- (Aeshma, Ashmedai, Ashmodai, Asmoday, Asmodius, Hasmoday, Sydonay)The DEMON of lust, the third of the SEVEN DEADLY SINS, and of jealousy, anger, and revenge, and the 32nd of the 72 SPIRITS OF SOLOMON.Asmodeus’ chief objectives are to prevent intercourse between husband and wife, wreck new marriages, and force husbands to commit adultery. He is also one of the chief demons involved in cases of POSSESSION. Throughout history, he has been regarded as one of the most evil of SATAN’s infernal demons. He is usually portrayed as having three heads, those of an ogre, a ram, and a bull, all sexually licentious creatures; having the feet of a cock, another sexually aggressive creature; and having wings and the tail of a SERPENT. He rides on a dragon and breathes fire.Asmodeus has his roots in ancient Persia. His name is derived from AESHMA, one of the seven archangels, or amarahspands, of Persian mythology. The Hebrews absorbed him into their mythology, where he attained the highest status and most power of all his legends. According to the Hebrews, he is the son of Naamah and Shamdon. Prior to his fall from heaven, he was part of the seraphim, the highest order of ANGELs. In other Hebrew legends, he is either associated with or the husband of LILITH, the demon queen of lust. Sometimes he is said to be the offspring of Lilith and Adam.The book of Tobit tells how Asmodeus lusted after a young woman named Sarah and killed each of her seven husbands before the marriages could be consummated. With an eighth suitor, Tobias, in her life, Sarah prayed to God for help. God sent down the archangel Raphael, who instructed Tobias in how to make an incense of the heart and liver of a glanos fish, which would drive away Asmodeus. After Tobias and Sarah were married, Asmodeus appeared in their wedding chamber to kill Tobias, but the incense forced him to flee. He went to Egypt, but Raphael tracked him down and bound him.According to the pseudepigraphical Testament of Solomon, Asmodeus lives in the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major). He spreads the wickedness of men, plots against newlyweds, spreads madness about women through the stars, ruins the beauty of virgins, and commits murders. He is forever thwarted by Raphael and the smoking liver and gall of a fish, especially the sheatfish, which lives in Assyrian rivers. He has knowledge of the future. Asmodeus is taken into the presence of King SOLOMON by the Prince of Demons, BEELZEBUB. Sullen, arrogant, and defiant, he tells the king he was born of a human mother and an angel father. He also says that Solomon will have only a temporary hold over the demons; his kingdom eventually will be divided, and demons will go out again among men and will be worshipped as gods because humans will not know the names of the angels who thwart the demons. He admits that he is afraid of water. Solomon binds Asmodeus with care. He orders the demon to be flogged and orders him to state his activities. Asmodeus says, “I am the renowned Asmodeus; I cause the wickedness of men to spread throughout the world. I am always hatching plots against newlyweds; I mar the beauty of virgins and cause their hearts to grow cold. . . . I spread madness about women through the stars and I have often committed a rash of murders.” Solomon puts him in IRON chains and surrounds him with 10 jars full of water, which make the demon complain bitterly. Asmodeus is forced to make clay vessels for the temple. Solomon also burns the liver and gall of a fish and a branch of storax beneath the demon, quelling his nasty tongue.Solomon uses his magic ring to force Asmodeus and other demons to build his magnificent temple. After its completion, Solomon tells Asmodeus that he cannot understand why demons are so powerful when he, their leader, could be so easily chained. Asmodeus says he will prove his greatness if Solomon will remove his chains and lend him the magical ring. Solomon does so, only to be hurled far away from Jerusalem. Asmodeus steals the ring, forces Solomon into exile, and becomes king himself. He throws the ring into the sea. But Solomon’s lover, the Ammonite Namah, finds the ring in a fish belly, and the king regains his power. He is immediately transported to Jerusalem when he puts on the ring. As punishment, he puts Asmodeus in a jar. Asmodeus was absorbed into Christian lore, becoming one of the Devil’s leading agents of provocation. Witches were said to worship him, and magicians and sorcerers attempted to conjure him to strike out at enemies. GRIMOIRES of magical instruction sternly admonish anyone seeking an audience with Asmodeus to summon him bareheaded out of respect. JOHANN WEYER said Asmodeus rules gambling houses.According to the Lemegton, a major grimoire, Asmodeus is the “first and chiefest” under AMAYMON and goes before all other demons. He gives the ring of virtues and teaches arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and all handicrafts. When properly summoned, he gives full and true answers to all questions. He can make a person invisible and will reveal all treasures under the guard of Amaymon. He was one of the infernal agents blamed for the obscene sexual possession of the Louviers nuns in 17thcentury France (see Louviers possessions).FURTHER READING:- Henson, Mitch, ed. Lemegeton: The Complete Lesser Key of Solomon. Jacksonville, Fla.: Metatron Books, 1999.- Hyatt, Victoria, and Joseph W. Charles. The Book of Demons. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974.- The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Vol. 1 & 2. Edited by James H. Charlesworth. 1983. Reprint, New York: Doubleday, 1985.
Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology. Rosemary Ellen Guiley. 2009.