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MASTEMA (Heb. מַשְׂטֵמָה), the name of the devil in the Book of *Jubilees. He is there identical with Satan and on one occasion the author speaks also (1:20) about spirits of Belial. Like other works originating in the broader movement within which the Dead Sea Sect came into existence, the Book of Jubilees is characterized by a dualistic trend, and in it the devil Mastema plays a great role, being the opponent of the forces of righteousness. He is the chief of evil spirits. After the flood a tenth part of his spirits received permission from God to execute the power of his will on the sons of men and the other nine parts were imprisoned in the place of condemnation. Not God, but Mastema caused Abraham's testing by proposing that God should require Abraham to sacrifice Isaac in order to test his love and obedience. He, and not God, sought to slay Moses on his return to Egypt at the lodging place (Ex. 4:24) and he also helped the Egyptian sorcerers against Moses and slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.

The name is found in Hosea 9:7, 8 as a common noun meaning "enmity." It was not translated in the Greek version of the Book of Jubilees but transcribed in Greek characters, and thus it came into the Latin and Ethiopian versions of the book. But the normal meaning of the name is seen in the term "the prince of the Mastemah" (sar ha-Mastemah) in the same book, meaning also "the prince of enmity." The same title occurs in its Hebrew original in the introduction of the medieval Hebrew Book of Asaph the Physician in the same context as Mastema in Jubilees chapter 10, an additional indication that this introduction depends on a Hebrew Book of Noah written by an ancient Jewish author from the same circles as those in which the Book of Jubilees originated. Mastema, i.e., the Satan, is also mentioned in the (Greek) Acts of Philip chapter 13 (Acta Apostalorum Apocrypha, 2 (1903), 7). The common noun mastema occurs in the Dead Sea Scrolls in connection with Belial, another name of the Satan frequent in the Dead Sea Scrolls and similar literature, where he is also named "the angel of Mastema." Thus the term is typical of the whole dualistic trend in ancient Jewish literature.


R.H. Charles (ed.), The Book of Jubilees (1902), 80 n. 8; S. Muntner, Mavo le-Sefer Asaf ha-Rofe (1957), 149; M. Baillet, J.T. Milik, and R. de Vaux, Les petites grottes de QumrḌn (1962), 135; J. Licht (ed.), Megillat ha-Serakhim (1965), 93; J.M. Allegro, Qumran Cave, 4 (1968), 70.

[David Flusser]

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