Queen of the demons is Lilith, long-haired and winged.1 She is supposed to have been the first wife of Adam. She had been one of the wives of Sammael, but of a wild, heroic and passionate nature she left her spouse and joined Adam. From their union issued the demons or Shedim, who rode about in the world as wicked spirits, persecute and plague men, and bring upon them illness, disease, and other sufferings.
Lilith, like Adam, had been created from the dust (Adamah) of the earth. But as soon as she had joined Adam they began to quarrel, each refusing to be subservient and Submissive to the other. "I am your lord and master," spoke Adam, "and it is your duty to obey me." But Lilith replied: "We are both equal, for we are both issued from dust (Adamah), and I will not be submissive to you." And thus they quarrelled and none would give in. And when Lilith saw this she spoke the Ineffable Name of the Creator and soared up into the air. Thereupon Adam stood in prayer before the Creator and thus he spake: " O Lord of the Universe, the woman Thou hast given me has fled from me."
And the Holy One, blessed be His name, sent at once three angels whose names were Senoi, Sansenoi, and Sammangelof, to fetch and bring Lilith back to Adam. He ordered them to tell her to return, and if he refused to obey then a hundred of her offspring would die daily. The three afore-mentioned angels followed Lilith, and they found her in the midst of the sea, on the mighty waves (which were once to drown the Egyptians).
They communicated to her the command of the Eternal, but she refused to return. And the angels spake to this rebel, this she-demon: "We will drown thee in the sea." But she made answer: "Know ye not that I have been created for the purpose of weakening and punishing little children, infants and babes. I have power over them from the day they are born until they are eight days old if they are boys, and until the twentieth day if they are girls." And when the three angels heard her speech they wished to drown her by force, but she begged them to let her live, and they gave in. She swore to them in the name of the living God that whenever she came and saw the names or images or faces of these three angels, Senoi, Sansenoi, and Sammangelof, upon an amulet or cameo in the room where there was an infant, she would not touch it. But because she did not return to Adam, every day a hundred of her own children or spirits and demons die.
The legend of Lilith and the message of the three angels is found in several sources of Rabbinical lore in some of which it is quoted from the Alphabetum Siracidis.2
The book known as the Sefer Rasiel describes the formula to be written upon amulets or cameos and to be placed in the rooms where there are new-born babes. It refers to Lilith as the first Eve, and conjurers her in the name of the three angels and the angel of the sea to whom she had sworn not to harm the babes in whose rooms she found written on paper the names of the three angels.3
Lilith is thus a female night demon, and is also known under the name of Meyalleleth or the howling one.
The she-demon Makhlath (the dancer) and her daughter Agrath4 are two female demons who live in strife with Lilith. Lilith is accompanied by four hundred and eighty hosts of evil spirits and destroying angels, and she is constantly howling. Makhlath is accompanied by four hundred and seventy-eight hosts of evil spirits. She and her daughter Agrath, from the Zend word Agra = beating, are in constant enmity with Lilith.
Constant war is waged between them, and they meet on the day of atonement. Whilst they are thus engaged in quarrel and strife, the prayers of Israel ascend to Heaven, whilst the accusers are absent, being otherwise enaged.5
Agrath commands hosts of evil spirits and demons, and rides in a big chariot. Her power is pararnount on Wednesdays and Saturdays, for on these days Agrath, the daughter of Makhlath, roves about in the air accompanied by eighteen myriads of evil spirits.6
1. Niddah, 16b; Erubin, 100b.
2. Alphabetum Siracidis (Sepher Ben Sira), edit. Steinschneider, 1858. See on Lilith. Gaster, in Monatsschrift fuer Gesch. u. Wissenschaft d. Judent., Vol. XXIX (1880), pp. 553-555.
3. Elia Levita, Tishbi s.v. Lilith.
4. Pesachim, 112b; Numbers Rabba, 12.
5. Yalkut Chadash, s.v. Keshaphim, No. 56.
6. Pesachim, 112b.
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