Devil (from the Greek word διαβολοξ (diábolos), which means "one who throws things around" in the sense of creating the chaos, or "slanderer" in the sense of name-calling or "throwing" false accusations), is the name given to the unseen personification of evil.
By causing chaos, the devil leads people away from God and sometimes even to curse God.
The word has its origins with the early Hebrews during the Exodus from Egypt. The local religions they encountered when they entered into Canaan included tales of the demon spirits (sa ir שעירים, "hairy ones" or "saytrs", Isaiah 13:21) of the desert, whose influence could be averted due to sacrifice. Despite being told to "...put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD," (Joshua 24:14) many had accepted this superstition and sacrificed goats on the Canaanite and other altars. From this came the Herew word ha-satan שָׂטָן, the root word of "Satan".
Other names for the devil
There are many pseudonyms used for the Devil, sometimes to clarify his nature and other times with the effect of obscuring his evil:
- Beelzebub (Hebrew: ba'al zevuv בעל זבוב; "Lord of the Flies")
- Baphomet, originally a Templar image, portrayed by a goat-headed man
- the Prince of Darkness
- Old Nick, from a character in The Devil and Tom Walker
- Pazuzu, ancient Sumerian and Babylonian demon-god, best known for its appearance in the film The Exorcist (1973).