|The Temptation of Christ by Ary Scheffer|
Noun. Middle English.
[Hebrew beliyya'al worthlessness]
The Devil, Satan.
That Belial means worthlessness was new to me, although some sources are less definite about both the word's meaning and etymology. The Catholic Encyclopedia, for example, says that Belial is rendered differently in different parts of the Bible, sometimes being synonymous with Satan and at other times representing other things such as death, evil and destruction. His ability to tempt continues unabated, however, as the National Museums Liverpool discovered. Apparently the allure of Belial in The Temptation of Christ by Ary Scheffer was too much for one child, who proceeded to snap bits off its antique frame before panicked museum staff could intervene (although Belial may mean worthless, his depiction in classic pieces of art certainly isn't).