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  • A good example is the demon mastema ... which would result simply following a tradition rather than learning to resolve and remedy as the judicious normally do.

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  • A demon with the mission of tempting men to sin and accusing them before the Throne of God. He is said to have helped the Egyptian sorcerers achieve their wonders and urged the Egyptians to pursue after the children of Israel.

    The term is sometimes used in the plural, which indicates that there was a class of 'the Mastema' as well as one prince, Mastema.

    The portrayal of Mastema is not always consistent. Sometimes he also is also presented as the incarnate of evil. He is seen as a destroyer and as one who hates Israel.

    His actions and name indicate he is Satan, the 'Adversary', but much more the Satan who appears in the book of Job with a function to fulfill under God than the Satan of later tradition who is the uttermost enemy of God. Beliar, mentioned twice in Jubilees, is likely to be identical with Mastema in this work.

    When God is ready to destroy all these demons after the flood and Noah prays that his descendants be released from their attacks, Mastema intervenes, beseeching God to allow him to retain and control one tenth of these demons in order to exercise his authority because they are "intended to corrupt and lead astray before my judgement because the evil of the sons of men is great". So Mastema is the tester of humans with God's permission.

    (from Mystical Creature A Day)

    May 30, 2008