Belphegor

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Illustration from the Dictionnaire Infernal

Belphegor

In demonology, Belphegor (or Beelphegor) is a demon who helps people to make discoveries. He seduces people by suggesting to them ingenious inventions that will make them rich. According to some 16th century demonologists, his power is stronger in April. Bishop and witch-hunter Peter Binsfeld believed that Belphegor tempts by means of laziness.

Belphegor originated as the Assyrian Baal-Peor, the Moabitish god to whom the Israelites became attached in Shittim (Numbers 25:3), which was associated with licentiousness and orgies. It was worshipped in the form of a phallus.

As a demon, he is described in Kabbalistic writings as the "disputer", an enemy of the sixth Sephiroth "beauty." When summoned, he can grant riches, the power of discovery and ingenious invention. His role as a demon was to sow discord among men and seduce them to evil through the apportionment of wealth.

Belphegor (Lord of the Opening) was pictured in two quite different fashions: as a beautiful naked woman and as a monstrous, bearded demon with an open mouth, horns, and sharply pointed nails. Belphegor also figures in Milton's Paradise Lost and in Victor Hugo's The Toilers of the Sea.

According to legend, Belphegor was sent from Hell by Lucifer to find out if there really was such a thing on earth as married happiness. Rumor of such had reached the demons but they knew that people were not designed to live in harmony. Belphegor's experiences in the world soon convinced him that the rumor was groundless. The story is found in various works of early modern literature, hence the use of the name to apply to a misanthrope or a licentious person.

Also, in Christian tradition, Belphegor is said to be the chief demon of the deadly sin Sloth, at least according to Peter Binsfield's Binsfield's Classification of Demons.

Links

Link to Belphegor Wikipedia article

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