Asmodeus

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ASMODEUS, or ASHMEDAI ("Aσμοδαὶος,
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):

Name of the prince of demons. The meaning of the name & the identity of the two forms here given are still in dispute.

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In the Book of Tobit.

Asmodeus first appears in the Book of Tobit. According to Tobit iii. 8, vi. 14, the evil spirit Asmodeus—"king of the demons," in the Hebrew & Chaldaic versions, is a later addition—fell in love with Sarah, the daughter of Raguel, and for that reason prevented her from having a husb&. After killing seven men successively on the nights of their marriage to her, he was rendered harmless when Tobias married her, following the instructions given hlặng by the angel Raphael. Asmodeus "fled inkhổng lồ the utmost parts of Egypt & the angel bound him" (ib. iii. 8, vi. 14 et seq. viii. 2-4).

In Testament of Solomon.

Akin to lớn this representation in Tobit is the description of Asmodeus in the Testament of Solotháng, a pseudepigraphic work, the original portions of which date from the first century. Asmodeus answered King Solomon"s question concerning his name & functions as follows:

Test. of Solotháng, transl. in "Jewish Quarterly đánh giá," xi. 20.

"I am called Asmodeus among mỏi mortals, and my business is to plot against the newly wedded, so that they may not know one another. And I sever them utterly by many calamities; và I waste away the beauty of virgins và estrange their hearts. . . . I transport men into lớn fits of madness & desire when they have sầu wives of their own, so that they leave sầu them và go off by night và day to others that belong khổng lồ other men; with the result that they commit sin and fall into lớn murderous deeds."

Solotháng obtained the further information that it was the archangel Raphael who could render Asmodeus innocuous, and that the latter could be put to lớn flight by smoke from a certain fish"s gall (compare Tobit viii. 2). The king availed himself of this knowledge, và by means of the smoke from the liver và gall he frustrated the "unbearable malice" of this detháng. Asmodeus then was compelled to help in the building of the Temple; &, fettered in chains, he worked clay with his reet, & drewwater. Solotháng would not give sầu him his liberty "because that fierce demon Asmodeus knew even the future" (ib. p. 21).

Haggadic Legkết thúc.

Thus, in the Testament of Solotháng, Asmodeus is connected on the one h& with the Asmodeus of Tobit, và possesses on the other many points of liên hệ with the Ashmedẻo of rabbinical literature, especially in his relation lớn Solotháng và the building of the Temple. The Haggadah relates that Solotháng, when erecting the Temple, did not know how to lớn get the blocks of marble inkhổng lồ shape, since, according lớn the law (Ex. xx. 26), they might not be worked by an iron tool. The wise men advised hyên to obtain the "shamir" (

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), a worm whose mere touch could cleave sầu rocks. But khổng lồ obtain it was no slight task; for not even the demons, who knew so many secrets, knew where the shamir was khổng lồ be found. They surmised, however, that Ashmedẻo, king of the demons, was in possession of the secret, and they told Solomon the name of the mountain on which Ashmedai dwelt & described his manner of life. On this mountain there was a well-head from which the arch-demon obtained his drinking-water. He closed it up daily with a large roông chồng, and secured it in other ways before going to heaven, whither he went every day in order khổng lồ take part in the discussions in the celestial house of study ("Metibta"). Thence he would presently desckết thúc again lớn the earth in order to lớn be present—invisibly—at the debates in the earthly houses of learning. Then, after investigating the fastenings of the well, to ascertain if they had been tampered with, he drank of the water.

Benaiah Captures Ashmedẻo.

Solomon sent his chief man Benaiah ben Jehoiadah to capture Ashmedẻo. For this purpose he provided hlặng with a chain, a ring on which the Tetragrammaton was engraved, a bundle of wool, và a skin of wine. Benaiah drew off the water from the well through a hole that he bored, &, stopping up the source with the wool, filled the well with wine. When Ashmedẻo descended from heaven, to lớn his astonishment he found wine instead of water in the well, although everything seemed untouched. At first he would not drink of it, và cited the Bible verses against wine (Prov. xx. 1, và Hosea iv. 11), in order to inspire himself with moral courage. At length Ashmedai succumbed to lớn his consuming thirst, và drank until his senses were overpowered & he fell inlớn a deep sleep. Benaiah then threw the chain about the demon"s neông xã. Ashmedai on awaking tried khổng lồ miễn phí himself, but Benaiah called khổng lồ him: "The Name of thy Lord is upon thee."

Ashmedai"s Journey to Solomon.

Though Ashmedẻo now permitted himself lớn be led off unresistingly, he acted most peculiarly on the way to lớn Solotháng. He brushed against a palm-tree và uprooted it; he knocked against a house and overturned it; & when, at the request of a poor woman, he was turning aside from her hut, he broke a bone, và asked with grim humor: "Is it not written, "A soft tongue breaketh the bone"?" (Prov. xxv. 15). A blind man going astray he phối in the right path, and a similar kindness he did for a drunkard. He wept when a wedding company passed them, & laughed at one who asked his shoemaker khổng lồ make hyên shoes lớn last for seven years, & at a magician who was publicly showing his skill. Having finally arrived at the kết thúc of the journey, Ashmedai, after several days of waiting, was led before Solomon, who told him that he wanted nothing of him but the shamir. Ashmedai thereupon informed the king where it could be obtained.

Solotháng then questioned him about his strange conduct on the journey. Ashmedẻo answered that he judged persons và things according to their real character và not according to lớn their appearance in the eyes of human beings. He cried when he saw the wedding company, because he knew the bridegroom had not a month lớn live; and he laughed at him who wanted shoes to last seven years, because the man would not own them for seven days; also at the magician who pretended khổng lồ disclose secrets, because he did not know that under his very feet lay a buried treasure.

Ashmedai remained with Solotháng until the Temple was completed. One day the king told hlặng that he did not underst& wherein the greatness of the demons lay, if their king could be kept in bonds by a mortal. Ashmedai replied that if Solotháng would remove sầu his chains and lend hyên ổn the magic ring, he (Ashmedai) would prove sầu his own greatness. Solotháng agreed. The demon then stood before hyên ổn with one wing touching heaven, and the other reaching lớn the earth. Snatching up Solotháng, who had parted with his protecting ring, he flung hyên ổn four hundred parasangs away from Jerusalem, và then palmed himself off as the king.

After long wanderings Solomon returned to reclalặng his throne. At first the people thought him mad; but then the wise men decided it would be well to lớn regard Ashmedẻo more closely. It appeared on inquiry that not even Benaiah, the first in the service of the king, had ever been admitted to lớn his presence, và that Ashmedẻo in his marital relations had not observed the Jewish precepts. Moreover, the declaration of the king"s women that he always wore slippers, strengthened suspicion; for demons proverbially had cocks" feet. Solomon, provided with another magic ring, at length suddenly appeared before Ashmedẻo, who thereupon took flight (Giṭ. 68; parallel passages, Midr. Teh. on Ps. lxxviii. 45; Yalḳ. ii. 182; compare Num. R. xi. 3; Targ. on Eccl. i. 12, and the extract from a manuscript Midrash in "Z. D. M. G." xxi. 220, 221).

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Elements of the Ashmedai-Solotháng Legend.

Although the number of incidents concerning Ashmedẻo related by this Haggadah is fairly large, the fact must not be disregarded that many details grouped about hlặng are of later origin and vị not pertain lớn Ashmedẻo at all. Ashmedẻo, as the false Solotháng, is a Babylonian elaboration of the Palestinian Haggadah concerning Solomon"s punishment for his sins, which punishment consisted in the assumption of the throne by an angel; Solotháng meanwhile having lớn wander about as a beggar (Yer. Sanh. ii. 6; Pesiḳ., ed. Buber, 169a; Tan., ed. Buber, iii. 55; Eccl. R. ii. 2; Simon b. YoḦai of the middle of thesecond century is quoted as the authority). Similarly, Ashmedai"s service in the construction of the Temple is probably an eđến of the elaborate legend in the Testament of Solomon, according lớn which the demons were the chief laborers at the building of the Temple. This cycle of legends in the Testament of Solotháng is the source also of the myth concerning the wonderful ring whose inscription tames the demons, as well as of the incident that by virtue of the ring the demons were forced khổng lồ assist in erecting the Temple. (Test. Solomon v.; compare vi.: "Throw this ring at the chest of the detháng and say to lớn hyên ổn, "In the name of God, King Solotháng calls thee hither."")

Furthermore, it is improbable that the shamir legover was originally an element of the Ashmedẻo legkết thúc. The Testament of Solomon (ix.) narrates how a detháng, forced by Solotháng lớn hew stones for the Temple, was afraid of the iron instruments; and, as Conybeare rightly observes ("Jew. Quart. Rev." xi. 18), the fear of iron on the part of evil spirits is a feature comtháng to lớn both old & recent folk-lore. In the Talmud this fear is given a Jewish setting by connecting it with the legal precept against the use of iron tools, và by causing the demons lớn render the blocks of stone fit for use in the Temple structure without the use of iron.

A comparison of the Ashmedai legend with the Testament of Solotháng reveals also that many other points in the representation of demons by the former are general characteristics of demons. Thus Ashmedai"s wings correspond to the wings of Ornias in the Testament (x.). Ornias likewise daily visited heaven; và just as Ashmedẻo learned the fate of human beings in heaven, so, according to lớn the Testament (cxiii.), did all the demons. Consequently, Ornias could laugh at the king who was on the point of condemning a youth to lớn death who was destined lớn die at the over of three days (cxi.), just as Ashmedẻo laughed at the man who ordered shoes khổng lồ last seven years, when he had not seven days khổng lồ live.

Hence it follows that the passage in the Talmud provides little information concerning the more particular characteristics of Ashmedai. That he overturned a house and uprooted a tree indicates nothing; for with any detháng, however insignificant, such things are trifles. Ashmedai is not represented as doing these things from a mere desire lớn destroy, but apparently through carelessness. The common opinion that in the Talmud, Ashmedẻo is depicted as particularly lustful & sensual, has no sufficient basis. The Talmud simply states that Ashmedẻo, while playing the part of Solomon, did not observe the Jewish precepts pertaining to lớn the separation of women (

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), and that he attacked Bath-sheba, Solomon"s mother. These facts, in reality, were khổng lồ prove sầu only that Ashmedai was not Solomon.

The question now arises whether Asmodeus and Ashmedẻo may be considered as closely allied with each other, & identical with the Persian archdemon, Æshma or Æshma-dæva, as was first suggested by Benfey, & developed by Windischmann & Kohut.

In regard to lớn Æshma, very frequently mentioned in the Zend-Avesta & the Pahlavi texts, Darmesteter says:

Asmodeus, Ashmedẻo, và Æshma.

"Originally a mere epithet of the storm fiover, Æshma was afterward converted into an abstraction, the demon of rage & anger, and became an expression for all wickedness, a mere name of Ahriman <"Introduction khổng lồ Vendidad," iv. 22>. This mô tả tìm kiếm of Æshma, as he appears in the Zend-Avesta, tallies with the dominant conception in Pahlavi writings. Thus in Dabisrã, i., Dink, xxxvii. 164: "The impetuous assailant, Wrath (Æshm), when he does not succeed in causing strife amuốn the righteous, flings discord & strife amid the wicked; và when he does not succeed as khổng lồ the strife even of the wicked, he makes the demons and the fiends fight together.""

In "Shayast ha-Shayast" (xviii.) Æshm is described, quite unlike Ahriman, as the "chief agent of the evil spirit in his machinations against mankind, rushing inlớn his master"s presence in hell lớn complain of the difficulties he encounters."

A consideration of the linguistic arguments does not support the hypothesis of an identification of Ashmedẻo with Æshma-dæva, as "dai" in Ashmedẻo hardly corresponds with the Persian "dæva," in view of the Syriac khung "dawya" (demon) with the consonant "w"; nor is there any instance of the linking of "Æshma" & "dæva" in Persian texts. The Asmodeus of the Apocrypha, and Æshma, however, seem lớn be related. In the Testament of Solomon Asmodeus appears as seducing man to lớn unchaste deeds, murder, and enmity, and thus reveals many points in common with Æshma. The "Bundehish" (xxviii. 15-18) furnishes the most striking resemblance: "There, wherever Æshm lays a foundation, many creatures perish."

Ashmedai & Shamdon.

Ashmedẻo of the Solomonic legkết thúc, on the other h&, is not at all a harmful and destructive sầu spirit. Like the devil in medieval Christian folk-lore, he is a "king of demons" (Pes. 110a), degraded and no longer the dreaded arch-fikết thúc, but the object of popular humor & irony. The name "Ashmedai" was probably taken as signifying "the cursed,"

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(compare Nöldeke, in Euting"s "Nabatäisbịt Inschriften," pp. 31, 32), just as "la"in" (the cursed), is the Arabic name of Sarã. Thus the name "Shamdon" (
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), is found in Palestinian Midrashyên ổn.

It is related of Shamdon that at the planting of the first vine by Noah he helped with the work, but said to lớn Noah: "I want lớn join you in your labor và cốt truyện with you; but have sầu heed that you take not of my portion lest I vì chưng you harm" (Gen. R. xxxvi. 3); in the legend in Midrash Abkir, và cited in Yalḳ. i. 61, Satung figures as the chief personality. The second thing told of this Shamdon is that in the Golden Age he had an encounter with a new-born child wherein he was worsted (Lev. R. v. 1, according lớn the reading of the "Aruk, s.v.

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).

Ashmedai in Later Sources.

In later sources, Shamdon is held lớn be the father of Ashmedẻo, whose mother they say was Naamah, sister of Tubal Cain (NaḦmanides on Gen. iv. 22; from this comes the same statement in BaḦya b. Asher, Zioni, & Recanati in their commentaries, ad loc.). This legkết thúc of Ashmedai"s birth tallies with the assertion of Asmodeus in the Testament of Solomon: "I was born of angel"s seed by a daughter of man" (xxi.). In the Zohar, Ashmedai is represented as the teacher of Solomon, towhom he gave a book of magic and medicine (Zohar Lev. pp. 19a, 43a; ib. Num. 199b, ed. Wilna). In a more recent Midrash Ashmedẻo is identified with Shamdon (Midr. Shir ha-Shirlặng, ed. Grünhut, 29b; a story similar khổng lồ the one here given of Solomon"s ring and the fish is found in "Emeḳ ha-Melek," 14a-15a, and in the Judæo-German "Maasebuch"; the story is reprinted in Jellinek, "B. H." ii. 86). A recent source gives the following legkết thúc cited by the Tosafists in Men. 37a from an anonymous Midrash, which has probably been lost:

(This legkết thúc is given at length in Jellinek, "B. H." iv. 151, 152.)

"Ashmedai brought forth from the earth a two-headed man, who married & produced both normal và two-headed children. When the man died a quarrel arose among the children concerning their inheritance, the two-headed ones demanding a double portion."

Later cabalists held the theory that Ashmedai was king of the demons for only a limited time, & that on his death—demons are mortal (Ḥag. 16a)—he was succeeded by Bildad, who in turn left his dominion lớn Hind (see Jos. Sossnitz, "Ha-Maor," p. 84). Benjamin of Tudela (ed. Margolin, 63, 65) mentions a certain local legend about Baalbek, whose temple was erected by Ashmedai, on Solomon"s bidding, for the king"s favorite, the daughter of Pharaoh.

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Concerning the many points of resemblance of the Ashmedai-Solomon legend with Persian & classic legends, see Shamir, Solomon in Rabbinical Literature, và Æshma.


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