The name first appears in the account of the theory of angels in the Ethiopic Book of Enoch 6, which includes the name, although not in the most important place, in the list of the leaders of the angels who rebelled against God. The latter form takes the place of the name Samael in the Greek work of the Church Father Irenaeus in his account of the Gnostic sect of the Ophites see below; ed. Harvey, I, In addition to Samiel, the forms Samael and Sammuel date from antiquity. This third version is preserved in the Greek Apocalypse of Baruch from the tannaitic period , which states that the angel Sammuel planted the vine that caused the fall of Adam , and therefore Sammuel was cursed and became Satan. The same source relates in chapter 9, in an ancient version of the legend of the shrinking of the moon, that Samael took the form of a snake in order to tempt Adam, an idea which was omitted in later talmudic versions of the legend. In the apocalyptic work The Ascension of Isaiah, which contains a mixture of Jewish and early Christian elements, the names Beliar i. What is recounted of Samael in one passage is stated in another about Beliar.
Prince of the demons, and an important figure both in Talmudic and in post-Talmudic literature, where he appears as accuser, seducer, and destroyer. It is possible, however, that the name is derived from that of the Syrian god Shemal Bousset, "Religion," p. Samael is the "chief of Satans" Deut. As the incarnation of evil he is the celestial patron of the sinful empire of Rome, with which Edom and Esau are identified Tan. He flies through the air like a bird Targ. In so far as he is identified with the serpent "J. All these descriptions of Samael show that he was regarded simply as the principle of evil that brought upon Israel and Judah every misfortune that befell them. Even at the creation of the world he was Lucifer, who ever sought evil and who began his malignant activity with Adam.
Although many of his functions resemble the Christian notion of Satan , to the point of being sometimes identified as a fallen angel ,    : —60 in others he is not necessarily evil, since his functions are also regarded as resulting in good, such as destroying sinners. He is considered in Talmudic texts to be a member of the heavenly host with often grim and destructive duties. One of Samael's greatest roles in Jewish lore is that of the main angel of death and the head of satans. Although he condones the sins of man, he remains one of God's servants. He appears frequently in the story of Garden of Eden and engineered the fall of Adam and Eve with a snake in writings during the Second Temple period. As guardian angel and prince of Rome , he is the archenemy of Israel. By the beginning of Jewish culture in Europe , Samael had been established as a representative of Christianity , due to his identification with Rome. In some Gnostic cosmologies , Samael's role as source of evil became identified with the Demiurge , the creator of the material world.
In many ways this makes him similar to Lucifer , but unlike the almost universally evil depictions of Satan, Samael is regarded as both good and evil. Depending on tradition, Samael can be a fallen angel or he can be seen as an angel who is still loyal to divine law but enforces the darker side of faith in either form he can be considered an alter-ego of Satan or a unique entity in his own right. He could be the embodiment of corruption and amorality. A trait of Samael different from Satan is that even when depicted as a fallen angel he is said to be under the command of God - as opposed to being a direct enemy. In Jewish lore, Samael was said to be the Serpent who tempted Eve into sin.