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Chap. I. verse 2. — “ And Azariah fell down through
a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent mes
essengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover of this disease?” (Matt. xii.
24. Mark iii. 22. Luke xi. 15. 18, 19.) Calmet says Ekron “may denote the Aun who directed our flight from our native country; and this town being one of those belonging to the Philistines, who were foreigners in Canaan, gives much colour to this explanation.”
“ Beel-zebub, god of the fly, had a famous temple and oracle at Ekron.” – Calmet. Dr. Lightfoot says, “ Among all the devils, they esteemed that devil the worst, the foulest, as it were the prince of the devils." “ He was called god of the fly, and a dung god."
Dr. A. Clarke says,
“ Baalzebub, literally, the fly god, or master of flies.” “ Baalzebub, god of dung."*
Some suppose fly god or dung god is an epithet of contempt; but would Ahaziah, in his illness, call the god by a name which implied scorn ? Certainly not. There must, therefore, have been some reason for those names being assigned to him. These are the following characteristics in Baal-zebub : first, he was the prince of devils; second, the dung god; third, the fly god; fourth, he was the deity to whom people went in their sickness.
Vyravar is the Hindoo prince of devils ; and by whatever demon a man is possessed, or by whatever kind of sickness he may be afflicted, bis offerings for deliverance are principally made to Vyravar. But should he, as the monarch of demons,
See on Deut. xxix. 17. where the same offensive epithet is applied to Pulliär.
possess a man, then the offering must be made to Siva *, in the following way. A figure like this, having two hundred and fifteen squares, is made on the ground, and an image of Siva is placed in the centre, and the incantations continue till Vyravar shall be
ejected. Should, however, a female demon have possession of a person, then recourse must be had to the wife of the prince of devils.
Baal-zebub is called the dung god. Vyravar, in one of his avatārs, or births, is said to have taken delight in ordure and blood. And at certain seasons females have a broom placed across the threshold, or margossa or mango leaves, or a rope of straw, tied across the door, to keep him and others from the house.
But he is also called the fly god. Vyravar assumes the shape of a wasp, to punish those who offend him. When a person buries, or in any other way conceals his money, he makes an offering to the chief of the devils, and prays that none but those of his own family may enjoy that treasure; if, however, others should discover the horde, he begs the demon to assume the form of wasps, and drive them away. Magicians often dispute with each other respecting their several powers :
“ I am greater than thou ;” another, “ Thou art a low-caste magician; I have power with gods and demons.” They then begin to defy each other, and at last conclude to let their superiority be proved by the power of a spell. The one buries a goat, leaving only his head above the ground, and then defies the other magician to take it away. As the antagonist approaches the spot, the other throws rice upon him, and earnestly prays that Vyravar will assume the form of wasps, and drive the intruder away. But when people in common life also hate each other, they throw rice in the
* Or to Scandan his son.
direction of the house, and invoke their demon god to change it into wasps, to sting and destroy their foes. Another plan is, a magician buries money in the earth, and then prays Vyravar to sting and drive off the other when he comes near to the place. If, however, in spite of these incantations, the one takes off the goat, or finds out the money, then he is acknowledged to be the greatest.
The hornet, the fly, and the bee, are all mentioned in the Scriptures, as instruments of punishment. See on Deut. vii. and xx., also on Isa. vii. 18.
Ahaziah sent to Baal-zebub to enquire how his sickness would terminate ; he must, therefore, have been the most famous deity, and the most proper for such an application. When people are injured by a fall, or are bitten by a serpent, or any other reptile or animal, they generally have recourse to Vyravar. In time of danger, sickness, or fear, they make an offering to him of a goat, which, if possible, is black.* One of his names is Āba-thotaran, from Āpattu, calamity, and Tottukurruthu, to appear to the sight or imagination. Thus this chief of devils, who is also called the dung god, and the god of flies, was the god to whom people applied in their troubles; and which, to say the least, greatly resembles Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron. (See on Matt. xii. 27.)
II. 11. — “ There appeared a chariot of fire, and horses
of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah
went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” The Hindoos believe their supreme god Siva sends his angels, with a green chariot, to fetch the souls of those who are devoted to him: that there are occasionally horses, but at other times none. “ The holy king Tirru-Sangu* (i.e. divine chank) was taken to heaven, body and soul, without the pain of dying.” When a man, as a heathen, is very regular in his devotions; or when he reproves others for vice, or neglect of duty, it is often scornfully asked, “What! are you expecting the green + chariot to be sent for you ?” meaning, “ Do you, by your devotions, expect to go to heaven in the chariot of Siva without the pain of dying ?” Does a man act with great injustice, the person who finds him out asks, “ Will you get the green chariot for this?” Has a heathen embraced Christianity, he is asked the same question. Charity, charity,” says the beggar at your door, “ and the green chariot will be sent for you."
* In the 29th plate of Calmet's Illustrations, there are representations of Baal-zebub. On two coins, there is on one side the head of a goat and a fore leg, as if cut off in sacrifice; which agrees with that offered to Vyravar, as the head is severed, and the fore leg cut off and put into the mouth. On the other side of the coin is a figure of the WASP or bee.
23. — “Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.”
(Isa. xv. 2. Amos viii. 10.) Some suppose this alludes to the head being uncovered. I was not a little astonished in the East, when I first heard a man called a bald head, who had a large quantity of hair on his head : and I found, upon enquiry, it was an epithet of CONTEMPT! A man who has killed himself is called “a baldheaded suicide!” A stupid fellow, “a bald-headed dunce." Of those who are powerless,“ What can those bald heads do ?” Hence the epithet has often been applied to the missionaries. Is a man told his wife does not manage domestic matters well, he replies, as if in contempt of himself, “ What can a bald head do? must he not have a wife of the same kind ?'
Let a merchant, or any other person, who is going on business, meet a man who is REALLY bald, and he will assuredly
* I think it is Mosheim who says, “ The Kalmucks worship an idol called Xacamuni, who is represented to have been a sovereign prince of India : he lived 4000 years ago, and on account of his great sanctity was taken to heaven without dying.” Is it not remarkable that the word Xacamuni is from the Sanscrit language, and is also Tamul, Saca-Muni, i.e. great hermit ?
+ Pachi means green, but also something fresh; thus an infant is called green child, which means just born.
refuse to attend to the business; and pronounce, it he dare, some imprecations on the object of his hatred. Sometimes he will repeat the proverb, “ Go, thou bald head, pilferer of a small fish, and sucker of bones cast away by the goldsmith.” Call a man a mottiyan, i. e. bald head (which you may do though he have much hair), and then abuse, or sticks or stones, will be sure to be your portion. Thus the epithet implies great scorn, and is given to those who are WEAK Or MEAN.
In viewing this subject, does not the mind naturally look at the bald-headed Samson, bereft of his strength, and made the sport of the lords of the Philistines ? Would such an event as that soon be forgotten ? Is it not likely that the extreme folly of Samson in disclosing the secret of his strength would give rise to such an epithet? When was Samson killed ?
About A. M. 2884. When was Elisha mocked? In A. M. 3108, which makes it only 224 years after the event. Samson was a servant of the TRUE God (Heb. xi. 32.); those who conquered him in consequence of his BALD HEAD, were heathens. Elisha was a servant of the TRUE God; those who applied the epithet to him were also beathens; for he was going “ up unto Bethel,” which has been called “the mother city of idolatry.” Some young heathen “lads!” met the servant of the Lord, and mocked him, saying, “ Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head;" as did thy master Elijah, so do thou go up to heaven. The Spirit of this is in excellent keeping with MODERN heathenism; and it is the way in which they show their contempt for those who are weak, and for the servants of the TRUE God, who now labour amongst them.
Look at the time when Samson lived, 1229 years after the flood. Would all the regions of the East be peopled then ? I do not believe it. Is it not likely that such a person as Samson, his amazing strength, his wonderful exploits, the way he was made weak, and the destruction of the heathen nobility, would be known to the neighbouring heathen? We cannot doubt it. I am therefore of opinion that the term