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The Testament of Solomon is an Old Testament pseudepigraphical work, the authorship of which is ascribed to King Solomon. It describes how Solomon was enabled to build the Temple by commanding demons by means of a magical ring entrusted to him by the Archangel Michael.

Contents

History

Despite the text's claim to have been a first-hand account of King Solomon's construction of the Temple of Jerusalem, its original publication dates sometime between the first and fifth century AD,[1] over a thousand years after King Solomon's death and the temple's completion.

The real author or authors of the text remain unknown. The text was originally written in Greek and contains numerous theological and magical themes ranging from Christianity and Judaism to Greek mythology and Astrology that hint at possibly a Christian writer with a Greek background.

Content

The text reads like a self-help manual against demonic activity, with a moral to follow.

When a demon named Ornias harasses a young lad (who is favored by Solomon) by stealing half his pay and sucking out his vitality through the lad's thumb on his right hand, Solomon prays in the temple and receives from the archangel Michael a ring with the seal of God (in the shape of a Pentalpha having the name of God inscribed within) on it which will enable him to command the demons (c.f. Seal of Solomon). Solomon lends the ring to the lad who, by throwing the ring at the demon Ornias, stamps him with the seal and brings him under control. Then Solomon orders the demon Ornias to take the ring and similarly imprint the prince of demons who is Beelzeboul/Beelzebul.

With Beelzebul under his command Solomon now has the entire race of demons at his bidding to build the temple. Beelzebul reveals he was formerly the highest ranking angel in Heaven.

In Chapter 18 the demons of the 36 decans appear with names that sometimes seem to be conscious distortions of the traditional names for the decans and claim responsibility mostly for various ailments and pains. They provide the magical formulae by which they may be banished. For example, the thirty-third demon is Rhyx Phtheneoth who causes sore throat and tonsilitis and can be driven off by writing the word Leikourgos on ivy leaves and heaping them into a pile.

Solomon's final demon encounter involves sending a servant boy with his ring to take captive a wind demon who is harassing the land of Arabia. The boy is to hold a wineskin against the wind with the ring in front of it, and then tie up the bag when it is full. The boy succeeds in his task and returns with the wineskin. The imprisoned demon calls himself Ephippas and it is by his power that a corner stone, thought to be too large to lift, is raised into the entrance of the temple.

Then Ephippas and another demon from the Red Sea bring a miraculous column made of something purple (translation obscure) from out of the Red Sea. This Red Sea demon reveals himself as Amelouith who claimed to be the demon who supported the Egyptian magicians against Moses and who hardened Pharaoh's heart but had been caught with the Egyptian host when the sea returned and held down by this pillar until Ephippas came and together they could lift it.

There follows a short conclusion in which Solomon describes how he fell in love with a Shunammite woman and agreed to worship Rephan and Moloch.[2] Solomon agrees to sacrifice to them, but only sacrifices the blood of locust by simply crushing them with his hand. Immediately, the Spirit of God departs from him and he is made foolish and his name a joke to both humans and demons.

Along with the negative presentation she is given in the Bible, the Testament of Solomon presents the Queen of Sheba as a witch, indicating that the author had an awareness of Jewish tradition, which had argued the same.

Solomon concludes his text with a warning to mankind. He reminds mankind not to be like he was; to be both aware of the present and the future: To understand the consequences of your actions before you act.

Judeo-Christian Themes

The appearance of the archangel Michael is the first example of the Judeo-Christian theme surrounding the text.

Perhaps the most intriguing Judeo-Christian theme found inside the text was during King Solomon's encounter with the demon Ephippas. While working on the temple, Ephippas is asked by Solomon why he is frustrated. The demon replies that he is concerned over the only thing that can truly take away his powers and defeat him. It was going to be a man born of a virgin who will be crucified on a cross by the Romans prodded on by the Jews.[3] The "prediction" that Ephippas makes is actually one of the primary indicators that the text was written in the New Testament Era.

Greek Mythology

The Testament of Solomon, along with its Judeo-Christian theme, infuses Greek and other mythological elements into its work.

The most obvious of Greek influence is Solomon's encounter with seven demons who are sisters. They introduce themselves to the King and describe their home amongst the stars and Mount Olympus. The seven demon-sisters represent the Pleides of Greek Mythology and as well as their astrological relationship.

Solomon also encounters a woman demon who has no limbs and a head with full of dishevelled hair. It is argued that she actually represents Medusa or a gorgon-like creature from Greek mythology.[4]

The demon Enepsigos recounts to King Solomon at one point during the temple's construction that he can take the shape of three different physical forms, one of which being the Greek mythological god of time, Kronos. Moreover, Epenpsigos is also represented as a triple-faced woman akin to Hecate, and is likewise astrologically associated with the sphere of the moon.

Demons

Many of the demons in Solomon's encounters are of Greek, Jewish, Christian, Arabic, and other traditions. The Testament is a primary account of how religion, magic, and legends all are intertwined with each other particularly during the first to fifth century C.E. in and around the Mediterranean region. Most of the rest of the work contains Solomon's interviews with the demons, some of whom are quite grotesque, including one in the shape of a dog and another who has no head and sees through its breasts. Two demons associated strongly with sexuality appear amongst them - Asmodeus from the Book of Tobit, and a female demon named Obyzouth, identical to Lilith in all but name, including the strangling of newborn children. Most of the other demons are otherwise unknown by name from other works, even though this does not seem to be new lore but a bundling of various bits of demon-lore from mixed sources. The demon Abezethibou is said to have hardened pharaoh's heart, and not God.

See also

Bibliography and external links

References

  1. ^ Conybeare, F.C. The Testament of Solomon, The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, (Oct.,1898)p. 1
  2. ^ From Acts 7:43, a reference to Amos 5:25-27
  3. ^ Conybeare, F.C. The Testament of Solomon, The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, (Oct.,1898)p. 43
  4. ^ Conybeare, F.C. The Testament of Solomon, The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, (Oct.,1898)p. 30
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The Testament of Solomon is an Old Testament pseudepigraphical work, the authorship of which is ascribed to King Solomon. It describes how Solomon was enabled to build the Temple by commanding demons by means of a magical ring entrusted to him by the Archangel Michael.

Contents

History

Despite the text's claim to have been a first-hand account of King Solomon's construction of the Temple of Jerusalem, its original publication dates sometime between the 1st and 5th centuries,[1] over a thousand years after King Solomon's death and the temple's completion.

The real author or authors of the text remain unknown. The text was originally written in Greek and contains numerous theological and magical themes ranging from Christianity and Judaism to Greek mythology and Astrology that hint at possibly a Christian writer with a Greek background.

Content

The text reads like a self-help manual against demonic activity, with a moral to follow.

When a demon named Ornias harasses a young lad (who is favored by Solomon) by stealing half his pay and sucking out his vitality through the lad's thumb on his right hand, Solomon prays in the temple and receives from the archangel Michael a ring with the seal of God (in the shape of a Pentalpha having the name of God inscribed within) on it which will enable him to command the demons (c.f. Seal of Solomon). Solomon lends the ring to the lad who, by throwing the ring at the demon Ornias, stamps him with the seal and brings him under control. Then Solomon orders the demon Ornias to take the ring and similarly imprint the prince of demons who is Beelzeboul/Beelzebul.

With Beelzebul under his command Solomon now has the entire race of demons at his bidding to build the temple. Beelzebul reveals he was formerly the highest ranking angel in Heaven.

In Chapter 18 the demons of the 36 decans appear with names that sometimes seem to be conscious distortions of the traditional names for the decans and claim responsibility mostly for various ailments and pains. They provide the magical formulae by which they may be banished. For example, the thirty-third demon is Rhyx Phtheneoth who causes sore throat and tonsilitis and can be driven off by writing the word Leikourgos on ivy leaves and heaping them into a pile.

Solomon's final demon encounter involves sending a servant boy with his ring to take captive a wind demon who is harassing the land of Arabia. The boy is to hold a wineskin against the wind with the ring in front of it, and then tie up the bag when it is full. The boy succeeds in his task and returns with the wineskin. The imprisoned demon calls himself Ephippas and it is by his power that a corner stone, thought to be too large to lift, is raised into the entrance of the temple.

Then Ephippas and another demon from the Red Sea bring a miraculous column made of something purple (translation obscure) from out of the Red Sea. This Red Sea demon reveals himself as Amelouith who claimed to be the demon who supported the Egyptian magicians against Moses and who hardened Pharaoh's heart but had been caught with the Egyptian host when the sea returned and held down by this pillar until Ephippas came and together they could lift it.

There follows a short conclusion in which Solomon describes how he fell in love with a Shunammite woman and agreed to worship Rephan and Moloch.[2] Solomon agrees to sacrifice to them, but only sacrifices the blood of locust by simply crushing them with his hand. Immediately, the Spirit of God departs from him and he is made foolish and his name a joke to both humans and demons.

Along with the negative presentation she is given in the Bible, the Testament of Solomon presents the Queen of Sheba as a witch, indicating that the author had an awareness of Jewish tradition, which had argued the same.

Solomon concludes his text with a warning to mankind. He reminds mankind not to be like he was; to be both aware of the present and the future: To understand the consequences of your actions before you act.

Judeo-Christian themes

The appearance of the archangel Michael is the first example of the Judeo-Christian theme surrounding the text.

Perhaps the most intriguing Judeo-Christian theme found inside the text was during King Solomon's encounter with the demon Ephippas. While working on the temple, Ephippas is asked by Solomon why he is frustrated. The demon replies that he is concerned over the only thing that can truly take away his powers and defeat him. It was going to be a man born of a virgin who will be crucified on a cross by the Romans prodded on by the Jews.[3] The "prediction" that Ephippas makes is actually one of the primary indicators that the text was written in the New Testament Era.

A possible reference to the powers of Solomon, and pehaps the Testament of Solomon, is found in Luke 11:29,31. Jesus says (NIV), "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign. The Queen of the South will rise in judgement with the men of this generation...for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here." It is generally accepted that this is in reference to Solomon's wisdom, but the supernatural qualities of the verses may suggest more.

Greek mythology

The Testament of Solomon, along with its Judeo-Christian theme, infuses Greek and other mythological elements into its work.

The most obvious of Greek influence is Solomon's encounter with seven demons who are sisters. They introduce themselves to the King and describe their home amongst the stars and Mount Olympus. The seven demon-sisters represent the Pleides of Greek Mythology and as well as their astrological relationship.

Solomon also encounters a woman demon who has no limbs and a head full of dishevelled hair. It is argued that she actually represents Medusa or a gorgon-like creature from Greek mythology.[4]

The demon Enepsigos recounts to King Solomon at one point during the temple's construction that he can take the shape of three different physical forms, one of which being the Greek mythological god of time, Kronos. Moreover, Epenpsigos is also represented as a triple-faced woman akin to Hecate, and is likewise astrologically associated with the sphere of the moon.

Demons

Many of the demons in Solomon's encounters are of Greek, Jewish, Christian, Arabic, and other traditions. The Testament is a primary account of how religion, magic, and legends all are intertwined with each other particularly during the first to fifth century C.E. in and around the Mediterranean region.[citation needed] Most of the rest of the work contains Solomon's interviews with the demons, some of whom are quite grotesque, including one in the shape of a dog and another who has no head and sees through its breasts. Two demons associated strongly with sexuality appear amongst them - Asmodeus from the Book of Tobit, and a female demon named Obyzouth, identical to Lilith in all but name, including the strangling of newborn children. Most of the other demons are otherwise unknown by name from other works, even though this does not seem to be new lore but a bundling of various bits of demon-lore from mixed sources.[citation needed] The demon Abezethibou is said to have hardened pharaoh's heart, and not God.

See also

Bibliography and external links

References

  1. ^ Conybeare, F.C. The Testament of Solomon, The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, (Oct.,1898)p. 1
  2. ^ From Acts 7:43, a reference to Amos 5:25-27
  3. ^ Conybeare, F.C. The Testament of Solomon, The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, (Oct.,1898)p. 43
  4. ^ Conybeare, F.C. The Testament of Solomon, The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, (Oct.,1898)p. 30

Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Pseudepigraphic treatise on the forms and activities of demons and the charms effective against them. Extracts from the work are given by Fabricius ("Codex Pseudepig. Vet. Test." i. 1047) from the notes of Gilbertus Gaulminus on Psellus' tract "De Operatione Dæmonum," but the full text was first published (as far as appears) by F.F. Fleck in his "Wissenschaftl. Reise" (ii. 3); he states (ib. i. 2) that he found the Greek manuscript in the Royal Library at Paris, and that, apparently, it had never been published. An annotated German translation is given by Bornemann in Ilgen's "Zeitschrift für Hist. Theologie," 1844, and the Greek text is printed, with Latin translation, in Migne's "Patrologia Græco-Latina," vol. cxxii., as an appendix to the treatise of Psellus. The text seems to have suffered at the hands of scribes.

The Testament professes to be Solomon's own account of certain experiences of his during the building of the Temple. Learning that his chief overseer was plagued by a demon who every evening took the half of his wages and his food, and drew the life out of him by sucking the thumb of his right hand, he appealed for help to God, and received through the angel Michael a seal-ring of magic power. With this he controlled the offending demon, and forced him to bring the chief of the demons, Beelzebub. The latter then was compelled to bring another, and he another, till there had appeared before the king a great number of them, of both sexes, and of such variety and dreadfulness of form as the imagination of the author could conceive. To each Solomon addresses a series of questions: the demon is compelled to give his name and abode (especially to say with what star he is connected), his origin (from what angel), to describe his malefic functions, to say what angelhas power over him, and, in some cases, to tell the word (usually a divine name) by which he may be driven away. Some of the names of the angels and demons are familiar; others are strange or unintelligible, perhaps corrupt forms. Probably they were not invented by the author (though this may be true of some of them), but were the product of centuries of magical tradition. At the end of the Testament, Solomon's fall into idolatry and his consequent loss of power over the demons are attributed to his infatuation for a Jebusite woman, who acquired power over him by magic.

The book is a crude formulation of conceptions regarding demonic power that were almost universal in the Jewish and the Christian world for many centuries (see Magic). The belief that Solomon had power over demons is found as early as Josephus ("Ant." viii. 2, §, 5); the Book of Enoch shows the disposition to multiply demonic names; and the character of Asmodeus in the Testament is taken from the Book of Tobit. The demonological literature of the first thousand years of the common era is enormous. The author of the Testament was a Greek-speaking Jewish Christian: the demons, it is said, will rule the world till the Son of God, who is spoken of as born of a virgin, shall be hung on the cross. The date of the work can not be fixed precisely. Bornemann discovers a close resemblance between its demonological conceptions and those of the "Institutiones" of Lactantius (about the year 300), and it is probable that it belongs not far from that time.

This entry includes text from the Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906.
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