Obyzouth is a female Demon whose principal acts of evil are to kill newborn infants and cause others to be stillborn, making her comparable to the Lamiae and the offspring of Lilith.
In the Testament of Solomon, Obyzouth appears with disheveled hair and arrogantly refuses to answer questions until King Solomon has purified himself by washing his hands and has sat on his throne. The king complies. Obyzouth describes how she travels about every night, visiting women as they give birth and strangling their newborns. She is successful every night, going to even the remotest parts of Earth. She also injures eyes, condemns mouths, destroys minds, and makes bodies feel pain.
Obyzouth says Solomon cannot give her orders. However, she is thwarted by the archangel Raphael (see THWARTING Angels) and admits that she will flee to the “other world” (the realm of Demons) if women who are in labor write her name on a piece of parchment.
The horrified king has Obyzouth bound by her hair and hung in front of the Temple of Jerusalem, so that everyone who passes through will glorify the God of Israel, who has given Solomon command over the Demons.
Further Reading :
- The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. Vols. 1 & 2. Edited by James H. Charlesworth. 1983. Reprint, New York: Doubleday, 1985.