Satan (Hebrew: הַשָׂטָן ha-Satan), "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible. In Christianity and Islam the title became a personal name, and "Satan" changed from an accuser appointed by God to test men's faith to the chief of the rebellious fallen angels ("the devil" in Christianity, "Shaitan" in Arabic, the term used by Arab Christians and Muslims).
The original Hebrew term, satan, is a noun from a verb meaning primarily to, “obstruct, oppose,” as it is found in Numbers 22:22, 1 Samuel 29:4, Psalms 109:6. Ha-Satan is traditionally translated as “the accuser,” or “the adversary.” The definite article “ha-”, English “the”, is used to show that this is a title bestowed on a being, versus the name of a being. Thus this being would be referred to as “the Satan.”
Satan without the definite article is used in 10 instances, of which two are translated diabolos in the Septuagint and "Satan" in the King James Version:
- 1 Chronicles 21:1, "Satan stood up against Israel" (KJV) or "And there standeth up an adversary against Israel" (Young's Literal Translation)
- Psalm 109:6b "and let Satan stand at his right hand" (KJV) or "let an accuser stand at his right hand." (ESV, etc.)
- Numbers 22:22,23 "and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him."
- 23 "behold, I went out to withstand thee,"
- 1 Samuel 29:4 The Philistines say: "lest he [David] be an adversary against us"
- 2 Samuel 19:22 David says: "[you sons of Zeruaiah] should this day be adversaries (plural) unto me?"
- 1 Kings 5:4 Solomon writes to Hiram: "there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.
- 1 Kings 11:14 "And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite"
- 1 Kings 11:23 "And God stirred him up an adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah"
- 25 "And he [Rezon] was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon"
In the Book of Job, ha-Satan is a member of the divine council, "the sons of God" who are subservient to God. Ha-Satan, in this capacity, is many times translated as "the prosecutor", and is charged by God to tempt humans and to report back to God all who go against His decrees. At the beginning of the book, Job is a good person "who feared God and turned away from evil" (Job 1:1), and has therefore been rewarded by God. When the divine council meets, God informs ha-Satan about Job's blameless, morally upright character. Between Job 1:9–10 and 2:4–5, ha-Satan merely points out that God has given Job everything that a man could want, so of course Job would be loyal to God; if all Job has been given, even his health, were to be taken away from him, however, his faith would collapse. God therefore grants ha-Satan the chance to test Job. Due to this, it has been interpreted that ha-Satan is under God's control and cannot act without God's permission. This is further shown in the epilogue of Job in which God is speaking to Job, ha-Satan is absent from these dialogues. "For Job, for [Job's] friends, and for the narrator, it is ultimately Yahweh himself who is responsible for Job's suffering; as Yahweh says to the 'satan', 'You have incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.'" (Job 2:3) 
In the Septuagint the Hebrew ha-Satan in Job and Zechariah is translated by the Greek word diabolos (slanderer), the same word in the Greek New Testament from which the English word devil is derived. Where satan is used of human enemies in the Hebrew Bible, such as Hadad the Edomite and Rezon the Syrian, the word is left untranslated but transliterated in the Greek as satan, a neologism in Greek. In Zechariah 3 this changes the vision of the conflict over Joshua the High Priest in the Septuagint into a conflict between "Jesus and the devil", identical with the Greek text of Matthew.
The Jewish apocrypha are religious writings which are not accepted as religious texts in Judaism and many modern-day Protestant denominations. These works usually bore the names of ancient Hebrew worthies in order to establish their validity among the true writers' contemporaries. To reconcile the late appearance of the texts with their claims to primitive antiquity, alleged authors are represented as "shutting up and sealing" (Dan. XII. 4:9) the works until the time of their fulfillment had arrived; as the texts were not meant for their own generations but for far-distant ages (also cited in Assumption of Moses I. 16:17). In the Book of Wisdom, the devil is represented as the being who brought death into the world.
The Second Book of Enoch, also called the Slavonic Book of Enoch, contains references to a Watcher (Grigori) called Satanael. It is a pseudepigraphic text of an uncertain date and unknown authorship. The text describes Satanael as being the prince of the Grigori who was cast out of heaven and an evil spirit who knew the difference between what was "righteous" and "sinful". A similar story is found in the book of 1 Enoch; however, in that book, the leader of the Grigori is called Semjâzâ.
For the Chasidic Jews of the 18th century, ha-Satan was Baal Davar. The Book of Enoch contains references to Satariel, thought also to be Sataniel and Satan'el (etymology dating back to Babylonian origins). The similar spellings mirror that of his angelic brethren Michael, Raphael, Uriel and Gabriel, previous to the fall from Heaven.
Talmud and other rabbinic sources
The Talmud mentions the Satan in many places. In all of these places, the Satan is an agent of God, and has no independent existence. Sometimes the Satan is conflated with various demons, such as Asmodai. At times there is even some sympathy for him. Commenting on the Book of Job, the rabbis express sympathy that his job was to "break the barrel but not spill any wine."
In Kabbalistic literature and its derivative, Hasidic literature, the Satan is seen as an agent of God whose job is to tempt one into sin, and then turn around and accuse the sinner on high. An additional understanding of Satan is from a parable to a prostitute who is hired by the King (God) to tempt his son (a Jew). The prostitute has to do the best she can to tempt the son; but deep down she hopes the son will pass the test. Similarly, Kabbalistic/Hasidic thought sees the Satan in the same situation. His job is to tempt us as best he can, and then turn around and accuse us; deep down, however, he hopes we will resist his blandishments.
In Christianity, terms that are synonymous with "Satan" include:
- The most common English synonym for "Satan" is "Devil", which descends from Middle English devel, from Old English dēofol, that in turn represents an early Germanic borrowing of Latin diabolus (also the source of "diabolical"). This in turn was borrowed from Greek diabolos "slanderer", from diaballein "to slander": dia- "across, through" + ballein "to hurl". In the New Testament, "Satan" occurs more than 30 times in passages alongside Diabolos (Greek for "the devil"), referring to the same person or thing as Satan.
- Beelzebub, meaning "Lord of Flies", is the contemptuous name given in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament to a Philistine god whose original name has been reconstructed as most probably "Ba'al Zabul", meaning "Baal the Prince".
- Satan is traditionally identified as the serpent who convinced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit; thus, Satan has often been depicted as a serpent.
- The Book of Revelation twice refers to "the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan," (12:9, 20:2). The Book of Revelation also refers to "the deceiver," from which is derived the common epithet "the great deceiver."
- Other terms identified with Satan include "the prince of this world" in the Book of John 12:31, 14:30; "the prince of the power of the air" also called Meririm, and "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" in the Book of Ephesians 2:2; and "the god of this world" in 2 Corinthians 4:4.
- From the fourth Century Lucifer is sometimes used in Christian theology to refer to Satan, as a result of identifying the fallen "son of the dawn" of Isaiah 14:12 with the "accuser" of other passages in the Old Testament.
In traditional Christian understanding of the holy Hebrew scriptures, the Torah, Satan is a synonym for the Devil. For most Christians, he is believed to be an angel who rebelled against God — and also the one who spoke through the serpent and seduced Eve into disobeying God's command. His ultimate goal is to lead people away from the love of God — to lead them to fallacies which God opposes. Satan is also identified as the accuser of Job, the tempter in the Gospels, the secret power of lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, and the dragon in the Book of Revelation. Before his insurrection, Satan was among the highest of all angels and the "brightest in the sky". His pride is considered a reason why he would not bow to God as all other angels did, but sought to rule heaven himself. The popularly held beliefs that Satan was once a prideful angel who eventually rebels against God, however, are not portrayed explicitly in the Bible and are mostly based on inference (e.g., Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14:12–17). In mainstream Christianity he is called "the ruler of the demons" (Matt. 12:24), "the ruler of the world" and "the god of this world". (2 Cor. 4:4). The Book of Revelation describes how Satan will be cast out of Heaven, down to the earth, having "great anger" and waging war against "those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus". Ultimately, Satan is thrown into the "Lake of fire", not as ruler, but as one among many, being tormented day and night forever and ever.
In other Christian beliefs (e.g. the beliefs of the Christadelphians) the word "satan" in the Bible is not regarded as referring to a supernatural, personal being but to any "adversary" and figuratively refers to human sin and temptation.
Shaitan (شيطان) is the equivalent of Satan in Islam. While Shaitan (شيطان, from the root šṭn شطن) is an adjective (meaning "astray" or "distant", sometimes translated as "devil") that can be applied to both man ("al-ins", الإنس) and Jinn, Iblis (Arabic pronunciation: [ˈibliːs]) is the personal name of the Devil who is mentioned in the Qur'anic account of Genesis. According to the Qur'an, Iblis (the Arabic name used) disobeyed an order from Allah to bow to Adam and as a result was forced out of heaven and given respite until the day of judgment from further punishment.
When Allah commanded all of the angels to bow down before Adam (the first Human), Iblis, full of hubris and jealousy, refused to obey God's command (he could do so because he had free will), seeing Adam as being inferior in creation due to his being created from clay as compared to him (created of fire).It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels prostrate to Adam, and they prostrate; not so Iblis (Lucifer); He refused to be of those who prostrate."
- (Allah) said: "What prevented thee from prostrating when I commanded thee?" He said: "I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay.
- Qur'an 7:11–12
It was after this that the title of "Shaitan" was given, which can be roughly translated as "Enemy," "Rebel," "Evil" or "Devil". Shaitan then claims that if the punishment for his act of disobedience is to be delayed until the Day of Judgment, that he will divert many of Adam's own descendants from the straight path during his period of respite. God accepts the claims of Iblis and guarantees recompense to Iblis and his followers in the form of Hellfire. In order to test mankind and jinn alike, Allah allowed Iblis to roam the earth to attempt to convert others away from his path. He was sent to earth along with Adam and Eve, after eventually luring them into eating the fruit from the forbidden tree.
An alternate name for the main deity in the tentatively Indo-European pantheon of the Yazidi, Malek Taus, is Shaitan. Rather than Satanic, however, Yazidism is better understood as a remnant of a pre-Islamic Middle Eastern Indo-European religion, and/or a ghulat Sufi movement founded by Shaykh Adi. The connection with Satan, originally made by Muslim outsiders, attracted the interest of 19th century European travelers and esoteric writers.
In the Bahá'í Faith, Satan is not regarded as an independent evil power as he is in some faiths, but signifies the lower nature of humans. `Abdu'l-Bahá explains: "This lower nature in man is symbolized as Satan — the evil ego within us, not an evil personality outside." All other evil spirits described in various faith traditions such as fallen angels, demons and jinns are also metaphors for the base character traits a human being may acquire and manifest when he turns away from God.
Satanic groups have various opinions about Satan, ranging from the conviction that he exists and ought to be worshipped (theistic Satanism), to Anton Szandor LaVey's symbolic interpretation, which emphasizes individual will and pleasure-seeking.
Much "Satanic" lore does not originate from actual Satanists, but from Christians. Best-known is the medieval folklore and theology surrounding demons and witches. A more recent example is the so-called Satanic ritual abuse scare of the 1980s — beginning with the memoir Michelle Remembers — which depicts Satanism as a vast (and unproven) conspiracy of elites with a predilection for child abuse and human sacrifice. This genre regularly describes Satan as actually appearing in person in order to receive worship.
- ^ "Satan" under Bible Dictionary result. Dictionary.com.
- ^ T. J. Wray, Gregory Mobley The birth of Satan.: tracing the devil's biblical roots 2005 specifically ch.2 Unsystematic theology – the nature of God in the Hebrew Bible ch.3 The Devil is in the details – Satan in the Hebrew Bible
- ^ Scott (1999); Kelly (2006)
- ^ ed. Buttrick, George Arthur; ‘’The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, An illustrated Encyclopedia’’
- ^ Crenshaw, James L. ‘’Harper Collins Study Bible’’ (NRSV)
- ^ Stephen M. Hooks – 2007 "As in Zechariah 3:1–2 the term here carries the definite article (has'satan="the satan") and functions not as a ... the only place in the Hebrew Bible where the term "Satan" is unquestionably used as a proper name is 1 Chronicles 21:1. "
- ^ a b Coogan, Michael D.; ‘’A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible in its context’’
- ^ Rachel Adelman The Return of the Repressed: Pirqe De-Rabbi Eliezer p65 "However, in the parallel versions of the story in Chronicles, it is Satan (without the definite article),"
- ^ Septuagint 108:6 κατάστησον ἐπ᾽ αὐτὸν ἁμαρτωλόν καὶ διάβολος στήτω ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ
- ^ Ruth R. Brand Adam and Eve p88 – 2005 "Later, however, King Hadad 1 Kings 11:14) and King Rezon (verses 23, ... Numbers 22:22, 23 does not use the definite article but identifies the angel of YHWH as "a satan."
- ^ HarperCollins Study Bible (NRSV)
- ^ Henry Ansgar Kelly Satan: a biography 2006 "However, for Hadad and Rezon they left the Hebrew term untranslated and simply said satan.. in the three passages in which a supra-Human satan appears: namely, Numbers, Job, Zechariah
- ^ "But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world" - Book of Wisdom II. 24
- ^ 2 Enoch 18:3
- ^ "And I threw him out from the height with his angels, and he was flying in the air continuously above the bottomless" - 2 Enoch 29:4
- ^ "The devil is the evil spirit of the lower places, as a fugitive he made Sotona from the heavens as his name was Satanail, thus he became different from the angels, but his nature did not change his intelligence as far as his understanding of righteous and sinful things" – 2 Enoch 31:4
- ^ Martyrdom of Isaiah, 2:2; Vita Adæ et Evæ, 16)
- ^ Book of Jubilees, xvii. 18
- ^ The Dictionary of Angels" by Gustav Davidson, © 1967
- ^ Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 16a, statement of R. Yitzchak
- ^ "American Heritage Dictionary: Devil". http://www.bartleby.com/61/94/D0179400.html. Retrieved 2006-05-31.
- ^ Revelation 12:9
- ^ K. van der Toorn, Bob Becking, Pieter Willem van der Horst, Baalzebub, "Dictionary of deities and demons in the Bible", p.155
- ^ B. W. Johnson (). "The Revelation of John. Chapter XX. The Millennium.". The People's New Testament. Memorial University of Newfoundland. http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/bjohnson/hg1/PNT27-20.HTM. Retrieved November 30, 2009.
- ^ 2 Corinthians 4:4
- ^ Revelation 20:10
- ^ "Do you Believe in a Devil?". http://www.christadelphia.org/pamphlet/devil.htm. Retrieved 2007-05-29.
- ^ Iblis
- ^ [Quran 17:61]; [Quran 2:34]
- ^ [Quran 17:62]
- ^ [Quran 17:63–64]
- ^ [Quran 7:20–22]
- ^ Drower, E.S. The Peacock Angel. Being Some Account of Votaries of a Secret Cult and their Sanctuaries. London: John Murray, 1941. 
- ^ ʻAbduʾl-Bahá (1982) . The Promulgation of Universal Peace. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. pp. 294–295. ISBN 0877431728. http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/ab/PUP/pup-97.html.
- ^ Smith, Peter (2000). A Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford, UK: Oneworld. pp. 135–136, 304. ISBN 1851681841.
- ^ Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 112. ISBN 0521862515.
- Bamberger, Bernard J. (2006). Fallen Angels: Soldiers of Satan's Realm. Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 0-8276-0797-0.
- Caldwell, William. "The Doctrine of Satan: I. In the Old Testament," The Biblical World, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Jan., 1913), pp. 29–33 in JSTOR
- Caldwell, William. "The Doctrine of Satan: II. Satan in Extra-Biblical Apocalyptical Literature," The Biblical World, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Feb., 1913), pp. 98–102 in JSTOR
- Caldwell, William. "The Doctrine of Satan: III. In the New Testament," The Biblical World, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Mar., 1913), pp. 167–172 in JSTOR
- Coogan, Michael D.; ‘’A Brief Introduction to the Old Testament: The Hebrew Bible in its context’’; Oxford University Press 2009
- Crenshaw, James L. ‘’Harper Collins Study Bible’’Harper Collins, 1989
- Empson, William. Milton's God (1966)
- Forsyth, Neil (1987). The Old Enemy: Satan & the Combat Myth. Princeton University Press; Reprint edition. ISBN 0-691-01474-4.
- Forsyth, Neil (1987). The Satanic Epic. Princeton University Press; Reprint edition. ISBN 0-691-11339-4.
- Gentry, Kenneth L. Jr (2002). The Beast of Revelation. American Vision. ISBN 0-915815-41-9.
- Graves, Kersey (1995). Biography of Satan: Exposing the Origins of the Devil. Book Tree. ISBN 1-885395-11-6.
- ‘’The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, An illustrated Encyclopedia’’;ed. Buttrick, George Arthur; Abingdon Press 1962
- Jacobs, Joseph, and Ludwig Blau. "Satan," The Jewish Encyclopedia (1906) online pp 68–71
- Kelly, Henry Ansgar. Satan: A Biography. (2006). 360 pp. excerpt and text search ISBN 0-521-60402-8, a study of the Bible and Western literature
- Kent, William. "Devil." The Catholic Encyclopedia (1908) Vol. 4. online older article
- Osborne, B. A. E. "Peter: Stumbling-Block and Satan," Novum Testamentum, Vol. 15, Fasc. 3 (Jul., 1973), pp. 187–190 in JSTOR on "Get thee behind me, Satan!"
- Pagels, Elaine (1995). The Origin of Satan. Vintage; Reprint edition. ISBN 0-679-72232-7.
- Rebhorn Wayne A. "The Humanist Tradition and Milton's Satan: The Conservative as Revolutionary," Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900, Vol. 13, No. 1, The English Renaissance (Winter, 1973), pp. 81–93 in JSTOR
- Rudwin, Maximilian (1970). The Devil in Legend and Literature. Open Court. ISBN 0-87548-248-1.
- Russell, Jeffrey Burton. The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity (1987) excerpt and text search
- Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Satan: The Early Christian Tradition (1987) excerpt and text search
- Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages (1986) excerpt and text search
- Russell, Jeffrey Burton. Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World (1990) excerpt and text search
- Russell, Jeffrey Burton. The Prince of Darkness: Radical Evil and the Power of Good in History (1992) excerpt and text search
- Schaff, D. S. "Devil" in New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (1911), Mainline Protestant; vol 3 pp 414–417 online
- Scott, Miriam Van. The Encyclopedia of Hell (1999) excerpt and text search comparative religions; also popular culture
- Wray, T. J. and Gregory Mobley. The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil's Biblical Roots (2005) excerpt and text search
- Church Of Satan
- Catholic Encyclopedia
- Jewish Encyclopedia
- Internet Infidels – The Implausibility of Satan by Paul Doland
- Sacred Texts site hosts texts—scriptures, literature and scholarly works—on Satan, Satanism and related religious matters
- A Generational Theistic perspective on Satan, Lucifer and Satanas-Luciferi
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