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Samael – Is He Good Or Evil?

 

By James Donahue

There are many different ways of describing the spirit Samael. In Hebrew literature he is said to be both good and evil. He is said to be the angel of death, the chief angel of the fifth heaven but also acts as an accuser, seducer and destroyer. How can this be?

Some Jewish lore insists that Samael remains one of God’s servants even though he appears to want to tempt men to do evil things. Is he then a purifier? Does he sift the wheat from the chaff when it comes to deciding who is good and who is among the damned on Earth?

Old stories even suggest that it was Samael who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. They would go so far as to suggest that Samael is in reality, Satan. But if he is Satan, how can he still be in God’s good graces?

There is an interesting description of Samael that appears in The Legend of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg. In a chapter titled “The Ascension of Moses” there is a vision by Moses described as follows:

“There was another angel in the Seventh Heaven, different in appearance from all the others, and of frightful mien. His height was so great it would have taken five hundred years to cover a distance equal to it, and from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet he was studded with glaring eyes, at the sight of which the beholder fell prostrate in awe. ‘This one,’ said Metatron, addressing Moses, ‘is Samael, who takes the soul away from man.’”

The Kabbala describes Samael as “the severity of God” and lists him as the fifth archangel of the world of Briah.

Another odd story states that Samael took Lilith as his bride after Adam abandoned her for Eve. Samael also was said to have mated with Eisheth Zenunim, Na’amah and Agrat Bat Mahlat, all angels of sacred prostitution.

The Gnostics believe the very name Samael means “the blind god,” suggesting an explanation as to how this angel gets away with so much evil in front of the Creator. They say his appearance is that of a lion-faced serpent.

So if he exists, is Samael a “prince of demons” or a powerful archangel? There are many secrets still hidden from us in the spirit world.