Who Is Belial According To The Bible?


The word Belial has many origins. It is mostly believed to be a fusion of the Hebrew words ‘beliy’, which means “not,” and ‘ya’al’ which means “benefit.” which would make it mean ‘without benefit or worthless’. Others say it comes from the word ‘beli ‘ol’, meaning “yokeless”. This definition would make Belial mean ‘to be rebellious or uncontrollable’.

Some scholars still maintain that it comes straight from the translation of the Hebrew words ‘Beli yo’il’ which means “worthless” or  ‘Beli ya’al’ meaning “never to rise”. Whichever way, Belial doesn’t mean anything good. In this article, we’ll explore its various meanings, what the Bible really says about it, and how it applies to us today.

Who Is Belial The Fallen Angel?

In Jewish Apocrypha (books written by Jews that were not accepted as part of the Hebrew Bible during its canonization), Belial is an actual angel or rather a demon. According to the Book of Jubilees, when there was war in heaven, he followed Satan instead of God and was cast down from heaven alongside other fallen angels

In another Jewish Apocrypha, the Sibylline oracles to be precise, he is said to be the coming Antichrist. Many believe this was influenced by Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, where he talks about the Antichrist and describes him as “the man of lawlessness.”

Belial also appears in other literature. Most notable of them is John Milton’s epic poem; Paradise Lost, published in 1667. Here, he is a fallen angel with great eloquence who tries to convince the others that a future war against heaven isn’t necessary, but only because he is the symbolization of laziness or sloth. He is deceitful but also intellectual and very persuasive.

What Does Scripture Say about Belial?

The name Belial is mentioned about twenty-six times in the Old Testament alone. Interestingly enough, it was not used to refer to a person or demon as people think it is, but to describe the character of evil or wickedness. 

We see various references to ‘sons’ or ‘daughters of Belial’. Here, the Bible doesn’t talk about it as an actual being with the ability to reproduce and have sons or daughters, but as the character of the evil present in these people. So its son or daughter would mean a person with wickedness or lawlessness in him.

Some Bible translations use the term “worthless men” to make this point more understandable.

However, its meaning transitioned along the way and in the New Testament, “Belial” is once used as a proper name for Satan (2 Corinthians 6:15). Technically, this use isn’t far off from its previous meaning because Satan is the embodiment of all that is bad. 

Equally, Paul’s reference to “man of lawlessness” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is also regarded as a reference to Belial.

The Bible generally does not mention Belial as a demon or spirit being but as the concept of evil.

What Does It Mean For Christians?

1 Samuel 2:12 says,

 “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.”

To be a child of Belial is to love wickedness and hate righteousness. We cannot say we know or love God and still choose to live in sinful ways. Paul makes the distinction clear by reminding us in 2 Corinthians 6:15 that Christ has no similarities with the demon and so no similarities of such character traits should be found in our lives and that of its sons.

We cannot profess God with our lips and yet be far from Him in our actions. We have been called out from the darkness and so we should live like those in the light. We are no longer slaves to sin and death and so we can live like the free men that we are.

As a man thinks deep in his heart, so is he. Who are we at our center? Does our behavior reflect God or the very concept of evil?

Bible Verses About Belial

“What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?”

“But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:”

“And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.”

“And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died.”

“Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;”

“Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house roundabout, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.”

“Now therefore deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren, the children of Israel.” 

“Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.”

“I will set no thing of Belial before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”

“A man of Belial, a wicked person, is he that goeth about with a perverse mouth;”

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the figure of Belial, as presented in the Bible, serves as a powerful symbol of wickedness, lawlessness, and rebellion against God. This malevolent being, mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, has been the subject of scholarly debates and artistic depictions throughout history.

Though interpretations of his exact nature and role may differ, his presence in biblical texts reminds us of the ongoing struggle between good and evil that permeates the human experience.

As we continue to explore the depths of biblical teachings, understanding the character of Belial offers valuable insight into the complexities of the spiritual realm and the importance of adhering to a righteous path in the face of darkness and temptation.