SPECIAL TOPIC: THE DEMONIC IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

A. The exact relationship between fallen angels and the demonic is uncertain. I Enoch asserts that the Nephilim of Gen. 6:1-8 are the source of evil (most rabbis also focus on Genesis 6 and not Genesis 3). I Enoch says that these half angel/half human beings were killed by the flood (it even asserts that their death was the purpose of the flood), and now their disembodied spirits are seeking a body host. This is interesting, but not revelatory (i.e., inspired).

 

B. There are several hostile spirits or demons named in the OT.

1. Satyrs or "hairy ones," possibly goat demons (BDB 972 III, KB 1341 III) – Lev. 17:7; 2 Chr. 11:15; Isa. 13:21; 34:14

2. Shedim (BDB 993, KB 1417) – Deut. 32:17; Ps. 106:37, to which sacrifices were made (similar to Molech)

3. Lilith, the female night demon (BDB 539, KB 528) – Isa. 34:14 (part of Babylonian and Ugarit myth)

4. Azazel, demon of the desert (name of chief demon in I Enoch, cf. 8:1; 9:6; 10:4-8; 13:1-2; 54:5; 55:4; 69:2) – Lev. 16:8,10,26 (BDB 736, KB 806)

5. Psalm 91:5-6 are personifications of pestilence (cf. Ps. Ps. 91:10), not spiritual beings (cf. Song of Songs 3:8)

6. Isaiah 13:21 and 34:14 list several desert animals as a way to show the desolation of destroyed places. Some assume that the list includes the demonic to illustrate that these destroyed places are also haunted (cf. Matt. 12:43; Luke 11:24; Rev. 18:2)

 

C. The OT monotheism (see Special Topic: Monotheism) silenced and modified the legends of the pagan nations, but sometimes names and titles of their superstitions are referred to (esp. poetic texts). The reality of evil spirits is a part of progressive revelation and is developed in the NT as is the person/angel of Satan (see Special Topic: Satan) and his spirit followers (i.e., demons).

 

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