Destroying angel (Bible)

An angel destroying the Assyrian army.

The Destroying Angel or Angel of Death in the Hebrew Bible is an entity sent out by Yahweh on several occasions to kill enemies of the Israelites, most notably in the story of the Passover (Book of Exodus) where he kills all the firstborn of Egypt. In 2 Samuel 24:15, it kills the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In I Chronicles 21:15, the same "angel of the Lord" is seen by David to stand "between the earth and the heaven, with a drawn sword in his hand stretched out against Jerusalem." Later, the angel of the Lord kills 185,000 men of Sennacherib's Assyrian army, thereby saving Hezekiah's Jerusalem in II Kings 19:35.

The angel (malak) is referred to under various terms, including Mashḥit (pron. mash-heet(h) or -kheet(h)) (Mashchit(h), מַשְׁחִית and Ha-Mashchit(h)/Ha-Mashḥit, הַמַשְׁחִית), "destroying angel" (מַלְאָך הַמַשְׁחִית, malak ha-mashḥit or in the plural מַשְׁחִיתִים, mashchitim/mashchithim/mashḥitim - "spoilers, ravagers"), Angel of the Lord, "destroyer" (מְמִיתִים, memitim - "executioners", "slayers") is found in Job 33:22 and in Proverbs 16:14 in the plural, "angels of death" (malake ha-mawet)

Mashchith was also used as an alternate name for one of the seven compartments of Gehenna.

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