Sunday, March 9, 2008

King Solomon and Asmodeus

The Story of
King Solomon & Asmodeus
(Prince of the Devils)
Based on the Munich Codex of the Babylonian Talmud
(Gittin 68a-b)

"The Temple, while it was being built, was made of whole, draft stones. Yet, hammers and axes, or any instrument made of iron, was not to be heard in the Temple while it was being built." – (I Kngs. 6:7)

Solomon enquired of the Rabbis: "How should it be constructed?" They answered him: "There is the Naxian stone(Aramaic: shamira) that Moses brought for engraving the stones in the vest worn by the High Priest." He asked them: "Where is it found?" They replied: "Bring here, both, male and female demons,
[3] for they know of its whereabouts and they shall tell you."

He then went off and brought them, binding them together. They said to him: "We do not know where it is located, but perhaps Asmodeus, the Prince of the demons, knows." He asked them: "Where is he?" They said to him: "He is in a certain mountain, carving out a cistern, and filling it up with water, and covering it over again with cobble stones, and then sealing it with his seal. Each day he then goes up into the sky and learns a thing or two from the celestial school, and then comes down again to the earth and learns a thing or two from the terrestrial school, and then he returns to examine his seal that it has not been broken open, opens it himself, and drinks from it, and then covers it over again, putting his seal upon it, before dozing off to sleep."

Solomon sent for Benaiah, the son of Yehoiada. He gave to him a chain whereon was engraved the ineffable Name of G-d, and an anklet whereon was engraved the ineffable Name of G-d, and woolen yarns, and leathern bottles containing wine. He went and dug for himself a cistern beneath that which was made by Asmodeus, and drained out the water that was in the upper so that it emptied itself into the nether, and then clogged them up with the woolen yarns. He then went and carved out a cistern above the one made by Asmodeus, pouring therein wine which emptied into the other, and covering it over again. Thereupon, he went up and sat himself down in a tree. When he eventually came to examine his seal, he opened it and found that, instead of water, there was wine! He said, "It is written: 'Wine is a mocker, and strong drink is raging. He that is deceived thereby shall not become wise.' (Proverbs 20:1) It is, moreover, written: 'Whoredom, and wine, and new wine take away the heart.' (Hosea 4:11) I shall not drink of it!" When he thirsted, he could no longer hold back. He then reasoned, saying: " 'Wine maketh glad the heart of man, making the face radiant more than oil!' (Psalm 104:15) I shall drink of it!" He became drunk and fell into a stupor. Benaiah then came and cast upon him the chain, and locked it. When he awoke, he saw, to his dismay, that he was fettered in iron, and tried to break loose. Said to him Benaiah: "Thy Master's name is inscribed upon you! Thy Master's name is inscribed upon you!"

While he was taken away, and they were going along their journey, every tree that he approached, he'd brush himself up alongside it, and cast it down. Every house that he approached, he would cast it down. He reached the dwelling place of a certain poor, elderly woman, being but a sepulchre carved from the rock. She came out and began pleading with him that he not destroy her humble abode. He then bent down his great stature, breaking a bone within himself while doing so. Being awakened to a sense of his condition, he then recalled what was written about this in the scriptures: "A soft tongue will break a person's bone!" (Proverbs 25:15)

Asmodeus then saw a blind man who had erred as he walked along the road. He lifted the man up, and put him back on the right path. He also saw a drunkard that erred on the path. He lifted him up. He then saw a place where there was merry-making, wherein the people were exceedingly happy. But he began to cry. He then heard a certain man saying to a shoemaker, "Make me a pair of shoes that will last me for seven years!" Asmodeus began to laugh. He saw also a certain diviner that was divining for lost bread. Again, Asmodeus began to laugh.

When they finally reached their destination, they did not bring him into Solomon's presence until after three days. On the first day, Asmodeus said to them: "Why doesn't the king desire that I come unto him?" They answered him: "It is because he is constrained by overmuch drinking." He then took up a brick within his hand and laid it on top of another brick. They came and told the matter to Solomon. Solomon said to them: "Thus he is saying to you, 'Go! Give unto him even more drink!'" On the next day, they said to him: "He is constrained by overmuch eating." He then took away a brick from off another. They came and told the matter to Solomon. Solomon said to them: "Thus he is saying to you, 'Go! Diminish his intake of food!"

At the commencement of three days, he came before Solomon. Yet, in his hand, he had taken up a cane rod with which men are wont to measure, and measured therewith four cubits, throwing the cane down before the king. He said to the king: "Verily, this man has naught in this world save four cubits! (i.e. the grave) Were you not satisfied in conquering the whole world that you had to come and conquer me withal?!"

Solomon said to him: "I do not want from you anything. I only wish to build the Temple and stand in need of a Naxian stne." He answered the king: "It has not been delivered unto me, but rather, unto the Prince of the Sea
[4] it has been delivered. Yet, he has not given it to anybody, save unto the hoopoe bird, seeing that he is faithful in keeping his sworn oath. And what does he do with it? He takes the rare stone to those desolate mountains wherein there is no settlement of any kind, and lays it on the ledge of a mountain. This is the reason his name is translated by us in the Aramaic tongue, 'Mountain Carpenter,' [5] seeing that he will first cleave the mountains, and bring there seeds from other trees, and throw them therein, causing them to spring up in those places."

They searched for a nest of a hoopoe bird that had chicks, and when they had found one, they covered the nest over with a plate of translucent glass. She then came to her nest, seeking to go inside, but could not do so. She then went off, and returned with a Naxian stone, hoping to have it laid on top of it so as to cut the glass plate. Suddenly, someone shouted at her, and she dropped the rare stone. They took it up, and soon made their way back with their find. She, meanwhile, went off and hung herself at not being able to keep her sworn oath.

Benaiah, the son of Yehoiada, meanwhile enquired of Asmodeus, saying: "Tell me. All those things that you did when you astonied me by your conduct, what was the reason, when you saw that blind man who erred on the road, that you lifted him up and put him on the right path?" He answered: "It was because I heard them making a proclamation over him in heaven, saying that he was wholly a righteous man, and whoever gratifies his soul shall have a portion in the world to come."

"And what was the reason, when you saw that drunkard who erred on the path, that you lifted him up?" asked Benaiah. Answered Asmodeus: "It was because I heard them making a proclamation over him in heaven, saying that he was wholly a wicked man. Let him alone that he might eat the good of his labours in this world, for he has nothing else coming to him in the world to come!"

"And what was the reason, when you saw that merry-making, that you began to cry?" asked Benaiah. Answered Asmodeus: "It was because the man who had just been married, unawares of his plight, was to die within thirty days. His bride would perforce keep herself unwedded for thirteen years more, until she could be wedded again in a levirate marriage to the younger brother of her deceased husband, now but a child."

"And what is the reason, when you heard that man saying to a shoemaker, 'Make me a pair of shoes that will last me for seven years,' that you began to laugh?" Answered Asmodeus: "It was because that man had not even seven more days to live. What use, then, is it to him having shoes that will last him seven years?!"

"And what is the reason, when you saw that diviner, you began to laugh?" Answered Asmodeus: "It was because he was sitting upon a treasure trove of riches fit for a king, only to divine for something else which he assumed might be beneath him!"

King Solomon kept him under house arrest for that entire duration of time, restraining him from leaving until he had built the Temple. One day, he sat alone with Solomon in his palace. Solomon said to him, "It is written: 'He hath as it were the majestic strength of a rhino.' (Numbers 23:22)
[6] By way of allegorically expounding the meaning of the verse, we say that 'majestic strength' refers to the ministerial angels, while 'rhino' refers to the demons. What is your advantage over us?"

He answered: "Remove the chain from me, and give me your ring, whilst I show you mine advantage." Solomon forthwith removed the chain from him, and gave to him his ring. He then swallowed it, and positioned one of his wings on the earth, and the other wing in the heaven. Thereupon, Asmodeus knocked him four-hundred Persian miles
[7] from the place where he once stood, so that Solomon was deposed, expelled from his kingdom, and he went about like a pauper begging for a piece of bread. Every place that he'd go, he would say: "I am Koheleth (the preacher). I used to be a king over Israel in Jerusalem." (Ecclesiastes 1:12) When he'd say to them, "and this was my portion of all my labour" (Ecclesiastes 2:10), he'd anon show them his staff, which thing alone remained of all his dignity. Others say he'd show them his pauper's dish. [Meanwhile, Asmodeus usurped power and impersonated King Solomon. There was none in the kingdom who could tell the difference betwixt them.]

The Rabbis soon began to question themselves, saying: "Verily, had he been a mad man, he would not repeat incessantly only this one thing. What is this that we have here?" They asked Benaiah, the son of Yehoiada: "Hast the king called you unto himself lately?" He answered: "No." They then sent unto the neighbouring kingdoms, asking them whether the king had come unto them. They replied, saying: "Yes, he occasionally comes unto us." They again sent unto the kingdoms, saying: "Check his feet!"
[8] They returned an answer, saying: "Whenever he comes and goes, he is wearing stockings, [even while sleeping]! Moreover, he demands that women cohabit with him during their period of separation, and he hast demanded even of his mother, Bath Sheva, that she sleep with him!"

At hearing this, they brought back Solomon who had been deposed, and they gave him the anklet whereon the ineffable Name of G-d had been engraved, and the chain whereon the ineffable Name of G-d had been engraved. When Asmodeus entered the palace, he saw him. He then flew off in the sky, making haste his escape. But even so, Solomon was filled with constant fear, trepidation and terror at the thought of Ashmodai's return, as it is written: "Behold! The bed of Solomon! Sixty mighty men are about it, of the valiant men of Israel! All of them wield the sword, and are most expert in warfare; each man with his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night." (Song of Songs 3:7-8)


וְהַבַּיִת בְּהִבָּנוֹתוֹ אֶבֶן שְׁלֵמָה מַסָּע נִבנָה וְגּוֹ'. אֲמַר לְהוּ לְרַבָּנַן הֵיכֵי ליעֲבֵיד. אַמרוּ לֵיהּ אִיכָּא שָׁמִירָא דְּאַייתִּי מֹשֶׁה לְאַבנֵי אֵפוֹד. [אֲמַר לְהוּ הֵיכָא אִשׁתְּכַח. אַמרוּ לֵיהּ] אַייתִּי שֵׁידָה וְשֵׁידְתִין דאינון יָדְעֵי וּמגַלּוּ לָך. אֲזַל אייתינְּהוּ כַּבשִׁינְּהוּ. אַמרֵי אַנַּן לָא יַדעִינַּן דִּילמָא אַשׁמְדַּאי מַלכָּא דְּשֵׁידֵי הוּא יְדַע. אֲמַר לְהוּ הֵיכָא אִיתֵּיהּ. אַמרֵי לֵיהּ אִיתֵּיהּ בְּטוּרָא פְלַנִיתָא כְּרָא לֵיהּ בֵּירָא וּמַלְּיֵיהּ מַיָּא וּמכַסְּיֵיהּ בְּטִינָּרָא דגללא וְחַתֵים בְּגּוּשׁפַנקֵיהּ וְכָל יוֹמָא סָלֵיק לִמתִיבְתָא דִּרקִיעָא גְּמַר מְתִיבְתָא דִּרקִיעָא נָחֵית בְּאַרעָא. גְּמַר מְתִיבְתָא דְּאַרעָא, אַתֵּי וְסַיֵיר לֵיהּ לְגּוּשׁפַנקֵיהּ וּמגַלֵּי לֵיהּ וְשַׁתֵי וּמכַסֵּי לֵיהּ וְחַתֵים לֵיהּ וניים. שַׁדְּרֵיהּ לִבנָיָיהוּ בֶּן יְהוֹיָדָע. יְהַב לֵיהּ שׁוּשִׁלתָּא דַּחֲקִיק עֲלַהּ שֵׁם וְעִזקְתָא דַּחֲקִיק עֲלַהּ שֵׁם וּגבַבֵי דְּעַמרָא וְזִיקֵּי דְּחַמרָא. אֲזַל כְּרָה בֵּירָא מִתַּתַּאי וְשַׁפכִינְּהוּ לְמַיָּא וְסַתמִנְּהוּ בִּגבַבֵי דְּעַמרָא. וּכרָא בֵּירָא מֵעִילַּאי וְשַׁפכִינְּהוּ לְחַמרָא וּטמִינְּהוּ וּסלֵיק איתֵיב בְּאִילָנָא. כִּי אֲתָּא סַייְרֵיהּ לְגּוּשׁפַנקָא. גַּלְּיֵּיהּ אַשכְּחֵיהּ חַמרָא. אֲמַר כַּתִיב לֵץ הַיַּיִן הוֹמַה שֵׁכָר וְגּוֹ' וְכַתִיב זְנוּת וְיַיִן וְתִירוֹשׁ יִקַּח לֵב. לָא אַשׁתִּי. כּי צְהִי לָא סְגִי לֵיהּ. אֲמַר יַיִן יְשַׂמַּח לְבַב אֱנוֹשׁ לְהַצהִיל. אַשׁתִּי. רְוָוא וּגּנָא. אֲתָּא, שְׁדָא עֲלֵיהּ שׁוּשִׁילתָּא. שַׁסטַמֵיהּ. כִּי אִיתְּעַר הֲוָה קַא מיפרזל (צ"ל מְפַרזַל). אֲ"לֵ שְׁמָא דְּמָרָך עֲלָך שְׁמָא דְּמָרָך עֲלָך. כִּי נַקֵיט וְאַתֵּי כָּל אִילָנָא דִּמטָא חַף בֵּיהּ, שַׁדיֵיהּ. כָּל בֵּיתָא דִּמטָא, שַׁדיֵיהּ. מְטָא גַּבֵּי כּוּכָא דְּהַהוּא סיבתא. נַפקָא אִיחַנְּנָא (צ"ל חַנְּנָא) לֵיהּ. כְּפָה לְקוֹמְתֵיהּ מִינֵּיהּ אִיתְּבַר בֵּיהּ גַּרמָא. אֲמַר הַיינוּ דְּכַתִיב וְלָשׁוֹן רַכָּה תִּשׁבָּר גָּרַם. חֲזָא סַמיָא דַּהֲוָה קַטַעֵי בְּאוֹרחָא. אַסְּקֵיהּ [לְאוֹרחֵיהּ]. חֲזָא רָוייָא, אַסְּקֵיהּ. חֲזָא חַדוְותָא דַּהֲווֹ קַמְחַדּו לֵיהּ. בְּכָא. שַׁמעֵיהּ לְהַהוּא גֻברָא דַּהֲוָה קַאֲמַר לֵיהּ לְאוּשׁכְּפֵי' עיבד (צ"ל עֲבֵיד) לִי מְסַאנֵי לְשַׁב שְׁנֵי. אַחֵיך. חֲזָא הַהוּא קיסמא (י"ג קָסַמָא) דַּהֲוָה קַקָסֵים אַרִיפתָּא. אַחֵיך. כִּי מְטָא לְהַתַם לָא עַייְלוּ לֵיהּ קַמֵּי דִּשׁלֹמֹה, עַד תְּלָתָא יוֹמֵי. יוֹמָא קַמָּא אֲמַר לְהוּ אַמַּאי לָא קַבַּעֵי לִי מַלכָּא גַּבֵּיהּ. אַמרוּ לֵיהּ אַנסֵיהּ מִשׁתְּיָיא. שְׁקַל לְבֵינְתָא אוֹתֵיב אַחֲבִירתַּהּ. אֲתּוּ אַמרוּ לֵיהּ לִשׁלֹמֹה. אֲמַר לְהוּ הַכֵי אֲמַר לְכוּ הֲדּוּר אַשקְיוּהּ. לִמחַר אַמרוּ לֵיהּ אַנסֵיהּ מֵיכְלָא. שְׁקַל לְבֵינְתָא מֵחֲבִירתַּהּ [אוֹתְבַהּ אַאַרעָא]. אֲתּוּ אַמרוּ לֵיהּ [לִשׁלֹמֹה]. אֲמַר לְהוּ הַכֵי קַאֲמַר לְכוּ. נְגוּד מֵיכְלָא מִינֵּיהּ. לְרֵישׁ תְּלָת יוֹמֵי עֲייַל קַמֵּיהּ. שְׁקַל קַניָא ומישַׁח (צ"ל וּמשַׁח) אַרבָּע גַּרמִידֵי. שְׁדָא קַמֵּיהּ. אֲ"לֵ מִכְּדִי [כִּי מַיִית] הַהוּא גֻברָא לֵית לֵיהּ בְּהַהוּא עָלְמָא אֵלָא אַרבַּע גַּרמִידֵי. הַשׁתָּא כְּבַשתֵּיה לְכוּלֵּי עָלְמָא וְלָא שְׂבַעתּ עַד דִּכבַשׁתּ נַמֵּי לְדִּידִּי. אֲ"לֵ לָא קַבְּעֵינָא מִינָּך מִידֵּי. קַבְּעֵינָא דאיבנייה (צ"ל דְּאַבנְיֵיהּ) לְבֵית הַמִּקדָּשׁ וְקַמִיבְּעִי לִי שָׁמִירָא. אֲ"לֵ לְדִּידִּי לָא מְסִר לִי, לְשָׂרָא דְּיַמָּא מְסִר לֵיהּ וְלָא יַהֵיב לֵיהּ אֵלָא לְתֻרנְגוֹלָא בָּרָא דִּמהֵימָן אַשְׁבוּעֲתֵיהּ. וּמַאי עַבֵיד בֵּיהּ. מַמטֵי לֵיהּ לְטוּרֵי דְּלֵית בְּהוּ יְישׁוּב, וּמַנַּח לֵיהּ אַשׁונָּא דְּטוּר. וְהַיינוּ דִּמתַּרגְּמִינַּן וְנַגָּר טוּרָא יִפקַע טוּרֵי וְנַקֵּיט וּמַייתֵּי בִּיזרונֵי מֵאִילַנֵי וְשַׁדֵי הַתַם וקדחי בְּהוּ. [בַּדקוּ] קִינָּא דְּתֻרנְגֻלתָּא בָּרָא דְּאִית לֵיהּ בְּנֵי וְחַפְיוּהּ לְקִינֵּיהּ דזגיתא (צ"ל זְגוֹגִיתָא) חִיוַּרתִּי. [כִּי] אֲתָּא בעי (צ"ל בְּעָא) לְמֵיעַל [וְ]לָא אִימַצֵי. אֲזַל אַייתִּי שָׁמִירָא לְאוֹתְבֵיהּ עֲלֵיהּ (י"ג עִלָּוֵיהּ). רְמָא בֵּיהּ קָלָא. שַׁדֵייהּ. שַׁקלֵיהּ. אֲתָא חֲנַק נַפשֵׁיהּ אַשְׁבוּעֲתֵיהּ. אֲמַר לֵיהּ בְּנָיָהוּ בֶּן יְהוֹיָדָע, אֵימַא לִי כָּל הַנֵי מִילֵּי דַּעֲבַדתּ דְּקַתמהית לִי. מַאי טַעמָא כִּי חֲזֵיתֵיהּ לְהַהוּא סַמיָא דַּהֲוָה קַטַעֵי בְּאוֹרחָא אַסֵּיקתֵּיהּ [לְאוֹרחֵיהּ]. אֲמַר לֵיהּ מַכרְזֵי עֲלֵיהּ בִּרקִיעָא דְּצַדִּיק גָּמוּר הוּא וּמַאן דְּעַבֵד לֵיהּ נְייָח נַפשֵׁיהּ זַכֵי לְעָלְמָא דְּאָתֵי. וּמַאי טַעמָא כִּי חֲזֵיתֵיהּ לְהַהוּא רָוייָא דַּהֲוָה קַטַעֵי בְּאֹרחָא אַסֵּיקתֵּיהּ. אֲ"לֵ דְּמַכרְזֵי עֲלֵיהּ בִּרקִיעָא דְּרָשָׁע גָּמוּר הוּא. שׁיבקֵיהּ וניכולּ לְעָלְמָא. וּמַאי טַעמָא כִּי חֲזֵיתֵיהּ לְהַהוּא חַדוְותָא בְּכֵיתּ. אֲמַר לֵיהּ דְּמַיִית גֻברָא בְּגוֹ תְּלָתִין יוֹמִין ובעי (צ"ל וּבַעיָא) מִנטַר לְיָבָם [קָטָן] תְּלֵיסַר שְׁנִין. ומַאי טַעמָא כִּי שְׁמַעתֵּיהּ לְהַהוּא גֻברָא דַּאֲמַר לֵיהּ לְאוּשׁכְּפָא עֲבֵיד לִי מְסַאנֵי לְשַׁב שְׁנֵי, אַחֵיכתּ. אֲמַר לֵיהּ, הַהוּא שְׁבַע יוֹמֵי לֵית לֵיהּ, מְסַאנֵי לְשַׁב שְׁנֵי בַּעֵי. וּמַאי טַעמָא כִּי חֲזֵיתֵיהּ לְהַהוּא קָסַמָא [דַּהֲוָה קָסֵים] אַחֵיכתּ. אֲמַר לֵיהּ דַּהֲוָה יַתֵיב אַבֵּי גִּזָּא [דְּממונא] וְלִיקסוֹם מַאי דְּאִיכָּא תּוּתֵּיהּ. תַּרחְיֵיהּ גַּבֵּיהּ עַד דְּבַניֵיהּ לְבֵית הַמִּקדָּשׁ. יוֹמָא חַד הֲוָה יַתֵיב לְחוֹדֵיהּ. אֲמַר לֵיהּ כַּתִיב כְּתוֹעֲפוֹת רְאֵם לוֹ. וְאַמרִינַּן כְּתוֹעֲפוֹת אֵלּוּ מַלאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת. רְאֵם אֵלּוּ הַשֵּׁדִים. מַאי רְבוּתַייכוּ מִינַּן. אֲ"לֵ שְׁקוּל שׁוּשִׁילתָּא מִינַּאי וְהַב לִי עִזקְתָך אַדְּאַחוֵי לָך רְבוּתַיי. שַׁקלַהּ לְשׁוּשִׁילתָּא [מִינֵּיהּ] וִיהַב לֵיהּ עִזקְתֵיהּ. בַּלעֵיהּ, וְאוֹתְבֵיהּ לְחַד גַּפֵּיהּ בְּאַרעָא וְחַד גַּפֵּיהּ בִּרקִיעָא. בַּתקֵיהּ אַרבַּע מְאָה פַּרסֵי. כָּל הֵיכָא דִּמטָא אֲמַר אֲנִי קֹהֶלֶת, הָיִיתִי מֶלֶך עַל יִשׂרָאֵל בִּירוּשָׁלִָם. [עַל הַהִיא שָׁעֲתָא אֲמַר שְׁלֹמֹה מַה יִּתרוֹן לָאָדָם בְּכָל עֲמָלוֹ שֶׁיַּעֲמוֹל תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ.] וְזֶה הָיָה חֶלקִי מִכָּל עֲמָלִי. [מַאי וְזֶה.] רָב וּשׁמוּאֵל. חַד אֲמַר מַקלוֹ. וְחַד אֲמַר קוֹדוֹ. אמוּר רַבָּנַן מִכְּדִי שׁוֹטַה בְּחַד מִילְּתָא לָא סְרִיך. מַאי הוי. אַמרוּ לֵיהּ לִבנָיָהוּ בֶּן יְהוֹיָדָע קַבַּעֵי לָך מַלכָּא לְגַּבֵּיהּ. אֲמַר לְהוּ לָא. שַׁלחוּ לְהוּ לְמַלכְוָותָא קַאַתֵּי מַלכָּא לְגַּבַּייכוּ. שַׁלחוּ לְהוּ אִין, קַאַתֵּי. שַׁלחוּ לְהוּ בִּידקין בְּכַּרעֵיהּ. אַמרוּ בְּמוֹקֵי (צ"ל בְּמוֹקֵיהּ) קַאַתֵּי וְקַתְּבַע לְהוּ בְּנִידּוּתַייהי וְקַתְּבַע לַּהּ לְבַת שֶׁבַע אִימֵּיהּ. אַתּיוּהּ לִשׁלֹמֹה יהבו (צ"ל וְהַבוּ) לֵיהּ עִזקְתָא דַּחֲקִיק עֲלַהּ שֵׁם וְשׁוּשִׁלתָּא דַּחֲקִיק עֲלַהּ שֵׁם. כִּי דַּעֲיַיל חַזֵייהּ. פְּרַח. וְאַפִילּוּ הַכֵי הֲוָה לֵיהּ בִּיעֲתותָא דְּכַתִיב הִנֵּה מִטָּתוֹ שֶׁלִּשׁלֹמֹה וְגּוֹ' כּוּלָּם אֲחוּזֵי וְגּוֹ'.

[1] Asmodeus (Hebrew: Ashmadai). It should be noted here that in the Greek language they will always use the "eus" suffix on Hebrew names ending with the letters "אי". For example: Janneus is the Greek rendering for ינאי(Yannai); Sameus for שמאי (Shammai) and Asmodeus for אשמדאי (Ashmadai).
[2] Codex Munich 95 was selected because of its similarities with ancient Talmudic texts found in Yemen, Babylonia and elsewhere. For example, in the Yemenite Midrash Hagadol, section Piqudei, we find the story of Solomon and Asmodeus as brought down in Gittin 68a-b, no doubt copied from some early Talmudic text. There, in the story's episode, we find the same use of words as is found in the Munich Codex, such as: כוכא (sepulchre) instead of כובא (hut), as also קודו (his pauper's dish) instead of גונדו (his cloak), including common forms of spellings such as: אימצי instead of מצי, and נייח נפשיה instead of ניחא נפשיה, etc. Rabbi Hai Gaon used a similar Talmudic text, as proven by his commentary on the word קוד הבבלי in Mishnah Kelim 16:1.
[3] The men of Israel understood the words in Ecclesiastes 2:8, שִׁדָּה וְשִׁדּוֹת, to mean שֵׁידָה וְשֵׁידְתִין, that is to say, "male demons and female demons." In Babylonia, the meaning of these words was understood differently, namely, "an [exquisite] chest and trunks." (cf. Rabbi Hai Gaon's Commentary on Mishnah Kelim 22:8)
[4] According to Jewish tradition, the Prince of the Sea is named Rahab.
[5] Cf. Targum Onkelos in Leviticus 11:19. The Aramaic word used there for the bird which, in Hebrew, is known as the דוכיפת is "Nagar Tura," meaning "Mountain Carpenter."
[6] The translation of this verse is based upon Rabbi Saadia Gaon's Arabic translation of the Pentateuch, wherein he interprets the "ra'em" in our verse as meaning "rhinoceros."
[7] The word used here is "parasang," a Persian mile, equivalent to about four biblical miles, or 8,000 cubits. The standard cubit used by the Jews in Yemen has always been ca. 54 cm. This makes a Persian mile equivalent to 2.6 English miles. Solomon was driven away some 400 Persian miles, meaning to a distance of some 1,036 English miles!
[8] The feet of demons are said to resemble those of a chicken. So while he is able to assume different shapes and forms, he still could not change the nature of his feet.