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Ron Beron

Can it be...SATAN!?

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Greetings,

I have long been troubled over the concept of Satan in the OT. While a satan is mentioned it is never, with one exception, used as a proper noun, i.e. a proper name. The names that are used are Lucifer(not Hebrew, but Canaanite), the devil (more Persian), satan (a verb and not a noun). My question is, straight out, without the ghost stories, does satan exist? If satan does exist as an actual evil entity then, at least in my mind, bring up many new questions. I also am aware that we have modern day instruction on this, but for this time can we discuss it purely in terms of the Old Testament.

Thanks,

rb

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JOB 1:1-12.

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JOB 1:1-12.

I know well that scripture, but the use of satan in that context s not as a proper name but of a verb. Satan in this case means "that which cases adversary". Besides, I always found those scriptures a bit strange. I understand that Satan was bound and cast from heaven, but yet, here he (she??) is talking with God and the other angels in heaven. This speaks more to a legend that was incorporated into the bible to discuss the nature of tribulation in our lives and in some ways Job is quite unique because in some ways the lessons taught in Job challenge God and his reasoning.

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Lukr 22:31

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oops, Luke 22:31

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JOB 1:1-12.

I know well that scripture, but the use of satan in that context s not as a proper name but of a verb.

Using the KJV that does not seem to be the case. Satan seems always referred to as a person. Are you using another text?

Satan in this case means "that which cases adversary". 

Source?

Besides, I always found those scriptures a bit strange.  I understand that Satan was bound and cast from heaven, but yet, here he (she??) is talking with God and the other angels in heaven. 

Here you seem to now refer to Satan as a person, rather than as a verb.

I don't read it as in heaven. I read it as children (men, perhaps priests) of God who are praying to God and Satan (a person) comes in among them. I'd presume from the verse that it is Christ who comes to talk with Satan and that occurs here on Earth.

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1dc asks,

Using the KJV that does not seem to be the case.  Satan seems always referred to as a person.  Are you using another text?

No, I am using KJV and the New Jerusalem as well as commentaries in the Interpreters Bible. My confusion comes because Satan is not used as a proper name with one or two exceptions. Where it is used as a verb or adjectives I have listed below. In each case satan is referred as either a title as in adversary or as a verb.

Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary'

Numbers 22:22

Then God's anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.

(Here we see quite clearly that the angel of the Lord is the 'satan'.)

1 Samuel 29:4

But the princes of the Philistines were angry with him; so the princes of the Philistines said to him, "Make this fellow return, that he may go back to the place which you have appointed for him, and do not let him go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become our adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary'). For with what could he reconcile himself to his master, if not with the heads of these men?

(This verse shows us a human being as the 'satan'.)

1 Kings 5:4

But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') nor evil occurence.

(There is no 'satan' who might attack Israel during this period of Solomon's reign).

1 Kings 11:14,23,25

Now the LORD raised up an adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was a descendant of the king in Edom. {23} And God raised up another adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') against him, Rezon the son of Eliadah, who had fled from his lord, Hadadezer king of Zobah. {25} He was an adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') of Israel all the days of Solomon (besides the trouble that Hadad caused); and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

(Here we have two 'satans' named! The first was Hadad, the Edomite and the second was Rezon, the son of Eliadah.)

Job 16:9

He tears me in His wrath, and hates me; He gnashes at me with His teeth; My adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') sharpens His gaze on me.

(In each other case found in Job 'satan' is transliterated Satan, I can't see why it wasn't done here also!)

Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversaries'

2 Samuel 19:22

And David said, "What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should be adversaries (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversaries') to me today? Shall any man be put to death today in Israel? For do I not know that today I am king over Israel?" enemies rejoice.

Psalms 38:20

Those also who render evil for good, They are my adversaries, (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversaries') because I follow what is good.

Here we find king David explains what a 'satan' is - those who render evil for good.

Psalms 71:13

Let them be confounded and consumed Who are adversaries (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversaries') of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonour Who seek my hurt.

Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'accuser'

Psalms 109:6

Set a wicked man over him, And let an accuser (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'accuser')

Psalms 109:4

In return for my love they are my accusers (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'accusers'), But I give myself to prayer.

Psalms 109:20

Let this be the Lord's reward to my accusers (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'accusers'), And to those who speak evil against my person.

Psalms 109:29

Let my accusers (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'accusers') be clothed with shame, And let them cover themselves with their own disgrace as with a mantle.

Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'stand against'

Numbers 22:32

And the Angel of the LORD said to him, "Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'stand against'), because your way is perverse before Me.

The Angel of the Lord has come to be a 'satan' here.

Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'oppose'

Zechariah 3:1

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'oppose') him.

Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary'

Numbers 22:22

Then God's anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.

(Here we see quite clearly that the angel of the Lord is the 'satan'.)

1 Samuel 29:4

But the princes of the Philistines were angry with him; so the princes of the Philistines said to him, "Make this fellow return, that he may go back to the place which you have appointed for him, and do not let him go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become our adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary'). For with what could he reconcile himself to his master, if not with the heads of these men?

(This verse shows us a human being as the 'satan'.)

1 Kings 5:4

But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') nor evil occurence.

(There is no 'satan' who might attack Israel during this period of Solomon's reign).

1 Kings 11:14,23,25

Now the LORD raised up an adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was a descendant of the king in Edom. {23} And God raised up another adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') against him, Rezon the son of Eliadah, who had fled from his lord, Hadadezer king of Zobah. {25} He was an adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') of Israel all the days of Solomon (besides the trouble that Hadad caused); and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.

(Here we have two 'satans' named! The first was Hadad, the Edomite and the second was Rezon, the son of Eliadah.)

Job 16:9

He tears me in His wrath, and hates me; He gnashes at me with His teeth; My adversary (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversary') sharpens His gaze on me.

Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversaries'

2 Samuel 19:22

And David said, "What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah, that you should be adversaries (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversaries') to me today? Shall any man be put to death today in Israel? For do I not know that today I am king over Israel?" enemies rejoice.

Psalms 38:20

Those also who render evil for good, They are my adversaries, (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversaries') because I follow what is good.

Here we find king David explains what a 'satan' is - those who render evil for good.

Psalms 71:13

Let them be confounded and consumed Who are adversaries (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'adversaries') of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonour Who seek my hurt.

Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'accuser'

Psalms 109:6

Set a wicked man over him, And let an accuser (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'accuser')

Psalms 109:4

In return for my love they are my accusers (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'accusers'), But I give myself to prayer.

Psalms 109:20

Let this be the Lord's reward to my accusers (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'accusers'), And to those who speak evil against my person.

Psalms 109:29

Let my accusers (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'accusers') be clothed with shame, And let them cover themselves with their own disgrace as with a mantle.

Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'stand against'

Numbers 22:32

And the Angel of the LORD said to him, "Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'stand against'), because your way is perverse before Me.

The Angel of the Lord has come to be a 'satan' here.

Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'oppose'

Zechariah 3:1

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'oppose') him.

Hebrew - 'satan', transliterated 'Satan'

1 Chronicles 21:1

Now Satan (Hebrew - 'satan', transliterated 'Satan') stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.

(Compare to 2 Samuel 24:1 where it says that God moved David to number the people. Is God 'satan'?)

Job 1:6-9,12

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan (Hebrew - 'satan', transliterated 'Satan') also came among them. {7} And the LORD said to Satan (Hebrew - 'satan', transliterated 'Satan'), "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." {8} Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" {9} So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? {12} And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

(Here, it is obvious to me that satan or Satan acts as God's temptor not as an actual personage, but something of a official "heavenly" prosecutor, a "devil's advocate", if you will.

Job 2:1-4,6,7

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan (Hebrew - 'satan', transliterated 'Satan') came also among them to present himself before the LORD. {2} And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." {3} Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause." {4} So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. {6} And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life." {7} So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.

(I think this is the only case where Satan has a proper name. Could this be that whoever redacted this passage at some future time added an anthromorphic nature to Satan? )

Zechariah 3:1

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan (Hebrew - 'satan', transliterated 'Satan') standing at his right hand to oppose (Hebrew - 'satan', translated 'oppose') him. {2} And the LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?"

Source?

Strongs concordance are #7853 and #7854. The Hebrew word 'satan' simply means 'to oppose' or 'to be an adversary. This seems to be the common definition. Elaine Pagels has covered the origin of the word in her book, "The Origin of Satan". In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism it states, "The name Satan comes from a Hebrew root meaning "to oppose, be adverse," hence "to attack or to accuse"

I don't read it as in heaven.  I read it as children (men, perhaps priests) of God who are praying to God and Satan (a person) comes in among them.  I'd presume from the verse that it is Christ who comes to talk with Satan and that occurs here on Earth.

Interesting, I always assumed it was a heavenly council. The Hebrew translate verse 6 as, "Now the day came about, and the angels of God came to stand beside the Lord, and the Adversary, too, came among them." Here it is angels that are mentioned while Christian texts call them "sons of God" or heavenly beings. If you check the Catholic Encyclopedia, there is an excellent discussion on this where it states that Sons of God can be both angels or human. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14142b.htm

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Hmm broadens the meaning of the scripture where Christ responds to Peter...

"Get thee behind me satan" thank you.

-Ed

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1dc asks,
Using the KJV that does not seem to be the case.

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The LDS Bible Dictionary also helps to sort through confusion (obviously not only from an OT only perspective): http://scriptures.lds.org/bdd/devil

Yes, that is a good help, but here the term used is DEVIL which comes from the Greek Diablos which is based on conceptions of Persian deities. Satan seems a more specific word to describe a particular evil.

In American courts, doesn't the prosecutor/plaintiff stand to the right when facing the judge?

Hmmm....interesting slant (excuse the pun)

QUOTE

Hebrew - 'satan', transliterated 'Satan'

1 Chronicles 21:1

Now Satan (Hebrew - 'satan', transliterated 'Satan') stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.

(Compare to 2 Samuel 24:1 where it says that God moved David to number the people.  Is God 'satan'?)

See LDS footnotes:

"Apparently something is missing, and

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Hmm broadens the meaning of the scripture where Christ responds to Peter...

"Get thee behind me satan" thank you.

-Ed

Yes, that is exactly the meaning.

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That's one of the plain and precious truths that's been lost from the OLD Testament, that of Satan.

He is hardly mentioned at all.

It just shows the mark of the last editor: i.e. The last editor took out all references to himself.

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I have long been troubled over the concept of Satan in the OT. While a satan is mentioned it is never, with one exception, used as a proper noun, i.e. a proper name.

Why should this be troublesome, unless you believe that all doctrine must be found clearly explained in the Bible?

Further, simply because something is not referred to with a name or proper noun doesn't invalidate its existance. There are plenty of other proper nouns that eventually became proper nouns, such as Jordan. Etymologically, this simply means "river." Proper nouns do not take the article in Hebrew, but Jordan has the article in most of its occurrences.

The names that are used are Lucifer(not Hebrew, but Canaanite), the devil (more Persian), satan (a verb and not a noun).

A few nitpicks- I assume (though you haven't made it clear) that you're referring to etymology here. If so, then Lucifer is Latin (meaning "light bearer), and not Canaanite, devil is an anglicization of Gr. Diabolos, and satan in Hebrew is most frequently a common noun with the article. Satan occurs as a verb only 6 times.

Again, I don't see what the trouble is. We don't find a concept of Satan in the Hebrew bible the way we conceptualize it/him today. For LDS, that's not a problem.

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There are plenty of other proper nouns that eventually became proper nouns, such as Jordan. Etymologically, this simply means "river." Proper nouns do not take the article in Hebrew, but Jordan has the article in most of its occurrences.

While this may be true, a river is certainly different than a concept. In one a river is always a river. It can be seen, smelled, and felt. A concept cannot. What you are saying is that satan, once a concept, has come to be Satan; a great evil diety. There is a difference.

A few nitpicks- I assume (though you haven't made it clear) that you're referring to etymology here. If so, then Lucifer is Latin (meaning "light bearer), and not Canaanite, devil is an anglicization of Gr. Diabolos, and satan in Hebrew is most frequently a common noun with the article. Satan occurs as a verb only 6 times.

Again, I don't see what the trouble is. We don't find a concept of Satan in the Hebrew bible the way we conceptualize it/him today. For LDS, that's not a problem.

Since we are nitpicking let me continue a bit more. Somewhere down the line I did make the distinction that devil is from the Greek diabolos and in a lengthy discussion I referenced satan as being a common noun, as opposed to a personal pronoun. I will disagree with your assumption that Lucifer was not Canaanite. First, the original was not Lucifer which is clearly latin but heylel which means "light bringer" which is consistent to an earlier Canaanite myth. Isaiah makes reference to this earlier Canaanite mythology in Isa. 14:12.

In further research I found the following in FAIR's Ask the Apologist,

" There is a figure in contemporary Canaanite religion which resembles Helel in Isaiah 14. That figure is 'Athtar. At one point in Canaanite myth, 'Athtar attempts to sit in the throne of Ba'al, the king of the gods. He fails in his attempt, and instead descends to the earth to rule there. 'Athtar is known in southern Arabian inscriptions as Venus, or the Day Star. More than this though, is the account in Isaiah. The "stars of God" is a reference to the divine assembly--all of the divinities of heaven. The mount of the congregation in the sides of the north (in the original Hebrew) is equivalent to Canaanite phrases describing the dwelling place of Ba'al. So, in effect, we have in Isaiah a description of a divinity who wants to seize the throne of Ba'al and rule the heavens. Of course there are differences as well as similarities, but I find this argument to be fairly convincing myself."

And again, the original Canaanite myth states the following:

"How hast thou fallen from heaven, Helel's son Shaher!

Thou didst say in thy heart, I will ascend to Heaven.

Above the circumpolar stars I will raise my throne

And I will dwell on the Mount of Council in the back of the North

I will mount on the back of a cloud.

I will be like unto Elyon."

The troublesome part is easy. Has the concept of satan changed to meet new challenges. If God is the same forever so is satan. Apparently it isn't. Certainly, we see Satan today as the great antithesis of God while in ancient times satan was seen as a cohort of God. I have a problem with that. If this is true then we have had a real "paradigm" shift along the line. Why is this? This is not to digress from the very real notion of evil and it's very tangible applications and implications in today's world.

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" I will disagree with your assumption that Lucifer was not Canaanite."

I said that Lucifer, the name is etymologically Latin, which you agree with. However, the concept described in Hebrew in Isaiah is Canaanite.

"What you are saying is that satan, once a concept, has come to be Satan; a great evil diety. "

Not at all. You seemed hung up on the words themselves, especially the fact that Satan as a proper noun occurred rarely. I simply provided commentary on the words themselves, etymological commentary. You then read into it things I did not intend.

You also take the Hebrew Bible to accurately represent what the Israelites actually believed. I do not, and many others more scholarly than I do not. The Hebrew bible represents an elite layer of Israelite belief which seems to have been held by few. William Dever holds the Hebrew Bible to be the one case in which history was written by the losers.

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I said that  Lucifer, the name is etymologically Latin, which you agree with. However, the concept describNot at all.

Okay, good. We agree.

You seemed hung up on the words themselves, especially the fact that Satan as a proper noun occurred rarely. I simply provided commentary on the words themselves, etymological commentary. You then read into it things I did not intend. ed in Hebrew in Isaiah is Canaanite.

Hung up is bit harsh, but I am a English teacher and words DO matter.

You also take the Hebrew Bible to accurately represent what the Israelites actually believed. I do not, and many others more scholarly than I do not. The Hebrew bible represents an elite layer of Israelite belief which seems to have been held by few. William Dever holds the Hebrew Bible to be the one case in which history was written by the losers.

Not at all. I believe the OT, especially the TANAKH, used stories, myth, and folklore to explain life's interesting problems. Since my concern is ultimately with the OT I think I would be in some difficulty in using other material. I use the words resident in the OT because that is what Jesus used. To be honest doesn't the Bible represent several layers of different perspectives? As far as the OT being an elitist tract wouldn't it be accurate to state that ALL religious material is elitist, i.e. written by the upper-crust?

Also, I notice that you are getting a bit upset. Please don't. I am really interested in this subject and I appreciate your input.

rb

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I saw that Ben McGuire gave you some good stuff on the other thread, but I couldn't find it. I found a reference that you may find helpful.

Neil Forsyth, The Old Enemy: Satan and the Combat Myth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1987)

It appears to be out of print.

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I saw that Ben McGuire gave you some good stuff on the other thread, but I couldn't find it. I found a reference that you may find helpful.

Neil Forsyth, The Old Enemy: Satan and the Combat Myth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1987)

It appears to be out of print.

Thanks, I appreciate it. I'll look it up on the net. I'm sure someone has it. I have also found Jeffrey Burton Russell's book to be helpful. I agree about Ben's posts. They do have a unique insight, don't they.

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