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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

The word is found in the NT only in  Revelation 9:11. In the OT text ‘ăbhaddôn occurs six times (only in the Wisdom literature), Authorized Versionin each case rendering ‘destruction,’ while Revised Versiongives ‘Destruction’ in  Job 28:22;  Job 31:12,  Psalms 88:11, but ‘Abaddon’ in  Job 26:6,  Proverbs 15:11;  Proverbs 27:20, on the ground, as stated by the Revisers in their Preface, that ‘a proper name appears to be required for giving vividness and point.’ Etymologically the word is an abstract term meaning ‘destruction,’ and it is employed in this sense in  Job 31:12. Its use, however, in parallelism with Sheol in  Job 26:6,  Proverbs 15:11;  Proverbs 27:20 and with ‘the grave’ in  Psalms 88:11 shows that even in the OT it had passed beyond this general meaning and had become a specialized term for the abode of the dead. In  Job 28:22, again, it is personified side by side with Death, just as Hades is personified in  Revelation 6:6. So far as the OT is concerned, and notwithstanding the evident suggestions of its derivation (from Heb. ’âbhadh , ‘to perish’), the connotation of the word does not appear to advance beyond that of the parallel word Sheol in its older meaning of the general dwelling-place of all the dead. In later Heb. literature, however, when Sheol had come to be recognized as a sphere of moral distinctions and consequent retribution, Abaddon is represented as one of the lower divisions of Sheol and as being the abode of the wicked and a place of punishment. At first it was distinguished from Gehenna, as a place of loss and deprivation rather than of the positive suffering assigned to the latter. But in the Rabbinic teaching of a later time it becomes the very house of perdition (Targ.[Note: Targum.]on  Job 26:6), the lowest part of Gehenna, the deepest deep of hell ( ‘Emek Hammelech , 15. 3).

In  Revelation 9:11 Abaddon is not merely personified in the free poetic manner of  Job 28:22, but is used as the personal designation in Hebrew of a fallen angel described as the king of the locusts and ‘the angel of the abyss,’ whose name in the Greek tongue is said to be Apollyon . In the Septuagint’ăbhaddôn is regularly rendered by ἀπώλεια; and the personification of the Heb. word by the writer of Rev. apparently led him to form from the corresponding Gr. verb (ἀπολλύω, later form of ἀπόλλυμι) a Gr. name with the personal ending ων. Outside of the Apocalypse the name Abaddon has hardly any place in English literature, while Apollyon, on the contrary, has become familiar through the use made of it in the Pilgrim’s Progress by Bunyan, whose conception of Apollyon, however, is entirely his own. Abaddon or Apollyon was often identified with Asmodaeus, ‘the evil spirit’ of Tob 3:8; but this identification is now known to be a mistake.

Literature.-The articles s.vv. in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) and Encyclopaedia Biblica  ; article‘Abyss’ in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics  ; Expository Times xx. [1908-09] 234f.

J. C. Lambert.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

The Hebrew in  Job 31:12 and  Proverbs 27:20, "destruction," or the place of destruction, Sheol (Hebrew); Ηades (Greek). The rabbis use Abaddon, from  Psalms 88:12 ("Shall Thy Lovingkindness Be Declared In Destruction?") ( Abaddon ) as the second of the seven names for the region of the dead. In  Revelation 9:11 personified as the destroyer, Greek, Apolluon , "the angel of the bottomless pit," Satan is meant; for he is described in  Revelation 9:1 as "a star fallen from heaven unto earth, to whom was given the key of the bottomless pit"; and  Revelation 12:8-9,12: "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth, for the devil is come down." Also  Isaiah 14:12;  Luke 10:18. As king of the locusts, that had power to torment not kill ( Revelation 9:3-11), Satan is permitted to afflict but not to touch life; so in the case of Job (Job 1-2). "He walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" ( 1 Peter 5:8). "A murderer from the beginning" ( John 8:44), who abode not in the truth.

Elliott identifies the locusts with the Muslims; their turbans being the "crowns" (But How Are These "Like Gold"?) ; they come from the Euphrates River; their cavalry were countless; their "breast-plates of fire" being their rich-colored attire; the fire and smoke out of the horses' mouths being the Turkish artillery; their standard "horse tails"; the period, an hour, day, month, and year, 396 years 118 days between Thogrul Beg going forth Jan. 18, 1057 A.D., and the fall of Constantinople, May 29, 1453 A.D.; or else 391 years and 1 month, as others say, from 1281 A.D., the date of the Turks' first conquest of Christians, and 1672 A.D., their last conquest. The serpent-like stinging tails correspond to Mohammedanism supplanting Christianity in large parts of Asia, Africa, and even Europe.

But the hosts meant seem infernal rather than human, though constrained to work out God's will ( Revelation 12:1-2). The Greek article once only before all the periods requires rather the translation "for (i.e. "against") THE hour and day and month and year," namely, appointed by God. Not only the year, but also the month, day, and hour, are all definitively foreordained. The article "the" would have been omitted, if a total of periods had been meant. The giving of both the Hebrew and the Greek name implies that he is the destroyer of both Hebrew and Gentiles alike. Just as, in beautiful contrast, the Spirit of adoption enables both Jew and Gentile believers to call God, in both their respective tongues, Αbba (Hebrew in marked alliteration with Αbaddon Father (Greek, Pater ). Jesus who unites both in Himself ( Galatians 3:28;  Ephesians 2:14) sets us the example:  Mark 14:36;  Galatians 4:6. Jesus unites Hebrew and Gentiles in a common salvation; Satan combines both in a common "destruction." ((See Abba .)

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [3]

In the Book of Revelation (9:1-11), when John sees his vision of the fifth trumpet blowing, a vast horde of demonic horsemen is seen arising from the newly opened abyss. They are sent forth to torment the unfortunate inhabitants of earth, but not to kill them. They have a ruler over them, called a king ( basileia [Βασιλεία]), the angel of the abyss, whose name is given in both Hebrew and Greek. In Hebrew it is Abaddon and in Greek Apollyon, both words meaning Destroyer or Destruction.

The word only occurs once in the New Testament ( Revelation 9:11 ) and five times in the Old Testament ( Job 26:6;  28:22;  31:12;  Psalm 88:11;  Proverbs 15:11 ). In  Psalm 88:11 Destruction is parallel to the grave; in   Job 26:6 and   Proverbs 26:6 it is parallel to Sheol; in   Job 28:22 it is parallel to Death.   Job 31:12 says sin is a fire that burns to destruction. So in the Old Testament Abaddon means the place of utter ruin, death, desolation, or destruction.

The angel of the abyss is called Destruction or Destroyer because his task is to oversee the devastation of the inhabitants of the earth, although it is curious that his minions are allowed only to torture and not to kill. His identity is a matter of dispute. Some make him Satan himself, while others take him to be only one of Satan's many evil subordinates.

Walter A. Elwell

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

Hebrews corresponding to Apollyon, Gr. that is, Destroyer, is represented,   Revelation 9:11 : as king of the locusts, and the angel of the bottomless pit. Le Clerc and Dr. Hammond understand by the locusts in this passage, the zealots and robbers who infested and desolated Judea before Jerusalem was taken by the Romans; and by Abaddon, John of Gischala, who having treacherously left that town before it was surrendered to Titus, came to Jerusalem and headed those of the zealots who acknowledged him as their king, and involved the Jews in many grievous calamities. The learned Grotius concurs in opinion, that the locusts are designed to represent the sect of the zealots, who appeared among the Jews during the siege, and at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. But Mr. Mede remarks, that the title Abaddon alludes to Obodas, the common name of the ancient monarchs of that part of Arabia from which Mohammed came; and considers the passage as descriptive of the inundation of the Saracens. Mr. Lowman adopts and confirms this interpretation. He shows that the rise and progress of the Mohammedan religion and empire exhibit a signal accomplishment of this prophecy. All the circumstances here recited correspond to the character of the Arabians, and the history of the period that extended from A.D. 568 to A.D. 675. In conformity to this opinion, Abaddon may be understood to denote either Mohammed, who issued from the abyss, or the cave of Hera, to propagate his pretended revelations, or, more generally, the Saracen power. Mr. Bryant supposes Abaddon to have been the name of the Ophite deity, the worship of whom prevailed very anciently and very generally.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Abaddon, or Apollyon ( A-Bâd'Dŏn or A-Pŏl'Yŏn ). The former name is Hebrew and the latter Greek, and both signify The Destroyer.  Job 31:12;  Revelation 9:11. He is the same as the "angel of the abyss," that is, the angel of death, or the destroying angel.  Psalms 78:49. Abaddon frequently occurs in the Hebrew, and is translated "destruction," meaning often the world of the dead.  Job 26:6;  Job 28:22;  Psalms 88:11;  Proverbs 15:11.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

In  Revelation 9:11 this name is shown to be the same as Apollyon, 'the destroyer,' who is described as 'the angel of the bottomless pit.' It is perhaps not so much one of the names of Satan, as his character personified. It occurs six times in the Old Testament, in three of which it is associated with hell (sheol):  Job 26:6;  Proverbs 15:11;  Proverbs 27:20; once with death: 'Destruction and Death say,' etc.,  Job 28:22; and once with the grave.  Psalm 88:11 . In all these passages, and in  Job 31:12 , it is translated 'destruction'.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [7]

ABADDON . A word peculiar to the later Heb. (esp. ‘Wisdom’) and Judaistic literature; sometimes synonymous with Sheol , more particularly, however, signifying that lowest division of Sheol devoted to the punishment of sinners (see Sheol). Properly, its Gr. equivalent would be apôleia (‘destruction’), as found in the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] . In   Revelation 9:11 Abaddon is personified, and is said to be the equivalent of Apollyon (‘destroyer’). Abaddon differs from Gehenna in that it represents the negative element of supreme loss rather than that of positive suffering.

Shailer Mathews.

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

to perish  Revelation 9:11  Job 26:6 Job 28:22 Job 31:12 Proverbs 15:11 Proverbs 27:20 Psalm 88:11Hell

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [9]

This word signifies a Destroyer. As such, it is given to the apostate angel of the bottomless pit, and very properly suits him. His whole pursuit, in scouring the earth, is, we are told, as "a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (See  Revelation 9:11; Rev 1:1-20. See Devil. See Satan.)

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Revelation 9:11 Job 28:22 31:12 26:6 Proverbs 15:11 27:20

King James Dictionary [11]

ABAD'DON, n. Heb. Ch. Syr. Sam. to be lost, or destroyed, to perish.

1. The destroyer, or angel of the bottomless pit.  Revelation 9 2. The bottomless pit.

Webster's Dictionary [12]

(1): (n.) The destroyer, or angel of the bottomless pit; - the same as Apollyon and Asmodeus.

(2): (n.) Hell; the bottomless pit.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [13]

Abad'don. See Apollyon .

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [14]

a - bad´on ( אכדון 'ăbhaddōn , "ruin," "perdition," "destruction"): Though "destruction" is commonly used in translating 'abhaddōn , the stem idea is intransitive rather than passive - the idea of perishing, going to ruin, being in a ruined state, rather than that of being ruined, being destroyed.

The word occurs six times in the Old Testament, always as a place name in the sense in which Sheol is a place name. It denotes, in certain aspects, the world of the dead as constructed in the Hebrew imagination. It is a common mistake to understand such expressions in a too mechanical way. Like ourselves, the men of the earlier ages had to use picture language when they spoke of the conditions that existed after death, however their picturing of the matter may have differed from ours. In three instances Abaddon is parallel with Sheol ( Job 26:6;  Proverbs 15:11;  Proverbs 27:20 ). In one instance it is parallel with death, in one with the grave and in the remaining instance the parallel phrase is "root out all mine increase" ( Job 28:22;  Psalm 88:11;  Job 31:12 ). In this last passage the place idea comes nearer to vanishing in an abstract conception than in the other passages.

Abaddon belongs to the realm of the mysterious. Only God understands it ( Job 26:6;  Proverbs 15:11 ). It is the world of the dead in its utterly dismal, destructive, dreadful aspect, not in those more cheerful aspects in which activities are conceived of as in progress there. In Abaddon there are no declarations of God's lovingkindness ( Psalm 88:11 ).

In a slight degree the Old Testament presentations personalize Abaddon. It is a synonym for insatiableness ( Proverbs 27:20 ). It has possibilities of information mediate between those of "all living" and those of God ( Job 28:22 ).

In the New Testament the word occurs once ( Revelation 9:11 ), the personalization becoming sharp. Abaddon is here not the world of the dead, but the angel who reigns over it. The Greek equivalent of his name is given as Apollyon. Under this name Bunyan presents him in the Pilgrim's Progress , and Christendom has doubtless been more interested in this presentation of the matter than in any other.

In some treatments Abaddon is connected with the evil spirit Asmodeus of Tobit (e.g. 3:8), and with the destroyer mentioned in The Wisdom of Solomon (18:25; compare 22), and through these with a large body of rabbinical folklore; but these efforts are simply groundless. See Apollyon .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

( Ἀβαδδών , for Heb. אֲבִדּון , Destruction, i.e. the destroyer, as it is immediately explained by Ἀπολλύων , APOLLYON (See Apollyon) ), the name ascribed to the ruling spirit of Tartarus, or the angel of death, described ( Revelation 9:11) as the king, and chief of the Apocalyptic locusts under the fifth trumpet, and as the angel of the abyss or "bottomless pit" (see Critica Biblica, 2, 445). In the Bible, the word abaddon means destruction ( Job 31:12), or the place of destruction, i.e. the subterranean world, Hades, the region of the dead ( Job 26:6;  Job 28:22;  Proverbs 15:11). It is, in fact, the second of the seven names which the Rabbins apply to that region; and they deduce it particularly from  Psalms 88:11, "Shall thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in (abaddon) destruction?" (See Hades). Hence they have made Abaddon the nethermost of the two regions into which they divided the under world. But that in  Revelation 9:11 Abaddon is the angel, and not the abyss, is perfectly evident in the Greek. There is a general connection with the destroyer (q.v.) alluded to in  1 Chronicles 21:15; but the explanation, quoted by Bengel, that the name is given in Hebrew and Greek, to show that the locusts would be destructive alike to Jew and Gentile, is far-fetched and unnecessary. The popular interpretation of the Apocalypse, which finds in the symbols of that prophecy the details of national history in later ages, has usually regarded Abaddon as a symbol of Mohammed dealing destruction at the head of the Saracenic hordes (Elliott's Horae Apocalypticae, 1:410). It may well be doubted, however, whether this symbol is any thing more than a new and vivid figure of the same moral convulsions elsewhere typified in various ways in the Revelation, namely, those that attended the breaking down of Judaism and paganism, and the general establishment of Christianity (see Stuart's Comment. in loc.). (See Book Of Revelation). The etymology of Asmodaeus, the king of the daemons in Jewish mythology, seems to point to a connection with Apollyon in his character as "the destroyer," or the destroying angel. Compare  Sirach 18:22;  Sirach 18:25. (See Asmodeeus).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [16]


Abad´don, or Apollyon (destruction). The former is the Hebrew name, and the latter the Greek, for the angel of death, described ( Revelation 9:11) as the king and chief of the Apocalyptic locusts under the fifth trumpet, and as the angel of the abyss or 'bottomless pit' [HADES].

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [17]

The bottomless pit, or the angel thereof.