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Samael (also Sammael) is an important archangel in Talmudic and post-Talmudic lore, as well as Christian folklore and demonology, a figure who is accuser, seducer, and destroyer. He has been regarded as both good and evil. In rabbinic lore he is identified as the chief of Satans and the Angel of death. In the Secrets of Enoch (Enoch II) he is a prince of demons and a magician. He was a guardian angel of Esau and a patron of the sinful empire of Rome. Samael is usually considered to be the true angelic name of Satan. The etymology of his name is sometimes thought to be a combination of "sam," and in some combinations 'poison', and "el," meaning 'God'; thus he is the poison of God.
In Jewish lore, Samael is said to be the Angel of Death, the chief ruler of the Fifth Heaven and one of the seven regents of the world served by two million angels; he resides in the Seventh Heaven. Yalkut I, 110 of the Talmud speaks of Samael as Esau's guardian angel. In Sotah 10b, Samael is Edom's guardian angel, and in the Sayings of Rabbi Eliezer, he is charged with being the one who tempted Eve, then seduced and impregnated her with Cain. Though some sources identify Gadreel as the angel that seduced Eve, other Hebrew scholars say that it was Samael who tempted Eve in the guise of the Serpent. Samael is also sometimes identified as being the angelic antagonist who wrestled with Jacob, and also the angel who held back the arm of Abraham as he was about to sacrifice his son.
In The Holy Kabbalah (p. 255), Samael is described as the "severity of God," and is listed as fifth of the archangels of the world of Briah. Samael is said to have taken Lilith as his bride after she left Adam. According to Zoharistic cabala, Samael was also mated with Eisheth Zenunium, Naamah, and Agrat Bat Mahlat - all angels of prostitution.
Samael is sometimes confused in some books with Camael, an archangel of God, whose name means "He who sees God."
In other traditions
In the Apocryphon of John, found in the Nag Hammadi library, Samael is the third name of the evil demiurge, whose other names are Yaldabaoth and Saklas. In this context, Samael means "the blind god", the theme of blindness running throughout gnostic works. He is born out of the error of Sophia, who desires to create offspring of her own without the Spirit. His appearance is that of a lion-faced serpent. In On the Origin of the World in the Nag Hammadi library texts, he is also referred to as Ariael.
Bunson, Matthew, (1996). Angels A to Z : A Who's Who of the Heavenly Host. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-517-88537-9.
Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels. Free Press. ISBN 0-02-907052-X
Bamberger, Bernard Jacob, (March 15, 2006). Fallen Angels: Soldiers of Satan's Realm. Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 0-8276-0797-0 Cruz, Joan C. (1999). Angels and Devils. Tan Books & Publishers. ISBN 0-89555-638-3.
Jung, Leo (1925). "Fallen Angels in Jewish, Christian and Mohammedan Literature. A Study in Comparative Folk-Lore", published in four parts in The Jewish Quarterly Review, New Ser.
Vol. 15, No. 4 (Apr., 1925), pp. 467-502, doi:10.2307/1451739
Vol. 16, No. 1 (Jul., 1925), pp. 45-88, doi:10.2307/1451748
Vol. 16, No. 2 (Oct., 1925), pp. 171-205, doi:10.2307/1451789
Vol. 16, No. 3 (Jan., 1926), pp. 287-336, doi:10.2307/1451485