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orion Orion: Wicked Angels!
A search of the LXX/OG materials for <gk>aggel- ponhr-</> turns up two
key passages, which receive lots of attention from Christian patristic
Ps 77(78).49 -- God sent on the Egyptians (at the exodus) his anger...,
delivered through wicked angels (<gk>apostolhn di' aggelwn ponhrwn</>);
Isa 30.4 -- Pharaoh's officials in Tanis are wicked angels (? <gk>eisin en
Tanei arxhgoi aggeloi ponhroi</>).
Philo comments on the Psalm passage, and the idea of the disruptive
presence of "the wicked angel" (or perhaps, "the angel of wickedness") is
also attested in the early Two Ways material (Hermas, compare Barnabas,
and as already mentioned, see the DSS). The evidence seems ample for
assuming that the author of 2 Macc was familiar with the idea that wicked
angels existed, and that God might even send them in certain
circumstances. Perhaps that author (or the traditions reported) wished to
take no chances but to be specific in the request for a GOOD angel!
I wonder if there was a traditional prayer formula along these lines,
perhaps in contexts that were very conscious of the "wicked
Incidentally, my search of the TLG CD-ROM materials did not turn up any
non-Jewish or non-Christian authors in which <gk>anggel-</> and
<gk>ponhr-</> occurred in close proximity, in the 750 recorded hits.
Robert A. Kraft, Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
227 Logan Hall (Philadelphia PA 19104-6304); tel. 215 898-5827
> II Maccabees, in the only two passages at which it mentions angels as
> such (aggeloi), specifies "good angels". Namely, at II Macc 11:6 the
> Jews pray that God will send an agathos aggelos to save Israel, and at
> 15:22-23 reference is first made to the angel God sent to save Hezekiah,
> then a prayer is offered that God will now too send an aggelos agathos.
> Question: It seems to me superfluous to have to point out to God, that
> we want Him to send a good angel; why isn't "angel" enough? Does this
> bother anyone else? Know of parallels or explanation?
> Thank you,
> Danny Schwartz
> Hebrew University