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And when the Pharisees heard this they said, “This [man] does not cast out demons except by Beelzebul

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the chief of the demons.”


When the Pharisees heard what the people were saying they responded by saying, “The only way this man can cast out demons is if he is aligned with the ruler of the demons.”



Neither Beelzeboul nor Beelzebub means “Prince of demons;” that is an explanatory title. Also, this was used by the Pharisees in this passage as a reference to Satan.

Beelzebub meant “lord of the flies.” In my opinion it was not a mockery of an ancient deity for there appear to have been three ancient deities with that title. One of them is found in the story of II Kings 1:2 where King Ahaziah sent messengers to inquire of the god of Ekron named Baalzebub, the “Lord over the flies.” In what way was this god the Lord over the flies? He could supposedly send flies against his enemies or keep them away from his loyal adherents. There was a Greek god named Zeus Apomuios, the “fly-averting god” and his Roman equivalent named Myiagros, “the fly catcher” who had the same power. We must remember that plagues of flies could be severe in ancient times.

Beelzeboul is the form used in this verse and in verse 27; it meant “Lord of dung or Lord of filth.” I find no evidence for an ancient god actually bearing the title “Lord of dung.” It appears to have been an alternate spelling of the ancient Fly-god and was used by the Jews as a reference to Satan who controls all the vile, filthy, defiled and ugly aspects of the spirit world. Hence the title Prince of Demons. It does not fit the context of this passage for the Pharisees to be mocking any deity, rather they were serious in their accusation against Jesus. The Pharisees were saying that the only way Jesus could send away demons was if he were connected to Satan, the evil power who controls vile and filthy things and can therefore send them away just like the Fly-god could send away the flies.


The common people were assuming Jesus must have come from God and must be the Messiah because of the obvious the work of the Spirit of God through Him. The Pharisees assumed there was no way Jesus was sent by God because He did not agree with them and did not acknowledge their leadership. Therefore they assumed that everything Jesus did that looked like a miracle was actually evidence of His connection to a false god or to evil spirits.