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The destroying angel or angel of death in the Hebrew Bible is an entity sent out by Yahweh on several occasions to kill enemies of the Israelites. In 2 Samuel 24:15, he kills the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In I Chronicles 21:15, the same "angel of the Lord" is seen by David to stand "between the earth and the heaven, with a drawn sword in his hand stretched out against Jerusalem." Later, in II Kings 19:35, the angel kills 185,000 men of Sennacherib's Assyrian army, thereby saving Hezekiah's Jerusalem.

The angel (malak) is referred to under various terms, including Mashḥit, meaning "destroyer" (pron. mash-heet(h) or -kheet(h)) (Mashchit(h), מַשְׁחִית and Ha-Mashchit(h)/Ha-Mashḥit, הַמַשְׁחִית), "destroying angel" (מַלְאָך הַמַשְׁחִית, malak ha-mashḥit or in the plural מַשְׁחִיתִים, mashchitim/mashchithim/mashḥitim—"spoilers, ravagers"), Angel of the Lord, (מְמִיתִים, memitim—"executioners", "slayers") is found in Job 33:22 and in Proverbs 16:14 in the plural, "Messengers of death".

In Judaism, such angels might be seen as created by one's sins. As long a person lives, God allows him to repent. But after death, the angels of destruction are allowed to execute the sentence proclaimed in the heavenly court.[1] Further, they feature as tormentors in Gehinnom.[2]

Mashchith was also used as an alternate name for one of the seven compartments of Gehenna.[3]

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ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Israel Meir (ha-Kohen) Above All Else: The Chofetz Chaim on Torah Study : Collected from His Writings, Band 1 Feldheim Publishers, 2005 ISBN 9781583308004 p. 112
  2. ^ Simcha Paull Raphael Jewish Views of the Afterlife Rowman & Littlefield, 22.04.2019 ISBN 978-1-538-10346-3 p. 150
  3. ^ Boustan, Ra'anan S.; Reed, Annette Yoshiko, eds. (2004). Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521121774.

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