Home » Apocrypha Stuff » The Wonderful Demon of Lust: Asmodeus

The Wonderful Demon of Lust: Asmodeus

“Sarah daughter of Raguel was reproached by her father’s maids, because she had been given to seven husbands, and the evil demon Asmodeus had slain each of them before he had been with her as his wife.So the maids said to her, “Do you not know that you strangle your husbands?You already have had seven and have had no benefit from any of them.” – Tobit 3.7b-8 (ESV)

“And he [Raphael] was sent to heal the two of them: to scale away the white films from Tobit’s eyes, to give Sarah daughter of Raguel in marriage to Tobia[h] son of Tobit and to bind Asmodeus the evil demon, because Tobia[h] was entitled to posses her.” – Tobit 3.17a

“And they both continued on their way until they came near Ecbatana.Then the young man said to the angel, “Brother Azarias, of what use is the liver and heart and fall of the fish?” He replied “As for the heart and the liver, if a demon or evil spirits gives trouble to anyone, you make a smoke from these before the man or woman, and that person will never be troubled again.” – Tobit 6.6b-8

“As he [Tobiah] went he remembered the words of Raphael, and he took the live ashes of incense and put the heart and liver of fish upon them and made a smoke.And when the demon smelled the odor he feld to the remotest parts to Egypt, and the angel bound him.” – Tobit 8.2-3

Asmodeus appears in the wonderful tales of Tobiah and Raphael and he becomes the story’s main antagonist.He also shows himself to be demon quite impressed with the ladies, namely in this story Sarah.Of course in

“I commanded another demon be brought to me; and he (Beelzeboul) brought me the evil demon Asmodeus, bound. …When I, Solomon, heard this things, I bound him with greater care.Then I ordered him to be flogged with a rod and to defend himself by stating his name and (reporting) his activity.The demon stated, “I am the renowned Asmodeus; I cause the wickedness of men to spread throughout the world.I am always hatching plots against newlyweds; I mar the beauty of virgins and cause their hearts to grow cold.

I said to him, “Is this all that you do?”He spoke again:“I spread madness about women through the stars and I have often committed a rash of murders.”

Then I adjured him by the name of the Lord Sabaoth, “Asmodeus, fear God, and tell me by which angel you are thwarted.”The demon said, “Raphael, the one who stands before God; but also a liver and a gall of a fish smoking on coals of charcoal drives me away.”I asked him again saying, “Do not hid anything from me, for I am Solomon, Son of David.Tell me the name of the fish you fear.”He replied, “It is called the sheatfish.It is found in the rivers of Assyria and it is s hatched only there; I am also found in those parts.”” Testament of Solomon 5.1, 6-10 translation by D.C. Duling

Asmodeus the grand villain of the book of Tobit, in the story of Tobiah’s adventure with Raphael we see Asmodeus as keeping Sarah from having a husband, and in essence keeping her safe till Tobiah can come around to woo her.After all demonic/angelic matchmaking is the way to go in finding a wife, (all Tobiah needed to complete the picture was well at some point).But besides appearing in the wonderful acts of Tobiah and Raphael we also see Asmodeus with Solomon

Asmodeus appears also in the Testament of Solomon to help Solomon build his temple (5.12 Clay molding) (and which shows itself to be clearly dependent upon the book of Tobit.After all we see that in verse states: “I am the renowned Asmodeus; I cause the wickedness of men to spread throughout the world.I am always hatching plots against newlyweds; I mar the beauty of virgins and cause their hearts to grow cold.” (5.7)Even in the Testament of Solomon Asmodeus shows himself to have a liking toward the virgins.He seems to quite particularly to conspire against newlyweds, as seen in Tobit 3.7b-8 (see above).In some manuscripts at the end of verse eight we also read that:“I have killed up to seven…” This points once more to Sarah and her trials recorded in the book of Tobit.Moreover in verse 5.9b we read “The demon said, “Raphael, the one who stands before God; but also a liver and a gall of a fish smoking on coals of charcoal drives me away.”We do get to learn what type of fish exactly Asmodeus hates (Tobit never tells us, just some giant fish), here Asmodeus hates the Sheatfish, wonderful, catfish is the undoer of the great and powerfulAsmodeus (as seen in 5.10).

Interesting enough though is the fact that Asmodeus declares himself not to be any demon, but instead a Nephilim.“You are the son of a man, but although I was born of a human mother, I am the son of an angel.”5.3b

Looking at Asmodeus’ wonderful name which we get thanks to the Vulgate (as spelt as… Asmodeus!).It was a sadden event that the name does appear within the Dead Sea Scrolls, (almost as sad as the fact that we cannot know about the dog).In trying to figure him out, some people think that perhaps Mr. Asmodeus is the Persian equivalent of Avestan, or “Aēsma Daēva” some sort of “Demon of Wrath” and traveling pal to Ahriman.Others however don’t quite like this ideal and instead think of Asmodeus as comng from the Hebrew שמר which has the wonderful meaning of “destroy or exterminate.”Perhaps something akin to like the guy in 2 Samuel 24.16a “And when the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy [Yahweh] relented from the calamity and said to the angel who was working destruction among the people…” or Wisdom 18.25 “To these the destroyer yielded, these he feared; for merely to test the wrath was enough” (Above information thanks to Mr. Fitzmyer and his commentary on Tobit).

Asmodeus would certainly be “renowned” if he was the destroyer as seen in the two mentioned passages (and perhaps this helped in creating that wonderful demon known as Asmodeus).(As a short side note in the medieval manuscripts and certain Jewish midrashes (which I didn’t feel like search for) Asmodeus is declared to be the King of the Demons, another reason he wants to be seem big and bad)However Asmodeus is as noted above, countered by Raphael (as seen in the story concerning in the Testament of Solomon and Tobit), and he is driven away with smoking fish guts.In Solomon’s Testament it’s with liver and gall, in Tobit it is recorded that : “He [Raphael] replied “As for the heart and the liver, if a demon or evil spirits gives trouble to anyone, you make a smoke from these before the man or woman, and that person will never be troubled again.”(Tobit 6.8)Hence in Tobit it is Heart and liver, not Liver and gall.Remember kids; always keep some catfish guts around in case of demonic troubles, right beside that Holy Water.

Asmodeus runs off the lands of Egypt when Tobiah starts to burn the fish guts.“And when the demon smelled the odor he fled to the re remotest parts of Egypt, and the angel bound him.” (Tobit 8.3)Egypt has several different things to note, one it’s quite far away.Asmodeus did not like this smell at all; he fled as far as he could.Moreover Egypt has that nice distinction of being a home to magic and other things demons like, Asmodeus ran far and he ran to as close to a home as he could get.Looking at Mathew 12.43 we see that “When the unclean sprit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none.”(Once more refer to Fitzmyer on Tobit, but also Dancy on his Shorter Books of the Apocrypha commentary).As intimidating as Asmodeus might try to be, when he gets scared he runs far, but Raphael catches him and bounds him up quickly.Raphael does have past experience tying up demons in the desert after all (See 1 Enoch 10.4 Raphael versus Azazel).

Looking at these two works concerning that wonderful demon known as Asmodeus, we see a demon who rather lustful toward the ladies, killing the would be husbands, but one whom Raphael is aptly able to defeat, as well as being sent away with Fish guts, moreover we see that though Asmodeus tries to be a rather impressive king, who kills and what not, once he’s defeated he tries to quickly run away to his own little place of safe haven.So thus we have Asmodeus, rival to Raphael who stands before God, but in the end just another demon whose might cannot compare to that of Yahweh’s.

– Le Bel Inconnu

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4 Comments

  1. Sweetbitter says:

    asmodeus aka nephilim aka incubus aka spiritual husband

  2. Onyearu Kalu Onyearu says:

    The article has been very helpful and insightful.

  3. El Bridge says:

    Asmodius may enjoy the sex but he loved Sarah. I think he realized what he had done to her, how he had hurt her, and that’s why he left. He probably doesn’t like the smell because he associates it with the pain of the incident with Sarah. Then he gets horribly abused by Solomon and, in his denigrated state, because he feels so much grief and guilt about Sarah, confesses to what he did to her as if it were habitual. Try looking at YHVH’s propaganda from the demon’s perspective. Most of the time when he does something we consider destructive, it’s with good reason. He helped me “destroy” my abusive marriage. You should watch that mocking tone and be more respectful when you speak of him. He’s one of the few who don’t hate us categorically and it would be wise not to insult one who is actually a powerful ally.

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