THE spirits of demons were created on the eve of the sixth day, but before their bodies were formed the Sabbath set in, when rest was proclaimed, and their formation was not consummated.--Gen. Rabba 7.
After Cain had killed Abel, Adam separated from his wife for the space of 130 years, during which time Adam emitted male demons and Eve female demons.--Gen. Rabba 20.
Eve, 'as the mother of all living,' was also the mother of demons.--Gen. Rabba 20.
Four things were altered from their former condition in the time of Enos, son of Seth: the mountains became as hard as flint, dead bodies of man commenced to putrefy, which was not the case before; man began to resemble the ape, and demons commenced having power or dominion over man, of which they were deprived before the image of God in man was impaired.--Gen. Rabba 23.
From Adam to Enos man had God's image, then man formed the image of demons.--Gen. Rabba 24.
Noah took demons into the ark and thus preserved their species.--Gen. Rabba 31.
A demon named Shamdon went with Noah to plant the vineyard and made a condition with him (Noah) not to interfere in any way with his work, or he would injure him.--Gen. Rabba 36.
Demons are also known as the 'Hairy ones,' as the prophet describes them (Is. 13.).--Gen. Rabba 65.
The flaming revolving swords were placed at the
entrance of the Garden of Eden through the agency of demons. The word להט means demoniac agency as well as 'flames.' And when we are told that Pharaoh's magicians imitated Moses' performance of miracles בלטיהם, it means that they did this through the agency of demons.--Exod. Rabba 9.
As Pharaoh's magicians worked their imitation of Moses' miracles through demons, they were unable to imitate the third plague, since demons cannot bring forth anything smaller than a barleycorn.--Exod. Rabba 10.
With the crow of the cock announcing the approaching dawn of day, the power of demons diminishes, their power being for the most part confined to night only.--Levit. Rabba 5.
Religious men may gain power over demons and subdue them in various ways, as did King Solomon before his fall, before he was led astray by strange women. After his fall, though partly restored to his greatness, he not only had lost his power over demons, but was in terror of them, hence he had need of the sixty mighty men to surround his bed (Songs 3. 7).--Numb. Rabba 11.
The ninety-first psalm was composed by Moses as a sort of talisman or protection against demons whom he feared, when about to ascend Mount Sinai, as putting a stumbling block in his way. Agras, daughter of Machlas, is the name of a female demon who commands a large number of associates or assistants, and there is one great demon whose name is קטב (Kative), in Hebrew 'Arrow.' The Psalmist alludes to this when he says, 'The arrow that flieth by day' (Ps. 91.). This terrible demon has exceptional power between the first six and the last nine hours of the twenty-four. His power is greatest neither in the shade, nor in the sun, but in the condition betwixt sun and shade. His physiognomy is described as follows: head similar to that of a calf,
one horn rising out of his forehead in the shape of a cruse or a pitcher. No one beholding him, man or beast, can live, but drops down dead at once, and several instances are given of men who on seeing him fell down dead immediately. There was one, however, Judah son of Samuel, who was proof against falling down at the sight of this demon, but he died shortly afterwards. There is a certain period of the year when this demon has special sway, and that is during the three weeks between the 17th day of Tamuz and the 9th day of Ab. So great indeed is his power for evil during the above-mentioned period, that the Rabbis prohibited the schoolmasters chastising naughty scholars during those days, lest 'Arrow' should avail himself of his propitious season and add mischief of his own to the beaten pupils, and the result should prove fatal. It is comforting to know that during the existence of the משכן (Mishkan) Tabernacle, demons were removed from this globe because the Shechinah took up its abode in the Mishkan, which was erected by special command and design of the Lord.--Numb. Rabba 12; Midr. on Psalms, Lamentations, and Song of Songs.
There is not so small a space as a yard of ground upon which there are not thousands of demons ready to injure man, but a sort of mask or thick veil is put before their faces, which tends to dim their sight, so that they cannot look clearly at man, and thus injure him by their very stare. When, however, man incurs retribution for his misdeeds, the image of God on him is reduced (or eliminated), and this has the effect of lessening the dimness of the demon's sight, so that he then has the power of injuring man by merely looking at him.--Deut. Rabba 4.
Arginutin is the name of the demon who has dominion over bathing places.--Gen. Rabba 63.
Demons could not exist on earth while the Mishkan stood.--Numb. Rabba 12.
Man is above everything--even over demons he can have dominion--but when he falls (by sin), dominion is given over him.--Numb. Rabba 11.
The priestly benediction in which occur the words וישמרך 'and keep thee,' refers to security from injury by demons.--Numb. Rabba 11.
A woman once sent her child to fetch her a candle. On his way to do her bidding a demon met him, and was about to inflict injury on him, when lo and behold a cock crowed, announcing the approaching dawn. The demon not only desisted from his pernicious intention, but told the child to inform his mother of the fact that if it were not for the dawn of the day he would not have returned to tell the tale.--Levit. Rabba 5.
Let no man disregard God's behests; they were the wisdom of Solomon, and his safeguard, but as soon as he lost hold of them, terror was his portion, and he was terrified by fear of demons.--Exod. Rabba 30.
The men of the Tower of Babel were divided into three sections in their work and were punished with three different punishments. One section became demons, another had their language confused, and the third were 'cast about.'--Midr. Psalms 1.
When Esau is styled the 'hairy man,' this indicates that he was a demon. The name of demons is 'hairy ones.' 1--Gen. Rabba 65.
That demons themselves do not enjoy immunity from injury by other demons, the following story will illustrate. Rabbi Abba b. Dowsa passed by a well, when he was addressed by a demon, who solicited his and his pupils' help to ward off the attack of a more fierce demon. The demon suggested that the Rabbi and his disciples need do no more than meet at the place, i.e. the well, and when the attacking demon made his appearance his opponent would say to him, 'See that
there is a number of men waiting to take your life,' and he would become so cowed that he would be slain with ease. And so it actually happened.--Midr. Psalms 20.
The following is an instance where a demon rendered excellent service to the Jewish community. Diokletian, when he was tending a herd of pigs, was invariably persecuted by Jewish children, who never missed an opportunity of throwing missiles at him. When he rose to the dignity of king he was bent on having revenge on the Rabbis, who, he supposed, were those who had persecuted him when he and they were but boys. He sent a letter to them late on a Friday to appear before him on the following morning, well knowing that the message would not reach them in time to allow them to make preparation for their appearance without interference with the evening hymn of the Sabbath. Rabbi Samuel, son of Nachmon, meeting Rabbi Judah Hanasi in the bathing house, saw that he was very sad, and on inquiry, he was told of the sudden summons to the unfriendly king.
Whilst they were conversing, Arginiton, the demon who has dominion over the bathing house, was dancing before them. Rabbi Judah Hanasi, not knowing him, and not being in a mood for dancing, was about to rebuke him, but he was prevented by his colleague (Rabbi Samuel) from doing so. But Rabbi Samuel himself addressed Arginiton, telling him that there was trouble in the community. The demon assured them that all would be well with them and they need not sadden their Sabbath.
When the Sabbath was over Arginiton laid hold of the Rabbis and placed them at the gate of the king's palace. When the latter was informed of their presence he ordered the gates to be fastened, lest the visitors should step inside and afterwards plead that they were there in good time, but had to wait for admission; but
as the gate was being fastened the demon placed the Rabbis within. When the king was informed of this amazing fact, he concluded that miracles were performed for them, and when they came before him, his anger was considerably softened. Instead of dealing hardly with them, he began to converse about olden times, asking how it was that they used to treat him so contemptuously. They answered, Diokletian the swineherd was treated indifferently, but for Diokletian the great king there can be nothing but the utmost respect. The king dismissed them with a mild rebuke.--Gen. Rabba 63.
Demons offered their services to King Solomon in the erection of the Temple.--Song of Songs Rabba 1.
25:1 See Dr. Ludwig Philipsohn's Prophet Jeschajah, cap. 13.