I saw an article claiming rabbinic literature spoke of Solomon controlling angels and demons. I'm not sure of the truth to the claim and was wanting to know if there are any rabbinic sources which claim this.


3 Answers 3


Yes. For example, Exodus Rabbah (30:16)

וכמה רוחות ושדים כבש שלמה

And Solomon captured numerous spirits and demons.

There is also a lengthy passage in Gittin 68a about Solomon and demons, that begins:

I gat me sharim and sharoth, and the delights of the sons of men, Shidah and shidoth. (Eccl. II. 8) 'Sharim and Sharoth', means diverse kinds of music; 'the delights of the sons of men' are ornamental pools and baths. 'Shidah and shidoth': Here [in Babylon] they translate as male and female demons. In the West [Palestine] they say [it means] carriages.

R. Johanan said: There were three hundred kinds of demons in Shihin, but what a shidah is I do not know.

The Master said: Here they translate 'male and female demons'.

  • 1
    You may be interested in Kohelet Rabbah to 2:8 which gives a further interpretation to Sharim, Sharot, Shiddah, Shiddot: "עשיתי לי שרים ושרות" משוררים זכרים משוררות נקבות. "שדה ושדות", דיינין זכרים ודיינות נקבות.
    – Double AA
    Nov 10, 2016 at 3:49
  • @DoubleAA Interesting. Related: seforim.blogspot.com/2012/02/….
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 10, 2016 at 3:51
  • Ebn Ezra also is interesting
    – kouty
    Nov 10, 2016 at 5:38
  • The pseudepigraphical text "The Testament of Solomon" deals entirely with this question, and lists by name the demons Solomon purportedly brought under his control. The text's authorship, however, is disputed, and its source is possibly Greek. One translation: esotericarchives.com/solomon/testamen.htm
    – mttpgn
    Nov 10, 2016 at 8:43
  • @mttpgn Very interesting!
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 10, 2016 at 16:47

The Agada says he used demons

Gittin 68a:

R`Johanan said: There were three hundred kinds of demons in Shihin, but what a shidah is I do not know. The Master said: Here they translate 'male and female demons'. For what did Solomon want them? - As indicated in the verse, And the house when it was in building was made of stone made ready at the quarry, [there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building]; He said to the Rabbis, How shall I manage [without iron tools]? - They replied, There is the shamir which Moses brought for the stones of the ephod. He asked them, Where is it to be found? - They replied, Bring a male and a female demon and tie them together; perhaps they know and will tell you. So he brought a male and a female demon and tied them together. They said to him, We do not know, but perhaps Ashmedai the prince of the demons knows. He said to them, Where is he? - They answered, He is in such-and-such a mountain. He has dug a pit there, which he fills with water and covers with a stone, which he then seals with his seal. Every day he goes up to heaven and studies in the Academy of the sky and then he comes down to earth and studies in the Academy of the earth, and then he goes and examines his seal and opens [the pit] and drinks and then closes it and seals it again and goes away. Solomon thereupon sent thither Benaiahu son of Jehoiada, giving him a chain on which was graven the [Divine] Name and a ring on which was graven the Name and fleeces of wool and bottles of wine. Benaiahu went and dug a pit lower down the hill and let the water flow into it and stopped [the hollow] With the fleeces of wool, and he then dug a pit higher up and poured the wine into it and then filled up the pits. He then went and sat on a tree. When Ashmedai came he examined the seal, then opened the pit and found it full of wine. He said, it is written, Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whosoever erreth thereby is not wise, and it is also written, Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the understanding. I will not drink it. Growing thirsty, however, he could not resist, and he drank till he became drunk, and fell asleep. Benaiahu then came down and threw the chain over him and fastened it. When he awoke he began to struggle, whereupon he [Benaiahu] said, The Name of thy Master is upon thee, the Name of thy Master is upon thee. As he was bringing him along, he came to a palm tree and rubbed against it and down it came. He came to a house and knocked it down. He came to the hut of a certain widow. She came out

See this link , if you read hebrew see this

  • How come he was allowed to do this? Is this a good thing or might it be considered magic and divination?
    – ezra
    Nov 10, 2016 at 4:59
  • @EzraHoerster Note that this is an aggadic passage; not a halakhic one...
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 10, 2016 at 7:26

Although he was not a rabbi, Josephus the Jewish historian of the first century says the following in Antiquities of the Jews viii. 2, section 5:

God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons, which is a science useful and sanative to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return; and this method of cure is of great force unto this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: He put a ring that had a Foot of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he abjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed. And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man; and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly.


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