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[Mat 10:25 NASB] (25) "It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more [will they malign] the members of his household!

And is it "Lord of the flies" or "Lord of the demons"?

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  • בַ֤עַל means lord and זְבוּב֙ means fly.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 1:24
  • But what does the Greek mean, in this context? And, of course, as usual, there are variants involved! And etymology misleads as often as it tells us anything.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 1:34
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    It is a Philistine proper name of one of their idols.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 1:57
  • 1
    Is this actually reference to the Phoenician Baal> זְבֻל ... n.[m.] elevation, height, lofty abode Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (1977). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (p. 259). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 17:02
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    But in Hebrew zebub means fly and zeboul means lofty abode. – Perry Webb 47 mins ago
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 18:38

2 Answers 2

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The Hebrew term appears in the OT in 2 Kings 1:2

Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, "Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury."

Strong's Concordance

Baal Zebub: "Baal of flies," a Philistine god

This is the Lord of the flies.

In the NT Greek, it is Βεελζεβούλ

Strong's Concordance

Beelzeboul: Beelzebul, a name of Satan
Original Word: Βεελζεβούλ, ὁ
Part of Speech: Proper Noun, Indeclinable

HELPS Word-studies

954 Beelzeboúl (translaterated from OT 1176/BaʽalZebūb, "the lord of flies" or "fly-god," cf. 2 Ki 1:2) – Beelzebul, a title of Satan which stresses he is the prince over demons ("demonic flies").

In Hebrew, it is "Lord of the flies". In Greek, it is "Lord of the demons". Both means Lord of evil creatures.

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  • Hi Tony. Strong's and HELPS are not particularly authoritative. Can you please cite a lexicon or encyclopedia or something instead? Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 20:58
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According to BDAG,

Βεελζεβούλ was originally a Philistine deity; the name means Baal (lord) of flies (2 Kings 1:2, 6) ... in the NT Beelzeboul is prince of hostile spirits ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων Matt 12:24, Luke 11:15, etc.

See also the appendix below for a very similar lexical entry.

The word occurs just seven times in the NT and can be classified as follows:

  • Jesus uses the name Beelzeboul metaphorically to signify the Jewish leaders were followers of the devil, Matt 10:25, (Matt 12:27)
  • Jesus is accused of being in league with the Beelzeboul, the prince of demons, Matt 12:24, 27, Mark 3:22, Luke 11:15, 18, 19
  • Beelzeboul is called the leader/prince of the demons, Matt 12:24, Mark 3:22, 23, 26 (Beelzeboul = Satan here)

Thus, in the NT, "Beelzeboul" appears to have been used as another name for Satan, the prince of the demons.

APPENDIX Thayers entry for Βηλζεβουλ

Βηλζεβουλ and, as written by some (yet no Greek) authorities, Βηλζεβουβ (cod. B Βηζεβουλ, so manuscript א except in Mark 3:22; adopted by WH, see their Appendix, p. 159; cf. Buttmann, 6), ὁ, indeclinable, Beelzebul or Beelzebub, a name of Satan, the prince of evil spirits: Matthew 10:25; Matthew 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15, 18, 19. The form Βηλζεβουλ is composed of זְבוּל (rabbinical Hebrew for זֶבֶל dung) and בַּעַל, lord of dung or of filth, i. e. of idolatry; cf. Lightfoot on Matthew 12:21. The few who follow Jerome in preferring the form Βηλζεβουβ derive the name from זְבוּב בַּעַל, lord of flies, a false god of the Ekronites (2 Kings 1:2) having the power to drive away troublesome flies, and think the Jews transferred the name to Satan in contempt. Cf. Winers RWB under the word Beelzebub: and J. G. M(üller) in Herzog vol. i., p. 768ff; (BB. DD.; cf. also Meyer and Dr. James Morison on Matthew 10:25; some, as Weiss (on Mark, the passage cited; Biblical Theol. § 23 a.), doubt alike whether the true derivation of the name has yet been hit upon, and whether it denotes Satan or only some subordinate 'Prince of demons'). (Besides only in ecclesiastical writings, as Ev. Nicod. c. 1f.)

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  • @Ruminator - that is not very different from the Greek
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 23:57

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