Belial (also Belhor, Baalial, Beliar, Belias , Beliall, Beliel, Bilael, Belu; from Hebrew, also named Matanbuchus, Mechembuchus, Meterbuchus in older scripts) is one of the four crown princes of Hell and a demon in the Bible, Christian apocrypha, and Jewish apocrypha. It is also a term used to characterize or embody the immensely wicked or iniquitous.

The etymology of the word is uncertain, but is most commonly translated as "without worth". Some scholars translate it from Hebrew as "worthless" (Beli yo'il), while others translate it as "yokeless" (Beli ol), "may have no rising" (Belial) or "never to rise" (Beli ya'al). Only a few etymologists have assumed it to be a proper name from the start. In the Book of Jubilees, uncircumcised heathens are called "sons of Belial". Also appearing in some Muslim scripture, the demon is said to have feasted on the poor and fed the rich with the regurgitated remains. When the rich denied his service, he was sent back into the underworld to serve Satan himself.

In Christianity

In the New Testament the word is used to refer to a demon, or maybe Satan or Lucifer, when asked by St. Paul as to how Christ and Belial can agree. The passage in the Bible NIV states: "What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?".

Since the Middle Ages he has been considered to be a powerful king of Hell that gives excellent familiars to his followers. As a demon he was said to have an agreeable aspect, and to induce to any type of sins, especially those related to sex, lust and gluttony. Sebastien Michaelis states that Belial seduces by means of arrogance and his adversary is St. Francis of Paola; in this sense his name is translated as "Lord of Arrogance" or "Lord of Pride" (Baal ial).

In the Biblia Vulgata fewer allusions to this demon are made, referring to Belial as torrents of death, and to impious men as sons of Belial and men of Belial.

Belial is listed as the sixty-eighth spirit of the The Lesser Key of Solomon.

(Be′li·al) [from Heb., meaning “Good for Nothing”; a compound of beli′, “not, without,” and ya·‛al′, “be of benefit; be beneficial”].

The quality or state of being useless, base, good for nothing. The Hebrew term beli·ya′‛al is applied to ideas, words, and counsel, to calamitous circumstances, and most frequently, to good-for-nothing men of the lowest sort—for example, men who would induce worship of other gods; those of Benjamin who committed the sex crime at Gibeah; the wicked sons of Eli; insolent Nabal; opposers of God’s anointed, David; Rehoboam’s unsteady associates; Jezebel’s conspirators against Naboth; and men in general who stir up contention. Indicating that the enemy power would no longer interfere with the carrying out of true worship by his people in their land, Jehovah declared through his prophet: “No more will any good-for-nothing person pass again through you. In his entirety he will certainly be cut off.”

By the time Bible writing resumed in the first century, “Belial” was used as a name for Satan. So when Paul wrote in his series of parallel contrasts, “What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?” the conclusion usually drawn is that “Belial” is Satan. The Syriac Peshitta here reads “Satan.”



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