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

Heard, Christopher Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Thu Aug 4 17:28:43 EDT 2005

Dear Harold,

Such a change might seem useless _to you_. But what about _to the  
Chronicler_? By substituting the common noun "an adversary" for  
"YHWH," and dropping the direct quotation, wouldn't this allow the  
Chronicler to "soften the blow" a little bit? He maintains the story  
he has received in the (written!) tradition, but now avoids depicting  
God as giving David a _direct order_ to do something for which God  
then punishes David. _If_ the Chronicler is using _satan_ as a common  
noun, he can "spin" this as a "test" (the Chronicler does not use  
that word, AFAICR) which David could potentially have "passed" by  
resisting the temptation. But in Samuel, David cannot get out of the  
census without _disobeying_ God flatly, so David is in an absolute  
bind. Now again, I want to repeat, I don't _know_ that this is what  
is going on, and I don't think I have done the groundwork to even  
start to _demonstrate_ it. I am just thinking "out loud" (well, er,  
visually in this medium I guess).

Best wishes,


On Aug 4, 2005, at 2:20 PM, Harold R. Holmyard III wrote:

> Dear Chris,
>> Specifically, in 1 Chronicles 21:1 it is _not_
>> ”˜ËÔ [H&+N] that  incites David to count the
>> people; it is merely ˜ËÔ [&+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 ˜ËÔ [&+N]. The Hebrew
>> word ˜ËÔ [&+N], of course, does  not
>> _inherently_ refer to some malignant
>> supernatural entity; see 1  Kings 11:23-25,
>> where the noun ˜ËÔ [&+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 ˜ËÔ [&+N], or at least we can
>> say that at least one writer  had no trouble
>> characterizing the ÓýÏÍÝȔ” [M)LK YHWH] "angel
>> of YHWH" as a ˜ËÔ [&+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?
> HH: It seems to me that it would be a useless change unless it were  
> to "Satan."
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R. Christopher Heard
Assistant Professor of Religion
Pepperdine University
Malibu, California 90263-4352

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