Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online

Get access Subject: Biblical Studies and Early Christianity
Edited by: Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking and Pieter W. van der Horst

The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible Online contains academic articles on the named gods, angels, and demons in the books of the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint and Apocrypha, as well as the New Testament and patristic literature. This online version contains the second extensively revised edition.

More information: Brill.com

Vampire עלוקה

(363 words)

Author(s): R. S. Hendel
I. Name The noun ʿălûqâ occurs once in MT, in a proverbial expression in Prov. 30.15. The word appears to be pan-Semitic, with cognates attested in Syriac ( ʿelaqtā), Arabic ( ʿalaq), Ethiopic ( ʿalaqt), and Akkadian ( ilqu). In each of these cognate languages the meaning is ‘leech’. In Arabic there is a related word, ʿawleq, interpreted as referring to a kind of demon (Canaan 1929:29). This latter sense has been conjectured for the word in MT (e.g. De Moor 1981–1982:111 n. 16). II. Identity The Arabic noun ʿawleq does occur meaning ‘leech’ or the like, but no…

Vanities הבלים

(568 words)

Author(s): B. Becking
I. Name In Deuteronomistic religious polemics and related texts, ‘vanities’ ( hebelîm) indicate images of non-Yahwistic deities. It is impossible to establish the identity of the deities involved (Preuss 1971:160–164). Etymologically, hebel is related to words for ‘breath; vapour and nullity’. II. Identity Since it is not clear to which deities the term hebelîm refers, their character cannot be described. It is characteristic of the orthodox form of the Yahwistic religion in ancient Israel to designate ‘other deities’ in a disparaging way. This has no counterpart in other ancient Near Eastern cultures. The Assyrians depict the deities of the people conquered as ‘their deities’ or ‘the gods in which they trusted’ (Sargon II; Becking 1992:31). They consider them to be real deities and not mere idols. III. Identity in the Bible The term ‘Vanities’ occurs frequently in OT religious polemics ( Deut. 32.21; 1 Kgs. 16.13, 1 Kgs. 26; 2 Kgs. 17.15; 8 times in Jer; Zech. 10.2; cf. Ps. 31.7 and Jona. 2.9). By calling indigenous Canaanite and other deities ‘vanities’, their formal existence and practical efficacy is negated (Eißfeldt 1962: 271). This designation is comparable with the indication of the divine Falsehood.…

Varuna

(572 words)

Author(s): B. Becking
I. Name The name of the Jebusite Araunah, Heb. ʾărawnāʾ ( 2 Sam. 24.16, 2 Sam. 20–24; 1 Chr. 21.15, 1 Chr. 18; 2 Chr. 3.1), has etymologically been related to the Indian deity Varuṇa. In doing so, Araunah has been related to an alleged Aryan upper class in the ancient Near East (F. Hommel 1904:1011; H. Hommel 1929:117). II. Identity In the Vedas of ancient India Varuṇa played an important role. He often appears together with Mitra (Mithras), both having an ethical character as guarantors of Ṛta. Varuṇa is related to the night. He rules over the invi…

Vashti ושׁתי

(466 words)

Author(s): F. van Koppen | K. van der Toorn
I. Name Jensen 1892:62 suggested that the name of Queen Vashti, the spouse of Ahasuerus in Est. 1.9 (cf. Est. 1.11, Est. 12, Est. 15, Est. 16, Est. 17, Est. 19; Est. 2.1, Est. 4, Est. 17), is related to the presumed Elamite goddess *Wašti (or Mašti). Since there are more plausible explanations to the name Vashti, there is no need to make a link with a goddess whose name was in fact pronounced as Mašti. II. Identity Mašti is an Elamite mother goddess, attested in Middle and New Elamite royal inscriptions and in personal names. The correct reading of the signs dmaš-ti, once read Barti, is pro…