Learning Biblical Hebrew
5/19/09 at 04:02 AM 0 Comments

From time immemorial, there was evil.... Ha-Satan

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In Judaism, the word Satan refers to one of god's angels or servants, that tempts people to sin and to or commit evil crimes. The biblical word ha-satan(the devil) comes from Hebrew and means the adversary as mentioned in1 Samuel 29:4:

" וְלֹא-יֵרֵד עִמָּנוּ בַּמִּלְחָמָה, וְלֹא-יִהְיֶה-לָּנוּ לְשָׂטָן בַּמִּלְחָמָה "

"He shall not march down with us to the battle, or else he may become an adversary satan in battle."

Satan possesses no real demonic qualities in the Old Testament writings .In the Torah, the word Satan indicates "accuser or "tempter." Satan is an obstacle in people's way keeping them from completing the responsibilities of tikkun olam ("fixing the world").

God Vs Satan

Throughout the Old Testament, God is presented as all powerful, without equal and in no competition with any other force. The Old Testament makes it very clear that any adversary to God's people was ultimately under the control of God Himself. All angels are spoken of as being decent and the servants of God. Even angels of evil , who may bring destruction upon sinners, are still God's angels carrying out his will and judgments.

Only in Zechariah and the book of Job Satan is mentioned as a distinct being. In Zechariah 3:1 Satan appears as the accuser to bring men's failings to the attention of God:

וַיַּרְאֵנִי, אֶת-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל, עֹמֵד, לִפְנֵי מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה; וְהַשָּׂטָן עֹמֵד עַל-יְמִינוֹ, לְשִׂטְנוֹ.

"He further showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right to accuse him."

The most known reference to Satan as a distinct being can be found in the book of Job. Job opens with a discussion between God and Satan .Job was a God fearing person and Satan asks God for permission to tempt Job to see how loyal to God Job was. God granted Satan permission to do whatever he wanted, so long as he didn't take Job's life, as written:

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל הַשָּׂטָן, הֲשַׂמְתָּ לִבְּךָ עַל עַבְדִּי אִיּוֹב: כִּי אֵין כָּמֹהוּ בָּאָרֶץ, אִישׁ תָּם וְיָשָׁר יְרֵא אֱלֹהִים וְסָר מֵרָע. וַיַּעַן הַשָּׂטָן אֶת יְהוָה, וַיֹּאמַר: הַחִנָּם, יָרֵא אִיּוֹב אֱלֹהִים. הֲלֹא את (אַתָּה) שַׂכְתָּ בַעֲדוֹ וּבְעַד בֵּיתוֹ, וּבְעַד כָּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ--מִסָּבִיב: מַעֲשֵׂה יָדָיו בֵּרַכְתָּ, וּמִקְנֵהוּ פָּרַץ בָּאָרֶץ. וְאוּלָם שְׁלַח נָא יָדְךָ, וְגַע בְּכָל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ--אִם לֹא עַל פָּנֶיךָ, יְבָרְכֶךָּ. וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל הַשָּׂטָן, הִנֵּה כָל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ בְּיָדֶךָ--רַק אֵלָיו, אַל תִּשְׁלַח יָדֶךָ; וַיֵּצֵא, הַשָּׂטָן, מֵעִם, פְּנֵי יְהוָה.

"The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil.' Then Satan- answered the Lord, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.' The Lord said to Satan,- ‘Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not stretch out your hand against him"(Job 1:8-12)

Satan appearance
In many of ancient cultures, like Egypt and the common Christian , Satan had horns and tail, and this would explain where the idea of a horned red Satan figure came from. However, in the Old Testament Satan had no horns nor tail ,because according to Judaism it's consider as Paganism and therefore there is no description of Satan appearance.

main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

Hebrew Transcription Translation
שָׂטָן śāttān Satan
תּוֹרָה tōrāh Pentateuch

אִיּוֹב yyōb' Job
כֹּהֵן kōhēn Priest
מִלְחָמָה milhāma War
אִישׁ îš' Man
תָּם tām Honest

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