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Beelzebul (Beelzebub or Ba’al-zəbûb) was the god of Ekron (2 Kgs 1:2-3), one of the capital cities of the Philistines. The literal meaning of Baalzebub is “lord of flies,” “lord of dung,” or “lord of filth” and Beelzebul in Aramaic means “lord of the house.” The Greek word Baalzebub is a combination of Baal and zebub. Baal means “lord” and zebub means “exalted dwelling.” Thus, Baalzebub was the prince of demons who dwell in high areas.

Archaeological findings include golden depictions of flies associated with this god. Following the Philistine era, the Jews renamed it “Beelzeboul,” which translates to “lord of dung.” The name represented the deity worshipped for protection against insect bites. Some scholars believe Beelzebul was also known as the “god of filth,” which later became a scornful epithet used by the Pharisees. The Pharisees associated Beelzebul with Satan, using the term as an insult against Jesus.

The Canaanites in the Old Testament revered Baal as a god of fertility. The Israelites were tempted to renounce their faith in the true God and start worshipping the gods of the Philistines and Canaanites. “They had abandoned the LORD and served Baal and the Astartes” (Judg 2:13).

Since the Beelzebub worshippers believed their god could fly, they portrayed him as a fly. They believed he was a sun god that brings the flies. People in the low-lying cities of the seacoast of Philistia might have worshipped this god to avert the plagues of flies and insects that infected them. The Israelites considered this god as a major demon. The Jews associated Beelzebub also with the Canaanite god Baal. Since worship of such gods was against the true God of Israel, Beelzebub became another name for Satan, the devil, or the prince of demons.

According to demonology, Beelzebub is one of the prominent fallen angels and prince of hell along with other fallen angels like Lucifer (the fallen angel of Light), Leviathan, and Astaroth. Baalzebul is associated with pride, gluttony, and idolatry. By the time of Christ, people used “Beelzebul” to represent Satan.


The key reference to Beelzebul is found in 2 Kings 1:2-3, where King Ahaziah of Israel, after fell through the lattice of his roof terrace at Samaria and was injured, sent injuring himself, sends messengers to inquire of Beelzebul, the god of Ekron, whether he will recover from his injury. This act of seeking help from a foreign deity rather than the God of Israel leads to a confrontation with the prophet Elijah, who condemns Ahaziah’s reliance on a pagan god.


In the New Testament, Beelzebul is referenced in the context of accusations made against Jesus. The Jewish religious leaders accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul, effectively associating Him with the prince of demons (Mt 12:22-32; Mk 3:22-30, Lk 11:14-23). In these passages, the Pharisees and scribes claim that Jesus drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul. Jesus responds to this accusation stating the logical inconsistency of their accusation, stating that if Satan is casting out Satan, then his kingdom is divided and cannot stand (Mt 12:25-26, Mk 3:24-26, Lk 11:17-18). Jesus challenges the Pharisees by asking if their own followers (Jewish exorcists) also cast out demons by Beelzebul, thereby exposing the hypocrisy of their claim (Mt 12:27, Lk 11:19). Jeus used the analogy of a strong man’s house being plundered only if someone stronger ties up the strong man. This illustrates that Jesus’ power over demons demonstrates His authority over Satan, not collaboration with him (Mt 12:29, Mk 3:27, Lk 11:21-22). Jesus then warned that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to an evil source—is an unforgivable sin (Mt 12:31-32; Mk 3:28-30). If such was the experience of Jesus, when the disciples cast out demons and do similar humanitarian services, their opponents might accuse them also as being demon possessed.

The Pharisees blamed Jesus as a person of devil worship or an associate of Satan. Their intention was to distract the appreciation of the public who considered Jesus as the Messiah. The Pharisees prompted the people to view Jesus with contempt, as an evil person. They acknowledged that only a person of divinity or Satanic influence could cast out the demon in that situation. Though Jesus performed a variety of miracles, the expulsion of demons was the only case in which the opponents attributed his association with Beelzebul. Jesus, through his argument, told them why that was a ridiculous idea and revealed himself as the Son of God.

By accusing Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the Jewish leaders were accusing Jesus of being a person of devil worship or an associate of Satan. They were trying to distract the attention and appreciation of the crowd who considered Jesus as the Messiah and encouraged them to see Jesus as an evil person. They acknowledged that only a person of divinity or Satanic influence could cast out the demon in such a situation. Jesus, through his argument, told them why that was a ridiculous idea and revealed himself as the Son of God.

Beelzebul would not cooperate with Jesus to cast out a demon from the demoniac because, by doing so, he would destroy his own power. If Satan aided Jesus against his interests, then the kingdom of hell would divide against itself. The reign of Satan and the Kingdom of God oppose each other. It would be like a nation trying to suppress its own people with the support of an enemy nation. That is unreasonable. So, Satan would not cooperate to work against his kingdom. Hence, the argument of the Pharisees that Jesus healed the demoniac with the support of Beelzebul was absurd. Thus, Jesus counter-argued that he was the Son of God and with that authority he drove out demon from the disabled demoniac. By saying so, Jesus admitted the united and organized kingdom of the demons against humans under the leadership of Beelzebul or Satan.


The accusations against Jesus were based on misinterpretation and malice. Christians are reminded to seek truth and discern the motives behind accusations or criticisms. This encourages a deep understanding of faith and reliance on God’s wisdom.

Despite false accusations, Jesus remained steadfast in His mission. Christians are encouraged to stay true to their calling and mission, even when facing opposition or misunderstanding.

Jesus’ authority over demons is a testament to His divine power and the ultimate authority of God over evil. Christians can find assurance in God’s sovereignty and power to overcome all forms of evil.

Jesus’ teaching that a divided kingdom cannot stand underscores the importance of unity among believers. Christians are called to work together in harmony, avoiding divisions that weaken their collective mission.

The Pharisees’ hypocrisy in their accusations is a warning against double standards. Christians are called to live with integrity, ensuring their actions align with their professed beliefs.

The warning against blasphemy of the Holy Spirit highlights the seriousness of attributing God’s work to evil forces. Christians are reminded to respect the Holy Spirit and recognize God’s work in their lives and the world.

The story of Beelzebul and the accusations against Jesus serve as powerful reminders of the importance of discernment, integrity, unity, and respect for the Holy Spirit. By reflecting on these lessons, Christians can strengthen their faith, remain true to their mission, and uphold the values of their belief in the face of challenges and opposition.



The accusation against Jesus highlights the opposition he faced from some religious authorities. It serves as a reminder that following God’s will can sometimes lead to rejection and criticism, even from those within the faith.

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