worthlessness, frequently used in the Old Testament as a proper name. It is first used in Deuteronomy 13:13 . In the New Testament it is found only in 2 Corinthians 6:15 , where it is used as a name of Satan, the personification of all that is evil. It is translated "wicked" in Deuteronomy 15:9 ; Psalms 41:8 (RSV marg.); 101:3 ; Proverbs 6:12 , etc. The expression "son" or "man of Belial" means simply a worthless, lawless person ( Judges 19:22 ; 20:13 ; 1 Samuel 1:16 ; 2:12 ).
The meaning of this word as found in the Scriptures is worthlessness , and hence reckless, lawlessness. The expression son or man of Belial must be understood as meaning simply a worthless, lawless fellow. The term as used in ( 2 Corinthians 6:15 ) is generally understood as an appellative of Satan, as the personification of all that was bad.
be'-li-al, bel'-yal (beliya`al; Beliar):
This name, occurring very frequently in the Old Testament, has the sense of "worthlessness" (compare 2 Samuel 23:6 margin); accordingly in such phrases as "sons of Belial" (Judges 20:13; 1 Samuel 10:27, etc.), "men of Belial" (1 Samuel 30:22; 1 Kings 21:13, etc.), which the English Revised Version usually retains, the American Standard Revised Version more correctly renders, "base fellows" (so "daughter of Belial" 1 Samuel 1:16, "wicked woman"). There is here no suggestion a proper name. Afterward, however, "Belial" became a proper name for Satan, or for Antichrist (thus frequently in the Jewish Apocalyptic writings, e.g. in XII the Priestly Code (P), Book Jubilees, Asc Isa, Sib Or). In this sense Paul used the word in 2 Corinthians 6:15, "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" (Beliar). Bousset thinks that Paul's "man of sin" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, where some authorities read "man of lawlessness," is a translation of this term. The sense at least is similar.
See ANTICHRIST; MAN OF SIN.
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