Help Now >
FREE Catholic Classes
Found frequently as a personal name in the Vulgate and various English translations of the Bible , is commonly used as a synonym of Satan, or the personification of evil.
This sense is derived from 2 Corinthians 6:15 , where Belial (or Beliar) as prince of darkness is contrasted with Christ, the light. It is clear in the Vulgate and Douay translations of 1 Kings 21:10 and 13 , where the same Hebrew is rendered once as Belial and twice as "the devil".
In the other instances, too, the translators understood it as a name for the prince of evil, and so it has passed into English. Milton, however, distinguishes Belial from Satan, regarding him as the demon of impurity. In the Hebrew Bible, nevertheless, the word is not a proper name, but a common noun usually signifying "wickedness" or "extreme wickedness". Thus, Moore renders "sons of Belial" as "vile scoundrels" ( Judges 19:22 ); most prefer "worthless fellows".
In some cases belial seems to mean "destruction", "ruin"; thus in Psalm 12:9 , the word is parallel to the thought of utter destruction and seems to mean the same. In Psalm 18:5 , it is parallel to "death" and "Sheol"; some understand it as "destruction", Cheyne as "the abyss" .
The etymology of the word is doubtful ; it is usually taken to be a compound meaning "worthlessness." Cheyne suggest an alternate that means "that from which no one comes up", namely the abyss, Sheol. St. Jerome's etymology "without yoke", which he has even inserted as a gloss in the text of Judges 19:22 , is contrary to Hebrew philology.
Belial, from meaning wickedness or Sheol, could develop into a name for the prince of evil or of darkness; and as such was widely used at the beginning of our era. Under the names Beliar, Berial, he plays a very important rôle in apocryphal literature, in the "Ascension of Isaias", the "Sibylline Oracles", and the "Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs". He is the prince of this world and will come as Antichrist ; his name is sometimes given also to Nero, returning as Antichrist.
Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.
Mysteries of the Rosary
Saint of the Day for Thursday, June 30th, 2022
Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Female / Women Saints
First Martyrs of the See of Rome
Saints & Angels
The Apostles' Creed
Prayer of the Day for Thursday, June 30
Padre Nuestro - Our Father (Lord's Prayer)
- Daily Readings for Friday, July 01, 2022
- St. Junipero Serra: Saint of the Day for Friday, July 01, 2022
- Prayer of the Chalice: Prayer of the Day for Friday, July 01, 2022
- Daily Readings for Thursday, June 30, 2022
- First Martyrs of the See of Rome: Saint of the Day for Thursday, June 30, 2022
- Good Night My Guardian Angel: Prayer of the Day for Thursday, June 30, 2022
Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.