wherefore dost Thou create him?" (Gen. R. 8:5); Sarah is protected from Pharaoh by an angel holding a whip uplifted in his hand and making it dependent on Sarah whether he should use it or not (Genesis 12:14 et seq.); five angels appear to Hagar; an angel leads Rebekah to the well (Gen. R. , near beginning, , ); when Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac, the angels intercede, protesting to the Lord that the intended act is unnatural (Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." 3:29); angels transfer the animals of Laban's flock to that of Jacob (Gen. R. , near end); in Genesis 31:8 an angel speaks to Jacob (Tan. ed. Buber, Wayeẓe, 24); Jacob employs some of the angels who meet him as messengers to Esau (Genesis 32:4, Gen. R. ); when Joseph seeks his brethren (Genesis 37:15 et seq.) three angels meet him (Gen. R. ); angels gather together the sons of Jacob (Genesis 49:2; Gen. R. , near beginning); an angel speaks out of the mouth of Balaam and compels him to pronounce a blessing (Sanh. 105b); the ministering angels wait on Ehud (Judges, 3:23) in order to assist him (Gen. R. ); and an angel causes weapons to be found for Saul and Jonathan (1 Samuel 13:22).
The rabbis most frequently give angelological embellishments to the story of Esther; thus transforming the plain, straightforward account into a miraculous tale. Gabriel drastically prevents Queen Vashti from appearing before Ahasuerus and his guests, in order to bring about the election of Esther in her place; and when Esther appears in the court of the king's house (Esther 5:1), three ministering angels hurry to her help: one raises her head; the second invests her with grace; and the third holds out to her the king's scepter. When Ahasuerus has the "book of records of the chronicles" read to him, it is found that Shimshai, the scribe (see Ezra, 4:8), has stricken out the passage recording Mordecai's rescue of the king; but the angel Gabriel rewrites it. On Esther's complaint to Ahasuerus that she and her people have been sold, the king asks who has done this thing. Esther is about to point her finger to Ahasuerus, to designate him as the wrongdoer, when an angel turns her hand in the direction of Haman. Ahasuerus then goes out in wrath to the garden, and, seeing there men tearing up the trees, asks the reason for their action; they reply that Haman has commanded it. The men were angels, of course. Angels, too, throw Haman upon Esther's couch. Ahasuerus' statement that the Jews had "slain and destroyed five hundred men" (ibid. 9:12) sounds like a reproach against the queen; but an angel, touching the king's mouth, causes his speech to end kindly (Meg. 15b, 16a, 16b). In two cases an angel strikes Nebuchadnezzar on the mouth: when he begins to praise God (Daniel 3:33 [A. V. 4:3]), so that he may not cast David's psalms into the background, and when he says of the form of one of the four men "walking in the midst of the fire" (ibid. 3:25) that it is like the Son of God, the angel thereupon thunders, "Has God a Son?" (Sanh. 92b, below; Yer. Shab. , end).
There are many such examples in the Talmud of the addition of angels to the Biblical narrative which give the impression that angels are merely to voice men's opinions. Where there are possible objections to the act of divine justice, these are put into the mouth of the angels who represent God's council; and His reply to them is the justification of His doings. Many other haggadot in which God and angels converse are to be similarly construed as the figurative representation of differing opinions; and quite as often such intercourse between God and angels serves to present in a vivid and impressive form certain ethical doctrines—a fact which has been misunderstood and misconstrued by Weber ("Jüdische Theologie," 2d ed., pp. 176 et seq., Leipsic, 1897).
Jewish tradition frequently gives distinct and unmistakable expression to God's sublime superiority over the angels. When, in order to remove the anthropomorphism from the Biblical passage, Exodus 33:20, "There shall no man see me and live" (), Akiba interprets it, "Not even the holy ḥayyot who carry the throne of glory, see the glory itself," Simon improves upon this; saying, "Not even the ever-living ones, the angels" (Sifra, Leviticus 1:1). God's dwelling-place is in the seventh heaven, next to which is the abode of the pious; and the angels rank after the latter (Ḥag. 12b; Midr. Teh. on Psalms 21:7; Weber, ibid. pp. 162 et seq.).
The dignity of the pious is greater than that of the angels (Sanh. 93a, top). "God is first praised by Ezekiel; then by the angels" (Gen. R. ). Adam reclined in paradise; and the ministering angels roasted meat for him (Sanh. 59b). When Israel recited the Shema', the angels were silent till the end, and then sang their song of praise (Gen. R. ). The angelic hosts praise God during the night; for during the day, when Israel's praise is heard, they are silent (Ḥag. 12b). The pious command the angels (Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." 2:262, note 6); angels are not allowed to condone sins (Midr. Teh. 17:2). When Rabbi Joshua discourses concerning the throne of God, the angels gather about him in curiosity (Ḥag. 14b). In the laudation of God, Israel is given precedence. Israel praises every day; angels praise but once (Midr. Teh. , beginning; Ḥul. 91b, below).
Every man that does not practise magic enters a department of heaven to which even the ministering angels are not allowed access (Ned. 32a).
In addition to the Biblical name ("angel") the term ("the upper ones") often occurs in contrast with ("the lower ones"). The former name designates them as inhabitants of heaven (Sanh. 20b, Ket. 104a, Midr. Teh. 25:14, etc.). By the creation of mankind God established peace between the upper ones and the lower ones (Lev. R. ). The upper household ()—from familia, servants, meaning the angels forming the heavenly court—is often contrasted with Israel as God's servants on earth below () (Ber. 17a; Sifre, Num. 42; Sanh. 98b, 99b; Ḥag. 13b, below). The angelic host is even called "exercitus" and "strateia"; and angels of the lowest rank are called "galearii" (army servants; Cant. R. 8:13; Num. R. 12:8; Pesiḳ. R. 15:69a; Pesiḳ. 5:45b).
Nomenclature and Essence.
The essence of the angels is fire; they sustain themselves in fire; their fiery breath consumes men; and no man can endure the sound of their voices (Cant. R. 5:10; Pesiḳ. 5:57a; Ḥag. 14b, above; Shab. 88b, below; Tan., Yitro, ). "The angel of the Lord" in Judges, 2:1, was Phinehas, whose countenance, when the Holy Spirit rested upon it, glowed like a torch (Lev. R. ,beginning). To Joshua b. Hananiah the emperor Hadrian said: "You say that no portion of the heavenly hosts sings praise to the Lord twice, but that God daily hears new angels who sing his praise [based on Lamentations 3:23] and then go. Whither do they go?" Whereupon Joshua replied: "To the stream of fire whence they emanated" (Daniel 7:10). H.: "What is the character of this stream?" J.: "It is like the Jordan, which ceases not to flow by day or by night." H.: "And whence comes the stream of fire? " J.: "From the sweat of the living creatures of God's chariot, which drops from them under the burden of God's throne" (Gen. R. , beginning, and parallel passages; compare Bacher, "Ag. Tan." 1:178). Another theory is, that angels are half fire, half water, and that God makes peace between the opposing elements (Yer. R. H. 2:58a). They feed on the rays of God's majesty, for "in the light of the king's countenance is life" (Proverbs 16:15, Pesiḳ. 6:57a).
A characteristic and well-known passage is the following:
"In three respects demons resemble angels; in three others, mankind. Like the angels they have wings, they move from one end of the earth to the other, and are prescient. Like men they eat and drink, propagate themselves, and die. In three respects men resemble the angels; in three others, the animals. Like animals they eat and drink, propagate themselves, and discharge waste matter ".
In order that Moses might become like the angels, all food and drink had to be consumed in his entrails (Yoma, 4b). The angels that appeared to Abraham only pretended to eat (Targ. Yer. Genesis 18:8, and in the Midrash).
The angels are generally represented as good, and as not subject to evil impulses (Gen. R. 48:11). Hence the Ten Commandments are not applicable to them (Shab. 88b); they are called "holy," while men require a twofold sanctification to merit the epithet (Lev. R. 24:8). Having this character, they show neither hatred nor envy; nor does discord or ill will exist among them (Sifre, Num. 42). Nevertheless, they stand in need of mutual beneficence (Lev. R. , beginning). Although there is nothing hidden from the superior beings (Midr. Teh. 25:14), yet they do not know the day of Israel's redemption (Sanh. 99a); see also Matthew 24:36, "of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Though the Israelites, emerging from the sea, knew where God's glory resided, the angels were in ignorance of it (Ex. R. , end). Adam's knowledge exceeded that of the angels (Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." 3:125, note 1): not Adam alone, however, but all the pious rank above the ministering angels (Gen. R. , Yer. Shab. , end).
Although they render God unfailing obedience, and are ready to serve Him before they hear His commands—in which regard they are imitated by Israel— they are nevertheless fallible. There are fallen angels. Two were expelled from heaven for one hundred and thirty-eight years on account of prematurely disclosing the decree of Sodom's destruction, or for presumption (Gen. R. , ).
The angels appear at times standing; now in the shape of a man or of a woman, and now as wind or as fire (Ex. R. , beginning). Of the three angels that appeared to Abraham (Genesis 18:2), one was like a Saracen, one like a Nabatean, and the third like an Arab (Gen. R. 48:9). To Jacob (Genesis 32:25) the angel appeared as a shepherd (Gen. R. ), as a heathen, and as a learned man (Ḥul. 91a). An angel assumed the shape of Moses in order to be captured by Pharaoh in Moses' place; another, taking Solomon's form, dethroned him (Yer. Ber. 9:13a; compare Lev. R. , Yer. Sanh. 2:20c). Angels come from heaven on horses, with gleaming weapons (IV Macc. 4:10); Gabriel smites Sennacherib's host (2 Kings, 19:35) with a sharpened scythe which had been ready since the Creation (Sanh. 95b). The stone mentioned in Daniel 6:18 was a stone lion into which an angel had entered (Cant. R., beginning). A high priest was killed by an angel in the Holy of Holies; and the impress of a calf's foot (compare Ezekiel 1:7; Ta'anit, 25b; Yoma, 21a) was found between his shoulders (Yoma, 19b). Angels being generally conceived as endowed with wings, Akiba took the expression "fowls of the heaven" (Psalms 104:12) to mean angels; but R. Ishmael refuted him (Bacher, "Ag. Tan." 1:324; compare Gen. R. 65:21; Pesiḳ. R. , beginning; Yer. Ber. , end).
Their bodies were supposed to be like the figure described in Daniel 10:6. Their size is variously given. One angel extends from earth to heaven, where the ḥayyot stand; Sandalfon is taller than his fellows by the length of a journey of five hundred years (Ḥag. 13b). According to one tradition, each angel was one-third of a world; according to another, two thousand parasangs (a parasang = 3.88 miles), his hand reaching from heaven to earth (Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." 3:371,547). The angels do not, of course, always disclose themselves in all their size; they are visible to those only whom their message concerns; and their message is heard by none but those for whom it is intended (Ta'anit, 21a).
Variety of Angelic Forms.
Their number was considered, even by the oldest Talmudists, to be infinite. Rabbi Joshua said that the sun is only one of the many thousands that serve God (Yalḳ., Ex. 396). God caused to pass before Moses the hosts of angels that lived in His presence and served Him (Targ. Yer. to Exodus 33:23). God combats evil by Himself; but in beneficent works myriads of angels assist Him (Num. R. 11:7). Every angelic host consists of a thousand times a thousand; but, to judge from Daniel 7:10, and Job, 25:2,3, the hosts themselves were innumerable.
After the expulsion of the Jews from their own country the number of the angelic hosts was decreased (Sifre, Num. 42). When Jacob left Laban's house, sixty times ten thousand angels danced before him (Cant. R. 7:1; compare Gen. R. , end). When at the revelation Israel first said "We will do it," and then "We will hear it," the same number descended and bound two crowns about the head of each Israelite; but when the Israelites sinned, one hundred and twenty thousand angels came to remove them (Shab. 88a). On Sinai God appeared with twenty-two thousand angelic hosts; though another authority holds that the number of hosts could not be computed by any mathematician (Pesiḳ. 12:107b and parallel passages). A thousand angels constitute the following of every Israelite; one angel preceding him, to bid the demons make way. This angel's left hand, which executes but one command—the command of the tefillin (Deuteronomy 6:4-8)—holds a thousand angels; and the right hand, which executes a number of commands, holds ten thousand angels (Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." 2:136,219).
Though the Bible makes no statement concerning the origin of angels, tradition emphatically declares them to have been created by God, but not until the second day of the Creation, in order that it should not be said that God had received assistance in His work, and that Michael sustained the firmament in the south, Gabriel supported it in the north, and Godstrengthened it in the middle. This is one view: another is that the angels were not created until the fifth day. They were not among the six things whose creation was decided upon before the world was made (Gen. R. 1:3). God indeed held council with angels at the creation of man, without, however, allowing them to decide against His decree in favor of his creation (Sanh. 38b, Gen. R. 8:5). These sayings of the rabbis show a desire to preserve intact the idea of monotheism.
Angels also sit in council at the judgment of man, to decide his guilt or innocence. If nine hundred and ninety-nine vote for conviction and only one for acquittal, God decides in favor of man. The soul announces the affairs of man to the angel, the angel to the cherubim, the cherubim to God (Cant. R. 1:9; Yer. Ḳid. 1:61d; Pesiḳ R. , beginning).
Functions of Angels.
As zealous servants of the Lord, angels act in accordance with His spirit; but not infrequently they mistake His intentions. They dispute as to who shall rescue Abraham from the furnace; but God reserves the decision to Himself. When God strove with the Egyptians at the Red sea, angels wanted to take part in the contest; when Phinehas interceded with God to save Israel from the plague, they wanted to strike him down. Micah, the idolater (Judges, ), they wanted to destroy utterly; but God, remembering Micah's hospitality, had compassion on him (Tan., Teẓawweh,; Midr. Teh. 18:13; Sanh. 103b). God harkened, however, to their representations concerning the extent of Jerusalem, which they wished to be unlimited, since God did not limit heathen cities; and He yielded to their request. They pleaded for Moses, when he was exposed on the river, that he should not be allowed to perish; it being the sixth day of Sivan, the day destined for the revelation (Soṭah, 12b). Angels interest themselves deeply in the destiny of Israel and of the pious. They take Israel's part when God proposes to punish him; they lament over the decreed destruction; they plead for Israel with the heathen; they accuse Ishmael's descendants for Israel's sake. They protect Israel, and come to his assistance at the revelation. After Moses' death an angel takes God's place in the guidance of Israel. Angels help at the construction of Solomon's Temple; they weep over its destruction; but their consolation is rejected by God (Giṭ. 7a; Ber. 20b; Esther R. 3:9, 1:14; Gen. R. 53:14; Ex. R. 18:5, near beginning; , beginning; Ex. R. 32:3; Cant. R., introduction, near beginning; Ḥag. 5b; Sanh. 96b; Gen. R. 19:8).
Angels protect the pious and help them in their transactions. An angel nullifies the consequences of Esau's hunting. When Jacob trembles in approaching Isaac, two angels support him lest he fall. When Amram takes his wife again, the angels rejoice over the fact that Moses will be born; and at Moses' death they chant a funeral song. They lament over the martyred Akiba; exclaiming, "This is the Law, and this is its reward" (Soṭah, 12a; Ber. 61b; Shab. 55b). They mourn the death of Adam; they carry off the bodies of Nadab and Abihu. Every man has a special guardian angel, according to Targ. Yer. Genesis 33:10: "I have seen thy face as though I had seen the face of thy angel" (compare Levi in Soṭah, 41b). These guardian spirits are identical with the two angels accompanying man (Ḥag. 16a). When going into an unclean place, one begs these accompanying angels to wait, until he comes out again (Ber. 60b). Guardian spirits are mentioned particularly in Matthew 18:10, and in Acts, 12:15. They resemble the Persian fravashis, and were probably modeled after them. The spirits of the elements, like the prince of the fire, etc., also had their origin in Persia, as is shown by their names. The accompanying angels are probably not identical with the guardian spirits; for certain angels accompany Jacob in the Holy Land, and others attend him in foreign lands (Gen. R. 68:12).
Accompanying angels are not permanent, but temporary, companions. Every angel wears on his breast a tablet inscribed with the name of God (Pesiḳ. 12:108b; comp. Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." 1:412, note 1). Two angels—one good and one evil—accompany man as he returns from the synagogue to his home on Sabbath eve. The souls of the pious are received by three good angels; those of the wicked, by three evil angels, who accompany them and testify for them (Tosef., Shab. 17:2; Shab. 119b; Ket. 104a; Ḥag. 16a). The angels associate with the pious and instruct them in certain matters. Ishmael b. Elisha says: "Three things did the angel of His presence impart to me." To Johanan ben Dahabai ministering angels gave four teachings. They frightened Sheshet. Three angels appeared to a maid serving in the house of Simon b. Yoḥai's father. If some one forsakes the community in its need, his two guardian angels lay their hands on his head saying, "May he have no share in the salvation of the community." Man before his birth, being pure spirit, knows everything; but at the moment that he sees the light of day, an angel strikes him on the mouth, and he forgets the whole Torah (Ber. 51a; Ned. 20a; Meg. 29a; Me'ilah, 17b; Ta'anit, 11a; Nid. 30b).
In Ḥag. 12b it is stated that there is in heaven a Jerusalem, containing a sanctuary in which Michael, the great prince, stands like the high priest on earth, offering up sacrifice. Angels chant the "Holy, holy, holy" of Isaiah 6:3 (Ḥul. 91b and elsewhere); and their voices sound soft and low (Sifre, 1:58). Angels in heaven, representing the peoples of the earth, are mentioned as early as Ben Sira (Ecclus. 17:17; Deuteronomy 32:8, LXX.), the number of the peoples being seventy, according to the reckoning of Genesis 10 But while Ben Sira speaks of God as the ruler of Israel, as does also the Book of Jubilees (15:32), later sources unanimously designate Michael as the prince of Israel. It was to these angels that God said at the building of the tower of Babel, "Let us confound their language" (Targ. Yer. to Genesis 11:7, Pirḳe R. El. ). They were the shinan, distinguished angels who came down with the myriads of angels at the revelation on Sinai (Pesiḳ. R. , with reference to Psalms 68:18 [compare Galatians 3:19]).
The destiny of the nations and of their heavenly princes is closely interwoven. God punishes no nation; nor will He, even in the time of the Messiah, punish any, until He shall have punished its guardian angel (Cant. R. 8:14; Mek., Beshallaḥ, Shirah, ). The hostility of the ancient nations against Israel is reflected in the legend that the seventy princes of the nations bring charges against Israel, whose part God takes. The same angels favored Egypt. God enjoined obedience on Israel in order that he might ward off the hostility of those angels. Jacob saw them in a dream ascending and descending a ladder reaching to heaven, and feared they would always oppress Israel (Ruth R., introduction; Targ. Yer. on Exodus 24:10 and Midrash Abkir; Pesiḳ. 23:150b). No individual names of these are given, with the exception of Michael and Samael: the following, however, are mentioned: namely, the princes of Egypt, Babylon, Media, Yavan (= Greece, hence also Syria), Edom (Rome). The last occurs most frequently, since any great world-power easily suggested tothe minds of the haggadists the power of Rome (Ex. R. 15:15; Pesiḳ. 151a; Mak. 12a, etc.). Samael, Edom's patron, wanted to kill Jacob; also to deprive Tamar of her pledges (Genesis 38:25), wherein Gabriel prevented him, and he complained against Israel on the latter's departure from Egypt (Gen. R.; Cant. R. 3:6; Tan., Wayishlaḥ,; Soṭah, 10b; Ex. R. , near end; Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." 1:25,473). An interesting angel, mentioned in B. B. 25a, is Ben Neẓ, the ruler of the winds, to whom is referred Job, 39:26: "Doth the neẓ [A. V. "hawk"] fly by thy wisdom and stretch his wings towards the south" (to ward off the scorching heat). The "prince of the world" (Yeb. 16b) is possibly identical with Michael.
Mention is also made of the following: Dumah, prince of the realm of the dead, prince of hell, prince of fire; Rahab, prince of the sea; Ridia, prince of the rain; Yurḳemi, prince of the hail (the etymology of the last-mentioned name is unknown); Gabriel, prince of the ripening of the fruit, the prince of lust; Lailah ("night"), prince of conception; Af and Ḥemah ("anger" and "wrath"); Abaddon and Mawet ("destruction" and "death"); the angels of prayer, of beneficence, and of dreams (Shab. 152b; compare Sanh. 94a; 'Ar. 15a; Pes. 118a; Sanh. 95b; B. B. 25a; Gen. R.; Niddah, 16b; Ned. 32a; Shao. 89a; Ex. R.; Midr. Teh. 88:4; Ber. 10b). Frequently angels of peace or wrath, good and bad angels, are referred to; and more frequently destroying angels (, 2 Samuel 24:16, 1 Chronicles 21:15), whose unlimited number figuratively represents the infinite number of ills and mishaps to which flesh is heir (Shab. 88a; Enoch, 53:3, 66:1). Besides these, Jewish tradition has the names of Meṭaṭron, Sandalfon, and (once) Semalion (Sanh. 38b; Ḥag. 13b; Soṭah, 13b).
According to the Talmud, the three angels that visited Abraham (Genesis 18:2) were Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael (Yoma, 37a; B. M. 86b). The Suriel, prince of his presence, of Ber. 51a may have been identical with Sariel.
3. In the Medieval Period:
The system of the Essenes reappears in the mystical writers at the time of the Geonim (600-1000). It was given a still more mystical character by the cabalists, who, beginning in the thirteenth century, gained more and more ground, and finally obtained overwhelming influence. In the Talmud, angels were the instruments of God; in the Middle Ages, the instruments of man, who, by calling their names, or by other means, rendered them visible. The Talmud knew of angelic apparitions, but not of the conjuration of angels, which must be distinguished from the conjuration of demons. Even gaonic mysticism was reserved on this point; but the Book of Raziel, composed of various elements, gives at its very beginning directions for invoking the angels, that change according to the month, day, and hour, and for using them for a peculiar purpose, such as prophecy. After this the Cabala knew no limits as to the number of the angels. Like the Egyptian magic, it was dominated by the belief that no angel could resist the invocation of his name when it took place after certain preparations, in the proper places, and at the right time.
Accordingly, post-Talmudic Angelology, while serving practical ends, had increased the number of angels. Besides those that did duty in heaven, a whole host was placed over the specific activities of man's world; and names were given to the individuals composing this host. When the mysticism that ascribed peculiar properties to letters and numbers, and devoted itself at first to cosmic speculation, turned its attention to the world of angels—considering it a portion of the cosmos—numerous names arose that were exclusively the conceptions of mystical speculators, having no rational etymology. Such names exist by the thousand, occurring to a considerable extent in the Book of Raziel, which pretends to be a revelation by the angel Raziel to Adam, and which passed from Adam to Abraham, Moses, and the Prophets in direct succession from father to son.
Disregarding these fictitious names, which, though genuine to the Cabala, are not to be regarded as component parts of traditional belief, the names of angels and other angelological elements are older than the literature concerning them, especially the cabalistic works Hekalot, Otiot de-R. Akiba, Raziel, and the Zohar. It is a commonly observed feature of secret arts that they flourish in concealed and non-literary forms before venturing into the light of day and becoming literature. Since angelic names constituted the most sacred element in mysticism, they were often not written, much less printed; and, in consequence, a number of them remain unknown, and could not be given in Schwab's "Vocabulaire de l'Angélologie," Paris, 1897, a work numbering three hundred and sixty-eight pages. Curiously enough, Greek names were smuggled in and were later explained by Biblical names. Naturally, there were some authors even in the Middle Ages who condemned as foolishness these fanciful names along with gemaṭrias ("numerical values of the letters"), by means of which they were created. "Neither the older Jewish mysticism nor the Spanish Cabala produced so full an Angelology, or so rich a demonological literature, as did the mysticism of the German Jews of the thirteenth century. Nor did either of them elaborate the angelic character in such detail, or adapt it so skilfully to all the needs of daily life. Consequently, German Jewish mysticism was from this point of view more closely allied to contemporary Christian mysticism than to its predecessors. According to the 'Book of the Angels,' by Eleazar of Worms, one of the most prominent pupils of Judah Ḥasid, the whole world is peopled with angels and demons; no nook or cranny is unprotected by guardian angels; and God determines on everything, and then sends an angel to execute His will. Every man has his angel of destiny  or 'appointed one' , who brings about all the good and evil that he experiences" (Güdemann, "Gesch. des Erziehungswesens und der Cultur der Juden," 1:162; compare 2:165,180).
After the victorious advance of the Cabala, opposition to the highly fanciful belief in angels was no longer made; and mystical Angelology lured the Occident as well as the Orient into its charmed circle, from which a portion of Judaism has not yet liberated itself. Angels still play a part in usages connected with the home among the Ḥasidim, who design their amulets with regard to the particular angel dominant at the time they are made. According to one source, all angels placed over the months and days are said to serve this purpose. In this way Angelology is brought into the closest connection with astrology and into agreement with monotheism.
- A. Dillmann, Handbuch der Alttestamentlichen Theologie, ed. R. Kittel, 1895;
- R. Smend, Lehrbuch der Alttestamentlichen Religionsgeschichte, 2d ed., 1899;
- E. Stave, Ueber den Einfluss des Parsismus auf das Judenthum, 1898;
- G. Brecher, Das Transcendentale, Magie und Magische Heilarten im Talmud, 1850;
- A. Kohut, Ueber die Jüd. Angelologie und Daemonologie in Ihrer Abhängigkeitvom Parsismus, 1866;
- O. H. Schorr, in He-ḤaluU+E93.;
- F. F. Weber, Jüd. Theologie auf Grund des Talmud und Verwandter Schriften, 2d ed., 1897;
- M. Schwab, Vocabulaire de l'Angélologie d'après les Manuscrits Hébreux de la Bibliothèque Nationale, 1897, supplement, 1899.
—General Historical Development:
In the earlier Biblical writings the term "Malak YHWH" (messenger of the Lord) occurs chiefly in the singular, and signifies a special self-manifestation of God (see Genesis 31:11-13, where the angel of God says, "I am the God of Beth-el"; Exodus 3:2-6, where the angel of the Lord who appeared to Moses in the flame of fire says, "I am the God of thy father"; compare Genesis 22:11; Judges, 6:11-22). At times the angel clearly distinguishes himself from the Lord who sends him (see Genesis 16:11, 21:17; Numbers 22:31; Judges, 13:16). Though appearing in human form (see Genesis 18:2 et seq., 32:25; compare Hosea, 12:5), the angel of the Lord has no individuality. Being only a temporary manifestation of God, he can never replace His presence; wherefore Moses, not satisfied with the Lord's saying "I will send an angel before thee" (Exodus 33:2), replies: "If thy presence [face] go not with me, carry us not up hence" (Exodus 33:15).
There prevailed no uniform conception of these angelic beings. In Jacob's dream they ascend and descend the ladder (Genesis 28:12); in the vision of Isaiah (6:2) they are six-winged seraphim; in Ezekiel the cherubim and living creatures (ḥayyot) have the likeness of a man, are winged, and have feet (Ezekiel 1:5-7, 10:19-21). As guests of Abraham, they eat (Genesis 18:8); in the house of Manoah the angel refuses to eat (Judges, 13:16). Whether in the popular mind these angels took the place of the powers of nature deified by the heathen nations elsewhere, or whether the psychological process was a different one, the monotheism of Israel necessitated the assumption of beings representing a heavenly hierarchy ready to mediate between man and God.
The story of Creation makes no mention of the creation of angels, while from Job, 38:7, if not from Genesis 1:26, it rather appears that they looked on, approving and praising God's creative work. According to Job, 4:18, 15:15, the angels are endowed with moral sense, though they fall short of God's own ideal of purity and perfection. According to Psalms 78:25, manna is "angels' food" ("bread of the mighty," R. V.; compare Psalms 103:20). Similarly, the tree in paradise, whose fruit makes man like godly beings "knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5), as well as the tree of life, bears food for angels, as may be learned from the word of the Lord spoken obviously to the angelic sons of God: "Behold the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden" (Genesis 3:22,23). Elsewhere the angels are referred to as partaking of God's wisdom (see 2 Samuel 14:17,20, 19:28). Some such view underlies the verse: "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels [godly beings]" (Psalms 8:5); man, though mortal, being endowed with intellect.
During and after the Exile, under the influence of Babylonian and Persian systems of belief, a great change becomes noticeable in the angelic lore of the Jews. The more the monotheistic idea took hold of the people—permitting no being to interfere with the absolute supremacy of YHWH—the greater became the need of personifying the working forces of life, and of grouping them in ranks around the throne of God to form His royal court. His transcendent nature demanded a more definite system of heavenly functionaries attending Him and awaiting His commands. Gradually the celestial government was formed after the pattern of the earthly one, as it presented itself, imposing and well organized, at the Persian court.
But it is chiefly from a closer contact with Babylonia and her system of upper and lower spirits that the influx of new elements into Jewish Angelology can be traced; and this is confirmed by the rabbinical tradition, "The names of the angels were brought by the Jews from Babylonia" (Yer. R. H. 1:2, Gen. R. ). Ezekiel (9:2) already sees seven angels of God in human form (see Toy's notes, "S. B. O. T." ): six to do the work of destruction, and the seventh the heavenly scribe sent toward the Holy City. While all the revelations he receives come directly from the Lord, in one instance an angel in the form of a man acts as a divine interpreter, when the plan of a new city is mapped out for the prophet (Ezek. 3). The prophet Zechariah, on the other hand, receives all his divine instructions no longer from God directly, but through "the angel of the Lord who talks with him" (Zechariah 1:9; 14, 2:2; 4:1,5; 5:10; compare also 1 Kings, 13:18). Instead of the Lord there appears to him "a man riding upon a red horse" as chief among those who "walk to and fro through the earth" (ib. 1:8-10). The four smiths (ib. 2:3, Heb. [R. V. 1:20]; compare Ezekiel 21:36) as well as "the man with a measuring line" (Zechariah 2:5, Heb. [A. V. 1]) are angels; and the scene of the accusation by Satan of the high priest Joshua while "standing before the angel of the Lord" (ib. 3:1) must be placed in heaven, parallel to the scene in Job, 1:6-12, 2:1-6. However, "the seven eyes of the Lord which run to and fro through the whole earth" (Zechariah 4:10), while betraying Babylonian influence, are only the symbolical representation of Divine Providence, and are not identical with the seven archangels or watchers, as Herzfeld ("Gesch. d. Volkes Israel," 3:287) and Kohut ("Jüd. Angelologie," p. 6, note 17) believe.
It is in the Book of Daniel that a systematic classification of angels is first presented. In Joshua 5:15 reference is made to "the captain of the Lord's host" (), still without name and individuality, and rather a mere manifestation of the Lord, as is seen from Joshua 6:2. In Daniel 10:13, mention is made of "captains of the first rank," A. V. "chief princes" (compare ib. 12:1, "sar ha-gadol," "the great captain," A. V. "prince") and "captains" (princes) of a lower rank, these being tutelary spirits of the nations, "the prince of Persia and the prince of Grecia" (ib. 10:20). Obviously, the underlying idea is the one expressed, if not already in Deuteronomy 32:8, at least in the Septuagint reading, "according to the number of the sons of God" (compare Targ. Yer. to the verse and to Genesis 11:7, Ecclus. [Sirach] 17:17, Pirḳe R. El. , Isaiah 24:21), that the seventy nations of Genesis 10 each had their guardian angel in heaven; and that Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, ranks above the rest. He is one of the chief princes, his name signifying, "Who is like God?" being expressive of God's greatness. The angel who interprets the visions to Zechariah appears in Daniel 8:16, 9:21, under the name of Gabriel ("the mighty man of God"). Above these two ranks a man-like being "clothed in linen," whose fiery appearance overawes Daniel (8:15-17, 10:5-10,16-18), and who swears "by him that liveth for ever" (12:7). He is probably identical with the angel who stands before the Lord,the malak panaw (Isaiah 63:9), according to the Masoretic text—not to be confounded, however, as is done by Oehler (p. 446) with "the son of man" mentioned in Daniel 7:13, who is only a personification of Israel.
Of particular interest is the name for angel (Daniel 4:10,14 [A. V. 13, 17]), which is taken by some (recently Behrmann) to be the Aramean word for (Obad. 1, "messenger"; Isaiah 67:9, "angel"), but which most commentators in accordance with tradition (Aquila, Symmachus, Jerome) explain by the term "watcher." The 'ir we-ḳaddish ("watcher and holy one"), who comes down from heaven to announce the destiny decided "by the decree of the watchers and by the word of the holy ones," evidently represents a high class of angels forming God's "council of the holy ones" (Psalms 89:7, R. V.); while "thousands and ten thousand times thousands of angels stand before Him" to minister to Him (Daniel 7:10, Heb.). Whether the name 'ir (from ur, "being awake") is to be derived (see Herzfeld 3:291, note 342, and Kohut, "Jüd. Angelologie," p. 6) from the seven amshaspands, the Persian archangels—according to Bopp, "the sleepless ones"; according to Spiegel and Darmesteter, "the undying holy ones"—or not, the watchers certainly occupy a high rank in the Book of Enoch.
In the Book of Tobit the name of a third angel appears—namely, Raphael ("God healeth," Tobit, 3:17)—called thus after his mission. "God hath sent me," he says, "to heal thee and Sarah, thy daughter-in-law. I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One" (Tobit, 12:14-15). "He presented Tobit's prayer on account of the latter's blindness, and the prayer of Sarah on account of the humiliation of her parents," and was sent to heal them both (ib. 3:17), to remove the blindness of the one and bind the evil spirit Asmodeus, in order to give a husband to the other. He presented himself to Tobias as an ordinary man to accompany him (ib. 5:4), and ate with him (ib. 6:5, 8:1).
A Heavenly Hierarchy.
The process begun in Daniel, and continued in the entire apocalyptic literature, finally led to the assumption of a heavenly hierarchy of stupendous proportions. The mystic lore, intended only for the initiated few, dwelt on the prophetic theophanies (Ma'aseh Merkabah, "the heavenly throne chariot," Ezekiel 1-, ,; Isaiah 6:1-3; see Ḥag. 2:7); turning the imagery of the seer into gross realities, and greatly amplifying it in accordance with an expanded view of the universe and of its cosmic forces. Yet this angelic lore, the knowledge of which was the special property of the Essenes or Ḥasidim (Josephus, "B. J." 2:8, § 7), while the Sadducees rejected it (Acts, 23:8), was not merely a theoretical speculation, but was also practical in so far as it enabled its possessor to control the spiritual forces by use of the specific names of the angels in incantations and conjurations. It was the application of this principle, derived from the Babylonian magi and Mazdaism, that brought about a well-developed system of Angelology such as is found already in the writings preserved under the name of Enoch. The strange story of the "sons of God" (in Genesis 6:1-4), which, combined with Isaiah 14:12-15, gave rise to the story of the fall of the angels, offered the means of establishing a relationship between the good and the bad angels and, through that, between legitimate and illegitimate magic. These two ideas then—the celestial throne with its ministering angels, and the cosmos with its evil forces to be subdued by superior angelic forces —are the determining factors of Angelology.
According to Enoch, , as the text has now been critically fixed (see Charles, "Book of Enoch," p. 357), there are seven archangels ('irin we-ḳaddishin, "holy ones who watch"):
(1) Uriel ["God is Light"; compare II Esd. 4:1], set over the world's luminaries and over Sheol [compare Enoch, 21:5, 27:2, 33:3,4]; (2) Raphael, set over the spirits of men [compare Enoch, 10:4, where he is told to bind Azazel and to heal the earth with Tobit—3:17]; (3) Raguel [Ra'uel, "the terrifier"], who chastiseth the world of the luminaries; (4) Michael, set over the best part of mankind, over the people of Israel; (5) Sariel [Æth., Sarakiel, Suriel, "God turneth"?], set over the spirits who seduce the spirits to sin; (6) Gabriel, set over paradise, the serpents [seraphim?], and the cherubim; (7) Jerahmeel ["God is merciful"], whom God set over the resurrection [compare II Esd. 4:36; Syriac Apoc. Baruch, 55:3; Steindorf, "Elias Apoc." p. 152].
Whether corresponding with the seven amshaspands of Persia or with the seven planetary spirits of Babylonia (see Herzfeld, Kohut, and Beer in Kautzsch's "Apokryphen u. Pseudepig. d. A. T." p. 251), these seven archangels recur in Enoch, xc. 21-22 (compare Pirḳe R. El. and Hekalot,; the Revelation of John, 5:6, and Hermas Sim. 9:31; 6, 2; Vis. 3:4,1; see Spitta, "Zur Gesch. u. Lit. d. Urchristenthums," 2:361). Michael, named as the fourth, is probably meant to stand in the middle as chief (Luecken, "Michael," p. 37). He is the leader of the seven (Enoch, xc. 21, 22).
Four Angels of the Throne.
On the other hand, Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Fanuel (Penuel) are introduced as "the four angels of the face of the Lord." After the watchers ("those that sleep not") have been described (ibid. 39:12,13) as chanting the "Holy, holy, holy!" and mutually responding, "Blessed be the name of the Lord!" the following passage occurs (ibid. 2):
"I saw on the four sides of the Lord of spirits four presences [faces] different from those that sleep not, and I heard the voice of those four presences as they gave glory before the Lord of glory: The first [as the angel of peace explained it afterward], Michael [ = "who is like God?"], merciful and long-suffering, blesses the Lord of spirits for ever and ever; the second, Raphael, set over the diseases of the children of men, blesses the Elect One [the Messiah] and the elect ones who cleave to the Lord of spirits [the pious ones]; the third, Gabriel ["the mighty one of God"], set over all the powers, intercedes in behalf of the inhabitants of the earth [see Enoch, 10:9-10,12-14]; and the fourth, Fanuel [Penuel = "turning to God"], set over repentance and hope of eternal life, prevents the Satans from accusing men."
In Enoch, 71:7-13, these four stand near the crystal throne of God, which, encircled by fire, is surrounded by the seraphim, cherubim, and ofanim ("wheels," Ezekiel 1:15), "those that sleep not, and guard the throne of His glory" amidst a thousand times thousand and ten thousand times ten thousand, the Head (Ancient) of Days being with the four. Four angels standing before the face of God as leaders of four troops of angels glorifying the Most High, who is seated in the midst of them, are mentioned also in Pirḳe R. El. and Hekalot,; but their names are given as Michael, Uriel, Gabriel, and Raphael (Sibylline Books, 2:215). Compare the four archangels, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel, in Enoch, 9:1, 2. They correspond with the four tutelary spirits or rulers of the four parts of the earth in the Babylonian mythology (Beer, following Jensen, "Cosmologie d. Babylonier," p. 169). (For the twenty-four elders seated around the throne of God in heaven next to the four beasts and the seven spirits, Apoc. John, 4:4, see Gunkel, "Schöpfung und Chaos," p. 308.)
Then again mention is made of seven classes of angels (Enoch, 61:10 et seq.): (1) the cherubim,(2) seraphim, (3) ofanim, (4) all the angels of power, (5) principalities, (6) the Elect One (Messiah), and (7) the (elementary) powers of the earth and the water. They are endowed with seven angelic virtues—one more than is ascribed to the Messiah (ibid.; after Isaiah 11:2): "In the spirit of faith, of wisdom, of patience, of mercy, of judgment, of peace, and of goodness they glorify, saying: 'Blessed is He, and may the name of the Lord of spirits be blessed for ever and ever.'"
A parallel to this is offered by the Testaments of the Patriarchs in Test. Levi, , where this description of the seven heavens is given:
"In the highest of which dwelleth the great Glory in the Holy of Holies, and beneath it are the angels of the presence of the Lord, who minister and make propitiation to the Lord for all the ignorance of the righteous. . . . And in the heaven below this are the angels who bear the answers to the angels of the presence of the Lord, and in the heaven next to this are thrones and dominions in which hymns are offered to God; in the third heaven there are hosts of the armies ordained for the day of judgment, to work vengeance on the spirits of deceit and of Belial; the second has fire, snow, and ice ready, all the spirits of retribution for the day of judgment; and the lowest is gloomy because it is near the iniquities of men."
In another vision (ibid. ) Levi sees seven men in white raiment, the seven archangels, each consecrating him and investing him with some insignia of the priesthood; while Michael, "the angel who intercedeth for the race of Israel," opens the gates of heaven for him, where he sees the holy Temple and the Most High upon a throne of glory (ibid. ).
The Slavonic Enoch.
In the Slavonic Book of Enoch, written a little before the beginning of the common era, the heavenly hierarchy is still more fully developed. Enoch, taken up by two angels of fiery appearance (Shemiel and Raziel, 33:6), sees in the third heaven the sun and the stars (1:5), the former surrounded by phenixes and other winged creatures and attended by 400 (Version B, 15,000) angels, who take off his crown each evening to bring it to the Lord, and set it upon his head again each morning (14:2,3; compare Pirḳe R. El. ); in the fourth heaven he sees hosts of angels armed (for judgment), while serving God with cymbals and singing. In the fifth he sees the watchers, four orders, in grief over their fallen fellow angels, but still singing, at his monition, and sounding four trumpets in praise of the Lord. In the sixth heaven legions of angels more resplendent than the sun, the archangels set over the sun, the stars, the seasons, the rivers, the vegetation, the living things, and the souls of men, with seven phenixes (seraphim?), seven cherubim, and seven six-winged creatures (ḥayyot?) in the midst of them, sing with one voice, indescribably beautiful, while rejoicing before the Lord. And finally, in the seventh heaven:
"I saw a very great light, and all the fiery hosts of great archangels, and incorporeal powers, and lordships, and principalities, and dominions, cherubim and seraphim, thrones, and the watchfulness of many eyes [ofanim], ten troops according to their rank. Day and night without ceasing they sing: 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth, heaven and earth are full of Thy glory!' [Some versions have here interpolated the eighth heaven, mazzalot, with the twelve signs of the zodiac; the ninth heaven, kokabim, the heavenly homes of the twelve signs of the zodiac; and the tenth heaven.] This is 'arabot, where I saw the face of the Lord like iron burnt in the fire emitting sparks—wonderful beyond words—and the great throne of the Lord not made by hands, and hosts of cherubim and seraphim around Him."
(For the thrones, principalities, dominions, and powers, compare Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 1:21; Romans 8:38; , 3:22; and the "Prières des Falashas," ed. Halévy, p. 20, Paris, 1877).
With this corresponds the rabbinical tradition as given by Rabbi Meir of the second century in Ḥag. 12b, Aḅ R. N., A. 37 (see Bacher, "Ag. Tan." 2:65).
The Seven Heavens in the Talmud.
"There are seven heavens one above the other: (1) Velon [Latin, velum, "curtain"], which is rolled up and down to enable the sun to go in and out; according to Isa. 22, 'He stretched out the heavens as a curtain'; (2) Raḳi'a, the place where the sun, moon, and stars are fixed (Genesis 1:17]; (3) Sheḥakim, in which are the millstones to grind [shaḥak] manna for the righteous (Psalms 78:23; comp. Midr. Teh. to Psalms 19:7]; (4) Zebul, the upper Jerusalem, with its Temple, in which Michael offers the sacrifice at the altar [Isaiah 63:15; 1 Kings, 8:13]; (5) Ma'on. in which dwell the classes of ministering angels who sing by night and are silent by day, for the honor of Israel who serve the Lord in daytime [Deuteronomy 26:15, Psalms 42:9]; (6) Makon, in which are the treasuries of snow and hail, the chambers of dew, rain, and mist behind doors of fire [1 Kings, 7:30; Deuteronomy 28:12]; (7) 'Arabot, where justice and righteousness, the treasures of life and of blessing, the souls of the righteous and the dew of resurrection are to be found. There are the ofanim, the seraphim, and the ḥayyot of holiness, the ministering angels and the throne of glory; and over them is enthroned the great King"
Maimonides, in his "Yad ha-Ḥazaḳah, Yesode ha-Torah," , counts ten ranks of angels, beginning from the highest:
(1) Ḥayyot; (2) ofanim; (3) arelim [ from , Isaiah 33:7]; (4) ḥashmallim [Ezekiel 1:4], explained in Ḥag. 13b as ḥayyot, who are sometimes silent [ḥash], and who sometimes speak [mallel]—they are silent when the word emanates from the Holy One, blessed be He! they speak when he has ceased speaking; (5) seraphim; (6) malakim, "angels"; (7) elohim or godly beings; (8) bene Elohim, "sons of God"; (9) cherubim, "like blooming youth," Ḳarabia [Ḥag. 13b]; (10) ishim, "manlike beings" [Daniel 10:5]. See Rapoport on Maimonides' "Maämar ha-Yiḥud," ed. Steinschneider, p. 10; Jellinek, "Beiträge zur Kabbala," p. 61, note; Bacher, "Bibelexegese Moses Maimuni's," p. 69.
The cabalists (Zohar, Exodus, 43) have a different list:
(1) Arelim, with Michael as chief; (2) ishim, with Zephaniah as chief; (3) bene Elohim, with Hofniel as chief; (4) malakim, with Uriel as chief; (5) ḥashmallim, with Ḥashmal as chief; (6) tarshishim, with Tarshish as chief [after Daniel 10:6; see Ḥul. 91b]; (7) shinannim, with Ẓadḳiel as chief [after Psalms 68:18]; (8) cherubim, with Cherub as chief; (9) ofanim, with Raphael as chief; (10) seraphim, with Jehoel as chief.
Still more elaborate is the description of the seven heavens with their angelic chiefs, and of the twelve degrees of angels instead of ten, in "Sode Raza," quoted in Yalḳ. Reubeni to Genesis 1:1.
In "Maseket Aẓilut" the ten ranks of angels are given in the following order:
(1) Seraphim, with Shemuel [Ḳemuel] or Jehoel as chief; (2) ofanim, with Raphael and Ofaniel as chiefs; (3) cherubim, with Cherubiel as chief; (4) shinannim, with Ẓedeḳiel and Gabriel as chiefs; (5) tarshishim, with Tarshish and Sabriel as chiefs; (6) ishim, with Zephaniel as chief; (7) ḥashmallim, with Ḥashmal as chief; (8) malakim, with Uzziel as chief; (9) bene Elohim, with Ḥofniel as chief; (10) arelim, with Michael as chief.
These are the ten archangels that were created first; and over them is set Meṭaṭron-Enoch, transformed from flesh and blood into flaming fire.
Of the vastness of the armies of heaven the following description is given by R. Simon b. Laḳish:
"There are twelve mazzalot ["signs of the zodiac"], each having thirty armies; each army, thirty camps [ = castra]; each camp, thirty legions [compare Matthew 26:53]; each legion, thirty cohorts; each cohort, thirty corps [compare Krauss, "Lehnwörter," s. ]; and each corps has 365,000 myriads of stars entrusted to it" (Berach, 32b).
"When Moses went up in the cloud to heaven, Ḳemuel, the janitor of the first gate, with 12,000 angels of destruction under him, went to strike him, but succumbed. As he arrived at the second gate, Hadraniel, who exceeded the former 600,000 parasangs in length, came with his darts of fire to smite him, but God interfered. Finally, he came to the precincts of Sandalfon, the angel who towers above the rest by the length of 500 years' journey, and who when standing on earth reaches with his head up to the ḥayyot. Standing behind the heavenly chariot, he weaves crowns for the Most High, while all the hosts of heaven sing, 'Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place.' Before his fire even Hadraniel trembled; but Moses passed him also, the Lord shielding him. Then Moses came to the stream of fire which consumes even the angels; and God caused him to pass through unscathed. Next came Galiẓur ["Revealer of the Rock"], also called Raziel ["The Secret of God"], or Akraziel [ = κῆρνξ "the herald of God"], the angel who spreads his wings over theḥayyot, lest their fiery breath consume the ministering angels. Finally, the troop of the mighty angels standing around the throne of glory threatened to consume Moses by the breath of their mouth: but Moses seized the throne of glory; and the Lord spread His cloud over him [according to Job, 26:9], and he received the Law despite the protesting angels" (Pesiḳ. R. , ed. Friedmann, pp. 96b, 98a; see editor's notes).
This ascension of Moses is described more elaborately in the Shir ha-Shirim Rabba fragment, ed. Wertheimer, "Bate Midrashot," , Jerusalem, 1897 (compare with this the Hekalot in Jellinek, "B. H." 2:41-46, 3:94f, 5:170-190, 6:110-111; also Merkabah de-R. Yishmael in Wertheimer, "Bate Midrashot," , Jerusalem, 1893; and Jellinek's introduction to each of the treatises).
Fall of the Angels.
Hebrew theology knows of no principle of evil such as is the Persian Ahriman. Satan is one of the sons of God (Job, 1:6, 2:1). This makes the problem of evil all the more difficult. The Biblical story of the sons of God marrying the daughters of men (Genesis 6:1-4), implying the possibility of angels lusting and sinning, suggested the idea of a fall, not only of man, but of pure heavenly beings as well. Taken together with the (Babylonian?) mythology of Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12), it seemed to take for granted the existence of evil spirits working antagonistically to God through the evil practises of witchcraft, astrology, and the like. Fallen angels became progenitors of hosts of evil spirits and seducers of men to crime and vice. Still, they were finally subjugated by the power of heaven, and punished by the archangels Raphael and Gabriel, and consequently a knowledge of their names would enable one to control them. This is the idea pervading the Enoch story of the fall of the angels, which rests on two different sources, now incorporated, in a fragmentary form, into one (Enoch, -). According to the one, Azazel (Leviticus 16:10; Targ. Yer. Naḥmanides; also a Mandæan god, Brandt, "Mandäische Religion," p. 198) was the leader of the rebellion, and the chief debaucher of women; and his place of punishment was in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, by the rocks of Bet Ḥaduda (see Charles, "Enoch," p. 72), where the scapegoat was cast down: this shows the legend to be of ancient Judean origin (compare with this the reading of the chapter on incestuous marriages on the Day of Atonement, and the song of the maiden in Ta'anit, 4:8). According to the other, Samiaza, or Samḥazai (Enoch, 6:3-8, 8:1-3, 9:7, 10:11; compare Targ. Yer. Genesis 6:4; Midr. Abkir in Yalḳ., Gen. 44; Hebrew Enoch in Jellinek, "B. H." ), is the chief seducer. He forms the center of rabbinical groups of legends (see Grünbaum, "Z. D. M. G." 21:225248). As the story is presented in Enoch, the two rebel leaders, when they take the oath on Mount Hermon to subvert the rule of heaven, have each ten chieftains and one hundred angels at their command. But the punishment they receive at the hands of Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel (Enoch, 9:1; compare 2) does not altogether annihilate them. Uzza (Samḥazai) and Azael (Azazel) still betray the secrets of heaven to King Solomon as they did in Enoch's time (see Jellinek, "B. H." 2:86; compare with "B. H." 5:173). Some angels were afterward guilty of betraying divine secrets heard from behind the curtain (, Ber. 18b), and were, therefore, expelled from their positions (see Gen. R. , ).
Book of Jubilees, 2:2, reads:
Creation of Angels.
"The angels of the face and of glorification, the angels of the elements of fire, wind, and darkness, of hail and hoar frost, thunder and lightning, of cold and heat, of winter and spring, summer and fall, of the abyss and night, of light and morning, were created on the first day."
Pirḳe R. El. says that the angels were created on the second day. In Gen. R. R. Johanan places the creation of the angels on the second day, referring to Psalms 104:4. "He maketh his angels of winds" ("who maketh winds his messengers," R. V.); R. Ḥanina, on the fifth day, classified them among the winged creatures (Isaiah 6:2).
According to the Slavonic Book of Enoch, God created them on the second day out of fire. The bodies of angels are radiant, their faces like lightning, their eyes as flaming torches (Prayer of Aseneth,; compare Pesiḳ. I. 3a; Cant. R. 3:11; Matthew 28:3; Luke, 2:9; Acts, 12:7). The food of angels is manna, of which Adam and Eve ate before they sinned (Vita Adæ et Evæ, 4; compare Akiba, Yoma, 75b on Psalms 78:25, and Yoma, 4b with regard to Moses).
Angels worship God at certain hours of the day (Apoc. Mosis, 17; Testament of Abraham, B,; see James's notes, p. 121; compare Sifre, Deut. 306; Gen. R.; Targ. Yer. Genesis 32:27 and Exodus 14:24). There are 496,000 myriads of angels (the numerical value of the Hebrew word sovereignty, or 499,000, the equivalent of hosts) glorifying God from sunrise to sunrise (Tanna debe Eliyahu. R. ,; Zuṭṭa,; see ed. Friedman, pp. 32, 34, 193).
A guardian angel of Israel is mentioned in the apocryphal Epistle of Jeremy, 7. An angel carries Habakkuk by the hair of his head from Judea to Babylon to bring the pottage he has prepared for Daniel in the lions' den (apocryphal additions to Daniel 5:36).
Angels as Instructors.
Angels endowed with divine knowledge (Ḥag. 16a) appear in the apocalyptic and rabbinic literature as the teachers of men. This is the so-called "whisper of the angels" () referred to in Zunz, "G. V." 2d ed. 173; compare p. 363 (). Michael initiated Adam and Seth into the secrets of creation (Apoc. Mosis, 3:13) and taught Adam agriculture (Vita Adæ et Evæ, 22). The angels Michael, Uriel, and Raziel initiated Enoch into the mysteries of the world (Book of Jubilees, 4:21; the Ethiopian Enoch, 4, 5, 19:1, 72:1; and Slavonic Enoch, 22:11, 33:6). Raphael imparted to Noah the secret of healing herbs ("Sefer Noah," Jellinek, "B. H." 3:155; compare Book of Jubilees, 10:9-10). Michael initiated Abraham into the secret lore (Testament of Abraham, -). The angel of the face instructed Abraham in Hebrew, the language of creation; revelation thus enabling him to study the holy writings of the first fathers (Book of Jubilees, 12:25). The angels understand only Hebrew (Ḥag. 16a; Soṭah, 33a), but the angel Gabriel knows seventy languages, all of which he taught to Joseph (Soṭah, 36b; compare Shir ha-Shirim Rabbah fragment in Wertheimer, "Bate Midrashot," 4:25, where Zagzagael is mentioned as instructor in the seventy languages). Moses, who received all his knowledge from the angel of the face (Book of Jubilees, , , etc.), was taught the art of healing by the angels when on Mount Sinai (Pirḳe R. El.; Jellinek, "B. H." 1:61). Yefehfiah ("Divine Beauty"), the angel of the Law, and Meṭaṭron ("the Prince of the Face") taught him the mystery of the practical Cabala (Jellinek, "B. H." 1:61). The angel Zagzagael ("Divine Splendor") instructed Moses in the knowledge of the Ineffable Name (Deut. R. ). Uriel disclosed to Ezra the mysteries of life (II Esd. 4:1). Suriel, the angel of the face, instructed R. Ishmael b. Elisha in laws of hygiene (Ber. 51a; compare also Ned. 20a). Occasionallythe angels themselves gather amid joy and singing to listen to the sage initiated into the sacred lore of heaven (see Ḥag. 14b). But at times they also betray jealousy and fear, begrudging man his knowledge of hidden things. Thus, they sought to dissuade the Most High from giving the Law to Moses (Pesiḳ. R. , Shab. 88b); but Moses pacified them by his arguments. In like manner they sought to drive Akiba out of the realm of paradise, as they did his colleagues Ben 'Azzai and Ben Zoma; but God Himself interceded, saying, "Leave this venerable sage unscathed; for he is worthy to make use of My glory" (Ḥag. 15b).
Mediate between God and Men.
The angels mediate between God and man. They carry the prayers up to the throne of God (Tobit, 12:12,15; Baruch Apoc., Greek, ). According to Ex. R. , an angel set over the prayers weaves them into crowns for the Most High. Angels intercede for those who dwell on earth (Enoch, 6; compare Job, 33:23, which is to be translated: "If there be on his side one single messenger among a thousand pleading for him"). They pray for Adam's pardon (Apoc. Mosis, 33), and offer praise to God after the same has been granted (ibid. 37). But in the same manner in which they place the prayers and good deeds of the righteous before God, they also bring the sins of the evil-doers before Him (Enoch, 99:3). They "write down all the deeds and lives before the face of the Lord" (Slavonic Book of Enoch, 19:5). These records, in the Testament of Abraham, B, , are called the "Books of the Cherubim" because they are kept by the cherubim. From these they read off in the great Judgment Hall of the nether world the register of the sins or the righteous deeds of the soul.
Angels minister to Adam (Sanh. 59b; Pirḳe R. El.; compare Matthew 4:11; Luke, 22:43; Hebrews 1:13-14) and bring him to his last resting-place (Apoc. Mosis, 38), attend the funeral of Abraham (Testament of Abraham, A, ), and bury Moses (Deut. R. , Targ. Yer. Deuteronomy 34:6). Angels bring the souls of the righteous to heaven (Testament of Abraham, A,; Targ. Yer. Song of Solomon, 4:12; compare Luke, 16:22).
Angels accompany the dead on their departure from this world. "Three bands of angels of the divine ministry [mal'ake ha-sharet], or peace [hashalom], accompany the righteous: the first singing, 'He shall enter in peace'; the second, 'They shall rest on their couches'; and the third, 'The one who walketh in uprightness'" (Isaiah 57:2). But when a wicked man departs, three bands of angels of destruction (mal'ake ḥabbalah) are described as accompanying him singing, "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (Isaiah 57:21, Ket. 104a, Num. R. ).
The angels that execute God's judgment are called "the angels of punishment" (Enoch, 56:1, 70:11, 63:1), Saṭanim (Enoch, 7), mal'ake ḥabbalah (Shab. 55a; Yer. Shebu. 6:37a; compare Apoc. John, 7:2, 12:7), "angels of the dragon" = Satan; Matthew 25:41. Their fierceness and their mode of punishment are described in the Testament of Abraham, A, , B, They "sling the souls of the wicked from one end of the world to the other" (Shab. 152b, after 1 Samuel 25:29). These are under the leadership of six or seven archangels: Ḳeẓef, Af, Ḥemah (Deuteronomy 9:19), Mashḥit, Meshabber, Mekalleh (compare Psalms 78:49: 'ebrah, za'am, ẓarah); and above these is the angel of death (Shab. 89a; Ex. R.; Testament of Abraham, A, ). Af and Ḥemah threatened to devour Moses because of his neglect to circumcise his son (Ned. 32a). God keeps these angels of destruction far from Himself, lest they strike at once, thus affording the people no opportunity for repenting (Yer. Ta'anit, 2:65b).
Angels of the Nether World.
According to John's Apocalypse (Revelation 9:11) Abaddon (Job, 31:12; Shab. 89a) is the angel of the abyss. In the Talmud, Dumah, the angel of silence (after Psalms 115:17), is the prince of the nether world in whose charge are the spirits (Sanh. 94a, Shab. 152b). He announces the arrival of newcomers in Sheol (Ber. 18b). According to the Midrash Konen, there are three princes placed at the three upper gates: (1) Ḳipod (the Persian ḳapod = "wolf"; see "Zendavesta," tr. by Darmesteter, in "Sacred Books of the East," 23:295); (2) Nagrasagiel, or Nasragiel, the prince of Gehinnom, who shows Moses the nether world and the sufferings of the wicked (Shir ha-Shirim fragment in Wertheimer's "Bate Midrashot," 4:24; Jellinek, "B. H." 3:63, 5:130); the messenger of Ahuramazda, Nairyo Sangha, to whose care the souls of the righteous are entrusted ("Vendidad," 19:34; Darmesteter, "Zendavesta," 1:214, and elsewhere). In Testament of Abraham, A, , two archangels are mentioned as assisting at the judgment of the souls: Doḳiel ("the weigher," from daḳ., Isa. 15) and Puruel ("the fiery and pitiless angel," probably from para', "paying"; pur'anut, "punishment"). In the Midrash Konen and Maseket Gan Eden and Gehinnom (Jellinek, "B. H." 5:44) the following angels of punishment are mentioned for the seven departments: (1) Ḳushiel ("the rigid one of God"); (2) Lahatiel ("the flaming one"); (3) Shofṭiel ("the judge of God"); (4) Makatiel ("the plague of God"); (5) Ḥuṭriel ("the rod of God"); (6) Pusiel (Puriel)—certainly not Hadriel (Jellinek, "B. H." 2:31)—and (7) Rogziel ("wrath of God").
The tendency to individualize and to give each angel a distinct name and assign to him a particular charge or position grew among the haggadists and devotees of secret lore:—
"Each angel has a tablet on his heart on which his name, combined with the name of God [El], is inscribed," says Simon b. Laḳish (Pesiḳ. 12:108b). In Ex. R. this doctrine is based upon Psalms 68:18: "The Lord dwells in them," wherefore they are called Michael, Gabriel, Raphael. They receive their name in accordance with their message, wherefore they can not tell their names (Num. R. , commenting upon Judges, 13:18). "No single angel can carry out two messages, nor can two angels fulfil only one message. Of the three angels that came to Abraham, Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, brought the tidings of Isaac's birth; Gabriel, the angel of heavenly vengeance and of fire, had to overthrow Sodom; and Raphael rescued Lot" (B. M. 86b, Gen. R. , Targ. Yer. Genesis 18:2). Michael to the right, Uriel to the left, Gabriel in front, and Raphael in the rear of the throne (Num. R. ), are stationed on the four sides of heaven (Midrash Konen, at end; compare Hekalot, ). Padael is the name given to the angel who appeared to Samson's parents in the apocryphal history of Philo ("Jew. Quart. Rev." 1898, p. 324). Zeroel ( = "Arm of God") was one of the angels who supported Kenaz in his battle against the Amorites; Nathaniel (Nuriel? = "Fire of God"), the angel who saved the men cast into the fire by Jair, the judge, for refusing to worship his idols (ibid.). Over each force and element of life an angel is placed: one over the winds (Revelation 7:1); one over fire (ibid. 14:18); and one over water (ibid. 16:5).In the Hebrew Enoch (Jellinek, "B. H." 5:176) the following angel-princes are named:
|Zikḥel,||"||ziḳ,||"||"||"||glow wind (or comet).|
|Shamsiel,||"||shemesh,||"||"||"||light of day.|
|Galgaliel,||"||galgal,||"||"||"||wheel of the sun.|
|Ofaniel,||"||ofan,||"||"||"||wheel of the moon.|
|Rehaṭiel,||"||rahat ("runner"), set over the planets.|
A few of these names recur in Enoch, and The angel of hail is introduced under the obscure name of Yurḳemo (Pes. 118a). The angel of night is called Lailah (Sanh. 16a). The one set over the sea, Sar shel yam (Gen. R. ), is called Rahab (B. B. 74b, after Job, 26:12). He was slain by God at the Creation, because he refused to swallow the water for the drying of the land; and his body is covered by water lest all creatures should perish from his stench (compare also Pes. 118b). The angel set over the rain is Ridya, ("the Irrigator"); according to Kohut, "Jüd. Angelologie," p. 45, Rediyao (Persian, Areduyao, Ardoi); Ta'anit, 25b; Yoma, 21a (Rashi): "He resembles a calf, and is stationed between the upper and the lower abyss, saying to the one, 'Let your waters run down'; and to the other, 'Let your waters spring up.'" Of the seven names of the earth (Ab. R. N. A,; Pesiḳ. R. K. 155a) seven angel names were formed: (1) Arẓiel, (2) Admael, (3) Ḥarabael, (4) Yabbashael, (5) 'Arẓiel (compare 'Arḳas, Slavonic Book of Enoch, 24:2), (6) Ḥaldiel, and (7) Tebliel. They were stationed in the second heaven (see "Merkabah de-Rabbi Ishmael" in Wertheimer's "Bate Midrashot," 1:22.
An angel set over the beasts is mentioned in Hermas' "Visions," 4:2; his name is Thegri (see Hekalot, ) (Turiel = "bull-god," Jerome on Habakkuk 1:14). In Abraham of Granada's "Berit Menuḥah," p. 37, are mentioned the angel Jeḥiel (Hayyel?), set over the wild beasts; 'Anpiel, over the birds; Hariel (Behemiel), over the tame beasts; Shaḳẓiel, over the water-insects; Dagiel, over the fish; Ilaniel, over the fruit-bearing trees; Seraḳel, over the trees not bearing fruit.
"There is not a stalk on earth that has not its angelic star [mazzal] in heaven" (Gen. R. )—a genuinely Persian notion. "Every single flower is appropriate to an angel" ("Bundahish," 27:24).
Guardians of the Nations.
Already in Daniel 10:20-21, the idea prevails that each nation has a heavenly guardian angel or prince. In Enoch, 89:59, the seventy shepherds are the guardian angels of the seventy nations over whom Michael, as Israel's angel-prince, is set as ruler. With these seventy-one angel-princes of the world God sits in council when holding judgment over the world (Hebrew Enoch; Jellinek, "B. H." 5:181); each pleading the cause of his nation before God (Targ. Yer. Genesis 11:7-8, Pirḳe R. El. ). At times they accuse Israel (Pesiḳ. 27:176a); at times they find especial merit in him (Suk. 29a). They are the "gods" whom the Lord crushes before He executes His punishment upon the nations in their charge (Suk. 29a, according to Exodus 12:12; Soṭah, 9a). These angel-princes of the nations— of Babel, Media, Greece, Syria, and Rome—Jacob saw in his dream ascending and descending the ladder (Gen. R. , Pesiḳ. 23:151a). The angel with whom Jacob wrestled was the angel-prince of Edom (Gen. R. ), Samael, the head of all Satans (Tan., Wayishlaḥ, 2:25). The name of the angel of Egypt is Miẓraim (Ex. R. ) or Uzza (Midr. Wayosha'; Jellinek, "B. H." 1:39; Hekalot, 5:172); that of Persia's angel-prince is Dubbiel (= Beargod; Yoma, 77a, after Daniel 7:5). But Michael, the angel-prince of Jerusalem (Zion, Targ. Psalms 137:7-8), is set over all the seventy angels (Midr. Abkir; Yalḳ., Gen. § 132).
There is, however, a special angel-prince set over the world, Sar ha-'olam (Yeb. 16b, Ḥul. 60a, Sanh. 94a). He composed the verses, Psalms 37:25, 104:31, and, partly, Isaiah 24:16. An angel of mankind is mentioned also (Apoc. Mosis, 32). He has been identified, whether correctly or incorrectly (see Tos. Yeb. 16b; Wiener, "Ben Chananja," 9:600; Kohut, "Jüd. Angelologie," p. 42), with Meṭaṭron. In order fully to resemble the court of the Persian King of Kings, the heavenly court is put in charge of a vice-regent, the sar ha-Panim ("prince of the divine face"). According to the Testament of Job (), this vice-regent "sitteth upon the great chariot" (see Kohler, "Semitic Studies," p. 299); he is, according to Philo "On Dreams" (1:25), "the driver of the chariot" (ἡνιōχōς ἆρματōς). His "name is like the name of his Master" (Sanh. 38b, according to Exodus 23:21), known under the name of "Meṭaṭron" (Mithra; see Dio Chrysostomus, "Oratio," Windischmann, "Zoroastrische Studien," pp. 309-312; frequently explained as "Metator," "Metathronos," and "Metatyranos." See Sachs, "Beiträge," 1:108; Jellinek, "Die Kabbala," p. 43; id., "B.H." 2:30; Levy, "Chal Wörterb." s.; Kohut, "Aruch," s.).
This vice-regent is probably identical with the archangel Jehoel mentioned in Apoc. Abraham, , as mediator of the ineffable name of God; also with Yehadriel ("Hekalot" in Jellinek, "B.H." 2:47); and perhaps also with Akathriel, the occupant of God's throne (Ber. 7a).
But alongside of Meṭaṭron is mentioned in "Maseket Aẓilut" (based on Job, 41:9), as "brother" and above him, Sandalfon, explained as Synadelphon ("twin-brother") and as "Sardonyx" (see Jellinek, in "Ben Chananja," 4:182,329,365; compare Slavonic Book of Enoch, ). The later Cabala places Akathriel above the twin-brothers Meṭaṭron (= Enoch) and Sandalfon (= Elijah) (see Yalḳ. Ḥadash, s. "Malakim," pp. 38-39). Of well-nigh equal rank with Meṭaṭron are Sandalfon and Akathriel ("the crown of God"; Ber. 7a).
Beneath these are the seven heavens with Michael, Gabriel, Shateiel ("angel of silence"), Shaḥaḳiel, ("angel of shahaḳim"), Baradiel, Baraḳiel, and Sadriel ("angel of order") as chiefs; and beneath them in the Velon, Galgaliel, and Ofaniel, Rehaṭiel, and Kokbiel as the angels of sun-wheel, moon-wheel, planets, and the other stars with all their hosts; the seventy-two angel-princes of the nations being stationed above these (Hekalot, published by Jellinek, "Ḳontros ha-Maggid," pp. 31 et seq.).
Besides these, sixty-three angels are mentioned as janitors of the seven heavens ("Hekalot,"; Jellinek," B. H." et seq.), and others stationed at each of the seven heavens as seal-bearers (ibid. -); and above all these, as head and chief, Anfiel, whose crown "branches out" to "cover the heaven with the divine majesty" (Habakkuk 3:3). Mention is made also of Ofaniel, Seraphiel, Cherubiel, as chiefs of the ofanim, seraphim, and cherubim; of Rikbiel and Hailael (Hayael?) as chiefs of the divine chariot and the ḥayyot; Sofriel as "bookkeeper"; Dabriel as interpreter of the "word"; Ḳafẓiel ("speed of God"); Hadriel, or Hadraniel ("majesty of God");Adiririon (Adiryah? "might of God"; see Jellinek, "B. H." 5:178-180, and "Hekalot" fragment in "Ḳontros ha-Maggid," pp. 34-36; idem, "B. H." 1:58). Zunz counts forty angels mentioned in the liturgy ("S. P." p. 476). These are increased to the extent of thousands, with names far beyond intelligibility or recognition, but scarcely, as Zunz thinks ("G. V." p. 177), altogether invented.
Conjuring by Names of Angels.
The names of angels formed a favorite study of the Essenes or Ḥasidim in view of the magical cures effected by means of these names; for upon the accurate knowledge of the name and sphere of each angel, and of the power exerted by him on certain evil spirits, depended the efficacy of the conjurers. In the Testament of Solomon (translated by Conybeare, "Jew. Quart. Rev." 1898, pp. 1-45)—an apocryphal book belonging probably to the first century —King Solomon is introduced as giving his experiences on meeting the various demons, of each of whom he asks his name as well as the name of the angel that can overpower him. Asmodeus answers that he is frustrated by Raphael, the archangel; another demon answers Paltiel is his antagonist; a third, Uriel, etc. (see pp. 24, 38, 40). The magic book "The Sword of Moses," published and translated by M. Gaster (London, 1896), is based upon the same principle, as are parts of the Book of Raziel ascribed to Eleazar of Worms. In Pseudo-Sirach (ed. Steinschneider, p. 23a) the three angels, Sanuy, Sansanuy, and Samangaluf are said to have brought Lilith back to Adam, and when she turned child-murderess like Lamia, they were set in control over her; see Brueck, "Rabbinische Ceremonial-bräuche," pp. 50-55; see also Amulet.
A strange story is told in Yalk., Lam. 1001: "At the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, after the mighty hero Abiḳa ben Gafteri had fallen, Hananeel, the uncle of Jeremiah, conjured up angels who struck terror into the hearts of the Chaldeans, thus setting them to flight. But God, having decreed the fall of the city, had changed the names of the angels when Hananeel summoned up the prince of the world by using the Ineffable Name, and he lifted Jerusalem into the air, but God cast it down again. To this the verse Lamentations 2:1 refers." According to another story (ibid. 1012), the leading men of the city had conjured up the angels of water and of fire to surround the city with walls of fire and water; but God changed the names of the angels.
The charge of angel-worship raised against the Jews, based upon Colossians 2:18, is decidedly unfounded. Paul had probably the same Gnostic sect in mind that Celsus refers to when he repeats the charge of Aristides ("Apology," 14:4; see Origen, book 1:26, 5:6-34,41), telling us (Origen, 6:30) of magical figures on which he found the seven angels inscribed: (1) Michael, with the figure of a lion; (2) Suriel, as a bull (shor or tura = Turiel; see Jerome on Habakkuk 1:14); (3) Raphael in a serpentine form; (4) Gabriel as an eagle; (5) Yalda Bahut with the countenance of a bear; (6) Erathaol as a dog; and (7) Onoel in the shape of an ass. Of these seven archons (Celsus, 6:27) Paul speaks continually in his letters (1 Corinthians 2:6-8; Colossians 2:8,20). But this Ophite sect has nothing to do with the Jews. On the contrary, R. Ishmael, in Mek., Yithro, , expressly applies the prohibition of idolatry to the likeness of angels of the ofanim and cherubim (compare Targ. Yer. to Exodus 20:20). "He who slaughters an animal in the name of sun, moon, stars, and planets, or in the name of Michael, the great captain of the heavenly hosts, renders the same an offering to dead idols" (Ḥul. 40a; 'Ab. Zarah, 42b). "Not as one who would first send his servant to a friend to ask for aid in his hour of need should man apply to Michael, or Gabriel, to intercede for him; but he should turn immediately to God Himself; for 'whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered'" (Joel, 3:5 [A. V. 2:32]; Yer. Ber. 9:13a; compare Revelation 19:10, 22:8-9). "Four keys are in the keeping of God exclusively and not in that of the angels: the keys of rain, of nourishment, of birth, and of resurrection" (Targ. Yer. to Genesis 30:22; Deuteronomy 28:12; compare Ta'anit, 2a, where only three keys are mentioned). This is rightly interpreted by Gfrörer, "Jahrhundert des Heils," 1:377, as meant to exclude prayer to the angels. The invocations of angels occurring in the liturgy were addressed to them as mediators, not as helpers. Still many rabbinical authorities disapproved of such invocations (see the literature in Zunz, "S. P." p. 148).
Inferior to Man.
However great the tendency to enlarge the number and the influence of the angels over life, there is, on the other hand, great stress laid upon the fact that the angels are in many respects inferior to man. Already Enoch (15:2) intercedes on behalf of the angels, instead of having them intercede for him; and none of the angels could see what he saw of God's glory (ibid. 14:21), or learn the secrets of God as he knew them (Slavonic Book of Enoch, 24:3; compare Sifra, 2b; Ascensio, Isaiah 9:27-38). Adam was to be worshiped by the angels as the image of God (Vita Adæ et Evæ, p. 14; Gen. R. ). Before his fall his place was within the precincts of God's own majesty, where the angels can not stay (Gen. R. ); and so in the future will the righteous again be placed nearer to God than the angels (Deut. R. 1, Yer. Shab. 6:8d, Ned. 32a). Indeed, "they were inferior in intelligence to Adam, when names were given to all things" (Pirḳe R. El. ). "The righteous rank above the angels" (Sanh. 93a; Midr. Teh., Psalms 103:18; compare 1 Corinthians 6:3; Hebrews 2:5). "When Aaron in his vestments as high priest entered the Holy of Holies, the ministering angels fled in awe before him" (Pesiḳ. R. 47; compare Ex. R. ). "Israel is dearer to God than the angels; for Israel's praise is not confined to stated hours as that of the angels. Israel pronounces the name of God after two words: 'Hear, Israel'; the angels after three: 'Holy, Holy, Holy!' Israel begins the song of praise on earth and the angels in heaven chime in" (Ḥul. 91b; Midr. Teh., Psalms 104:1). "Angels minister to the saints" (Hebrews 1:13-14).
Philo on Angels.
Philo was inclined to accept the existence of angels as a fact far more than his allegorical system would lead one to surmise. He was prompted to do so through the example of the Stoics: "Beings whom other philosophers called demons, Moses usually called angels"; they are "souls hovering in the air"; "some have descended into bodies; others have not thought fit to approach any part of the earth; and these, hallowed and surrounded by the ministrations of the Father, the Creator employs as assistants and ministers for the care of the mortals." "They report the injunctions of the Father to His children, and the necessities of the children to the Father. And, with reference to this, Holy Scripture represents them as 'ascending and descending.' . . . Not God, but we mortals are in need of a mediator and intercessor" (idem, "On Dreams," 1:22). "Souls, demons, and angels are things differing in name, but identical in reality. Yet, as men speak of God and of evil demons and of good and evil souls, so theyspeak of angels, calling them ambassadors of man to God and of God to man; and they are holy because of this blameless and honorable office. Others, on the contrary, are profane and unworthy, as is seen in Psalms 78:49" (idem, "On Giants," pp. 3-4).
But Philo also calls them logoi, "words," or "intellects" (idem, "On Confusion of Language," p. 8; "On Dreams," 1:12,19; "Allegory," 3:62; compare Hag. 14a, based on Psalms 33:6). They are also called "God's own powers with whom the Father of the Universe consulted when saying: 'Let us make man.' To them He gave the mortal part of our soul to form by imitating His art when He shaped the rational principle in us" (idem, "On Fugitives," p. 13). Angels are the priests in the heavenly temple (idem, "Monarchy," 2:1). And in the same manner as the rabbis speak of Michael (Meṭaṭron) as the captain of the heavenly host, as the high priest that offers sacrifice in the upper temple, and as the charioteer of God, Philo says:
"The Father, the Creator of the universe, gave to the archangel and most ancient logos ["word"] the privilege of standing on the confines, separating the creature from the Creator, and of interceding between the immortal God and the mortal, as ambassador sent by the ruler to the subject. Rejoicing in this position, he says [Deuteronomy 5:5]: 'I stood between the Lord and you,' being neither uncreated nor created, but between the two, pledge and security to the Creator and to the creature, a hope that the merciful God would not despise His work" ("On Who is the Heir," p. 42; compare "On Dreams," 1:25; "On Fugitives," p. 19, where he is called "the charioteer of the powers"; and "On Confusion of Languages," p. 28, where, like Meṭaṭron with his seventy-two names, he is called "the great archangel of many names").
Saadia, Ha-Levi, Ibn Daud, Maimonides.
The medieval philosophers treated the belief in angels in a far more rationalistic spirit than did Philo. Saadia, finding man to be the object of Creation, and therefore in the center of the world, claims for him a rank higher than that of the angels ("Emunot we-De'ot," 4:1). They are to him creatures of light, ethereal beings, created for special purposes (2:8), visions of the prophet rather than realities. So is the fiery angel of death (4:6). Satan to him is a human being (see Ibn Ezra to Numbers 22:22). Judah ha-Levi also sees in the angels beings created of ethereal matter; some for a certain time, and those of the upper world for eternity ("Cuzari," 4:13; see Cassel's note). Concerning Gabirol's angels formed of fire, see Kaufmann, "Attributenlehre," pp. 184, 505. To Ibn Daud angels are intelligences, created, yet eternal and spiritual; the motors of the soul; the highest of these intelligences being the active intellect of the Tenth Sphere, identified by the Mohammedan thinkers (according to "Cuzari," 1:87) with the angel Gabriel and the Holy Ghost, but mentioned already in Job, 32:8 as "the spirit in man; and the breath [A. V. "inspiration"] of the Almighty that giveth them understanding." Maimonides, taking as his guide Aristotle, who places the "Intelligences" as intermediate beings between the Prime Cause and existing things—by the agency of which is produced the motion of the spheres on which all existence depends—declares the Biblical angels to be the beings with whom God consults before taking action (Gen. R. ). Differing, however, from Aristotle, whose "Intelligences" are coexistent with the First Cause, he asserts that the angels are created by God, and endowed with the power of governing the spheres; that they are conscious beings possessed of a free will, but that, unlike human beings, they are in constant action and without evil ("Moreh," 2:6-7). Far from accepting Scripture in its literal meaning, when angels are introduced, he finds the term "angel" applied to men, to elements, and to animals, as well as to ideals perceived by the Prophets. "Natural forces and angels are identical. When the rabbis (Midr. Ecclesiastes 10:7) say: 'When man sleeps, his soul speaks to the angel, and the angel to the cherub,' man's imaginative faculty is called angel, and his intellectual faculty is called cherub. The form in which angels appear characterizes the mental vision of the seer." He thus distinguishes between angels endowed with eternal life—such as the Spheric Intelligences—and the perishable phenomena. But then these spheres and angels were not created for our sake, says Maimonides ("Moreh," 3:13) in opposition to Saadia, who says: "Man is superior to everything formed of earthly matter, but exceedingly inferior to the spheres and intelligences." Of such spheres, Aristotle counted fifty, numbering as many ideals. Maimonides, with later philosophers, assumes these to be ten, the Tenth Intelligence being the Active Intellect. For this reason, Maimonides follows the Cabala in counting ten classes of angels ("Yesode ha-Torah," 2:7).
In the Cabala two currents run in parallel lines. The practical Cabala, bent upon overruling, through incantations, the destinies of earthly life by the higher powers, is ever busy finding new names of angels able to control the lower forces. Such attempts are made in "Sefer ha-Razim," which is a list of angels for the months of the year, in the "Sefer Raziel," and the like. On the other hand, the Neoplatonic view of Emanation, and the idea of the macrocosm, or the world in its totality, being the evolution of the image of God, the type of which is man as microcosm, necessarily made man the object of Creation, so that in this view he ranks above the angels (Zohar, 3:68); while they (the angels) belong to the lower realm, to the world of formation (yeẓirah), and not to that of Creation (beriah), to which the higher spirits belong. The angels are intellectual, spiritual beings, yet invested with a shining garb to make them visible to man (Jellinek," Die Kabbala" (transl. from Franck) p. 161; Joel, "Religionsphilosophie d. Zohar," pp. 278-279).
Relation to non-Jewish Religions.
How far Jewish Angelology was influenced by Babylonian and Persian mythology, and what its relations are to Mandæan lore and to Egyptian-Hellenistic gnosticism, is still a matter of dispute among students (see Kohut, "Jüd. Angelologie"; Schorr, "He-Ḥaluẓ," 8:1-120; Gunkel, "Schöpfung und Chaos"; Dieterich, "Abraxas"; Kessler, "Mandæans" in Schaff and Herzog's "Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge." The Mandæans also speak of angels of light (not kings, Brandt, "Mandäische Schriften," p. 14) surrounding the king of light (Brandt, "Mandäische Religion," p. 42; "Mandäische Schriften," p. 14), and of angels of wrath surrounding the evil spirit Ruaḥ (Brandt, "Mandäische Religion," p. 123); of three angels, or guardian spirits, accompanying Adam (ibid. pp. 44, 122); of the angel Yofim (Yofafin) (ibid. pp. 26, 198); of Ptahil (Gabriel), the assistant of the Lord of Life at the world's creation (ibid. pp. 34, 35, 44, 50-55); of the great sardonyx (p. 221) as well as of Azazel (p. 198); of the seven nether worlds with their archdemons as rulers ("Mandäische Schriften," pp. 137-183). But Persian mythology is throughout interwoven with Angelology (see Brandt, "Mandäische Religion," pp. 194-198). Coptic gnosticism, also, has Ariel as king of the nether world, corresponding with Ur of the Mandæans (see Schmidt, "Gnostische Schriften in Koptischer Sprache," p. 413).
That the archons, the seventy-two rulers of theworld (Schmidt, ibid. p. 194), are alluded to in 1 Corinthians 2:6-8; Galatians 4:3,9; and elsewhere, by Paul, has been shown by Everling, "Die Paulinische Angelologie und Dämonologie," pp. 12, 75. The "angel worship" (Colossians 2:18) is of the Gnostics, not of the Jews. For Christian Angelology in general, Zunz ("S. P." p. 148) may be quoted: "The Coptic, the Abyssinian, the Greek, and the Roman churches adopted the invocation of angels in their liturgy; and since the tenth century the whole earth has been divided among the various tutelary angels and saints."
In the Koran, Jewish and Gnostic angelologies seem to be intermingled. In Mohammed's time the old Arabian goddesses—Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat —were spoken of as angels and daughters of God (Koran, sura § 150, § 20). The chief of all the archangels is Gabriel (Jibril); Michael comes next; Israfil (Sarafiel) sounds the trumpet of the resurrection; and Azrael is the angel of death (the etymology of the last name is obscure). Instead of four, there are eight angels that support the throne of God (sura § 17). Some angels have two, some three, others four wings (sura § 2). "They celebrate the praise of their Lord and ask forgiveness for those that are on earth" (sura § 2). "Each man hath a succession of angels before and behind him" (sura § 12). The chief angel, who has charge of hell, is Malik (etymology unknown). Hell has seven doors (sura § 44). Nineteen angels are set over the fire (sura §§ 30-31). Munkar and Nakir are the angels that interrogate the dead; and another angel, Ruman, makes each man write down his deeds (Wolff, "Muhammedanische Eschatologie," pp. 69, 166). Regarding the names of other angels, used for invocations and exorcism, see Hughes, "Dict. of Islam," under "Da'wah" (incantation).
- G. Brecher, Das Transcendentale, Magie und Magische Heilarten im Talmud, pp. 1, 39, Vienna, 1850;
- Hamburger, R. B. T.;
- Weber, System d. Altsynagogalen Palästinischen Theologie, 1880, pp. 157-174;
- J. M. Fuller, Angelology and Demonology, Excursus to Tobit, in Wace's Apocrypha, 1:171-175;
- A. Kohut, Ueber die Jüd. Angelologie und Dämonologie in Ihrer Abhängigkeit vom Parsismus, Leipsic, 1866;
- A. Schmiedl, Studien über Jüd. Religionsphilosophie, Vienna, 1869;
- H. Gunkel, Schöpfung und Chaos, 1895, pp. 294-309;
- W. Lücken, Michael, Göttingen, 1898;
- Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenthum, 2:7:370-407, Königsberg, 1711;
- Gfrörer, Jahrhundert des Heils, 1:352-378;
- J. H. Weiss, Dor Dor we-Dorshaw, 1:223, 2:17;
- see especially R. Stuebe, Jüdisch-Babylonischer Zaubertexte, Halle, 1895, a work of especial interest to the student.
These files are public domain.
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Angelology'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/a/angelology.html. 1901.