[b-hebrew] Is.45:7 God created evil?

Jim West jwest at highland.net
Thu Aug 4 17:02:45 EDT 2005

Really interesting stuff Chris, and I have to admit, persuasive.  But I 
wonder- has the fact that the definite article dropped out signalled 
something of a further development in terms of "satanology" (forgive me 
that) in the Hebrew Bible?  That is- in older texts, Yahweh causes weal 
and woe.  In Job, HaSatan causes woe.  In the Chronicler Satan (as a 
full blown proper name) is given credit for inciting David to act 
against Yahweh's wishes.  Does that make sense?  In other words, we 
have, within the HB itself, a clear, temporally noticeable development 
of this theme.

Heard Christopher wrote:

>Although 2 Samuel 24:1 vs. 1 Chronicles 21:1 is a _locus classicus_  
>in understanding the difference between the Chronicler's treatment of  
>David and the Deuteronomistic Historian's treatment of David, and  
>although I have often thought about the texts in question in the  
>terms Jim expressed earlier, quoted above, in the last few times I  
>have looked at these verses, I have begun to doubt its accuracy.
>Specifically, in 1 Chronicles 21:1 it is _not_  השטן [H&+N] that  
>incites David to count the people; it is merely שטן [&+N] (no  
>definite article). Now the lack of a definite article is very  
>important here, it seems to me. For the verse ought not be translated  
>"Satan opposed [stood against] Israel, and incited David to count  
>Israel," nor "The Adversary opposed ..." since there is no definite  
>article, but rather, "_An_ adversary opposed ...," with an indefinite  
>article. Now I wonder--I have not done the real legwork on this yet,  
>so I'm thinking out loud--whether the Chronicler thinks he is  
>referring to YHWH, or an entity other than YHWH, by this word,  
>indefinite שטן [&+N]. The Hebrew word שטן [&+N], of course, does  
>not _inherently_ refer to some malignant supernatural entity; see 1  
>Kings 11:23-25, where the noun שטן [&+N] refers to a purely human  
>opponent, though one who, importantly, was incited _by God_ to be  
>such. Moreover, there is nothing semantically out of bounds about God  
>being a שטן [&+N], or at least we can say that at least one writer  
>had no trouble characterizing the מאלך יהוה [M)LK YHWH] "angel  
>of YHWH" as a שטן [&+N] to someone (Numbers 22:22). Clearly, the  
>Chronicler is altering his Deuteronomistic source text. But is he  
>completely changing the referent, or just using a subtle circumlocution?


D. Jim West

Biblical Studies Resources -  http://web.infoave.net/~jwest
Biblical Theology Weblog -  http://biblical-studies.blogspot.com

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