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Samyaza (Aramaic: שמיחזה; Greek: Σεμιαζά; Arabic: ساميارس, Samiarush), also Shemhazai, Azza or Ouza, is a fallen angel of apocryphal Abrahamic traditions that ranked in the heavenly hierarchy as one of the Watchers.
The name "Shemyaza(z)" means "the (or my) name has seen," "he sees the name," or "I have seen." It is also spelled "Sahjaza", "Semihazah", "Shemihazah", "Shemyazaz", "Shemyaza", "Sêmîazâz", "Semjâzâ", "Samjâzâ", and "Semyaza".
Book of Enoch
In the Book of Enoch, one of the apocryphal writings, Samyaza is portrayed as the leader of a band of rebellious 'fallen angels' or renegade 'sons of God' called the Watchers, or grigori, who, because they became consumed with lust for mortal women and entered into machinations against heaven in order to consummate their sinful desires, fell. In the Qumran Book of Giants, Samyaza, through this forbidden prostitution, fathers two half-breed "giant" sons, Ohyah and Hahyah.
When the rebel angels first meet upon Mount Hermon to organize their secret society of 200 members, Samyaza, as their recognized chieftain (under Azazel, who had rebelled against God and the heavenly host), initially doubts the initiates' resolve to forswear heaven. This they had planned to achieve through dark combinations and clandestine oaths under penalty of death, thereby binding themselves to that treachery in which they would use their heaven-acquired knowledge to create a counterfeit religion on earth to satisfy their lusts and carnal desires:
And Semjâzâ, who was their leader, said unto them: "I fear ye will not indeed agree to do this deed, and I alone shall have to pay the penalty of a great sin." And they all answered him and said: "Let us all swear an oath, and all bind ourselves by mutual imprecations not to abandon this plan but to do this thing." Then sware they all together and bound themselves by mutual imprecations upon it. (1 En 6:3-5)
Thus having convinced the other Watchers to join him in fornicating with women, Samyaza continues to collude and to plot with these other sinful grigori to seduce females from the human tribes. The resultant offspring from this unnatural prostitution and breeding are called "giants" (referred to as Nephilim in the Book of Genesis). Together, they dominate, murder, and exploit the inferior races of men — beginning in the days of the righteous Sethite patriarch Jared, the father of the prophet Enoch — their debauchery thereafter rising to new heights: "And there was great impiety and much fornication, and they went astray and all their ways became corrupt" (1 En 8:1-2). Enoch, in his sleep-vision that has been called the 'Animal Apocalypse' (of 1 Enoch's Book of Dreams), "saw heaven above, and behold:
... a star fell from heaven [Azazel], and it arose and ate and pastured amongst those oxen [the righteous Sethites, descendants of Adam's son Seth]. And after this I saw the large and the black oxen [the wicked Cainites, descendants of Adam's son Cain], and behold, all of them changed their pens and their pastures and their heifers [women], and began to moan [breed], one after another. And again I saw in the vision and looked to heaven, and behold, I saw many stars [Shemihazah and the rebellious Watchers], how they came down and were thrown down from heaven to that first star [Azazel, whom they worshipped and who taught them Heaven's secrets], and amongst those heifers and bulls [humankind]; they were with them, pasturing amongst them. And I looked at them [the Watchers] and saw, and behold, all of them let out their private parts like horses and began to mount the cows of the bulls [the 'daughters of men'], and they all became pregnant and bore elephants and camels and asses [symbolizing the three generations of the Watchers' descendants; Giants, the Naphil, and the Eljo respectively, as mentioned in the Book of Jubilees and the Book of Giants.]. And all the oxen [humankind] feared them and were affrighted at them, and [they] began to bite with their teeth and to devour, and to gore with their horns. And they [the Watchers and their giant-sons] began, moreover, to devour those oxen [the righteous and wicked alike]; and behold all the children of the earth began to tremble and quake before them and to flee from them ... (1 En 86:1-6)
But perhaps the Watchers' most grievous sin was to teach and instruct humankind, blasphemously, in various forbidden arts, sciences, and celestial "secrets" or "mysteries" of the true heavenly gnosis or knowledge — especially that Wisdom possessed by Azazel (Satan), who taught them also the secrets of war (from magic, metallurgy, and weaponry to seductive ornamentation, jewelry, and cosmetics) — all of which ultimately, though not surprisingly, brings down the wrath of Heaven.
God commanded the angel Gabriel to cause the Watchers and giants to wage civil war:
And to Gabriel said the Lord: "Proceed against the biters 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[.] (1 En 10:9)
Finally, the judgement of the Watcher-associates of Samyaza is described.
And the Lord said unto Michael: "Go, bind Semjâzâ and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves with them in all their uncleanness. 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. In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire:〈and〉to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever. And whosoever shall be condemned and destroyed will from thenceforth be bound together with them to the end of all generations[.] (1 En 10:11-14)
Once the archangels and the host of the righteous had rained war and destruction upon the Watchers and giants, God caused, after several generations, the Great Flood of Noah to wipe out the corrupt remnant of the earthly races. For when the "eternal covenant" and eternal law had been broken, in the fallen angels' revelation to the profane creatures of the earth of heaven's sacred knowledge, lawlessness ensued, which corrupted and destroyed. But after the diluvial judgment, God removed the lawlessness that came from the perverted knowledge and restored again His covenant with Noah and his sons, returning fertility and harmony back to the creation.
Book of Giants
In the Book of Giants, Shemyaza (or Šahmīzād in the Manichaean version) begets two sons, who together battle the Leviathan. However, they are not portrayed as heroic, but as boasting about their own victory; a symbol of royal failure to keep one's power in this world, as after the defeat of the Leviathan, Shemyaza and his offspring are slain by the four punishing angels.
In legend, he is the seraph tempted by the maiden Ishtahar to reveal to her the Explicit Name of God. Often it is speculated that a main reason for Azza's expulsion from heaven is that Azza objected to the high rank given to Enoch when the latter was transformed from a mortal into the angel Metatron. In Solomonic lore the story is that Azza was the angel who revealed to the Jewish king the heavenly arcana, thus making Solomon the wisest man on earth. Of the 2 groups of angels headed by Metatron, one of the groups, the angels of justice, were under the rulership of Azza, who at this time had not yet fallen. Uzza is the tutelary angel of the Egyptians.
Azza, according to the rabbinic tradition, is suspended between Heaven and Earth along with Azazel as punishment for having had carnal knowledge of mortal women. He is said to be constantly falling, with one eye shut and the other open, to see his plight and suffer the more. It is said that he now hangs, head down, and is the constellation of Orion.
It is also worth mentioning that Ouza was one of the major items of worship in the pagan Arabic culture, before the rise of Islam. Al-Uzza and Al-Lat (The Ouza and the Lat) were considered the Daughters of God and were prayed for. However, with the appearance of the monotheistic religion of Islam, the worship of any other god beside God (Allah) was defeated. The mention of Al Lat and Al Ouza was made in the Chapter of the Star (Surat Al Najm) [chapter no. 53] in the Quran:
19. Have ye seen Lat and 'Uzza,
20. And another, the third (goddess), Manat?
21. Shall the male gender be yours and the female be His?
22. Behold, such would be indeed a division most unfair!
23. These are nothing but names which ye have devised,- ye and your fathers,- for which Allah has sent down no authority (whatever). They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire!- Even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord!
Samyaza in popular culture
- Samyaza appears in the role-playing video game Final Fantasy XII as the Esper Shemhazai. Shemhazai is a female horse-like being who controls the souls of the dead, created in opposition to Igeyorhm the Martyr. Though she once served the gods as a guardian, she plays a role similar to that of Samyaza in revealing to the rebellious Esper Ultima the weaknesses of the gods before attacking the people.
- Semyaza and five other Grigori may be summoned from imprisonment to fight for the player in Dominions 3: The Awakening, and Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
- Semyaza also appears as the seven fallen angels in El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron.
- Shemyaza appears in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers as a demon the player's party has to face. He also appears in many other games in the Megami Tensei series, sometimes as a boss or antagonist, sometimes as a random demon the player runs into or can summon. In Soul Hackers, he is working for another fallen angel, Azazel, who also appears in many of the games in the series.
- Shimbatha, a mistranslation of "Shemyatha," appears in the 1991 game XZR 2, released in the West as Exile for the NEC Turbo Duo, translated by the now defunct Working Designs. Shemyatha is the main antagonist which the hero, Sadler, must face. In the Sega Genesis port of this game, when localised to the USA, this name was dropped in favor of the epithet "Holy Emperor." According to the Japanese story context in the game, Shemyatha possessed Hiram Abiff in the 6th millennium BC, during construction of Solomon's Temple, but was shortly murdered afterward. In the game's setting of 11th century CE, Shemyatha again takes over the body of a man, this time Yuug D'Payne, based on the historical founder and first Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Hugues de Payens.
- Samyaza or "Shemyaza" also appears in Storm Constantine's Grigori trilogy, as the primary villain who finds redemption. He first appears as a Grigori pariah who terrorizes the underground Grigori society by leaving a trail of highly public murders in his wake. He eventually redeems himself and consequently regains the memory of his previous incarnations. He goes on to fight an epic battle with the serpent Tiamat.
- Samyaza also appeared as a prime antagonist in the book series Dragons In Our Midst
- Sam the Imperator is revealed to be Samyaza in Children of the Serpent by Mark Ellis, the thirty-eighth book in the Outlanders novel series.
- Semjaza appears as an imprisoned being in Hell in Wayne Barlowe's novel God's Demon.
- Shemhazai is the name of one of the fallen angels who follow the god Elua in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series. He was the patron angel of knowledge, learning, science, and literacy.
- Samyaza or 'Samjeeza' appears in Cynthia Hand's Unearthly trilogy as the former leader of the Watchers and a minor villain.
- Semyaza appears as a supporting character in The Book of Creation, the first novel in The Watchers Chronicle, by Evan Braun and Clint Byars.
- Sam Yaza appears as a renegade hippie angel in modern day New Orleans in Woolf's Bane, by Alan Lance Andersen and Dane Rasmussen.
- Samyaza appears in R.D. Brady's Belial series as a Fallen Angel antagonist.
- Shemihaza appears as a member of the Grigori in Kato Kazue's manga series Blue Exorcist.
- Shemhazai also appears as one of the leaders of the Grigori in the anime and manga series High School DxD
- Shemhazai is a major character in Shemhazai's Game by Harry Ringel
- Samyazaz appears as a fallen angel in the novel Unsong by Scott Alexander
- Samyaza is voiced by Nick Nolte in the film Noah. He and the other Watchers are depicted as fallen angels punished by encasement in stone for defying the Creator's will to help mankind develop.
- "(طبقات ناصري (تاريخ ايران و اسلام".
- "Al-Juzjani, Tabaqat-i-Nasiri 1 (c. 1259-1260 CE))".
- Michel Tardieu Manichaeism University of Illinois Press, 2008 ISBN 9780252032783 p. 46-48
- Ginsberg, The Legends of the Jews III, 17
- Gustav Davidson, A Dictionary of Angels, 1967, Free Press
- Gustav Davidson, A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels, Scrollhouse, 1967 ISBN 0-02-907052-X pg. xiii