[b-hebrew] Satan

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Tue Sep 5 18:56:34 EDT 2006

On 05/09/2006 23:41, Yigal Levin wrote:
> ...
> 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!

Perhaps you need to direct this comment at Shoshanna, who seems to 
consider Satan to be an individual being in the Tanakh. But I agree that 
the word is also used as a common noun. This is a bit like Hebrew 'adam, 
which is regularly a common noun, but does not imply that Adam is not an 
individual person in the Tanakh.
> 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.
Now I'm confused. Liz Fried wrote:
> Satan is mentioned in the Talmud as the source of sin and temptation and is
> identified with the serpent in the garden of Eden (Sota 9b, Sanh. 29a).

And Shoshanna agreed when she replied:
> Yes, that is what I said - that Satan is an angel whose job it is to 
> tempt man to disobey G-d, hence sin, and that the serpent was Satan.
Perhaps Jewish tradition is divided on this point.

> 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.
Understood, although I might dispute the origin of this idea. But it 
seems to be in Shoshanna's version of Judaism, if not yours, as well as 
in my Christianity.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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