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Midrash of Shemhazai and Azazel (Revised English)

Midrash of Shemhazai and Azazel (Revised English)



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Published by Jeremy Kapp
The midrash story of the two fallen angels of Genesis 6, revised English by Jeremy Kapp
The midrash story of the two fallen angels of Genesis 6, revised English by Jeremy Kapp

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Published by: Jeremy Kapp on Mar 25, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Midrash of Shemhazai and Azazel
-Revised English by Jeremy Kapp-
(1) R. Joseph was (once) asked what was the story of Shemhazai and Azazel, and he replied:When the generation of Enosh arose and practiced idolatry and when the generation of the Floodarose and corrupted their actions, the Holy One, Blessed be He, was grieved that He had createdman, as it is said, “And God repented that he created man, and He was grieved at his heart.(2) Sometime later, two angels arose, whose names were Shemhazai and Azazel, and said beforeHim: “O Lord of the universe, did we not say to You when You created Your world, ‘Do not createman?” As it is said, “What is man that You should remember him?” The Holy One, Blessed beHe, said to them: “Then what shall become of the world?” They said before Him. ‘‘We willsuffice’ (You) instead of it.’(3) He said, ‘‘It is revealed and (well known to me that if perhaps you had lived in that (earthly)world, the evil inclination would have ruled you just as much as it rules over the sons of man, butyou would be more stubborn than they.” They said before Him, “Give us Your sanction and let usdescend (and dwell) among the creatures and then You will see how we shall sanctify Your name”He said to them, “Descend and dwell among them.”(4) Immediately, the Holy One allowed the evil inclination to rule over them, as soon as theydescended. When they saw the daughters of man that they were beautiful they began to corruptthemselves with them, as it is said, “Then the sons of God saw the daughters of man,” they couldnot restrain their inclination.(5) Sometime later, Shemhazai saw a girl whose name was ‘Istehar; fixing his eyes at her he said:“Listen to my (request).” But she said to him: “I will not listen to you until you teach me theName by which you are enabled to ascend to heaven, as soon as You mention it.” He taught herthe unspeakable Name.(6) What did she do? She mentioned it and by which ascended to heaven. The Holy One said;“Since she has departed from sin, go and set her among the stars.’’ It is she who shines brightly inthe midst of the seven stars of the Pleiades; so that she may always be remembered. Immediately,the Holy One fixed her among the Pleiades.(7) When Shemhazai and Azazel saw this they took for them wives, and fathered children.Shemhazai begat two children, whose names were Ohya and ‘Hahya. And Azazel was appointedchief over all kinds of dyes and over all kinds of women’s ornaments by which they entice men tounclean thoughts of sin.(8) Immediately, Metatron sent a messenger to Shemhazai and said to him: “The Holy One isabout to destroy His world, and bring upon it a flood.” Shemhazai stood up and raised his voiceand wept aloud, for he was sorely troubled about his sons and (his own) iniquity. And he said:“How shall my children live, and what shall become of them, for each one of them eats daily a
thousand camels, a thousand horses, a thousand oxen, and all kinds (of other animals)?”(9) One night the sons of Shemhazai, Ohya and ‘Hahya, saw (visions) in (their) dreams, and bothof them saw a dream. One saw a great stone spread over the earth like a table, the whole of whichwas written over with lines (of writing). And an angel (was seen by him) descending from heavenwith a knife in his hand and be was erasing and obliterating all the lines, save one line with fourwords upon it.(10) The other (son) saw a garden, planted whole with (many) kinds of trees and (many) kinds of precious stones. And an angel (was seen by him) descending from heaven with an axe in his hand,and he was cutting down all the trees, so that there remained only one tree containing threebranches.(11) When they awoke from their sleep they arose in confusion, and, going to their father, theyrelated to him the dreams. He said to them: “The Holy One is about to bring a flood upon theworld, and to destroy it so that there will remain but one man and his three sons,” Upon that, theycried in anguish and wept, saying, “What shall become of us and how shall our names beperpetuated?” He said to them: “Do not trouble yourselves, for your names. Ohya and ‘Hahya,will never cease from the mouths of creatures, because every time that men lift (heavy) stones orboats, or anything similar, they will shout and call your names.” With this, their tempers cooleddown.(12) What did Shemhazai do? He repented and suspended himself between heaven and earth headdownwards and feet upwards, because he was not allowed to open his mouth before the Holy One,Blessed be He, and he still hangs between heaven and earth.(13) Azazel (however) did not repent. And he is appointed chief over all kinds of dyes which enticeman to commit sin and he still continues to corrupt them.(14) Therefore, when the Israelites used to bring sacrifices on the day of atonement, they cast onelot for the Lord that it might atone for the iniquities of the Israelites, and one lot for Azazel thathe might bear the burden of Israel’s iniquity. This is the Azazel that is mentioned in theScriptures.Leviticus 16:8
(New Living Translation)
He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the L
and whichwill carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel.

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