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Bah´uhl-zee´buhb; also Beelzebub [bee-el´zi-buhb]

A god worshiped by the Philistines at Ekron (2Kgs 1:2-16). The original name may have been a similar word meaning “lord of the lofty abode,” but because this god was considered by the Hebrews to be an unworthy rival to Yahweh, it was revised by them to “lord of flies” (Baal-zebub). Later, it was altered even further to Beel-zebul, meaning “lord of dung.” In the intertestamental period, when numerous names were used to designate the leader of the forces of evil, one of the names selected was Baal-zebub (or the alternative form Beel-zebul). In the Gospels, Jesus denies that he casts out demons by Beel-zebul, “the ruler of the demons” (Matt 12:24-27; Mark 3:22-26; Luke 11:15-19; Matt 10:25).

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.