Testament of Solomon
The Testament of Solomon is an Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 pseudepigraphical work, the authorship of which is ascribed to King Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

. It describes how Solomon was enabled to build the Temple by commanding demons by means of a magical ring entrusted to him by the Archangel Michael
Michael (archangel)
Michael , Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; , Mikhaḗl; or Míchaël; , Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael...



Despite the text's claim to have been a first-hand account of King Solomon's construction of the Temple of Jerusalem, its original publication dates sometime between the 1st and 5th centuries CE, over a thousand years after King Solomon's death and the temple's completion.

The real author or authors of the text remain unknown. The text was originally written in Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 and contains numerous theological and magical themes ranging from Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 to Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 and Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

 that hint at possibly a Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 writer with a Greek background.


The text reads like a self-help manual against demonic activity, with a moral to follow.

When a demon named Ornias harasses a young lad (who is favored
A courtesan was originally a female courtier, which means a person who attends the court of a monarch or other powerful person.In feudal society, the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and social and political life were often completely mixed together...

 by Solomon) by stealing half his pay and sucking out his vitality through the lad's thumb on his right hand, Solomon prays in the temple and receives from the archangel
An archangel is an angel of high rank. Archangels are found in a number of religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Michael and Gabriel are recognized as archangels in Judaism and by most Christians. Michael is the only archangel specifically named in the Protestant Bible...

Michael (archangel)
Michael , Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; , Mikhaḗl; or Míchaël; , Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael...

 a ring with the seal of God (in the shape of a hexagram having the name of God inscribed within) on it which will enable him to command the demons (c.f. Seal of Solomon
Seal of Solomon
In Medieval Jewish, Christian and Islamic legends, the Seal of Solomon was a magical signet ring said to have been possessed by King Solomon, which variously gave him the power to command demons, genies , or to speak with animals.-In legend :...

). Solomon lends the ring to the lad who, by throwing the ring at the demon Ornias, stamps him with the seal and brings him under control. Then Solomon orders the demon Ornias to take the ring and similarly imprint the prince of demons who is Beelzeboul/Beelzebul
Beelzebub -Religious meaning:Ba‘al Zəbûb is variously understood to mean "lord of flies", or "lord of the dwelling". Originally the name of a Philistine god, Beelzebub is also identified in the New Testament as Satan, the "prince of the demons". In Arabic the name is retained as Ba‘al dhubaab /...


With Beelzebul under his command Solomon now has the entire race of demons at his bidding to build the temple. Beelzebul reveals he was formerly the highest ranking angel in Heaven.

In Chapter 18 the demons of the 36 decans appear with names that sometimes seem to be conscious distortions of the traditional names for the decans and claim responsibility mostly for various ailments and pains. They provide the magical formulae by which they may be banished. For example, the thirty-third demon is Rhyx Phtheneoth who causes sore throat
Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the throat or pharynx. In most cases it is quite painful, and is the most common cause of a sore throat.Like many types of inflammation, pharyngitis can be acute – characterized by a rapid onset and typically a relatively short course – or chronic....

 and tonsilitis and can be driven off by writing the word Leikourgos on ivy
Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

 leaves and heaping them into a pile.

Solomon's final demon encounter involves sending a servant boy with his ring to take captive a wind demon who is harassing the land of Arabia. The boy is to hold a wineskin against the wind with the ring in front of it, and then tie up the bag when it is full. The boy succeeds in his task and returns with the wineskin. The imprisoned demon calls himself Ephippas and it is by his power that a cornerstone, thought to be too large to lift, is raised into the entrance of the temple.

Then Ephippas and another demon from the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 bring a miraculous column
A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a vertical structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces...

 made of something purple (translation obscure) from out of the Red Sea. This Red Sea demon reveals himself as Amelouith who claimed to be the demon who supported the Egyptian
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 magicians against Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 and who hardened Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

's heart but had been caught with the Egyptian host when the sea returned and held down by this pillar until Ephippas came and together they could lift it.

There follows a short conclusion in which Solomon describes how he fell in love with a Shunammite woman and agreed to worship Remphan
Remphan, is the King James Version of the Bible's rendering of the Greek word variously appearing in Acts 7 verse 43 as Ρομφα, Ρεμφάν, Ρεμφαμ, Ραιφαν, and Ρεφαν. It is part of a quotation from Amos 5 verse 26 where the Septuagint's reading raiphan or rephan stands the Hebrew Chiun or Kewan...

 and Moloch
Moloch — also rendered as Molech, Molekh, Molok, Molek, Molock, or Moloc — is the name of an ancient Semitic god...

. Solomon agrees to sacrifice
Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or people to God or the gods as an act of propitiation or worship.While sacrifice often implies ritual killing, the term offering can be used for bloodless sacrifices of cereal food or artifacts...

 to them, but only sacrifices the blood of locust
Locusts are the swarming phase of short-horned grasshoppers of the family Acrididae. These are species that can breed rapidly under suitable conditions and subsequently become gregarious and migratory...

 by simply crushing them with his hand. Immediately, the Spirit of God departs from him and he is made foolish and his name a joke to both humans and demons.

Along with the negative presentation she is given in the Bible, the Testament of Solomon presents the Queen of Sheba as a witch, indicating that the author had an awareness of Jewish tradition, which had argued the same.

Solomon concludes his text with a warning to mankind. He reminds mankind not to be like he was; to be both aware of the present and the future: To understand the consequences of your actions before you act.

Judeo-Christian themes

The appearance of the archangel Michael is the first example of the Judeo-Christian theme surrounding the text.

Perhaps the most intriguing Judeo-Christian theme found inside the text was during King Solomon's encounter with the demon Ephippas. While working on the temple, Ephippas is asked by Solomon why he is frustrated. The demon replies that he is concerned over the only thing that can truly take away his powers and defeat him. It was going to be a man born of a virgin who will be crucified on a cross by the Romans prodded on by the Jews. The "prediction" that Ephippas makes is actually one of the primary indicators that the text was written in the New Testament Era.

A possible reference to the powers of Solomon, and perhaps the Testament of Solomon, is found in Luke 11:29,31. Jesus says (NIV), "This is a wicked generation. It asks for a miraculous sign. The Queen of the South will rise in judgement with the men of this generation...for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here." It is generally accepted that this is in reference to Solomon's wisdom, but the supernatural qualities of the verses may suggest more.

Greek mythology

The Testament of Solomon, along with its Judeo-Christian theme, infuses Greek and other mythological elements into its work.

The most obvious of Greek influence is Solomon's encounter with seven demons who are sisters. They introduce themselves to the King and describe their home amongst the stars and Mount Olympus. The seven demon-sisters represent the Pleides of Greek Mythology and, as well, their astrological relationship.

Solomon also encounters a woman demon who has no limbs and a head full of dishevelled hair. It is argued that she actually represents Medusa
In Greek mythology Medusa , " guardian, protectress") was a Gorgon, a chthonic monster, and a daughter of Phorcys and Ceto. The author Hyginus, interposes a generation and gives Medusa another chthonic pair as parents. Gazing directly upon her would turn onlookers to stone...

 or a gorgon-like creature from Greek mythology.

The demon Enepsigos recounts to King Solomon at one point during the temple's construction that he can take the shape of three different physical forms, one of which being the Greek mythological god of time, Kronos
Kronos can refer to:*Cronus, a Titan, the father of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, Hera, and Chiron.In business*Kronos Foods, the world's largest manufacturer of gyrosIn computing...

. Moreover, Enepsigos is also represented as a triple-faced woman akin to Hecate
Hecate or Hekate is a chthonic Greco-Roman goddess associated with magic, witchcraft, necromancy, and crossroads.She is attested in poetry as early as Hesiod's Theogony...

, and is likewise astrologically associated with the sphere of the moon.


Many of the demons in Solomon's encounters are of Greek, Jewish, Christian, Arabic, and other traditions. Most of the rest of the work contains Solomon's interviews with the demons, some of whom are quite grotesque, including one in the shape of a dog and another who has no head and sees through its breasts. Two demons associated strongly with sexuality appear amongst them - Asmodeus
Asmodeus or Asmodai is a king of demons mostly known from the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit, in which he is the primary antagonist. The demon is also mentioned in some Talmudic legends, for instance, in the story of the construction of the Temple of Solomon. He was supposed by some Renaissance...

 from the Book of Tobit
Book of Tobit
The Book of Tobit is a book of scripture that is part of the Catholic and Orthodox biblical canon, pronounced canonical by the Council of Carthage of 397 and confirmed for Roman Catholics by the Council of Trent...

, and a female demon named Obyzouth
In the myth and folklore of the Near East and Europe, Abyzou is the name of a female demon. Abyzou was blamed for miscarriages and infant mortality and was said to be motivated by envy , as she herself was infertile...

, identical to Lilith
Lilith is a character in Jewish mythology, found earliest in the Babylonian Talmud, who is generally thought to be related to a class of female demons Līlīṯu in Mesopotamian texts. However, Lowell K. Handy notes, "Very little information has been found relating to the Akkadian and Babylonian view...

 in all but name, including the strangling of newborn children. Most of the other demons are otherwise unknown by name from other works. The demon Abezethibou
Abezethibou, or Abezethibod, is a demon and fallen angel described in the pseudepigraph Testament of Solomon. He followed Beelzebub upon his fall from heaven, and became an important demon in hell. However, after his treason, he is left with one red wing...

 is said to have hardened pharaoh's heart, and not God.

See also

  • Key of Solomon
    Key of Solomon
    The Key of Solomon , is a grimoire, or book on magic incorrectly attributed to King Solomon. It probably dates back to the 14th or 15th century Italian Renaissance...

  • The Lesser Key of Solomon
    The Lesser Key of Solomon
    The Lesser Key of Solomon or Clavicula Salomonis , is an anonymous 17th-century grimoire, and one of the most popular books of demonology...

  • Solomon and Marcolf
  • Temple of Solomon
  • Demonology
    Demonology is the systematic study of demons or beliefs about demons. It is the branch of theology relating to superhuman beings who are not gods. It deals both with benevolent beings that have no circle of worshippers or so limited a circle as to be below the rank of gods, and with malevolent...

  • Magic
    Magic (paranormal)
    Magic is the claimed art of manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of occult laws unknown to science. It is in contrast to science, in that science does not accept anything not subject to either direct or indirect observation, and subject to logical...

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