“Devil” or “Demon” in Matthew 9:33 et al.?
"And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel." (Matthew 9:33, KJV)
In the right contexts, “devil” is a proper translation of δαιμόνιον. In English “devil” and "devils" (plural) can refer to generic evil spirits (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). It is not true that "devil" is a title reserved only for Satan. For example, when a person refers to another as a "handsome devil", she is not suggesting that the handsome person is Satan incarnate. As for other examples, names of college and professional sports teams, such as the New Jersey Devils and Duke Blue Devils, demonstrate that "devils" in English could refer to a plurality of personalities, not just Satan. Even in Greek, “devil” does not always refer to Satan, but to any accuser: e.g. Jesus calls Judas Iscariot a “διάβολος (diabolos),” which means “devil” (John 6:70). “διάβολος” refers to human beings in 1 Timothy 3:11, 2 Timothy 3:3 and Titus 2:3. Despite the charge that "δαιμόνιον" should be translated "demon", most translations do not always translate the word as “demon.” In Acts 17:18, the NASB and ESV translate δαιμονιων as “deities” and “divinities” respectively. Surely "demon" is not the only suitable word to translate "δαιμόνιον".
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