Despite being a lesser-known angel, Azrael is an important figure within several major religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He is an archangel in Heaven, similar to Gabriel and Samael, but wields frightening power. The angel of destruction is commanded by God himself to eradicate and renew all life.
Though he's said to be a being of light, Azrael has a horrifying dark side. Similar to the fallen angel Abaddon, he is tasked with carrying out the will of God - whether it be collecting the souls of the departed or meting out punishments to sinners. Regardless of the chaos that he may cause, Azrael puts his loyalty to God above all else.
He's The Angel Of Destruction And Renewal In The Hebrew Bible
Azrael is almost always portrayed as an incredibly powerful angel. He holds the ability to command life itself. Traditionally on the same level as the archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, he is entrusted with the ability to separate body from soul after he provides God with seven handfuls of earth to help create Adam.
In Exodus, He Is Behind The Peril That Befell The Firstborn
In the Book of Exodus, the slaying of the firstborn in Egypt was the 10th and final plague set against Ramses for his refusal to free the Israelites. God’s followers were to sacrifice a lamb and use its blood to mark their doors so the condition would not affect them. The mark on the door would ensure those inside would not "suffer the destroyer to come into your houses and smite you.”
While Azrael is not mentioned by name, scholars believe the angel referenced in the text is the same entity who was also called upon to eliminate various other people and locations within the Bible.
In II Samuel, He Slays 70,000 Sinners And Nearly Wipes Out Jerusalem
In II Samuel, King David commits adultery with a woman called Bathsheba. He confesses his sins to God, but God rules the king can choose what punishment shall befall him and his people. David leaves the decision in the hands of his master, so God instructs the angel of the Lord to spread a plague on Israel.
Some “70,000 men” perish at the hands of Azrael. The decimation of Jerusalem is only prevented when God commands the angel to stop his work after David pleads for mercy.
II Kings Describes Him Slaying Thousands
In the Biblical book of II Kings, when the Assyrian army of Sennacherib prepares to strike Jerusalem and defeat Hezekiah, God answers the prayers of his followers and intervenes. Their lord sends the angel to carry out his will to ensure the city is not besieged. During the night, Azrael slays thousands of Assyrian soldiers and ends the conflict in one swift move.
Although the Bible does not mention Azrael by name, it states that "it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians [a] hundred fourscore and five thousand."