Wikipedia

Samael

Gustave Doré, Jacob Wrestles with the Angel Samael (1855)

Samael (Hebrew: סַמָּאֵל Sammāʾēl, "Venom of God",[1] "Poison of God", or "Blindness of God"; rarely "Smil", "Samil", or "Samiel"; Arabic: سمسمائيلSamsama'il or سمائل Samail)[2][3][4] is an archangel in Talmudic and post-Talmudic lore, a figure who is the accuser (Ha-Satan), seducer, and destroyer (Mashhit). Although many of his functions resemble the Christian notion of Satan, to the point of being sometimes identified as a fallen angel,[5][6][7] in others he is not necessarily evil, since his functions are also regarded as resulting in good, such as destroying sinners.[3]

He is considered in Talmudic texts to be a member of the heavenly host with often grim and destructive duties. One of Samael's greatest roles in Jewish lore is that of the main angel of death and the head of satans. Although he condones the sins of man, he remains one of God's servants. He appears frequently in the story of Garden of Eden and engineered the fall of Adam and Eve with a snake in writings during the Second Temple period.[6] However, the serpent is not a form of Samael, but a beast he rode like a camel.[8] In some traditions he is also believed to be the father of Cain[7][9] as well as the partner of Lilith.

As guardian angel and prince of Rome, he is the archenemy of Israel. By the beginning of Jewish culture in Europe, Samael had been established as a representative of Christianity, due to his identification with Rome.[10][11]

In some Gnostic cosmologies, Samael's role as source of evil became identified with the Demiurge, the creator of the material world. Although probably both accounts originate from the same source, the Gnostic development differs from the Jewish development of Samael, in which Samael is merely an angel and servant of God.

Judaism [ edit ]

Samael was first mentioned during the Second Temple Period and immediately after its destruction. He is the dominant evil figure in the Book of Baruch as he plants the Tree of knowledge, thereupon he is banished by God.[5] To take revenge, he tempts Adam into sin.[6][7] Further he appears as the embodiment of evil in the Ascension of Isaiah, often identified as "Melkira" (Heb.: מלך רע melek ra - lit. "king of evil", "king of the wicked") or "Malkira"/"Malchira" (מלאך רע malakh/malach ra - "messenger of evil", "angel of iniquity") or "Belkira" (prob. בעל קיר baal qir - "lord of the wall") or "Bechira" (בחיר רע bachir ra, - "the elect of evil", "chosen by evil"). The names Belial and Satan are also applied to him and he gains control of King Manasseh in order to accuse Isaiah of treason.[7]

Further he is mentioned in the Book of Enoch along with other rebellious angels. In Enoch 1 he is one of the rebellious angels, although he is not their leader.[6][7] In the Talmudic-Midrashic literature, Samael's role as an agent of evil is rather marginal, but from the fifth or sixth century onward, this name again becomes one of the most prominent among the demonic entities.[5] In the Exodus Rabbah, Samael is depicted as the accuser in the heavenly court and tempting to sin, while Michael defends Israel's actions.[12] Here, Samael is identified with Satan. While Satan describes his function as an accuser, Samael is considered to be his proper name. He also fulfills the role of the Angel of Death, when he comes to take the soul of Moses and is called the leader of satans.

The title of satan is also applied to him, in the midrash Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer, there he is the chief of fallen angels.[5] Samael's role here might be influenced by the Islamic idea of Iblis.[13] Iblis refused to prostrate himself before Adam,[14] because he consists of fire and Adam merely from dust.[15] In the Midrash Konen, he is the ruler of the third hell. Several sources, such as Yalkut Shimoni (I, 110) describe him as the guardian angel of Esau relating him to Rome, the one who wrestled with Jacob, the angel who ordered Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, and a patron of Edom.[2][16]

In the Zohar, Samael is mentioned again as the serpent's rider.[8] However, the same work later calls him Azazel.[8] This link might arise from a case of mistaken identity, as Azazel might be himself in Zoharistic lore a combination of the angels Aza and Azrael.[17] Samael also mated with Eisheth Zenunim, Na'amah, and Agrat bat Mahlat, all being "angels" of sacred prostitution.[18]

In Kabbalah (Arthur Edward Waite, 255), Samael is described as the "severity of God", and is listed as fifth of the archangels of the world of Briah. Samael then became the consort of Adam's first wife, Lilith. Lilith is a demon created alongside Adam, originally created for the role Eve would fill. Samael created with her a host of demon children, including a son, the "Sword of Samael"[19] (or Asmodai).[20] Although both Samael and Lilith are major demons in earlier Jewish traditions, they do not appear paired before the second half of the thirteenth century.[21]

In the Kabbalistic work Treatise on the Left Emanation, Samael is part of the Qliphoth, prince of all demons, and spouse of Lilith.[7] He and Lilith are said to parallel Adam and Eve. Asmodeus is also mentioned to be subservient to Samael and married to a younger, lesser Lilith.[22]

He is also depicted as the angel of death and one of the seven archangels, the ruler over the Fifth Heaven[according to whom?] and commander of two million angels such as the chief of other destroying angels.

According to The Ascension of Moses,[23] Samael is also mentioned as being in 7th Heaven:

In the last heaven Moses saw two angels, each five hundred parasangs in height, forged out of chains of black fire and red fire, the angels Af, "Anger", and Hemah, "Wrath", whom God created at the beginning of the world, to execute His will. Moses was disquieted when he looked upon them, but Metatron embraced him, and said, "Moses, Moses, thou favorite of God, fear not, and be not terrified," and Moses became calm. There was another angel in the seventh heaven, different in appearance from all the others, and of frightful mien. His height was so great, it would have taken five hundred years to cover a distance equal to it, and from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet he was studded with glaring eyes. "This one," said Metatron, addressing Moses, "is Samael, who takes the soul away from man." "Whither goes he now?" asked Moses, and Metatron replied, "To fetch the soul of Job the pious." Thereupon Moses prayed to God in these words, "O may it be Thy will, my God and the God of my fathers, not to let me fall into the hands of this angel."

It is also said that the Baal Shem once summoned Samael, to make him do his bidding.[24]

Gnosticism [ edit ]

A lion-faced deity found on a Gnostic gem in Bernard de Montfaucon's L'antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures may be a depiction of the Demiurge, Samael.

In the Apocryphon of John, On the Origin of the World and Hypostasis of the Archons, found in the Nag Hammadi library, Samael is one of three names of the demiurge, whose other names are Yaldabaoth and Saklas. After Yaldabaoth claims sole divinity for himself, the voice of Sophia comes forth calling him Samael, due to his ignorance.[25][26] In On the Origin of the World his name is explained as "blind god" and his fellow Archons are said to be blind, too. This reflecting the characteristics of the Christian devil, making people blind, as does the devil in 2 Corinthians 4. Also Samael is the first sinner in the Hypostasis of the Archons and the First Epistle of John calls the devil as sinner from the beginning. These characteristics combined with his boasting conflates the Jewish god with the devil.[27] His appearance is that of a lion-faced serpent.[28] Although the Gnostics and Jewish originally used the same source, both depictions of Samael developed independently.[29]

Samael is sometimes confused in some books with Camael, who appears in the Gospel of Egyptians also as an evil power, whose name is similar to words meaning "like God" (but Camael with a waw missing). The name might be explained, because in Jewish traditions, the snake had the form of a camel, before it was banished by God.[30]

Anthroposophy [ edit ]

To anthroposophists, Samael is known as one of the seven archangels: Saint Gregory gives the seven archangels as Anael, Gabriel, Michael, Oriphiel, Raphael, Samael, and Zerachiel.[citation needed] They are all imagined to have a special assignment to act as a global zeitgeist ("time-spirit"), each for periods of about 360 years.[31]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ "Samael" - Jewish Encyclopedia
  2. ^ a b Davidson, Gustav (1971). "Samael". A Dictionary of Angels, Including the Fallen Angels. New York City: Simon & Schuster. p. 255. ISBN 9780029070505.
  3. ^ a b Jung, Leo (July 1925). "Fallen Angels in Jewish, Christian and Mohammedan Literature. A Study in Comparative Folk-Lore". The Jewish Quarterly Review. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press. 16 (1): 88. JSTOR 1451748.
  4. ^ Charlesworth, James H., ed. (February 1, 2010). The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: Apocalyptic Literature and Testaments. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. p. 658.
  5. ^ a b c d Ivry, pp. 257-260
  6. ^ a b c d Jewish Virtual Library - Samael
  7. ^ a b c d e f Patai, Raphael (2015). Encyclopedia of Jewish Folklore and Traditions. London, England: Routledge. p. 463. ISBN 9781317471714.
  8. ^ a b c Orlov, Andrei A. (2013). Heavenly Priesthood in the Apocalypse of Abraham. Cambridge, England: University of Cambridge Press. p. 151. ISBN 9781107470996.
  9. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia - Samael
  10. ^ Gross, Abraham (1995). Iberian Jewry from Twilight to Dawn: The World of Rabbi Abraham Saba. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishers. p. 133. ISBN 978-9004100534.
  11. ^ Ivry, Elliot R. Wolfson (1998). Perspectives on Jewish Thought and Mysticism. Boca Raton, Florida: Taylor & Francis. p. 263. ISBN 9781136650123.
  12. ^ Karesh, Sara E.; Hurvitz, Mitchell M. (2005). Encyclopedia of Judaism. Infobase Publishing. p. 447. ISBN 978-0-816-06982-8.
  13. ^ Seidenberg, David Mevorach (2015). Kabbalah and Ecology. Cambridge University Press. p. 65. ISBN 978-1-107-08133-8.
  14. ^ Dan, Joseph (1987). Gershom Scholem and the Mystical Dimension of Jewish History. NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-814-72097-4.
  15. ^ Thompson, William Irwin (1996). The Time Falling Bodies take to Light: Mythology, sexuality, and the origins of culture. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-312-16062-3.
  16. ^ Schwartz, Howard (2006). Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 361. ISBN 978-0-195-32713-7.
  17. ^ Laitman, Michael Rav. "Sefer-Zohar" (PDF).
  18. ^ Johnson, Erika D. "Myth of sacred prostitution in antiquity". rosetta.bham.ac.uk. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  19. ^ Rosemary Ellen Guiley (2009). The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. Infobase Publishing. pp. 222ff. ISBN 978-1-4381-3191-7.
  20. ^ "Lilith the younger". Liber 777 Notes. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014.
  21. ^ Dan, Joseph (April 1980). "Samael, Lilith, and the concept of evil in early Kabbalah". AJS Review. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. 5: 17–40. doi:10.1017/S0364009400000052.
  22. ^ Kvam, Kristen E.; Schearing, Linda S.; Ziegler, Valarie H. (1999). Eve and Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. pp. 221–222. ISBN 9780253212719.
  23. ^ Ginzberg, Louis. "The Ascension of Moses". Aggadah: The Legend of the Jews. [full citation needed]
  24. ^ Buber, Martin (1947). Tales of the Hasidim. New York City: Schocken Books. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-307-83407-2.
  25. ^ Ingvild Sælid Gilhus The Nature of the Archons: A Study in the Soteriology of a Gnostic Treatise from Nag Hammadi (CGII, 4) Otto Harrassowitz Verlag 1985 ISBN 9783447025188 p. 44
  26. ^ Fischer-Mueller, E. Aydeet. “Yaldabaoth: The Gnostic Female Principle in Its Fallenness.” Novum Testamentum, vol. 32, no. 1, 1990, pp. 79–95. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1560677
  27. ^ M. David Litwa esiring Divinity: Self-deification in Early Jewish and Christian Mythmaking Oxford University Press, 03.10.2016 ISBN 9780190467173 p. 55
  28. ^ Fischer-Mueller, E. Aydeet. “Yaldabaoth: The Gnostic Female Principle in Its Fallenness.” Novum Testamentum, vol. 32, no. 1, 1990, pp. 79–95. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1560677
  29. ^ Ivry Perspectives on Jewish Though Routledge 2013 ISBN 9781136650123 p. 266
  30. ^ Ivry Perspectives on Jewish Though Routledge 2013 ISBN 9781136650123 p. 259
  31. ^ Matharene, B. (2003). The Archangel Michael, GA# 67 – review. Retrieved from: http://www.doyletics.com/arj/tamrev.htm on 11 October 2014

Further reading [ edit ]

  • The Ascension of Isaiah. Translated by Charles, R.H. London: Adam & Charles Black. 1900.
  • Bamberger, Bernard Jacob (15 March 2006). Fallen Angels: Soldiers of Satan's realm. Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 0-8276-0797-0.
  • Cruz, Joan C. (1999). Angels and Devils. Tan Books & Publishers. ISBN 0-89555-638-3.
  • Jung, Leo (1925). "Fallen angels in Jewish, Christian, and Mohammedan literature. A study in comparative folk-lore". The Jewish Quarterly Review. New Series. published in four parts:
    • "Fallen angels ...". 15 (4). April 1925: 467–502. doi:10.2307/1451739.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    • "Fallen angels ...". 16 (1). July 1925: 45–88. doi:10.2307/1451748.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    • "Fallen angels ...". 16 (2). October 1925: 171–205. doi:10.2307/1451789.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    • "Fallen angels ...". 16 (3). January 1926: 287–336. doi:10.2307/1451485.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External links [ edit ]

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