What is the Testament of Solomon?

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By BibleAsk Team


What is the Testament of Solomon?

The Testament of Solomon is a pseudepigraphal work ascribed to King Solomon. Christians don’t consider it part of the Canon because its content doesn’t agree with inspired books of the Bible. Also, Jewish scholars considered it merely fictional. The Testament of Solomon was written between the third and fifth centuries, around 1,500 years after King Solomon. In this exploration, we delve into the origins, contents, and reasons behind the exclusion of the Testament of Solomon from the biblical canon.

The Testament of Solomon was initially written in the Greek language and includes many theological and magical themes ranging from Christianity and Judaism to Greek mythology and astrology. Most of the text consisted of Solomon’s encounters with demons, some of which are grotesque, including one which has no head.

Unbiblical Content 

The Testament of Solomon included many fictional stories. One of these told how Solomon built his temple by ordering demons through a magical ring that the archangel Michael gave to him. The story started when a demon by the name Ornias harassed a young man by sucking out his vitality through the thumb on his right hand. So, Solomon prayed to God on behalf of the young man and got from the archangel Michael a magic ring with God’s seal (in the form of a pentagram) on it.    

This ring empowered the king to order the demons to obey him. So, Solomon gave the ring to the young man who, by throwing the ring at the demon Ornias, stamped him with the seal and caused him to be under his control. Then, Solomon ordered the demon Ornias to take the ring and similarly imprint the prince of demons, Beelzebul. With Beelzebul under his control, the king ordered all the demons to build the temple.     

In addition, the Testament of Solomon told that the decan demons claimed responsibility for different sicknesses, and they provided magical treatments by which they may be cured.  The most Christian tone found in the text was when King Solomon met with the demon Ephippas. While working on the temple, Solomon asked Ephippas by what angel he was thwarted. The demon answered that the only thing that can truly defeat him is a man that will be born of a virgin and then be crucified on a cross by the Jews. Yet, the Bible teaches clearly that Jesus was certainly not an angel but the Son of God (John 1:1-3).

Also, the Greek tone in the Testament of Solomon is very clear, which is rooted in astrology for the demons were associated with various stars and constellations. This was seen when Solomon’s encountered seven demons, who were sisters. These described their home among the stars and Mount Olympus. The seven demon-sisters represented the Pleiades of Greek mythology and their astrological relationship.  Solomon also met a female demon by the name Obizuth, who had no limbs and a head with disheveled hair. It was believed that she represented Medusa or a gorgon-like creature from Greek mythology.  

In addition, the Testament of Solomon recorded that the demon Enepsigos told the king during the temple’s building that he can take three different physical forms, one of which being the Greek Titan Kronos. Enepsigos had a triple-faced woman akin to Hecate and is likewise astrologically associated with the sphere of the moon. The Babylonian Talmud (in Gittin 68) recorded a similar encounter where Solomon enslaved Ashmedai, a demon prince, to build the Temple, and he was cast out for some time by him. 

A Warning 

Clearly, the Bible warned the believers against accepting the stories and doctrines of demons. Paul wrote, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Modern spiritualism, a popular example of the “doctrines of devils,” is simply a revival of the demon worship and witchcraft of the past.

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