Evidence from 1 Enoch for Azazel being the Firstborn Seed of the Watchers
We have already briefly covered the main passages describing the fall of the Watchers in 1 Enoch chapters 6
through 8. As we shall see, a careful study of these passages and others will conclude that Azazel was not an
angel or a Watcher, but that rather he was the firstborn seed of the Watchers. We shall also see that there
are some intriguing hints that his mother was not a daughter of man, but Lilith.
The first clue to Azazel’s identity comes from his sudden prominent appearance only after the Watcher’s had
committed their fornications with women. When the Watchers gave their oaths upon Hermon in 1 Enoch 6, a
list of all their major leaders is given. As many scholars have noted, Azazel is pointedly not on the list.
However, after the Watchers had sexual relations with women and raised giants upon the earth, Azazel
suddenly appears in chapter 8 as a major leader. 1 Enoch 8:1-2 condemns Azazel for teaching men the art of
war and women the ways of harlotry. Because of him there arose much ungodliness. Azazel’s corruption of
man apparently greatly exceeded that of any Watcher, even that of Semjaza, who is listed after Azazel. Two
entire verses are dedicated to describing Azazel’s dastardly acts. This is in contrast to Semjaza, who has only
three words used to describe his feats in corrupting man.
From where did Azazel suddenly come? He is not listed as a top twenty leader at the time of mount Hermon
before the fornication with women. However, after his sudden appearance in chapter 8, Azazel is preeminent
over all the Watchers throughout the rest of 1 Enoch. The next example of this comes in 1 Enoch 9:6-8, where
the angels Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel witness the bloodshed of man upon the earth, and testify to
God. They testify foremost against Azazel, more so than any Watcher. Azazel’s sins are mentioned first even
over Semjaza’s. Perhaps most importantly, the angel’s accusations against Azazel do not include fornication
with women. This is the primary accusation against Semjaza and his associates in the next two verses. Thus
Azazel does not appear to have had sexual relations with the daughters of man, something which all Watchers
pledged to do by solemn oath upon Mount Hermon. Also, Azazel is judged separately in verse 6 from Semjaza
and his associates, indicating that Azazel is not under the authority of Semjaza, whom is the leader of all
Watchers. In verse 7 Semjaza is declared the leader of the all the Watchers, and he is lumped with them in
the condemnation of defiling themselves with women. But Azazel being judged separately in verse 6 is
consistent with him not being under the authority of Semjaza, and thus not a Watcher at all.
1 Enoch 9:6-8 (translated by R. H. Charles)
6. Thou seest what Azazel hath done, who hath taught all unrighteousness on earth and revealed the eternal secrets
which were (preserved) in heaven, which men were striving to learn:
7. And Semjaza, to whom Thou hast given authority to bear rule over his associates.
8. And they have gone to the daughters of men upon the earth, and have slept with the women, and have defiled
themselves, and revealed to them all kinds of sins.
The prominence of Azazel continues in 1 Enoch 10:8, where God ascribes all the sins of the Watchers unto
Azazel (Richard Laurence’s translation states, “To him therefore ascribe the whole crime”). And only Azazel is
called out for special punishment. In 1 Enoch 10 God commands the angel Raphael to bound Azazel hand
and foot, cast a mountain of rocks upon him, and cover him in darkness in a place called Dudael. God then
instructs a second angel, Gabriel, to slay the Watcher’s Nephilim seed of fornication with women. Gabriel is
not to listen to the pleas of the Watchers to save their children. After this God sends a third angel, Michael, to
punish Semjaza and his Watcher associates. God instructs Michael to bind Semjaza and his associates as
they witness the death of their seed at the hands of the second angel Gabriel. Then Michael was to bind them
in the valleys of the earth until the day of judgment.
1 Enoch 10:4-12 (translated by R. H. Charles)
4. And again the Lord said to Raphael: 'Bind Azazel hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening
in the desert, which is in Dudael, and cast him therein.
5. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness,
and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light.
6. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire.
7. And heal the earth which the angels have corrupted, and proclaim the healing of the earth, that they may heal the
and that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the Watchers have disclosed and have
taught their sons.
8. And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin.'
9. And to Gabriel said the Lord: 'Proceed against the bastards and the reprobates, and against the children of fornication:
and destroy [the children of fornication and] the children of the Watchers from amongst men [and cause them to go forth]:
send them one against the other that they may destroy each other in battle: for length of days shall they not have.
10. And no request that they (i.e. their fathers) make of thee shall be granted unto their fathers on their behalf; for they
hope to live an eternal life, and that each one of them will live five hundred years.'
11. And the Lord said unto Michael: 'Go, bind Semjaza and his associates who have united themselves with women so
as to have defiled themselves with them in all their uncleanness.
12. And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them
fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the
judgement that is for ever and ever is consummated.
The entire sequence of events suggests Azazel is a seed of the Watchers. First, Azazel is punished at the
beginning with the rest of the Watcher’s seed. This is consistent with Azazel being a seed of the Watchers.
The Watchers would have to witness Azazel’s punishment just like the rest of their seed. Also, Azazel being
punished first is inconsistent with him being a Watcher. If Azazel were a Watcher, then his early punishment
would have given him a measure of mercy from the other Watchers, in that Azazel would not have had to
witness the demise of his seed. Such mercy is not consistent with the severe punishment to Azazel, upon
whom is ascribed the entire sin. Another fascinating clue pointing to Azazel being a seed of the Watchers
comes in verses 6 and 7, which indicate that when Azazel is cast into the lake of fire, this will heal the earth of
the angel’s corruption upon it. What is the manifestation of their corruption upon the earth? It is their Nephilim
seed. This thus again indicates Azazel is a seed of the Watchers. This identification is consistent with verse
8, which states that the accusation against Azazel is that he taught man sin. Mating with women is not listed as
a crime of his, but it is for Semjaza and his associates in verse 11. This is all consistent with Azazel being a
seed of the Watchers.
The fact that Azazel is punished before the Watchers’ other seed and by a separate angel indicates his
prominent role. But is also suggestive of something else. The seed of the Watchers to be slain by Gabriel are
specifically called out in verse 9 to be “the children of fornication”. This fornication refers to the illicit sex
between the angels and the daughters of Adam. Azazel not being punished in this group implies he is not the
seed of the angels’ illicit fornication with the daughters of Adam. However, his early punishment does indicate
he is a seed of the Watchers. These two apparently contradictory ideas can best be rectified if Azazel is
considered a seed of the Watchers, but not as a result of their relations with the daughters of man. But then
who else then could have mothered Azazel? There is no other possibility than Lilith. She alone is outside the
linage of Adam and the daughters of man. With Lilith as his mother, Azazel would then be a seed of the
Watchers which God intends to destroys, but he would not be a seed from the fornications of the angels with
the daughters of Adam, which was directly polluting Adam’s linage. Being a seed of Lilith could also explain
Azazel’s extraordinary powers. He was none other than the long foretold mythical seed of the Serpent of
There are a final two chapters from 1 Enoch which re-enforce the notion that Azazel is the seed of the
Watchers. They are chapters 12 and 13. Chapter 12 opens with Enoch worshipping God in heaven with the
angels. He receivers a command to go down to the fallen Watchers on the earth and announce their
upcoming punishments. They were going to witness the murder of their children. In chapter 13 Enoch goes
down, and meets first with Azazel alone. Enoch tells Azazel that a great punishment is heaped upon him to be
put in bonds. The charge against him is that he taught unrighteousness, godlessness, and sin to man. Once
again, Azazel is not charged with having sex with the daughters of man. This is the charge which God gave to
Enoch for the Watcher in 1 Enoch 12:4. In 1 Enoch 13:3 Enoch then departs from Azazel. He goes unto all
the Watchers who were gathered together, and he tells them of their punishment. Azazel is not present at this
meeting, as the verse is clear that Enoch departed from Azazel to go unto the gathering of all the Watchers.
Since all the Watchers were gathered together there, and Azazel was not present, Azazel was not considered
one of the Watchers.
1 Enoch 12:1 – 13:10 (translated by R. H. Charles)
12:1. Before these things Enoch was hidden, and no one of the children of men knew where he was hidden, and where Identifying Azazel as the seed of Semjaza with Lilith also provides a possible explanation for the strange events
he abode, and what had become of him.
2. And his activities had to do with the Watchers, and his days were with the holy ones.
3. And I Enoch was blessing the Lord of majesty and the King of the ages, and lo! the Watchers called me -Enoch the
scribe- and said to me:
4. 'Enoch, thou scribe of righteousness, go, declare to the Watchers of the heaven who have left the high heaven, the holy
eternal place, and have defiled themselves with women, and have done as the children of earth do, and have taken unto
themselves wives: "Ye have wrought great destruction on the earth:
5. And ye shall have no peace nor forgiveness of sin: and inasmuch as they delight themselves in their children,
6. The murder of their beloved ones shall they see, and over the destruction of their children shall they lament, and shall
make supplication unto eternity, but mercy and peace shall ye not attain."'
13:1. And Enoch went and said: 'Azazel, thou shalt have no peace: a severe sentence has gone forth against thee to put
thee in bonds:
2. And thou shalt not have toleration nor request granted to thee, because of the unrighteousness which thou hast
taught, and because of all the works of godlessness and unrighteousness and sin which thou hast shown to men.'
3. Then I went and spoke to them all together, and they were all afraid, and fear and trembling seized them.
4. And they besought me to draw up a petition for them that they might find forgiveness, and to read their petition in the
presence of the Lord of heaven.
5. For from thenceforward they could not speak (with Him) nor lift up their eyes to heaven for shame of their sins for
which they had been condemned.
6. Then I wrote out their petition, and the prayer in regard to their spirits and their deeds individually and in regard to their
requests that they should have forgiveness and length.
7. And I went off and sat down at the waters of Dan, in the land of Dan, to the south of the west of Hermon: I read their
petition till I fell asleep.
8. And behold a dream came to me, and visions fell down upon me, and I saw visions of chastisement, and a voice
came bidding I to tell it to the sons of heaven, and reprimand them.
9. And when I awaked, I came unto them, and they were all sitting gathered together, weeping in 'Abelsjail, which is
between Lebanon and Seneser, with their faces covered.
10. And I recounted before them all the visions which I had seen in sleep, and I began to speak the words of
righteousness, and to reprimand the heavenly Watchers.
atop mount Hermon in 1 Enoch 6:3. Recall that Semjaza was very concerned that the other angels may back
out of their intentions to mate with women, and that he alone would be guilty of a great sin. Therefore Semjaza
gathered all the angels together atop a mount Hermon so that they may swear an oath to one another. The
passages implies that before the other angels could mate with women, there was some great sin that Semjaza
had to commit. This sin goes unspecified, but it must have been required to allow the angels to mate with the
women, or otherwise Semjaza would have had no fear about being required to performed this deed before the
others mated and sinned. But Semjaza obviously fears that after committing this great sin, the other angels
may back out and leave him alone in a disgraced state. What could this great sin have been? One cannot
say for sure, but there are several hints in ancient literature that suggests the sages thought the great sin
involved Semjaza mating with Lilith.
Consider the following story concerning Semjaza (spelled “Shemhaza” here) from Legends of the Jews. In it
Louis Ginzberg sites ancient Midrashes. The story relates that when Semjaza first descended to earth, he was
ensnared by a maiden named Istehar. She tricked in him into teaching her the Ineffable Name of God, by
which means she ascended into heaven.
Legends of the Jews (by Louis Ginzberg)
When the angels came to earth, and beheld the daughters of men in all their grace and beauty, they could not restrain
their passion. Shemhazai saw a maiden named Istehar, and he lost his heart to her. She promised to surrender herself
to him, if first he taught her the Ineffable Name, by means of which he raised himself to heaven. He assented to her
condition. But once she knew it, she pronounced the Name, and herself ascended to heaven, without fulfilling her
promise to the angel. God said, "Because she kept herself aloof from sin, we will place her among the seven stars, that
men may never forget her," and she was put in the constellation of the Pleiades.
There is a similar very of the story in the Midrash Bereshit Rabbati. Here the maiden’s name is Asterah.
Margi B. and others assert that Istehar and Asterah are clearly linked to the Ishtar, and hence Lilith. Indeed,
the use of the Ineffable Name and wings are certainly suggestive of the Lilith legend. But it appears the sages
tell the story in exact opposite. At the time of the Watchers descent, Lilith already possessed the name of
God. A key part of her legend is that she shouted this name when she underwent the sudden transformation
into a winged serpent that fled the garden. It was the angels who knew not the secret name of God. And Lilith
was certainly no pure saint. God would not reward her with a place as a constellation in the heavens. Margi
asserts that these Midrashes on Istehar and Asterah are mirror images to those of the darker Lilith and Ishtar.
Indeed, if the story is exactly flipped, we have the right story for Lilith. Semjaza and his angels descended to
earth, and Lilith ensnared them. She promised to give them the secret name of Jehovah to Semjaza if he
would mate with her.
Midrash Bereshit Rabbati (ed. H. Albeck; Jerusalem: Mekitze Nirdamim, 1940) 29-31
Immediately they descended (to earth), and the evil impulse gained control of them. When they beheld the beauty of
mortal women, they went astray after them, and were unable to suppress their lust, as Scripture attests: 'and the sons of
God saw, etc.' (Gen 6:2). Shemhazai beheld a maiden whose name was 'Asterah. He fixed his gaze upon her (and) said
to her: 'Obey me!' She answered him: 'I will not obey you until you teach me the Inexpressible Name, the one which when
you pronounce it you ascend to Heaven.' He immediately taught her, she pronounced it, and she ascended to Heaven.
The Holy One, blessed be He, said: 'Since she has kept herself pure from sin, I will make her an example so that she
might be remembered in the world.' Immediately he fixed her (in the heavens) among the seven stars of the Pleiades.
Why was the Ineffable Name of God so important in the angel’s mating with women? In order for the angels to
conceive children with women with them, they needed the secret name of Jehovah. Angels were creatures of
spirit, and not intended by God to procreate. In order to reproduce like Adam, they needed the secret name
of God. This secret name is required to animate life. We have already seen this notion in the creation of
golems. The written name of God placed in the golem’s mouth was an essential ingredient to animating the
creature. Likewise, the dissolved name of Jehovah in the bitter waters given to the Sotah was an essential
ingredient in animating the dust in her belly to the mystical seeds of adultery and promise. The angels likewise
needed the secret name of Jehovah to conceive seed. Lilith was in possession of this name, and she was in
search of a rival seed to Eve’s.
In order for Lilith to raise seed with Semjaza, she would have to give the secret name to Semjaza during their
mating. This is true because the male spirit must speak the name of Jehovah for conception to take place.
This may partly explain why the Watcher’s power of speech was stripped from then in 1 Enoch shortly before
their imprisonment, and why the pre-flood Nephilim were called Enowsh Hashem (“Men of the Name”). They
were literally men conceived by the angels speaking the Hashem (“The Name”) of Jehovah. The need for
Semjaza’s deal with Lilith also explains his great sin and odd oath atop mount Hermon. Semjaza agreed to
mate with Lilith, such that when she revealed the name of Jehovah during the act, he would utter the name
and conceive seed with her. He would then be in possession of the secret name and be able to impart it to his
fellow Watchers, who he had constrained by an oath not to back out of the deal he had made with them prior
to mating with Lilith. Thus equipped with Jehovah’s secret name, the Watchers were ready to mate with the
daughters of man. Note that having Azazel being the resulting seed of Semajaza’s “deal” with Lilith explains
why the entire sin of the Watchers is ascribed to him. Through this deal of Semjaza’s to conceive Azazel, the
entire episode of the Nephilim upon the Earth was initiated. Thus the entire sin of the event is placed on
Lets be clear. Practically every ancient Midrash assumes Azazel is a fellow Watcher with Semjaza. However,
all these Midrashes are just commentary from ancient sages. They don’t pretend to be divine scriptures. The
only written work posing to have the weight of divine scripture, 1 Enoch, implies Azazel is not a Watcher. Also,
as we shall see, the most important Midrash of all, the Zohar of Kabalah, implies Azazel is no fallen angel, but
rather the seed of Satan and Lilith.
And lets also be clear, the many ancient Midrashes that suggest Azazel is a demon are still consistent with him
being a seed of the Watchers. This is because the Midrashes teach that the slain seed of the Watchers, the
Nephilim, became disembodied spirits after the flood. On this side of the flood they are demons that can
possess people. Azazel would certainly fall into this pseudo-angelic category. Albeit, it appears that of all the
Nephilim, he alone might be strictly imprisoned such that he cannot wander about and possess people.