🔼The name Baal-zebub: Summary
- Lord Of The Fly, Lord Of The Flies
- From (1) the verb בעל (ba'al), to be lord, and (2) the noun זבוב (zebub), fly.
🔼The name Baal-zebub in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Baal-zebub
The name Baal-zebub consists of two parts. Firstly the common Hebrew word Baal, meaning owner, husband:
The verb בעל (ba'al) means to exercise dominion over; to own, control or be lord over. The ubiquitous noun בעל (ba'al) means lord, master and even husband, and its feminine counterpart בעלה (ba'ala) means mistress or landlady.
God is obviously called 'lord' all over the Bible and the sin of the Baal priests (1 Kings 18:40) was not that they called upon some other deity but rather their incessant howling of the word 'lord' without any further responsibility or effects (see Matthew 7:21 and 11:4-5).
The second part of the name Baal-zebub is the noun זבוב (zebub), meaning fly:
The verb זבב (zbb) means to zip aimlessly to and fro. Noun זבוב (zebub) describes the fly.
Baal-zebub literally means Lord Of The Fly (although Hebrew uses a singular form where in English a plural would be proper: Lord Of The Flies) but in effect it means Chaos Maker.
Since flies do not acknowledge authority this name is an empty title, and a good look at the behavior of flies may yield some insights in the workings of evil:
God's empire is like that of bees (the Hebrew word for bee, deborah is the feminine version of the masculine dabar, 'Word', Logos in Greek); bees have a house, like flowers and help them reproduce, make honey, speak a language, care for offspring, and are armed. Satan's 'empire' is like flies; flies are homeless, don't cooperate, like dung and decaying flesh, make nothing, speak no language, don't care for their offspring, are not armed.
This name is a beautiful illustration of the core difference between God and satan, between the saved and the lost. The people that are saved, in the Biblical sense of the word, are part of an intertwined collection of souls called the Body of Christ. This Body is again a life form but of a higher plain; it's a singular entity with its own personality and spirit, and this mystery may perhaps be understood when we realize that every human being is in fact a huge colony of billions of single-cellular creatures. All these cells have at their core the same genetic blueprint, just like all members of the Body of Christ have the Word as their core. And just like these colonies that we are, have the single personality and single soul we identify ourselves with, so does the Bride of Christ.
The lost, however, are not connected, although they may readily huddle up and imagine they are united. The lost care only about themselves, like flies that scurry around on a carcass, and engage in business and science and the pursuit of happiness just like the saved. But the lost do not form an amalgamation with a single soul. Satan is called the ruler of this latter group, but since the group does not subject to a central rule, he can only cause greater chaos.
Also see our article on the pseudo-name Lucifer.