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    Beelzebub – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. I heard a Christian preacher refer to a demon called Beelzebub. Is this name known in Judaism?

    A. In Christian scripture Beelzebub or Beelzebul is the chief of the demons (Matt. 12:24-27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15-18).

    The name derives from Baal Z’vuv, “lord of the flies”. In the T’nach this is the god of Ekron, whom King Ahaziah consulted – against God’s will – when he was ill.

    Since flies were often regarded as responsible for plagues (e.g. Kohelet 10:1), ancient people had high regard for a “god” who could overcome the flies. Because Baal Z’vuv was the god of the Philistine enemy, he himself came to be regarded as a powerful demon.

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