This was a compound term from Ba'al and Zebub (BDB 127 construct BDB 256). This was the local Ba'al (i.e., male fertility god) of Ekron (cf. 2 Kgs. 1:16). The Jews regularly changed the names of pagan rulers and pagan gods by changing the vowels, to make fun of them. This term can be translated as "Lord of the house," "Lord of the flies," or "Lord of the dung" (see ABD, p. 639; ZPBC, pp. 505-506).

The second part of the name was often spelled Zebul, the chief demon in Jewish folklore (cf. Matt. 12:24; Luke 11:15). This explains why NASB and NRSV have Beelzebul, while NKJV and NIV have Beelzebub (Vulgate).

In the Synoptic Gospels, this name is characterized as "the ruler of the demons" (cf. Matt. 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15), but later in the same paragraph, he is called "Satan" (cf. Matt. 12:26; Mark 3:23; Luke 11:18; see Special Topic: Satan).  For these Jewish leaders to call Jesus by a name for Satan, shows how they had turned light into darkness (see Special Topic: The Unpardonable Sin).

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