[b-hebrew] Ha'satan - (Sub-category of "New or Renewed in Jeremiah 31:31?")

Yohanan bin-Dawidh yohanan.bin.dawidh at gmail.com
Sat Apr 14 16:37:17 EDT 2007

Dear Shoshanna,

In Sefer Bamidbar (Numbers) chapter 22 verse 22 we read  וַיִּחַר-אַף
אֱלֹהִים, כִּי-הוֹלֵךְ הוּא, וַיִּתְיַצֵּב מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה בַּדֶּרֶךְ,
לְשָׂטָן לוֹ; וְהוּא רֹכֵב עַל-אֲתֹנוֹ, וּשְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו עִמּוֹ which
suggests that  in this situation it was מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה acting as שָׂטָן,
right? Then in Sefer Shemu'el Alef (1 Samuel) 16:14 we read
וּבִעֲתַתּוּ רוּחַ-רָעָה,
מֵאֵת יְהוָה that clearly denotes that an "evil spirit from YHWH" terrified
Sha'ul, and not merely "an evil spirit". Also in Sefer Divrei Hayammim Alef
(1 Chronicles) 21:1 we read וַיַּעֲמֹד שָׂטָן, עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל; וַיָּסֶת,
אֶת-דָּוִיד, לִמְנוֹת, אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל but in the same account in Sefer
Shemu'el Bet (2 Samuel) 24:1 we read וַיֹּסֶף, אַף-יְהוָה, לַחֲרוֹת,
בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל; וַיָּסֶת אֶת-דָּוִד בָּהֶם לֵאמֹר, לֵךְ מְנֵה אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל
וְאֶת-יְהוּדָה , suggesting that the שָׂטָן of the account in Divrei
Hayammim is אַף-יְהוָה, much like it was in Sefer Bamidbar chapter 22.

All the above seem to point to שָׂטָן being a servant of יְהוָה working on
His side against "evil men". So what else does the Miq'ra state about the
concept, or personality of שָׂטָן?

We read in Sefer Zekaryah chapter 3 וַיַּרְאֵנִי, אֶת-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ הַכֹּהֵן
הַגָּדוֹל, עֹמֵד, לִפְנֵי מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה; וְהַשָּׂטָן עֹמֵד עַל-יְמִינוֹ,
לְשִׂטְנוֹ and then   וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-הַשָּׂטָן, יִגְעַר יְהוָה בְּךָ
הַשָּׂטָן, וְיִגְעַר יְהוָה בְּךָ, הַבֹּחֵר בִּירוּשָׁלִָם; הֲלוֹא זֶה אוּד,
מֻצָּל מֵאֵשׁ which to some would appear as if שָּׂטָן is the enemy of יְהוָה,
or at least opposes Him, but in truth the answer lies in the phrase
הָיָה לָבֻשׁ בְּגָדִים צוֹאִים; וְעֹמֵד, לִפְנֵי הַמַּלְאָךְ, which when
linked with the idea of וַנְּהִי כַטָּמֵא כֻּלָּנוּ, וּכְבֶגֶד עִדִּים
כָּל-צִדְקֹתֵינוּ; וַנָּבֶל כֶּעָלֶה כֻּלָּנוּ, וַעֲו‍ֹנֵנוּ כָּרוּחַ
יִשָּׂאֻנוּ found in Sefer Yishayahu (Isaiah) chapter 64 verse 5 seem to
show us that either Israel or Yohoshu'a had sinned.

And what about in Sefer Iyyov (Job) where it appears that שָּׂטָן is
tempting Iyyov? Through out this text we see everything attributed to
יְהוָהby Iyyov, and never to the idea of a
שָּׂטָן, and we see that when the שָּׂטָן is talking to יְהוָה that it is
made clear that the שָּׂטָן can do nothing without the permission of יְהוָה,

I think it is self-evident in the Miq'ra that the idea of שָּׂטָן is one of
a messenger of יְהוָה, or יְהוָה, Himself, acting as an advesary to wicked
humans, or a test unto humans to see if they will remain loyal to יְהוָה,
never as an evil-being in opposition to יְהוָה and out to bring down the
fall of humankind, which in my humble opinion is a pagan idea.

Yohanan bin-Dawidhיְ

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