[b-hebrew] Satan

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Tue Sep 5 18:47:32 EDT 2006

Except that I do remember that the snake is haSatan - it could have 
been in the Zohar.



First of all, there is no "Satan", as an individual being, in the Tanakh.
"Ha-satan" means "the adversary", and I'm not even sure if the same being is
meant in all cases. Note 1 Kings 11:14 and 23, in which God sends a "satan"
against Solomon - in both cases mere humans!

Second, in Jewish tradition, the snake of Gen. 3 has nothing at all to do
with Satan. He's just a jealous, clever, talking snake. At most, he
represents our own human "yetser ha-ra", our "evil inclination", which is
ours to overcome.

God, as Creator of all, is also the creator of evil. If there were no evil,
there would be no free choise and no reward for overcoming evil. The idea of
there being a powerful, almost god-like, evil being that carries on a cosmic
struggle against God is a pagan one, which found its way into some parts of
post-biblical Judaism and from there into Christianity.

Yigal Levin

The concept of

b-hebrew mailing list
b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list