JESUS AS EXORCIST

 

 

1. Selective Bibliography
2. Introduction
3. Worldview Shared by Jesus and his Contemporaries
   3.1. Satan and Evil Spirits in the Old Testament
   3.2. Disobedient Spiritual Beings in Second-Temple Judaism
  
   3.2.1. The Watchers and Their Offspring
  
   3.2.2. Evil Spirits under the Authority of a Ruling Spirit
   3.3. Josephus' Writings
   3.4. Eschatological Removal of Satan and Evil Spirits
4. Jewish Accounts of Exorcisms Outside of New Testament
   4.1. Tobit
   4.2. Josephus' Writings
   4.3. Genesis Apocryphon
   4.4. Prayer of Nabonidus
   4.5. Songs of the Sage
   4.6. Apocryphal Psalms
   4.7. Against Demons
   4.8. Book of Jubilees
   4.9. Pseudo-Philo 
   4.10
4QPs-a XXVII, 9-10
   4.11. Justin Martyr
5. Jesus' Exorcisms and the Kingdom of God
   5.1. General References to Jesus as Exorcist in the Synoptic Gospels
   5.2. Specific Exorcisms in the Synoptic Gospels
   5.3. The Gospel of John
   5.4. Jesus' Uniqueness as an Exorcist
   5.5. Jesus's Interpretation of his Exorcisms
      5.5.1. The Beelzebul Controversy (Mark 3:20-26; Matt 12:22-28 = Luke 11:14-20)
      5.5.2. The Stronger Man (Matt 12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21-22)
      5.5.3.
“I Saw Satan Fall like Lightning”
      5.5.4.
Bread for the Children
6 . Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit

 

1. Selective Bibliography

F. Annen, Die Dämonenaustriebungen Jesu in den synoptischen Evangelien (Zürich: Zwingli, 1976); C.E. Arnold, Ephesians: Power and Magic, 1989; O. Bücher, Dämonenfurcht und Dämonenabwehr, 1970); id., Christus Exorcista: Dämonismus und Taufe im Neuen Testament, 1972; G.B. Caird, G. B., Principalities and Powers, 1956; J.D.G Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit, 1975; E. Ferguson, Demonology of the Early Christian World, 1984); J.M. Hull, Hellenistic Magic and the Synoptic Tradition, 1974; W. Kirchschläger, Jesu exorzistisches Wirken aus der Sicht des Lukas: Ein Beitrag zur lukanischen Redaktion, 1981); E. Sorensen, Possession and Exorcism in the New Testament and Early Christianity, 2002; G. Twelftree, Jesus the Exorcist.  A Contribution to the Study of the Historical Jesus, 1994; W. Wink, The Powers: Naming of the Powers, 1986.

2. Introduction

Jesus was known not only as a healer, but also as an exorcist; these two categories overlap to some extent because often demon possession can manifest itself as physical ailments. In some cases, a person from whom (a) demon(s) is expelled is said to be healed (Matt 12:22; 15:28; Luke 13:14). The removal of Satan and evil spirits under his control from the world and the destruction of Satan's kingdom becomes part of Jewish eschatological hope in the second-Temple period. Jesus accepts this idea, and sees his own time as the time in which the Kingdom of God is breaking into human history, replacing the Kingdom of Satan.

    Unlike other aspects of Jesus' life and ministry, ultimate presuppositions cannot be set aside in an investigation of the synoptic gospels' claim that Jesus cast out evil spirits from people. The question of what really happened cannot be avoided because the historian can never satisfied with merely reporting what people believed about Jesus or what Jesus himself thought he was doing. So, for example, those who take a sociological approach to the study of what they sometimes refer to as "the Jesus movement" often reject the interpretation of Jesus' exorcisms found in the New Testament. Instead, they assume that what is presented as demonization should be explained in sociological terms. The symptoms of a so-called demonized person are not the effects of being harassed and troubled by evil spirits but are actually his or her response to and protest of social alienation and oppression. Another approach to the explanation of Jesus' exorcisms while rejecting the gospels' own interpretation is to explain the symptoms of those whom Jesus exorcizes psychologially as originating in mental illness. These people lose their symptoms by the positive effect that Jesus has on them, a type of psychotherapy. It is presupposed in this study, however, that evil spirits exist and Jesus actually cast them out of people.

3. Worldview Shared by Jesus and his Contemporaries

Jesus shared a world view that was the norm for the second-Temple Judaism of his day, with the likely exception of the Sadducees. Although there were anticipations of it in the Old Testament, this world view was largely a later development. For Jews of this historical period, in addition to God and his material creation, there existed a world of spiritual beings, some good and some evil, both of which can interact with human beings. The evil spiritual beings do harm to human beings and lead them into disobedience to God.

3.1. Satan and Evil Spirits in the Old Testament

3.1.1. The noun satan  is used in a general sense of "adversary" or "accuser" (see 1 Kgs 11:14, 23, 25; Ps 109:6; Num 22:22, 32; 1 Sam 29:4; 2 Sam 19:23). There are a few instances of the noun satan that denote a spiritual being who is hostile to God and human beings: Job 1, 2 (accuser of Job); 1 Chron 21:1 (Satan incites David to take the census); Zech 3:1-2 (Satan accuses the High Priest Joshua).

3.1.2. In addition to references to Satan, there are references to what could be interpreted as other evil, spiritual beings:

A. Lev 17:7: Israel is commanded no longer to sacrifice to "goat idols" (s'yrym).

B. 2 Chron 11:15: Jeroboam sets up "goat idols" and "calf idols" ('glym).

C. Deut 32:17: In the Song of Moses, it is said that Israel abandoned God and sacrificed to demons (šdym); these are said to be not God, but newly-come gods that they and their fathers did not know.

D. Ps 106:37: In the context of the re-telling of Israel's rebellion in the wilderness, it is said that they sacrificed their sons and daughters to "demons" (šdym).

E. In the Torah, Israel is forbidden from having any connection with those conversant with the spiritual world (Lev 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deut 18:10-11). Naturally, this presupposes that such spiritual beings exist, but that Israel is to maintain its distance from them.

3.1.3. In 1 Samuel, after the spirit of God has departed from him, Saul is said to have been tormented by an evil spirit from Yahweh, which came upon him periodically (1 Sam 16:14-16, 23). His distress was relieved by listening to music played upon a lyre. When under the influence of this spirit, Saul would prophesy (1 Sam 18:10), and once he attempted to murder David (1 Sam 19:9-10).

3.2.  Disobedient Spiritual Beings in Second-Temple Judaism

In many second-Temple Jewish texts, the existence of spiritual beings disobedient to God is assumed. There are two formulations of this belief. First, in dependence of Gen 6:1-4, there develops the story of the Watchers, angels in the antediluvian period, who corrupted themselves and then human beings over whom they were responsible to keep watch.
Gen 6:1 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. 5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and he was grieved in His heart.

Their disembodied offspring then continue the corrupting influence on the human race begun by their fathers after the flood. Second, many texts simply speak of the existence in the postdiluvian period of evil spirits subordinate to a ruling evil spirit, variously named Satan, Belial (or Beliar), Mastema, angel of darkness, spirit of deceit, Melchirešha and the devil (diabolos), but without any reference to the story of the Watchers. (See Bousset-Gressman, Die Religion Des Judentums späthellenistischen Zeitalter, 321-42; W. Wink, Naming the Powers.)

3.2.1. The Watchers and their Offspring

1 Enoch 6 relates the story of how the two hundred angels called "Watchers," angels appointed to "watch" over human affairs in antediluvian times, descended from heaven and had sexual relations with human women, thereby morally corrupting themselves (Gen 6:1-4). The result of these unions was the birth of the giants, who did violence on the earth. These two hundred angels are under one leader, Shemhazah, and immediately under him are twenty ruling angels, with ten angels under each of them (20 x 10 = 200); one of these ten is Asael ('Azaz'el). After each of these twenty ruling angels is named, it is said about them, "These are leaders and leaders of their ten" (see Black, The Book of Enoch or 1 Enoch, 123). In the Greek translation of 1 Enoch, the term "leaders" is translated as archai. Similarly, 1 Enoch 69, part of the Similitudes of Enoch, perhaps dating from the Christian period, asserts that the fallen angels exist in a hierarchical structure: rulers of one hundred, rulers of fifty and rulers of ten, who seem to be the Watchers (69:3); the implication is that the Watchers do not occupy the highest angelic ranks. The text provides the names and evil deeds of five of the higher ranking fallen angels: Yeqon, 'Asbe'el, Gadre'el, Penemu'e, Kasdeya'. (1 Enoch 69:1-2 seems to be an interpolation from 1 Enoch 6.) For other references to the Watchers and their activities, see 1 Enoch 7, 8, 80.6-8. In 1 Enoch 8 Asael ('Azaz'el) is mentioned as corrupting human beings; see 9.6; 10.4, 8; 13.1.

    The story of the Watchers occurs in other second-Temple texts. The same account of the fall of the Watchers in 1 Enoch 6 is found in 2 Enoch 18.4-6. Reference to the sins of the Watchers and their eventual judgment also occurs in the Book of Jubilees (4.22; 8.3-4; 5.1-11). CD 2.14-3.12a is an exhortation to heed the negative examples of biblical figures, including the "Watchers of heaven" ('ydy hšmym), who rebelled against God and were thereby punished; the diagnosis of their problem was that they walked "after the stubbornness of their heart" (2.17-18). Although the text is very fragmentary, in 4Q180-181 (The Ages of Creation), mention is made to "Azazel and the angels" followed by the sentence "bore to them mighty ones" (4Q180 frg. 1. 7-8 = 4Q181 frg. 2. 2). Probably, what is being described is the Watchers' sexual relations with human women, who then gave birth to a race of giants. In T. Reub. 5:6, the patriarch blames the antediluvian women for seducing the Watchers, the result of which was the birth of the giants; the Watchers were supposed to have transformed their appearance to look like human men. The tradition of the Watchers is alluded to in T. Naph. 3.5: "Likewise the Watchers departed from the order of nature; the Lord cursed them at the Flood." There is a reference to the story of the Watchers in 2 Bar 56.12-13, which dates from the first century: "And some of them came down and mingled themselves with women. At that time they who acted like this were tormented in chains."

    In 1 Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, the disembodied offspring of the Watchers and their human consorts survived the Flood and plague humanity in the postdiluvian period. By means of the Flood, God destroys not only all human beings, but also the children of the Watchers, the giants. At this time, God imprisons the Watchers until the time of final judgment (see 1 Enoch 10; 21.7-10; Jub. 5:6-11; 2 Bar 56.13). The disembodied spirits of the giants, however, become "evil spirits" (pneumata ponera) or "powerful spirits" (pneumata ischura) dwelling on the earth (1 En. 15.8-16.4). In order to spare humanity, nine tenths of these are imprisoned, but a tenth remains on earth subject to Mastema (Jub. 10.1-14). This class of spirits may be referred to in Songs of the Sage (4Q510-11) as "bastard spirits" (4Q510 1 [= 4Q511 10]; 4Q511 frags 48, 49 + 51).

    In 1 Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, it is explained that the Watchers morally corrupted human beings by teaching them to do evil, such as sorcery, astrology, weapon making and even the use of cosmetics (1 Enoch 7-8, 69; 10; 21.7-10; 64-65; 69; Jub. 5:16-11; 8:3). According to 1 Enoch 19, after the flood, the bodies of the angels are imprisoned, whereas their spirits are free to roam the earth until the final judgment. These spirits lead human beings astray; in particular, they entice them to offer sacrifices to demons (daimonia) as unto gods. Whether the term "demons" refer to these spirits or perhaps to the disembodied offspring of the Watchers is not clear.

    It should be pointed out that there is no indication in the gospels that Jesus accepted the belief in the Watchers and their disembodied offspring. Rather, he held to the other formulation of the belief in the existence of disobedient spiritual beings: evil spirits subordinate to a ruling spirit

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Olives were harvested by shaking the olive or beating its branches with a light-weight pole. The oil was pressed from the ripe olives in the apparatus shown in the photograph. A pole was inserted into the top of millstone which was then rolled over the olives releasing the oil.

3.2.2. Evil Spirits under the Authority of a Ruling Spirit

The other formulation of the belief in disobedient spiritual beings in second-Temple Jewish texts is that that there is one ruling evil spirit under whose authority are many other evil spirits. This ruling evil spirit, known by various appelations, and the spirits under his authority seek to thwart the realization of the will of God. They strive to corrupt human beings by leading them into disobedience to God. (See also Justin Martyr [1 Apol. 54, 58, 62, 64; 2 Apol. 5, 7].)

A. Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

Although there is no unanimity among scholars, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs is probably a translation and Christian revision of a Jewish text from the second-Temple period. In this text, Beliar is the archenemy of God and the righteous (passim); Beliar is also known as Satan (satanas) (T. Dan 3:6; 5:6; 6:1; T. Gad 4.7; T. Asher 6:4 in a text) and the devil (ho diabolos) (T. Napht. 3:1; 8:4, 6; T. Asher 3:2) (see "the [airy] spirit of Beliar" [to (aerion pneuma tou Beliar] in T. Jos. 7:4; T. Benj. 3:4). Beliar controls numerous other spirits called variously "spirits of deceit" (pneumata tês planês) (T. Reub. 1:2; 3:2; T. Sim. 6:6; T. Levi 3:3; T. Issa. 4:4; T. Zebul. 9:7, 8; T. Dan 5:5; T. Naph. 3:3 [pneumata planês]; T. Asher 6:2) (see also "the deceitful spirit, Beliar" [planês pneuma Beliar] in T. Benj. 6:1), evil spirits (daimones ponera) (T. Sim. 3:5; 4:9; 6:6; T. Levi 18:12; T. Judah 16:1; T. Asher 1:9; 6:5), demons of deceit (daimones planês) (T. Judah 23:1), and unclean spirits [ta akatharta pneumata] (T. Benj. 5:2). The fact that these spirits are sometimes called "spirits of Beliar" (pneumata tou Beliar) implies that they are subservient to the Beliar: they are Beliar's spirits (T. Dan 1:7; T. Benj. 3:3; see also "spirit of Beliar" [T. Issa. 4:4; 7:7); this also explains why Beliar is also called archôn (prince) of deceit (tês planês) (T. Sim. 2:7; T. Judah 19:4). The patriarch Dan understandably advises his children, "Be on guard against Satan and his spirits" (T. Dan 6:1).

    Beliar and his spirits under his control seek to lead human beings into sin. The patriarch Dan explains that the spirits of deceit are at work in human beings to produce sin (T. Dan 5:5; see 1:7). These spirits specialize in certain sins, so that a spirit is identified with the sin that it attempts to inculcate in a person. In T. Reub. 3:2-7, eight "spirits of deceit" are identified: promiscuity (see also T. Levi 9:9; T. Judah 14:2), insatiability, strife, flattery and trickery, arrogance, lying, injustice. Similarly, Judah tells his children that there are four evil spirits: desire, heated passion, debauchery and sordid greed (T. Judah 16:1). Other spirits include "the spirit of jealousy and pretentiousness" (T. Dan 1:6); "the spirit of falsehood and/or anger" T. Dan 1:9; 2:1, 4), "the spirit of envy" (T. Sim. 4:7); "the spirit of enviousness and promiscuity" (T. Judah 13:3); "the spirit of error" (T. Judah 14:8); and "the spirit of hatred" (T. Gad 1:9; 3:1; 4:7; 6:3). These spirits are almost personifications of specific sins, so closely associated they are with them. At death, the soul is tormented by the evil spirit that it served while embodied (T. Asher 6:5).

B. Book of Jubilees

In postdiluvian history as recounted by the Book of Jubilees, occasional reference is made to Prince Mastema (see Testuz, Les idées religieuses du livre des Jubilés, 75-92). He is depicted as a spiritual being who challenges God to command Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac in order to test Abraham's faithfulness, which obviously differs from the biblical account (Jub. 17.16; 18.9, 12). Mastema is also the one who brought death to the firstborn of Egypt. He accuses Israel before God (48.15), and it is explained that Mastema tried to thwart Moses in his task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt (48.2, 9). It is also said that the power of the Egyptian magicians derived from him (Jub. 48:9). He even sent crows and other birds to eat the seed sown in the earth in order to deprive human beings of food (11.11).

    Mastema has spirits under his control. In reply to Noah's request to remove all the spirits of the disembodied giants (destroyed in the flood) from the earth, Mastema protests and asks God to exempt one tenth of them, so that they could continue their pernicious activities under his authority: "If some of them are not left for me, I will not be able to exercise the authority of my will among the children of men because they are intended to corrupt and lead astray before my judgment because the evil of the sons of men is great" (10:8). Thus in the Book of Jubilees the two formulations of the belief in disobedient spiritual beings are merged together: the evil spirits under Mastema's control are actually the disembodied spirits of the antediluvian giants. Mastema with the assistance of his subordinate spirits leads a spiritual assault against human beings:

And they began making graven images and polluted likenesses. And cruel spirits assisted them and led them astray so that they might commit sin and pollution. And the prince Mastema, acted forcefully to do all this. And he sent other spirits to those who were set under his hand to practice all error and sin and all transgression, to destroy, to cause to perish and to pour out blood upon the earth (Jub. 11.4-5).

It seems also that these spirits also cause illness in human beings (10.12-13). It is even said that God has ordained that spirits should rule over all the nations and thereby lead them astray; only Israel is potentially exempt, for God rules over it (15:31).

    Beliar not only accuses the Israelites, but is also active in leading them away from obedience to the Torah. Moses asks God on behalf of the Israelites: "And do not let the spirit of Beliar (i.e., Mastema) rule over them to accuse them before you and to ensnare them from every path of righteousness so that they might be destroyed before your face" (1:20; see 1.8-11). Later, Abraham, recognizing the spiritual peril that evil spirits pose, prays: "Save me from the hands of evil spirits which rule over the thought of the heart of man, and do not let them lead me astray from following you, O my God" (12:20). Similarly, when blessing Jacob, Abraham says, "May the spirit of Mastema not rule over you and your seed in order to remove you from following the Lord who is your God forever" (19.28). It seems that Mastema (or Beliar) rules over human beings insofar as evil spirits have their way with them.

C. Qumran Sectarian Writings

In the Qumran sectarian writings, Belial is the archenemy of God and the Qumran community, who see themselves alone as belonging to the covenant; he is identical to the angel of darkness (1QS 3.13-4.26) and Melchireša (4Q544 frg. 2). Belial leads all the disobedient angels and human beings in an organization resistance to the realization of the will of God in creation. Reference is made to Belial and "the spirits of his lot," by which is meant those angels who are subordinate to him (1QS 3.24; 1QM 13.2, 4, 11; 11QMelch 2.12; 4QBer-a [4Q286] frg. 7. col. 2.3); these spirits are also called "all his guilty lot" (4QBer-a (286) frg. 7, col. 2.2), spirits of Belial (4QCat-a col. 3.10) and "destroying angels," insofar as they carry out the hostile intentions of Belial (1QM 13.12). Human beings who oppose God are necessarily aligned with Belial, which explains why those outside of the Qumran community are called the "men of the lot of Belial" (1QS 2.4-5; 1QM 4.2; 4QCat-a col. 4.16) or "men of Belial" (4QCat-a col. 2.4). The army made up of gentiles and disobedient Jews that fights against the sons of light in the final eschatological war is called "the army of Belial" (1QM 1.1, 13) and "the troops of Belial"; the implication is that Belial is the leader of the forces arrayed against God and the sons of light. One should not think, however, that Belial is the ontological equal of God, an eternal, evil counterpart, for the author prays, "You made Belial to corrupt, a hostile angel" (1QM 13.10-11). Why God would do this is not explained.

    Belial opposes God, not incidentally, but intentionally; everything he does is determined by the goal of thwarting the realization of the will of God: "His counsel is towards wickedness and guiltiness" (1QM 13.11). Thus, the community curses Belial for his "hostile intentions" and the spirits of his lot for their "evil intentions" (1QM 13.4-5; 4QBer-a (286) frg. 7. col. 2.2-3). The Qumran community believed that Belial and the spirits of his lot controlled human history and would do so until the time appointed by God; this rule of Belial is called the "dominion of Belial" (1QS 1.18; 2.19; 1QM 14.9; 4QCat-a col. 3. 8), equivalent to the "the dominion of wickedness" (1QM 17.5-6; 4Q510 frg. 1. 6; 4Q511 frg. 10.5). To thwart God's purposes with Israel has been a special concern for Belial (see CD 4.12-6.1). The author of the Halakic Letter (4QMMT) attributes the adoption of wrong halakot to the influence of the evil counsel of Belial (MMT C 1.28b-29); this led to Israel's coming under the curses of the covenant. Belial's hostility to God is, as expected, also directed towards the Qumran community, the true remnant of Israel. It is said that the angel of darkness (i.e., Belial) even leads the sons of righteousness astray: "And all their sins, their iniquities, their guilt and their acts of rebellion are because of his dominion" (1QS 3.22). The time until the removal of Belial will be the "periods of the humiliation of the sons of light" (4Q510 frg. 1. 7).

    Belial can also influence the moral center of an individual human being, so that he or she plans and carries out evil intentions (see 1QH-a 2.16, 22; 4.12-13; 4.12; 6.21-22; 7.3; 10.16-17; 14.21). According to 1QS 3.13-4.26, God has established two "spirits" in which a person can walk until the time of his visitation, which are identified as the spirits of truth and of deceit (3.18-19). The two spirits should be interpreted as two opposing human dispositions or propensities: the spirit of truth is the capacity for obedience to God while the spirit of deceit is the capacity for evil. But somehow identified with the spirit of truth is the prince of lights (3.20) or angel of Truth (3.24), while the angel of darkness (3.21) is identified with the spirit of deceit. The exact relationship between these spiritual beings and their corresponding human dispositions or propensities, however, is not clear. What is clear is that in which spirit a person walks depends on which of these two beings holds sway over him (see also 4QCat-a col. 4.11-13). Similarly, in Testament of Amran, it seems that Amram has a vision of the two opposing angels who have been given control over all the sons of Adam (4Q544 frg. 1.10-14). He is asked which of these angels he wants to rule him. The implication is that he must make a fundamental choice about whether he is wishes to be ruled by the good or the evil angel; the same is probably true of all human beings.

D. 11Q5 19.1-18; 11Q6 Frags. a, b (Prayer For Deliverance)

According to the author of this psalm, a obstacle to the fulfillment of his goal of being righteous is Satan and other evil spirits. Recognizing the danger that these beings pose to the realization of his goal of perfect obedience, the author requests the following of God: "Let not Satan dominate me, nor any unclean spirit" (15a). How exactly Satan and other unclean spirits will hinder the author is not stated, but presumably they will attempt to lead him astray into bondage to certain sins.

3.3. Josephus' Writings

There are references to the activities of spiritual beings in Josephus' writings, which he refers to as "demons" (daimôn). But, since Josephus was writing for a non-Jewish readership, the term daimôn or its cognates would not necessarily have a negative connotation, as it does in the gospels. Rather his view is more consistent with general, non-Jewish view.

3.3.1. Ant. 16. 76: Josephus refers to Herod's being given good fortune by a "divine power" (daimônion).

3.3.2. War 1. 556: Herod is reported to have believed that an evil spiritual being (skuthropos daimôn) caused the death of certain human beings.

3.3.3. War 1. 628 Herod is reported to have spoken of the possibility of there being a spiritual being (daimôn) that could be working against him and his house.

Although there are references to evil spirits who afflict human beings (see m. Er. 4.1; m. Bekh. 7.5; m. Shabb. 2.5), it is curious that, in early rabbinic writings, Satan or demons are not said to play a role in leading human beings astray. There are reference to Satan as one who harms and accuses (Sipre Num 42; Sipra Shemini Mekilta deMiluim 3) and the destroying spirits (m. Abot 5.6; Sipre Num 40) or evil spirits (Sipre Deut 193). There are also references to the angel of death (Sipre Deut 305; Mek. Bahodesh 9.75-77). But these spiritual entities do not even tempt, let alone lead into sin.That function is reserved for the evil inclination.

3.4. Eschatological Removal of Satan and Evil Spirits

In second-Temple Judaism, in continuity with the eschatological predictions of the Hebrew prophets, there were distinguished two periods of human history. It is asserted that the present period of history is under the control of Satan (or a synonymous appellation), but will come to an end with the advent of the time of eschatological salvation. This expectation is most consistent with the second formulation of the belief in disobedient spiritual beings in second-Temple Jewish texts: evil spirits under the authority of a ruling spirit. This belief is sometimes expressed by means of two-age terminology, in which this present evil age is set in contrast to the next age, the time of salvation. Even those Second-Temple texts that do not use this two-age terminology, however, implicitly presuppose the idea of the two ages, insofar as they anticipate the coming of eschatological judgment and salvation (see 1 En. 16.1; 18.16; 21.6; Jub. 1.29; T. Mos. 1.18; 12.4.

Most second-Temple texts, insofar as they speak of the eschaton, presuppose the two-age teaching. In some texts, this distinction between the two ages is made explicit. 4QTime of Righteousness (4Q215a) contains a description of the advent of the eschatological age, when God will judge the world and the "age of wickedness" will come to an end: "For the age of wickedness has been completed and all evil will pas[s away]" (3-4). The age of wickedness will yield to "the time of righteousness" (4), also called "the age of peace" (5). Later in the text, it is referred to as "the rule {of righteousness} of goodness" (9). In 4 Ezra, the author makes use two-age terminology (saeculum = aiôn = 'olam). "This age" (saeculum hoc) (4.27; 6.9; 7.12), also known as the "corrupt age" (saeculum corruptum) (4.11) stands in contrast to the "future age" (futurum saeculum) (6.9; 8.1), also referred to as the "greater age" (maius saeculum), the "immortal time" (immortale tempus) (7.119), the "future time" (futurum tempus) (8.52) and the "future immortal time" (futurum immortale tempus) (7.113). The transition from this age to the future age occurs at the time of the final judgment, following the death of the Messiah and seven days of silence (7.29-44, 113). The future age is created only for the few righteous, at which they will receive what is their due, what this age could not provide (4.27; 8.1-2). The same type of two-age terminology is used in 2 Baruch. In 2 Bar 15.7-8, the coming age is distinguished from this age; the righteous must struggle thought this age in order to reach the coming one. The coming age will be free from corruption, and this is reserved for the righteous (44.12, 15; see also 40.3 and 44.9). In 1 Enoch 71:5 (Similitudes of Enoch), an angel announces to Enoch, "He [God] shall proclaim peace to you in the name of the world to come" (see also 1 Enoch 48:7). 2 Enoch distinguishes the "this age of suffering" from "the never-ending age" (66.5-6), also known as the "great age" (58.5; 61.2; 65.7-8; see also 65.10). (See Kertelge, "Rechtfertigung" bei Paulus, 35-36.)

    The present period is marked by disobedience and is under the control of Satan (or a synonymous appellation) and evil spirits under his authority. The next age is marked by obedience and sees the judgment not only of sinners but also of Satan and his subordinate spirits. Satan is to be deposed from his position of authority. In the Book of Jubilees, the time of the end will witness the gradual increase of life spans until they approach a thousand years (23:27-29a), and it is said that in those days, "There will be no Satan or evil (one) who will destroy" (23:29b), so that the righteous will no longer be troubled by these perverse spirits. Likewise, Jub. 50:5 is an expression of the same eschatological hope: "And jubilees will pass until Israel is purified from all the sin of fornication, and defilement, and uncleanness, and sin and error. And they will dwell in confidence in all the land. And then it will not have any Satan or any evil (one). And the land will be purified from that time and forever." Similarly, in T. Mos. 10.1, when the kingdom [of God] appears in creation, then "The devil will have an end."

    The theme of the eschatological defeat of Belial and the spirits of deceit occurs with some frequency in Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. In T. Levi, after the seventy weeks, which is coincidental with the end of the seventh period of the degeneration of the priesthood, comes the eschaton, the time of salvation and spiritual renewal. The author has the patriarch Levi predict that God will raise up a new priest, and it is said of this priest: "His star shall rise in heaven as a king," which is likely an allusion to the "star" prophecy of Num 24:17, a passage probably interpreted of the eschatological priest in CD 7.18-19 (see also 4Q175 [Testimonia] 12-13, where Num 24.17 is cited without being interpreted). Among other things, it is said of this priest that Belial shall be bound by him and authority shall be given to his children to trample upon evil spirits (18.12). The idea of the eschatological trampling of evil spirits also occurs in T. Sim. 6.6: "Then all the spirits of deceit will be given over to be trampled under foot, and men will rule over evil spirits." Likewise, in T. Zebul. 9.8, the promise is made: "And after these things, the Lord himself will rise upon upon you, the light of righteousness, with healing and compassion in his wings. He will release every captive of the sons of men from Belial, and every deceitful spirit will be trampled down." (This is an interpretation of Mal 4:2-3). An identical outlook obtains in Testament of Dan. In T. Dan 5.10-11, the patriarch predicts that "the salvation of the Lord" will arise from the tribes of Judah and Levi, referring to the eschatological king and priest respectively. Then, it is said that he [i.e., God] "will make war against Belial.... He shall take the captives from Belial, the souls of the holy ones" (see 6.3). In T. Judah 25.3, it is explained that, at the time of the resurrection and restoration of Israel, "There shall no longer be Beliar's spirit of deceit, because he will be thrown into eternal fire."

    The Qumran sectarian writings anticipated Belial's eschatological defeat and destruction. According to the War Scroll, Belial and his angels fight in the eschatological war on the side of the sons of darkness, but after a protracted war, the enemies of God, including Belial and the spirits of his lot, will be defeated and destroyed (1QM 14.9, 15; 17.5-6; 18.1-3; 4QM 1 frg. 10 2.15; frg. 11 2.18). In 11QMelchizedek, when Melchizedek, who is probably the archangel Michael, appears at the eschaton, among other things he will also execute judgment on Belial and the spirits of his lot. In this context, Ps 82:1-2 is interpreted eschatologically of Melchizedek's judgment of the fallen angels: the "god" ('elohim) who takes his stand in the assembly of God ('el) is the heavenly being Melchizedek; he will judge in the midst of the other "gods" ('elohim) (2.9-14). The fact that in line 11 it is said that it is God ('el) who will judge the peoples, citing Ps 7:8, indicates that the angel Melchizedek is the instrument of God's eschatological judgment. Along the same lines, the reference "Your God reigns" in Isa 52:7 is interpreted to be the reign of Melchizedek, who is a god in the sense of being an angel. Ps 82:2 "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked" is interpreted as follows: "Its interpretation concerns Belial and the spirits of his lot, who rebelled by turning away from the precepts of God" (2.12). Apparently, Ps 82:2 is interpreted as speaking of the unjust reign of Belial and the spirits of his lot, which will come to an end with the appearance of Melchizedek as eschatological judge. (This interpretation is suggested by the fact that Ps 82:1 says that God presides over the assembly of God and judges among the gods ('elohim). These "gods" are interpreted as angels rather than as human judges. Those addressed in Ps 82:1-2 are again called "gods" and are also called sons of God in Ps 82:6.) 11QMelch 2.13 seems to mean that Melchizedek will become judge on that day and will remove the right to judge (or to rule) from Belial and the spirits of his lot. Finally, 1QS 4.18-19 speaks of how, at his visitation, the time of eschatological salvation and final judgment, God as merciful will put an end to the existence of deceit (4.18-19). It is said that "God will purify by his truth all the works of man and purge for himself some from the sons of man. He will utterly destroy the spirit of deceit from within his flesh" (4.20-21). Although nothing is said of the destruction of Belial or the spirits of his lot, it seems that, given the close connection between the spirit of deceit and the angel of darkness (see 1QS 3.21-22), the removal of the former entails the removal of the latter.

Ossuary of Caiaphas

In a tomb discovered in Jerusalem were found several ossuaries, one of which probably contains the bones of the former high priest Caiaphas (see Matt 26:3, 57; Luke 3:2; John 11:49; 18:13-14, 24, 28; Acts 4:6; Josephus, Ant. 23.25, 39).  The ornate ossuary contains the bones of a sixty year old man and his family.  On the side and the back of the ossuary is inscribed the  name ("Yosef bar [son of] Caifa").

According to Josephus, Caiaphas was appointed as High Priest by the Roman procurator Valerius Gratus c. 18, the predecessor of Pontius Pilate; Caiaphas was removed from the office of High Priest by the procurator Vitellius in 36. During the High Priesthood of Caiaphas, Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who had been High Priest from 6 to 15, still exercised considerable political control over Jewish affairs. This explains Annas's role in Jesus' trial (John 18:13, 24), and Luke's otherwise perplexing statement that the word of God came to John "during the priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas (Luke 3:2).


Question 

What did many second-Temple Jews believe about Satan and evil spirits?

 

4. Jewish Accounts of Exorcisms Outside of New Testament

In second-Temple Jewish understanding, human beings could have some limited control over Satan and his allied spirits even before their eschatological defeat and removal; this allowed the possibility of countering or reversing their malevolent influence. Often knowledge of proper technique was indispensable to being able to expel and control demons. There are some references to exorcisms unconnected to early Christianity.

4.1. Tobit

The demon Asmodeus was attached to Sarah, and had killed her previous seven husbands in the bridal chamber on their wedding nights. The young Tobias through the advice of the angel Raphael (acting incognito) rendered the demon harmless and then expelled it; he did this by means of technique of burning the liver and heart of a fish that he had caught earlier on a smoking incense. The resultant odor repelled the demon, who fled the scene (6:17; 8:3).  Asmodeus was overtaken by Raphael, who then bound him.

Tobit 6:14 Tobiah objected, however: "Brother Azariah, I have heard that this woman has already been married seven times, and that her husbands died in their bridal chambers. On the very night they approached her, they dropped dead. And I have heard it said that it was a demon who killed them. 15 So now I too am afraid of this demon. Because he loves her, he does not harm her; but he does slay any man who wishes to come close to her. I am my father's only child. If I should die, I would bring my father and mother down to their grave in sorrow over me. And they have no other son to bury them!" 16 Raphael said to him: "Do you not remember your father's orders? He commanded you to marry a woman from your own family. So now listen to me, brother; do not give another thought to this demon, but marry Sarah. I know that tonight you shall have her for your wife! 17 When you go into the bridal chamber, take the fish's liver and heart, and place them on the embers for the incense. 18 As soon as the demon smells the odor they give off, he will flee and never again show himself near her.

8:2 At this point Tobiah, mindful of Raphael's instructions, took the fish's liver and heart from the bag which he had with him, and placed them on the embers for the incense. 3 The demon, repelled by the odor of the fish, fled into Upper Egypt; Raphael pursued him there and bound him hand and foot. Then Raphael returned immediately.

4.2. Josephus' Writings

4.2.1. War 7. 185: Josephus refers to a type of root called baaras, named after the place where it grows; it is valued for one reason: "For the so-called demons—in other words, the spirits of wicked men that enter the living and kill them unless aid is forthcoming—are promptly expelled by this root, if merely applied to the patients" (see War 1.599, 607 for further references to disembodied spirits). It is interesting that Josephus's view of demons is that they are the disembodied spirits of wicked human beings.

4.2.2. Ant. 8.45:  Josephus gives voice to the second-Temple tradition that Solomon had knowledge of the art of exorcism: "God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons, which is a science useful and sanative to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return; and this method of cure is of great force unto this day."

4.2.3. Ant. 8.46-48:  Josephus describes a certain Eleazar who exorcized demons by means of a ring that had under its seal a (baaras) root. He used this device to draw the demon out through the nose.  As part of his method, he also appealed to the name of Solomon and recited some of the incantations (epodas) allegedly composed by him. Proof that the demon came out was given by Eleazar's command that the demon overturn a cup of water placed a short distance away from the scene.

Ant. 8.46-48: For I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: He put a ring that had a root of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he abjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed. And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man; and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly: for which reason it is, that all men may know the vastness of Solomon's abilities, and how he was beloved of God, and that the extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this king was endowed may not be unknown to any people under the sun for this reason, I say, it is that we have proceeded to speak so largely of these matters.

4.3. Genesis Apocryphon (1QapGen) 20. In a retelling of Genesis (in Aramaic), the Pharaoh who unknowingly took Abram's wife, Sarai, to be his own is said to have been afflicted by an evil spirit for his misdeed, rather than by a disease, as in the biblical account (Gen 12:10-20). It is said, "That night God Most High sent him a chastising spirit (rwch mkdš) to afflict him and all the men of his household, an evil spirit (rwch b'yš'), that kept afflicting him and the men of his household. He was not able to approach her, nor did he have sexual intercourse with her, though he was with her for two years" (20:16-18a). (The version of the story in 1QapGen fills in a narrative lack in the biblical account by indicating that Sarai had been in Pharaoh's house for two years.) The evil spirit that afflicted Pharaoh's household is also called "spirit of purulence" (rwch šchlny') (20:260. Pharaoh requests that Abram pray for him in order that God would remove the evil spirit, to which Abram complies: "But now pray for me and for my household that this evil spirit may be commanded (to depart) from us and the spirit departed" (20:28).

4.4. Prayer of Nabonidus (4QPrNab). In this Aramaic text, it is said that Nabuani the king of Babylon had been afflicted with an evil ulcer by the Most High for seven years. He was then healed by a Jewish exorcist (gzr), who pardoned his sins: "And an exorcist forgave my sin. He was a Je[w]" (4). The implication seems to be that his illness was caused jointly by his sin and an evil spirit. The Jewish exorcist both removes the evil spirit and mediates God's forgiveness to Nabonidus. The method used was to have Nabonidus to compose and read aloud a proclamation "in order that glory, exal[tation and hon]or be given to the name of [the] G[od Most High]" (5). In other words, it would seem that praising God functions to drive out evil spirits.

4.5. Songs of the Sage (4Q510-11). This text seems to have composed by a maskil (leader-teacher) of the Qumran community; one purpose of this text may have been for warding off evil spirits. Although the two copies of the text are very fragmentary, it is clear that praising God serves to banish evil spirits from the community and to prevent their evil influences among its members. In 4Q510 1 (= 4Q511 10), it is said, "And I, a Sage, declare the splendor of his radiance in order to frighten and terr[ify] all the spirits of the ravaging angels and the bastard spirits, demons, Lillith, owls and [jackals...] and those who strike unexpectedly to lead astray the spirit of knowledge, to make their hearts forlorn" (1.4-6). The various terms used represent different types of evil spirits. The influence of these spiritual beings is nullified by praising God, who are unnerved by hearing it. Likewise, the author of 4Q511 frag. 35 writes, "And as for me I spread the fear of God in the ages of my generations to exalt the name [... and to terrify] with his power al[l] spirits of the bastards, to subjugate them by his fear." "To spread the fear of God" may be an idiom referring to some type of personal or even corporate worship. Finally, in 4Q511 frags 48, 49 + 51, it is again explained that praising God causes evil spirits to be absent from the community: "the praises of justice and [ ... ] ... And through my mouth he startles [all the spirits] of the bastards, to subjugate [all] impure [sin]ners."

4.6. Apocryphal Psalms (III) (11Q11). There is a collection of apocryphal psalms found at Qumran that were probably recited during exorcisms. In these fragmentary texts reference is made to Solomon, reputed as the greatest exorcist in Israel, to spirits (rwchwt), demons (šdym) and the act of abjuring (mšby'). Found among what remains of these psalms is an incantation (lchš) to be recited, probably against the disembodied offspring of the Watchers: "[An incan]tation in the name of YHW[H. Invoke at a]ny time .... [When] he comes upon you in the nig[ht,] you shall [s]ay to him: Who are you [o offspring of] man and the seed of the ho[ly] ones? Your face is the face of [delus]ion, and your horns are horns of illu[si]on. You are darkness and not light [injus]tice and not justice. [ ... ] the chief of the army. YHWH [will bring] you [down] [to the] deepest [Sheo]l, [he will shut] the two bronze [ga]tes through [which n]o light [penetrates] etc." (5.4-10). Reference is also made to God's sending an angel against an evil spirit, which probably served as part of an incantation: "YHWH will strike you with a [mighty] bl[ow] to destroy you [ ... ] and in the fury of his anger [he will send] a powerful angel against you, [to carry out all] his [comm]and, (one) who [will not show] you mercy, w[ho ...] above all these, who will [bring] you down to the great abyss [and to] the deepest [Sheol] etc." (4.4-8).

4.7. Against Demons (4Q560). Among the Dead Sea scrolls, there is a fragment of a copy of what is probably an Aramaic incantation against demons. There are various references to what appear to be different types of evil spirits and to an abduration made to a spirit: "O spirit, abjure [ ... ] I enchant you spirit" (frag. 1 2.5).

4.8. Book of Jubilees 10:10-14. Because one tenth of the disembodied offspring of the Watchers are still unbound, the angels teach Noah how to use herbs against illnesses that have their origin in demonic interference: "And we explained to Noah all the medicines of their diseases, together with their seductions, how he might heal them with herbs of the earth. And Noah wrote down all things in a book as we instructed him concerning every kind of medicine. Thus the evil spirits were precluded from (hurting) the sons of Noah."

4.9. Pseudo-Philo, Biblical Antiquities (LAB) 60. In the rewriting of the biblical account, David is portrayed as an exorcist who used music and verse to control demons: "And this was the song he played for Saul in order that the evil spirit might depart from him.... As long as David sang, the spirit spared Saul." In the song that David sang to keep Saul from being tormented by the evil spirit, it is described how the spirit was created along with the other demons on the second day of creation. David also warns the spirit that "after a time one born from my loins will rule over you," which is probably a reference to Solomon (rather than to the Davidic Messiah) (see Josephus, Ant. 6.166-68).

4.10. In 4QPs-a XXVII, 9-10 a list of David's psalms is found. Four of these psalms are said to be "songs for playing over the attacked (pgw'ym)," which refer to compositions useful for helping a person who is attacked by an evil spirit. This no doubt is inspired by the story of David's playing the harp for whenever the evil spirit would come upon him, which would cause the spirit to depart (1 Sam 16:23).

4.11. Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 85. In his second century conversation with Tryphon the Jew, Justin explains that non-Jews and Jews alike perform exorcisms using secondary means. He writes, "But if any of you exorcize it in [the name of] the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, it will perhaps be subject to you. Now assuredly your exorcists, I have said, make use of proper technique when they exorcize, even as the gentiles do, and employ fumigations and incantations." He makes it clear, however, that Jews exorcize "in [the name of] the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. No doubt what was true in the second century was also true in the pre-destruction period.

There are also examples of exorcisms from non-Jewish sources (see Lucian of Samosata, Philopseudes, 16; Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, 3.38; 4.20). (M. Dibelius, The Formation of the Gospel Tradition, 88-89.) See also Plutarch, Quest. Conv. VII, 5, 4 (II, 760 d-e). It is better to restrict oneself to Jewish sources, since Jesus was a Jew. Likewise, the post-NT Testament of Solomon likewise contains material on exorcism, but this text seems too late and too Hellenistic to be useful in establishing the religious-historical background of Jesus' exorcisms.


Questions 

What evidence is there from second-Temple sources that Jews exorcized? Which techniques did Jews use in order to exorcize in the second-Temple period?

 

5. Jesus' Exorcisms

5.1. General References to Jesus as Exorcist in the Synoptic Gospels

5.1.1. Mark 1:34 = Matt 8:16 = Luke 4:41: The general statement is made that Jesus drove out many demons, and he would not allow the demons to speak because they were intent on revealing his identity as "the son of God."

5.1.2. Mark 1:35-39: Jesus went to the synagogues in the towns in Galilee and not only preached the Kingdom of God but also cast out demons.

5.1.3. Mark 3:7-11 = Matt 4:23-25; Luke 6:17-19: The general statement is made that Jesus drove out demons. In Mark's version, it is added that the evil spirits recognized him as the son of God: "Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, 'You are the Son of God'" (3:11).

5.1.4. Mark 6:7 (see also Mark 6:13) = Matt 10:1 (see also Matt 10:8) = Luke 9:1: Jesus gives authority to the disciples to cast out unclean spirits or demons.

5.1.5. Mark 1:32-34 = Matt 8:16-17:  It is said that, after his healing of Peter's mother-in-law, Jesus drives out demons, but would not allow them to speak and thereby reveal his identity.

5.1.6. Mark 3:14-15 = Matt 10:1: Jesus gives the disciples power over demons.

5.1.6. Luke 9:49-50: Jesus approves of an exorcist who is driving out demons on his authority ("in your name"). Jesus explains, "He who is not against you is for you."

5.1.7. Luke 10:17-20: When they return, the seventy-two rejoice that demons are subject to them.

5.1.8. Luke 13:31-32: On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus is warned that Herod Antipas seeks to execute him. He replies that he will continue on his journey to Jerusalem doing what he has always been doing, which includes casting out demons.

5.2. Specific Exorcisms in the Synoptic Gospels

5.2.1. Mark 1:21-28 = Luke 4:31-37: Jesus drives out an evil spirit from a man who was in the synagogue in Capernaum; the evil spirit recognizes Jesus and cries out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God." Before departing with a shriek, the evil spirit shakes the man violently. The witnesses to this event respond in amazement that Jesus has authority over evil spirits.

5.2.2. Mark 5:1-20 = Matt 8:28-34 = Luke 8:26-39: Jesus heals the (two-Matt) Gerasene (Gadarene) demoniac(s). Jesus' exorcism begins before he actually meets the demonized man: because he has sensed its presence, Jesus has been commanding the demon(s) to come out of the man. In response, when Jesus does come face to face with the demoniac, the demon(s) within him is agitated and cries out in alarm "What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you will not torture me." (Mark 5:7 = Luke 8:28). (In Luke's version, the torture consists of being sent into the Abyss or the pit, which is a place of incarceration.) It is then revealed that the demon is actually many demons, called legion (a unit of the Roman army consisting of up to 6,000 men). Jesus allows the demons to enter into a herd of pigs, which then rushes into the Sea of Galilee.

5.2.3. Mark 7:24-30 = Matt 15:21-28: Jesus heals a Syrian Phoenician woman's daughter who is possessed by an unclean spirit. He does so reluctantly because he explains to her that he has come to bring deliverance to the Jews, insofar as the benefits of the Kingdom of God belong to them (see below).

5.2.4. Mark 9:14-29 = Matt 17:14-21 = Luke 9:37-43a: Jesus exorcizes a boy after his disciples tried unsuccessfully to do so. The evil spirit causes the boy to be deaf and dumb and sometimes tries to harm him by throwing him into fire or water. Before it departs, the spirit throws the boy to the ground, and witnesses think that he is dead. Jesus explains that this type of demon only comes out with prayer (Mark 9:29).

5.2.5. Mark 16:9 (see Luke 8:2): Mary Magdalene is described as one out of whom Jesus cast seven demons.

5.2.6. Matt 12:22-30 = Luke 11:14-23; (see Mark 3:20-30):  In Matthew and Luke, the Beelzebul controversy is precipitated by Jesus' driving out of demon from a man (see below).

5.2.7. Luke 13:10-17: Jesus heals or exorcizes a crippled woman on the sabbath in a synagogue. The spirit has caused her not to be able to stand erect for eighteen years, but to be bent over.

5.2.8. Matt 9:32-34: Jesus heals dumb man who was demonized; some Pharisees accuse him of driving out demons by the prince of demons.

In the synoptic gospels, those in need of exorcism are said to "have" (echein) (a) "demon(s)" (daimon/daimonia) or an "(unclean) spirit" (pneuma [akatharton]) (Mark 7:25; 9:17; Luke 8:27; 13:11). (Luke 4:33 speaks of "having a spirit of an unclean demon").  In Luke 6:18, one finds the phrase "those troubled from unclean spirits" (hoi enochloumenoi apo pneumaton akatharton).  In addition, it is said that a person is "demonized" (daimonizesthai) (Mark 1:32 = Matt 8:16; Matt 4:24; 8:28; 12:22; 15:22) or is "in an unclean spirit" (en pneumati akatharto) (Mark 1:23; 5:2).  The act of exorcism itself is most frequently referred to as "driving out" (ekballein) (Mark 1:34 = Matt 8:16; Mark 1:39; 6:13; 16:9;  Matt 9:33-34; Luke 11:14). Sometimes exorcism is called healing (iaesthein; thereapeuein) (Matt 15:28; Luke 6:18; 8:2; 13:14).

5.3. The Gospel of John

Throughout the Gospel of John one finds a dualism between light/darkness; truth/falsehood; above/below; the world/Jesus; Satan/God or Jesus. There are, however, no exorcisms in this gospel; rather there are only references to the fact that some considered Jesus to be demon possessed.

5.3.1. John 7:20: The crowd accuses Jesus of being demon possessed.

5.3.2. John 10:20-21: Some accuse Jesus of being demon possessed on account of his teaching about himself.

Phylactery from Qumran

Based on the command in Deut 6:8 and Exod 13:9, 16, Jews of the second-Temple period wore phylacteries (tefillin). Jews wrote four selections from the Torah, typically Exod 13:1-10; 13:11-16 and Deut 6:4-9; 11:13-21) in small characters on pieces of elongated writing material. The strips of writing material were then folded over to fit into their leather containers. Jews would wear one case on the forehead and the other on the left arm "as a sign upon your hand and a symbol on your forehead that with a mighty hand the Lord freed us from Egypt" (Exod 13:9, 16). Both phylactery cases and their contents have been found in the Qumran region, the earliest such remains. The fragments of phylactery in the photograph are from Exod 13:1-3.

5.4. Jesus' Uniqueness as an Exorcist

Unlike other Jewish exorcists, Jesus never uses secondary means in his exorcisms, such as fumigations, rings, roots or herbs. Nor does Jesus use incantations, liturgical prayers or specially-composed psalms of praise as part of his exorcist practice. When the disciples were unable to to drive out a demon, Jesus explains that there are different types of demons, and some of these can only come out by prayer (Mark 9:14-29 = Matt 17:14-21 = Luke 9:37-43a). But there is no indication that Jesus himself used prayer as a means of exorcism. Rather, Jesus drives out demons simply by directly commanding the demon(s) to come out of a person. When exorcizing the boy with the demon that caused him to be deaf and dumb, for example, Jesus says, "You deaf and mute spirit ... I command you, come out of him and never enter him again" (Mark 9:25). Moreover, unlike other Jewish exorcists, Jesus does not appeal to any authority for this exorcisms other than himself, not even to Yahweh. This is different from the exorcist whom the disciples discover casting out demons but who was not one of their group (the so-called "strange exorcist"): "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us" (Mark 9:38-41). This unidentified exorcist did indeed cast out evil spirits but did so only on the basis of Jesus' authority. Likewise, the disciples themselves practiced exorcism, but they also did so by Jesus' authority: "He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits" (Mark 3:15; 6:7). When they returned from being sent out to announce the Kingdom of God, they marvelled that demons submitted to them because of Jesus: "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name" (Luke 10:17).

    Clearly Jesus was also unique among exorcists because evil spirits submitted to him without opposition or much struggle. Sometimes the demons engaged Jesus in dialogue and in one instance they appealed to him for leniency. The legion in the Gadarene demoniac sought to have Jesus swear by God that he would not torment them (Mark 5:8; see Luke 8:31 "And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss, or Pit"). But there is never a sense of a real power struggle between Jesus and the evil spirits that he removed from people, unlike other Jewish exorcists. The fact that Jesus exorcized without opposition probably explains why witnesses of his exorcists were astonished at what they experienced: "He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him" (Mark 1:27; Luke 4:36; see Matt 9:33 "The crowds were amazed, and were saying, 'Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel'"). Jesus' complete authority over evil spirits also explains the alarm and terror that they exhibit when they encounter him; they fear for their continued well-being because they believe that Jesus has the authority to torment them and send them to the Abyss, or pit, where they do not want to go (Mark 5:10; Luke 8:31). In fact, the demons recognize Jesus as the Davidic Messiah, as the one to whom has been given authority over the spiritual world; they address him appropriately by the messianic titles of "son of God" (Mark 3:11; Luke 4:42), "son of the most High God" (Mark 5:7 = Luke 8:28; see Matt 8:28 "son of God"), and "holy one of God" (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34).

5.5. Jesus' Interpretation of his Exorcisms

Jesus interprets his exorcisms as a manifestation of the Kingdom of God. In continuity with second-Temple Jewish expectation, he sees the time of Israel's eschatological expectation as a time of freedom from evil spirits and Satan who rules over them. In the Messianic expectation in the Old Testament, the eschatological Davidic king reigns over Israel and the nations, but nothing is said of his subjugation of evil spirits and his assault on Satan's kingdom, what the Qumran sectarians called the"dominion of Belial." As indicated, in one Essene text, it is the angel Melchizedek who will eschatologically judge and punish Belial and the spirits of his lot (11QMelch 2.11-14). Similarly, in T. Levi 18 the eschatological priest is given authority over Belial and the evil spirits under his authority. It should be noted that Jesus' success as an exorcist caused the people to wonder whether he might be the Messiah, the "son of David" (Matt 12:23). This is not surprising given the expectation that the eschaton would see the removal of Satan and spirits under his control from Israel and the world generally. It seems that some drew the conclusion that it is the Davidic Messiah who will bring an end to kingdom of Satan, even though not every Jew shared this view apparently.

It is safe to say that few Jesus researchers take the synoptic portrayal of Jesus as exorcist as historically accurate. Even the otherwise conservative J. Jeremias assumes that demon possession is actually various forms of mental illness (New Testament Theology, 93). He believes that miracle stories, including stories about Jesus' exorcisms, were augmented over time, so that presumably the original historical event, if there even was one, has become obscured by unhistorical accretions. With respect to Jesus' alleged exorcisms, Jeremias concludes, "Jesus performed healings which astonished his contemporaries. These were primarily healings of psychogenous suffering, especially what the text describes as the driving out of demons, which Jesus performed with a brief word of command" (92). G. Theissen, adopting a sociological method, interprets Jesus' exorcisms as evidence of social conflict in Jewish socirty: "Exorcisms were acts of liberation transposed into the mythical sphere. The demons functioned as vicarious objects of the aggression of the Jesus movement" (Sociology of Early Palestinian Christianity, 102). Presumably, those involved with the Jesus movement were not aware that their conflict with demons was really social conflict. Similarly, J. Crossan  accepts as historical the synoptic depiction of Jesus as exorcist, but interpret this category socio-politically as the intentional subversion of the status quo; that Jesus really did cast out demons is not taken up as an explanatory possibility, presumably since demons do not exist (The Historical Jesus. The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, 313-20).

5.5.1. The Beelzebul Controversy (Mark 3:20-26; Matt 12:22-28 = Luke 11:14-20)

Matt 12:22-28 

22 Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and he healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. 23 All the crowds were stunned,  and were saying, "This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?" 24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons." 25 And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? 27 If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. 

Mark 3:20-26 
 
20 And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21 When his own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of him; for they were saying, "He has lost his senses." 22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons." 23 And he called them to himself and began speaking to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a household is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished. 

Luke 11:14-20 

14 And he was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons." 16 Others, to test him, were demanding of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he knew their thoughts and said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house against itself falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?  For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?  For this reason they will be your judges. 20 But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.

There are two different versions of the tradition of the Beelzebul Controversy, a Markan version and a non-Markan version available to Matthew and Luke. Form-critically, this tradition is an apophthegma, or pronouncement story: a narrative that culminates in a short, poignant saying of Jesus. How the non-Markan version available to Matthew differed from that available to Luke is impossible to determine, since it is probable that both Matthew and Luke redacted their respective versions. Those who hold that the double tradition derives from a single written source, the so-called "Q-source,” believe that Matthew and Luke independently made use of the same written source. On this assumption, scholars attempt to reconstruct the hypothetical Q-version, by separating out Matthean and Lukan redaction. But if the assumption of a common written source is invalid, then it becomes virtually impossible to separate redaction from tradition in Matthew and Luke. Given the parallels between Matt 12:25b and Mark 3:25, it is probable that Matthew conflated his non-Markan account with his Markan. (Matt 12:25b "And any city or household divided against itself will not stand" = Mark 3:25 "If a household is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand").

The attempts to reconstruct the hypothetical, common source available to Matthew and Luke are far too speculative, even on the assumption that there was such a written document. See Percy, Die Botschaft Jesu, 178-87; Schulz, Die Spruchquelle, 203-13; R. Laufen, Die Doppelüberlieferungen der Logienquelle und des Markusevangeliums, 126-55; Hultgren, Jesus and His Adversaries, 100-106; Schlosser, Le règne de Dieu dans les Dits de Jésus, 1.127-39; H. Merklein, Jesu Botschaft von der Gottesherschaft, 63-66; id., Gottesherrschaft, 158-60; Twelftree, Jesus the Exorcist, 98-113. Only limited redactional suggestions may be legitimately proffered based on Lukan and Matthean preferred vocabulary and style.

"To the Place of Trumpeting"

This inscription, which translates as "To the place of trumpeting..." was discovered during excavations at the base of the southwest corner of the Temple Mount. It served to indicate where a priest would stand to blow the trumpet to begin and end the Sabbath. Josephus explains the procedure used to begin and end the Sabbath: "And the last [tower] was erected above the roof of the Priest's Chambers, where it was the custom for one of the priests to stand and to give notice, by the sound of a trumpet, in the afternoon of the approach, and on the following evening of the close, of every seventh day, announcing to the people the respective hours for ceasing work and for resuming their labors" (War 4.582-83).

In the non-Markan versions of the tradition, the occasion for the accusation is Jesus' exorcism of a man who was mute or, according to Matthew, both mute and blind, whereas in the Markan version, the accusation follows another charge: that Jesus is insane. The introductions of the Beelzebul controversy in Matthew (12:22) and Luke (11:14), however, have little verbatim agreement. In fact, Luke's introduction (11:14) has more parallels with Matt 9:32-33. Like Luke 11:14, Matt 9:32 has only a mute man, not a blind and mute man as in Matt 12:22; also both Luke 11:14 and Matt 9:32 use the verb ekballein ("to cast out") to describe Jesus' exorcism rather than the verb therapeuein ("to heal"), which occurs in Matt 12:22. Similarly, the phrase "The mute man spoke" is also found in Luke 11:14 and Matt 9:32, but not in Matt 12:22, and in both Luke 11:14 and Matt 9:33 there occurs the phrase "The crowds marveled" (see Schulz, Die Spruchquelle, 204). The fact that Matt 9:34 reads "But the Pharisees said, 'By the prince of demons he casts out demons'" suggests that Matt 9:32-34 is a shorter version of Luke 11:14-23 = Matt 12:22-30 and Mark 3:22-27, a version that does not include Jesus' response to the accusation. Matthew seems to have included both the shorter version of this tradition and a longer one similar to that found in Luke, with the exception of the introduction (Luke 12:14). It is possible that Matthew inserted "the Pharisees" into his version of the longer Beelzebul tradition as Jesus' accusers based on the fact that they are Jesus' accusers in the shorter version in Matt 9:32-33. Mark identifies them as scribes from Jerusalem (who likely were Pharisees) and Luke has the indefinite "some of them" (tines...ex autôn. Nevertheless, since the phrase "some of" (tis ek) is part of the Lukan vocabulary, perhaps Luke changed an original reference to the Pharisees as Jesus' accusers. This shorter version represented by Matt 9:32-34 has obvious parallels with Luke 11:14. Finally, the use of the title “son of David” in the clause in Matt 12:23b "This man is not the son of David, is he?" could be Matthean redaction since the title is typical of Matthew (9:27; 12:23; 20:30, 31 [= Mark 10:47, 48]; 21:9, 15; 22:42 [=Mark 12:35]).

    In order to account for his ability to exorcize, Jesus' detractors accuse him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul (Satan), the prince of demons, a charge that Jesus rightly rejects. (The use of en ["in"] is causal, reflecting the Semitic preposition b-. In the Lukan version, it is added, "Others, to test him, were demanding of him a sign from heaven" [11:16]. Since the word heteroi ["others"] is a Lukan preferred word, it is possible that 11:16 is a Lukan composition desgined for clarification [Jeremias, Die Sprache des Lukasevangeliums, 199; Schulz, Die Spruchquelle, 203-205; Hultgren, Jesus and His Adversaries, 102].) The accounts of Jesus' response found in Matt 12:25 and Luke 11:17 have numerous verbal parallels, and are different from Mark's account. It seems that Matthew has conflated his Markan version with a non-Markan, because Matt 12:25b and Mark 3:25 have close parallels. Unlike the other synoptic gospels, Mark's version contains the additional accusation that Jesus actually "has Beelzebul," by which seems to be meant that Jesus has a demon, which gives him the ability to cast out other demons (Mark 3:22). Regardless of the individual differences, however, the same point is made in all three accounts: Jesus says that he could not be casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul (Satan) because this would mean that Satan is attacking himself, and so his "kingdom" would not remain for long. (It is taken for granted that Satan is identical to Beelzebul.) It should be noted that the accusation and Jesus' response to it presuppose that Beelzebul (Satan) is active in the world of human beings, that he has a "kingdom," a sphere of influence among human beings. Indeed, in the version of this tradition represented by Matt 12:22-29 = Luke 11:14-22, Jesus asks rhetorically, "How will his kingdom stand?" Like many of his contemporaries, Jesus believes that Satan is in substantial control of human beings and even Jews. In the non-Markan versions of Matthew and Luke, there follows a saying that represents a second argument against the accusation that Jesus is exorcizing by the power of Beelzebul. He says, "If I cast out demons by the power of Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out?” On the assumption that his critics believe that their own adherents (“your sons”) truly cast out demons then Jesus is arguing that it is arbitrarily to say that he is casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul but not these other exorcists: clearly such an argument is prejudicial and self-defeating.

The use of Beelzebul as a name for Satan is unattested outside of the synoptic gospels (Mark 3:20-30; Matt 12:22-29 = Luke 11:14-22; Matt 10:25). Based on this evidence, however, it is clear that it had come to be used as a synonymous term by Jesus' time (contrary to M. Limbeck, “Beelzebul—eine ursprüngliche Bezeichnung für Jesus?” in Wort Gottes in der Zeit FS K.H. Schelkle, 31-42). The term Beelzebul likely was originally a name for a Canaanite deity: "Baal the prince" or "Baal of the Exalted Abode." (In the Old Testament zebul refers to God's "exalted abode" either heaven or the Temple [1 Kgs 8:13; 2 Chr 6:2; Isa 63:15; Hab 3:11; see also 1QS 10.3; 1QM12.1, 2; 1QH 3.34].) How the term became identified with Satan is unknown, but probably was the result of the more general identification of pagan gods with demons in the second-Temple period. The term may mean mean Lord of the heavens or air, in which demons dwell (Fitzmyer, Luke, 920; Klauck, Allegorie und Allegorese in synoptischen Gleichnistexten, 178).

Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho gives evidence that the accusation that Jesus was a "magician" or sorcerer persisted in spite of Jesus' attempt to refute the charge. Justin remarks about Jesus, "And having raised the dead, and causing them to live, by his deeds he compelled the men who lived at that time to recognize him. But though they saw such works, they asserted it was magical art. For they dared to call him a magician, and a deceiver of the people " (Dial. 69). (See Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth, 18-54; M. Smith, Jesus the Magician)

Israel’s history is divided into two eras; the preliminary era is understood as being under the control of Belial, the archenemy of God and the righteous. This period of time must run its course before there can be a transition to the time of salvation, which is variously described in the Qumran sectarian texts. Certain adverbial phrases used in the Community Rule are reflective of this theological understanding of history: "during the dominion of Belial" (1QS 1.18, 23b-24a) and "all the days of Belial's dominion" (2.19). During what is called “the dominion of his enmity” the sons of light—the members of the community—will suffer at the hands of Belial and the spirits of his lot and be caused to stumble (1QS 3.23-24). This is according to the mysteries of God, who for unknown reasons allows Belial and the spirits of his lot substantial control over Israel and the world for a period of time. In 1QS 4:18 God has determined an end for the existence of deceit. In the War Scroll, the phrase “dominion of Belial” also occurs (14.9), as does the phrase “prince of the dominion of deceit” (17.5-6). Belial has spirits under his authority: “[Belial and al]the angels of his dominion” (1.15) (see “army of his dominion” [18.1]). In the Damascus Document, it is explained that from the founding of the community to the “completion of time," “Belial will be sent against Israel” (CD 4.12-18). In 4Q390 (Pseudo-Moses) there is a similar reference to time of the dominion of Belial: “And [there will co]me the dominion of Belial upon them to deliver them to the sword for a week of year[s] (frag. 2 col. 1.3b-4). It seems that frag. 2 col. 1 describes the last week of the last jubilee of the time before the eschaton (see 1QS 3.23-24). The Qumran sectarian writings anticipate Belial's eschatological defeat and destruction. According to the War Scroll, Belial and his angels fight in the eschatological war on the side of the sons of darkness, but after a protracted war, the enemies of God, including Belial and the spirits of his lot, will be defeated and destroyed (1QM 14.9, 15; 17.5-6; 18.1-3; 4QM 1 frg. 10 2.15; frg. 11 2.18). In 11QMelchizedek, when Melchizedek, who is probably the archangel Michael, appears at the eschaton, among other things he will also execute judgment on Belial and the spirits of his lot. In this context, Ps 82:1-2 is interpreted eschatologically of Melchizedek's judgment of the fallen angels: the "god" (elohim) who takes his stand in the assembly of God ('el) is the heavenly being Melchizedek; he will judge in the midst of the other "gods" ('elohim) (2.9-14). The fact that in line 11 it is said that it is God ('el) who will judge the peoples, citing Ps 7:8, indicates that the angel Melchizedek is the instrument of God's eschatological judgment. Along the same lines, the reference "Your God reigns" in Isa 52:7 is interpreted to be the reign of Melchizedek, who is a god in the sense of being an angel. Ps 82:2 "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked" is interpreted as follows: "Its interpretation concerns Belial and the spirits of his lot, who rebelled by turning away from the precepts of God" (2.12). Apparently, Ps 82:2 is interpreted as speaking of the unjust reign of Belial and the spirits of his lot, which will come to an end with the appearance of Melchizedek as eschatological judge. (This interpretation is suggested by the fact that Ps 82:1 says that God presides over the assembly of God and judges among the gods ('elohim). These "gods" are interpreted as angels rather than as human judges. Those addressed in Ps 82:1-2 are again called "gods" and are also called sons of God in Ps 82:6. 11QMelch 2.13 seems to mean that Melchizedek will become judge on that day and will remove the right to judge (or to rule) from Belial and the spirits of his lot. Finally, 1QS 4.18-19 speaks of how, at his visitation, the time of eschatological salvation and final judgment, God as merciful will put an end to the existence of deceit (4.18-19). It is said that "God will purify by His truth all the works of man and purge for himself some from the sons of man. He will utterly destroy the spirit of deceit from within his flesh" (4.20-21). Although nothing is said of the destruction of Belial or the spirits of his lot, it seems that, given the close connection between the spirit of deceit and the angel of darkness (see 1QS 3.21-22), the removal of the former entails the removal of the latter.

The non-Markan versions of this tradition (Matt 12:22-30 = Luke 11:14-23) have another saying that is absent from the Markan version, which is very important for an understanding of Jesus’ view of the Kingdom of God. Jesus says, "If I cast out demons by the spirit (Matt) or "finger" (Luke) of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you" (Matt 12:27-28 = Luke 11:19-20). Both phrases mean "the action of God through the Spirit." Contrary to his critics, Jesus claims to be casting out demons by the power of God. Although he does not deny that others cast out demons, he does affirm that the Kingdom of God has come by means of his exorcist activity: his exorcisms are the result of the appearance of the Kingdom of God. (This implies that his exorcisms were of a different order as compared to the other exorcists.) His point is that he is making an assault on the spiritual reign of Satan, and is in the process of establishing the Kingdom of God in its place. The verb used to describe the fact that the Kingdom of God "has come" is the aorist of phthanô [ephasen]. It occurs with the same meaning in 1 Thess 2:16; Rom 9:11; 2 Cor 10:14.) The fact that Jesus says that the Kingdom of God has come "upon you" clearly presupposes that the Kingdom is a present reality for Jesus' contemporaries. In fact, according to Jewish eschatological understanding, the demise of the reign of Satan could only mean the ascendancy of the Kingdom of God. In his Sermon at Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30), Jesus does not specify in detail how he as the anointed one of Isa 61:1 would fulfil that role. Possibly, however, given the association of Ps 82:1-2, Isa 52:7 and Isa 61:1 in 11QMelch, Jesus may have interpreted his salvation-historical role as including bringing liberation from Satan and other evil spirits to his people insofar as he saw himself as destined to be the eschatological judge of these beings, in the same way that Melchizedek is to function as eschatological judge in11QMelch. In other words, insofar as he is the eschatological figure in Isa 61:1, Jesus is the eschatological judge in Ps 82:1-2, since these two texts are to be fulfilled by the same salvation-historical individual. Thus, Jesus' exorcisms would be the first step in the judgment of Satan and his demonic subordinates.

It is sometimes argued that the use of the phrase “finger of God” is a deliberate allusion to Moses through whom “the finger of God” was manifested (Exod 8:19). The intention is for Jesus to be modeled on the fugure of Moses (Manson, The Teaching of Jesus, 82-83; Lundstroem, Kingdom of God, 133, 235; McKnight, Jesus and His Death, 197-200). But this seems to be a case of over-interpretation.

Matthew’s version of the saying is very close to Luke’s, the differences being that Matt lacks Luke’s egô and has “by the Spirit of God” rather than “by the finger of God.” On the assumption that there was one original version, there has been much debate about which of the two versions is more original. But it is equally plausible that there were two versions of this tradition in circulation, one using the metaphor "finger of God" and the other substituting the vehicle "finger" for the tenor "Spirit." Luke probably did not change "by spirit of God" to "by finger of God" because he has no preference for genitive constructions without the definite article (Jeremias, Die Sprache des Lukasevangeliums, 201; see also Schulz, Die Spruchquelle, 205; R. Hummel, Die Auseinandersetzung zwischen Kirche und Judentum im Matthäusevangelium, 124; Barrett, The Holy Spirit in the Gospel Tradition, 53-65; Lührmann, Die Redaktion der Logienquelle, 33; Perrin, Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus, 63; Schlosser, Le Règne de Dieu dans les Dits de Jésus, 1.132-34; Merklein, Gottesherrschaft, 158; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 2.340). On the use of the metaphor “finger of God” see Exod 8:19; 31:18; Deut 9:10; Ps 8:3; Ezek 8:1; 11:5; Dan 5:5; 1QM 18:1-15 (see B. Couroyer, “‘Le doigt de Dieu’ (Exod VIII, 15)” Revue Biblique 63 (1956) 481-95).

Many have argued that Luke 11:20 = Matt 12:28 was originally an isolated saying that was added to an original apophthegma, or pronouncement story; evidence for this is said to be that the argument in Luke 11:20 = Matt 12:28 is different from that in Luke 11:19 = Matt 12:27 and is actually contradictory. In spite of the apparent unity effected by the parallelism between en Beelzeboul and en pneumati theou or en daktulô theou and the fact that both contain the pronoun "I" (egô) the unity of Luke 11:19-20 = Matt 12:27-28 is only apparent. In Luke 11:19 = Matt 12:27 Jesus argues that his critics should not view him as different from other exorcisms, so that if he is exorcizing by means of the power of Beezebul then so are they. But in Luke 11:20 = Matt 12:28 he does not presuppose validity of other exorcists, but claims that his exorcisms uniquely are a manifestation of the Kingdom of God. But if Jesus’ exorcisms are no different from those of other exorcists then there is no basis to the claim his exorcisms are a manifestation of the Kingdom of God: Jesus’ uniqueness has been undermined (B. Noack, Satanas und Soteria, 28, 71; Schulz, Die Spruchquelle, 203-13; Beare, Matthew, 278-79; Kümmel, Promise and Fulfilment, 105-106; Bultmann, History of the Synoptic Tradition, 14, 162; Schweizer, Matthew, 284-85; Schlosser, Le Règne de Dieu dans les Dits de Jésus, 1.130-32; Sato, Q und Prophetie, 132-34; Sanders, Jesus and Judaism, 135; H. Schürmann, Gottes Reich-Jesu Geschick, 104-108; Kloppenborg, The Formation of Q, 121-27; Meier, A Marginal Jew. Mentor, Message, and Miracles, 407-411. Different redactional histories have been proposed. Schulz claims that Luke 11:15, 17 repesents the original apophthegma to which was added the sayings in 11:18, 19, 20; Luke 11:16 is redactional (Spruchquelle, 205-13). Similarly, E. Schweizer argues that originally Matthew 12:22-24 (= Luke 11:14-15) was followed by 12:27 (= Luke 11:19), since Beelzebul is mentioned in both (Matthew, 284-85). In Matt 12:25-26 (= Luke 11:17-18) the name used is Satan (satanas). In the earliest version of this tradition probably Matt 12:27 (= Luke 11:19) was Jesus’ response to the accusation in 12:24 (= Luke 11:15). Luke 11:18b, not found in Matthew’s version, is an addition made to connect the two traditions, Matt 12:22-24, 27 = Luke 11:14-15, 19 and Matt 12:25-26 = Luke 11:17-18. Matt 12:28 (= Luke 11:20) is an isolated saying that became attached secondarily to the apophthegma. Luke 11:16 is a Lukan redactional addition, since Matthew does not have it. Dealing with the Lukan version, since he thinks that it is closer to the original Q-source, Schlosser argues for a three-stage development. The original apopthegma consisted of Luke 11:14-15, 17-18a. Then the isolated logion 11:20 was added to the apophthegma; to facilitate to attachment of the logion 11:19 was created, inspired by the structure of 11:20. A parallel between “by Beelzebul” and “by the finger of God” was created. Finally, the Lukan redactor added 11:18b to reinforce the literary unity and 11:16 in order to prepare for the section about signs (11:29-32) (Le Règne de Dieu dans les Dits de Jésus, 1.130-32) (see E. Käsemann, “Lukas 11,14-28,” Exegetische Versuche und Besinnungen [2 vols.; 4 ed.; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1965] 1.242-48 [243-44]). H. Schürmann argues that tradition-historically the saying in Luke 11:19 = Matt 12:27 was originally part of an apophthegma also consisting of Luke 11:14, 17a and 20 (= Matt 12:22-23a, 25a and 28) (Gottes Reich-Jesu Geschick, 104-108). At some point, this tradition became conflated with another apophthegm now represented by Mark 3:22-26 (= Luke 11:17b-18b and Matt 25b-26). The saying found in Luke 11:19 = Matt 12:27 was also interpolated into this conflated tradition. Finally, Kloppenborg proposes two possible tradition-historical explanations for Luke 11:14-20, which he views as closest to the origin version in the Q-source. Either 11:14, 15, 17-18a was the original core and this was secondarily expanded by addition of 11:19 and a commentary in 11:20 or 11:14-15, 19 was the original core and was fused with a variant form of the apophthegma consisting of 11:15, 17-18a (= Mark 3:22-26), which was then also expanded by the commentary in 11:20 (The Formation of Q, 121-27) He prefers the first, since there is no evidence that there was a pre-Q variant of the accusation and because both Mark and Q agree in making the double metaphor of the divided kingdom and household as Jesus’ first response to the accusation. Proposals like those discussed above assume as their foundation the incompatibility of Luke 11:19, 20 = Matt 12:27, 28; without this assumption there would be no need to deconstruct the text and determine its redactional stages. But the argument in Luke 11:20 = Matt 12:28 is not from exorcisms in general but from Jesus’ own exorcisms (Percy, Botschaft, 180; Fiedler, Sünder, 214-215; Polag, Christologie, 39-41; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 2.339; Twelftree, Jesus the Exorcist, 106-107). The argument in Luke 11:19 = Matt 12:27 is reductio ad absurdum, designed to show how indefensible is the accusation of Jesus’ detractors is based on their own beliefs. The most that can be said is that Jesus is tolerant of other exorcists (see Luke 11:23 = Matt 12:30; Mark 9:40 = Luke 9:50). This means that Jesus is not assuming in Luke 11:20 = Matt 12:28 that he is doing the very same thing that other exorcists are doing. Rather, his exorcisms are different from those of other Jewish exorcists. Unlike them, he never uses secondary means in his exorcisms, such as fumigations, rings, roots or herbs. Nor does he use incantations, liturgical prayers or specially-composed psalms of praise as part of his exorcist practice. Moreover, Jesus does not appeal to any authority for this exorcisms other than himself, not even to God; Jesus was unique among exorcists because he simply commanded evil spirits and they submitted to him without opposition or struggle (see Tobit 6:14; 8:2; Josephus, War 7. 185; Ant. 8.45-48; 4Q510-11; 11Q11: 4Q560; Jub. 10:10-14; LAB 60; 4QPs-a XXVII, 9-10). Jesus exorcizes on his own authority, in such a way that people marvel that demons submit to him (Mark 1:27 = Luke 4:36; see Matt 9:33; Luke 10:17). Jesus' authority over demons explains the alarm and terror that they exhibit when they encounter him; they fear for their continued well-being because they believe that Jesus has the authority to torment them and send them to the Abyss or pit, where they do not want to go (Mark 5:10; Luke 8:31). In fact, the demons recognize Jesus as the Messiah, as the one to whom has been given authority over the spiritual world; they address him appropriately by the messianic titles of "son of God" (Mark 3:11; Luke 4:42), "son of the most High God" (Mark 5:7 = Luke 8:28; see Matt 8:28 "son of God"), and "holy one of God" (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34) (Van der Loos, The Miracles of Jesus, 363). Clearly, Jesus’ exorcisms are different from those of his contemporaries (see C.C. Caragounis, “Kingdom of God, Son of Man and Jesus’ Self-Understanding” TynBul 40 [1989] 2-23; 223-38 [230-31]). In addition, it should noted that what is found in the double tradition is a condensation of a no doubt much longer dialogue. The two sayings in Luke 11:19, 20 = Matt 12:27, 28 are two of the more salient points that Jesus makes during this dialogue.

5.5.2. The Stronger Man (Matt 12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21-22)

Matt 12:29

29 Or how can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

 

Mark 3:27

27 But no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.

 

Luke 11:21-22

21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. 22 But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.

In the context of Jesus' self-defence against the accusation that he casts out demons by the power of Beelzebul is found a saying about the plundering of the strong man. There are two different versions of the same tradition, quite dissimilar to each other: Mark 3:27 = Matt 12:29; Luke 11:21-22. Matthew seems to give preference to the Markan version, that is, assuming that he had access to the version represented by Luke. (The Gospel of Thomas has a shorter version of this saying: "Jesus said, 'One cannot enter a strong person's house and take it by force without tying his hands. Then one can loot his house'" [35].) It seems that in the non-Markan source this saying was also connected with the tradition of the Beelzebul Controversy, and it was situated after the saying on the Kingdom of God (Matt 11:28 = Luke 11:20). Despite the differences, both versions make the same point: in order to plunder the house of a strong man one must be stronger than he is; only then can one carry away his goods. Jesus is speaking allegorically: the strong man is Satan and the house is his kingdom or sphere of influence. Jesus is claiming that there has come one who is stronger than Satan and is in the process of plundering his kingdom, which is an oblique reference to himself. The plunder taken by the stronger man represents those who were demonized but whom Jesus freed from Satan’s influence. In short, the reign of Satan is in the process of being replaced by the Kingdom of God, proof of which is Jesus' power over demons.  

Given the dissimilarity between the two it is unlikely that Luke has redacted his Markan source (contrary to S. Légasse, “L’homme fort de Luc 11:21-22,” NovT 5 (1962) 5-9; Lührmann, Die Redaktion der Logienquelle, 33). Luke 11:21-22 contains several hapax legomenas: kathoplizomai and to skulon occur only this one time in the New Testament, and the verb nikaô and panoplia both occur only this once in Luke/Acts. The noun aulê occurs only one other time in Luke/Acts, in the story of Peter’s denial, and so is not a typical Lukan word. In addition, the rest of the vocabulary is not uniquely Lukan (phulassô, eirênê, airô, peithô, diadidômi). So there is no linguistic evidence to support the claim that Luke 11:21-22 is Lukan redaction (Jeremias, Die Sprache des Lukasevangeliums, 201; Meier, A Marginal Jew. Mentor, Message, and Miracles, 472 n. 84).

There have been attempts to connect Jesus’ saying intertextually with the Old Testament. Most often Isa 49:24-25 (26) is put forward as the inspiration behind Jesus’ saying (Manson, Sayings, 86; Grimm, Weil Ich dich Liebe. Die Verkündigung und Deuterjesaja, 88-93; Laufen, Doppelüberlieferung, 130; Klauck, Allegorie und Allegorese in synoptischen Gleichnistexten, 180-81; Scot McKnight, Jesus and His Death, 221-23). Klauck suggests T. Zebul. 9:8 stands in continuity between Isa 49:24-25 and Matt 12:29/Mark 3:27: “He will liberate every captive of the sons of men from the Beliar.” He also argues that behind in the later Lukan version the statement that the stronger man distributes his plunder is an allusion to Isa 53:12c “Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong” (Allegorie und Allegorese in synoptischen Gleichnistexten, 183; see Fitzmyer, Luke, 923). Meier suggests Isa 24:21-22 as background to the more original Markan version. He claims that Isa 49:24-25 serves more as a background to Q version, which is less original; it may even have been the catalyst for the transformation of the Markan version ( A Marginal Jew. Mentor, Message, and Miracles, 419). It would seem, however, that all the suggestions put forward as background to Jesus’ saying are too tenuous to be convincing.

Those who stress the exclusively futuristic conception of the Kingdom of God in Jesus' teaching interpret Jesus' saying to mean that exorcisms are a sign of the future appearance of the Kingdom of God. See E. Grässer, Das Problem der Parusieverzögerung in den synoptischen Evangelien und in der Apostelgeschichte, 6ff.; der., "Zum Verständnis der Gottesherrschaft," ZNW 65 (1957) 3-26; Conzelmann, Jesus, 70, 74, 76-77; der., Grundriß der Theologie des Neuen Testaments, 131; R. Fuller, The Mission and Achievement of Jesus, 37-38; Hiers, The Kingdom of God in the Synoptic Tradition, 43-49. In other words, Jesus never taught that the Kingdom of God was a present reality; at best, his exorcisms are signs of the Kingdom of God, anticipations of the still-future Kingdom of God. It is clear that Jesus teaches that the Kingdom of God comes into being over time, as a historical process. Thus, to say that the Kingdom of God has has come insofar as Jesus casts out demons is not to say that the culmination of the Kingdom of God has come; nevertheless, Jesus' exorcisms do represent the inception of the Kingdom of God and by definition the beginning of the end of the reign of Satan.

5.5.3.“I Saw Satan Fall like Lightning” (Luke 10:17-20)

17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." 18 He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.  20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." 

Luke includes an account of the exchange between Jesus and the seventy-two disciples upon their return from their mission to announce that "The Kingdom of God has drawn near" (see Luke 10:1-12). (Jesus sent this group of seventy-two out in pairs, but who exactly they were is not known, since there are no further references to this larger group of disciples) The seventy-two remark with surprise and delight that, "Even the demons submit to us in your name." Apparently, they had encountered people who were demonized and were able to exorcize the demons "in Jesus' name," that is, on Jesus' authority. Jesus explains that he has given them authority over "all the power of the enemy," by which he means Satan, so that exorcisms are a sign of present reality of the Kingdom of God. In this context, Jesus tells them that he "saw Satan fall, like lightning, from heaven." He may be referring to a vision that he had concerning the eschatological defeat of Satan as the ruling power in human history. By falling from heaven Jesus refers to Satan's overthrow or removal from power, which is expressed as "like lightning" insofar as it is instantaneous. There is no indication when Jesus saw in a vision Satan’s fall from power, but it is possible that the event followed his temptations. It was commonly believed that Satan had access to heaven, the abode of God and his angels; to have access to heaven implies authority over human beings, in particular, the authority to accuse them before God (Job 1:6-7; Zech 3:1-2; see 1 Enoch 40.7 [saytans]). (The phrase "to fall from heaven" occurs in Isa 14:12 to describe the overthrow of the king of Babylon.)

“I saw” is used as an introduction to a prophetic vision (see Amos 9:1 and Isa 6:1; Ezek 1:1). In each case the LXX translates the Hebrew as eidon. Also the introductory clause “I saw…and see…” is found in Ezek 1:4; 8:2, 7; 10:1, 9; Zech 1:8; 2:1, 5; 5:1; 6:1. As in Luke 10:16, the Greek imperfect form of theôreô occurs in the Greek translation of the Aramaic in Dan 4:10, 13; 7:2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 21; in 7:6, 7, 11 the verb has a direct object, similar to Luke 10:18. What is translated is the periphrastic use of chzh hywh. The introduction “I saw…” occur frequently in 1 Enoch: 22:5; 30:1; 107:1 (Aramaic chzyt); 17:6, 7, 8; 18; 26:3; 31:1 (Greek idon); 17:3 (Greek eidon); 21:3, 7 (Greek tetheamai); 26:2; 106:13; 107:1 (Migaku Sato, Q und Prophetie. Studien zur Gattungs- und Traditionsgeschichte der Quelle Q, 114).

  5.5.4. Bread for the Children (Mark 7:24-30 = Matt 15:21-28)

Mark 7:24-30 

24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil  spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27 "First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." 28 "Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."  29 Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter." 30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. 
 

 Matthew 15:21-28

 21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!  My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." 24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. 25 The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.  26 He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." 27 "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."  28 Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was  healed from that very hour.

In a Markan tradition, Jesus is reluctant to exorcize the demon from the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman, because this benefit of the Kingdom of God has been given only to Israel: "'First let the children eat all they want,' he told her, 'for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs'." (Jesus' metaphor is also an allusion to the fact that Jews referred to gentiles derisively as "dogs.")  It is possible that the differences between Mark's version and that found in Matthew is the result of Matthew's conflation of a non-Markan version of this tradition with the Markan [Taylor, Mark, 347].) This would explain the differences between the two. If so, then Matthew probably interpolated 15:22-25 into his Markan source. Likewise, Matthew significantly abbreviates his Markan source; in so doing he reduces the harshness of Jesus' reply by eliminating the phrase "First let the children eat all they want." But Matthew's interpolation in 15:24 does contain the perhaps equally harsh saying, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel" (see also Matt 10:5-6). Thus, the benefits of Satan's overthrow (at least initially) was restricted only to Jews. See Bread to Dogs.


 


Questions 

In what way are Jesus' exorcisms unique? How do Jesus' opponents explain his ability to exorcize? How does Jesus respond to this? How does Jesus interpret the salvation-historical significance of his exorcist activity?

 

6. Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit

Mark 3:28-29 

28 Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.



 Matt 12:31-32

31 Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven human beings, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.

32 Whoever speaks a word against the son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Luke 12:10



And everyone who speaks a word against the son of man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.


Two versions of a saying about blaspheming against the Holy Spirit occur in the synoptic gospels, a Markan version and a non-Markan one. Matthew includes both, appending the non-Markan version in 12:32 to 12:31, what is probably a redacted version of Mark 3:28-29. In Luke the non-Markan version follows a collection of sayings dealing with judgment and persecution in Luke (12:2-9), whereas the Markan version follows the Parable of the Strong Man.. Both sayings likely can be traced back to a common Aramaic original (R. Schippers, "The Son of Man in Matt. 12.32 = Luke 12.10 compared with Mark 3.28," Studia Evangelica IV, TU 102, 231-35; Lindars, Son of Man, 34-44; Casey, Son of Man, 230; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 2.344-49). It is probably that the term "son of man" in the non-Markan version (Matt 12:32 = Luke 12:10) has the generic meaning of "human beings" and does not refer to Jesus himself, in which case it is not a Christological title. (Matthew correctly translates Mark's "sons of men" to human beings [anthropoi] in Matt 12:21.) The point of both versions of the saying is to contrast two types of sin: those against human beings and those against the Holy Spirit; the former is forgivable whereas the latter is blasphemy and so is not forgivable. Although the contexts of both versions of the saying are secondary, Mark correctly connects Jesus' teaching about blaspheming against the Holy Spirit as thematically belonging to the Beelzebul Controversy and the Parable of the Strong Man (contrary to Zager, Gottesherrschaft und Endgericht in der Verkündigung Jesu, 275-82). The reason that speaking against or blaspheming the Holy Spirit is unforgivable is that it represents the rejection of the very possibility of forgiveness that is offered as a manifestation of the Kingdom of God. To reject Jesus as sent and empowered by God (i.e. the Holy Spirit) by interpreting him, for example, as casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul, is to reject the Kingdom of God and all its benefits. Some have argued that the saying originates with an early Christian prophet but there is no reason to deny its authenticity (contrary to A. Fridrichson, "Le péché contre le Saint-Esprit," RHPhR 3 [1923] 367-72 (369); Tödt, Son of Man, 118-19; Hoffmann, Studien zur Theologie der Logienquelle, 151; Boring, "How May We Identify Oracles of Christian Prophets in the Synoptic Tradition? Mark 3.28-29 as a Test Case," JBL 91 [1972] 501-21; Schulz, Spruchequelle, 246-50; Sato, Q und Prophetie, 134-36).


Question 

Why is blaspheming the Holy Spirit unforgivable?

 

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