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Baal-zebub and Beelzebub

In the Old Testament (see Old Testament Fact File), the Hebrew Baal-zebub, meaning the lord of the flies, or possibly, as some translations have it, the lord of dung, was the Philistine pagan god of Ekron. In the New Testament (see New Testament Fact File), the Greek form of Baal-zebub is Beelzebub, or Beelzebul, a name used by Jesus Christ in reference to Satan.

Demons Baal-zebub

Although Baal-zebub was clearly the pagan god of the Philistines, some of the Israelites were corrupted by its cult - including King Ahaziah of Israel (see Kings of Israel and Judah and Israelite Dynasties), for which The Lord, through the prophet Elijah, rebuked him:

"Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and lay sick; so he sent messengers, telling them, "Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness."

"But the angel of The Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?'" (2 Kings 1:2-3 RSV)


In an accusation that is going to come back on them on the Judgment Day, some of the Pharisees, who actually knew that Jesus Christ was from God (i.e. "Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do, unless God is with Him." John 3:1-2 RSV), nevertheless wickedly blasphemed the Messiah in public in an attempt to turn the people away from following Him:

"Then a blind and dumb demoniac was brought to Him, and He healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, "Can this be the Son of David?"

"But when the Pharisees heard it they said, "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons."

"Knowing their thoughts, He said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand; and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you." (Matthew 12:22-28 RSV)

Fact Finder: How does the Bible describe Satan's actual appearance?
See What Does Satan Look Like?

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