Mastema (Mastemah, Mansemat) is an Angel of evil, hostility, adversity, and destruction; the accuser; a prince of Demons and injustice. The proper name Mastema has the same root as the Hebrew noun that means “hostility,” its use in two references in the Old Testament (Hosea 9:7–8). According to lore, Mastema once was the Angel of the Lord who delivered the punishments of the Lord and became Demonized.
In 10 references in Qumran texts, Mastema is equated with Belial, whose purpose is to destroy. He also is described as existing between the Prince of Light and the Angel of Darkness and ruling the children of falsehood. He leads the children of righteousness astray. In Jubilees, Mastema is the only angel named and is equated with the Angel of Hostility. His origins are not explained, though he is equated with Satan and is the prince of evil beings who menace and harass humankind.
As a Satan, Mastema urges God to test Abraham with the sacrifice of his son, Isaac. Mastema also aids the Egyptians in opposition to Moses and tries to kill him. He helps the pharaoh’s magicians compete with Moses and Aaron. His Demons lead the sons of Noah astray to commit sin, idolatry, and pollution.
One legend holds that Mastema asked God to give him some Demons so that he might have power over humankind; God gave him one-tenth of the fallen ones to be under his command.
- Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. 2nd ed. Edited by Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van der Horst. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1999.