Satan in Old Testament?

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arapahoepark

Puritan Board Graduate
I came across this and am curious on your thoughts, specifically the absence of Satan in the Old Testament. Perhaps PB's resident OT scholar @iainduguid would like to chime in? I know its Heiser, I don't want it to be about him, he has both good and bad things to say and some that make you think. Additionally, a question that surfaces is why doesn't Satan get mentioned more often?
Due to this parallel, and due to the fact that “satan” here has no article, this is viewed by some as the single instance of an evil, cosmic figure called “satan” in the OT. It actually isn’t, though. If you’re familiar with my work on the two Yahwehs in the OT, the parallel (Yahweh-satan) is striking to you. The “satan” figure here is none other than the Angel of Yahweh — and so this instance without the article is akin to the two instances in the book of Numbers where “satan” was used of the Angel. This relieves the “is Yahweh Satan?” question and any notion of contradiction — since it would mean BOTH passages have Yahweh provoking David — one appears to be the invisible Yahweh; the other is the visible Yahweh.

There’s actually been a good recent article on why the satan in 1 Chron 21:1 is the Angel. The article is freely available online, so I’ve posted it here as a PDF. Consider this one fact that the article notes. It is in THIS passage that, after verse 1 mentions the “satan” provoking David, we read the Angel is there “with a sword drawn in his hand”. The Hebrew phrasing behind this occurs only three other times: Joshua 5:13 and Numbers 22:23, 31. ALL of these references are the Angel of Yahweh. and in one of them (Num. 22) he is the satan.
This is a good example of how an idea in Israelite religion plays out and is applied in different ways during the progress of revelation. God certainly does have a great enemy in the biblical story, one that surfaces in Eden. The point here is that his enemy never gets called “Satan” until the periods after the Old Testament.
Wouldn't the Calvinist interpretation be that Satan tempted since the Lord decreed it?
https://drmsh.com/yahweh-satan-samuel-chronicles/
https://drmsh.com/the-absence-of-satan-in-the-old-testament/
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I came across this and am curious on your thoughts, specifically the absence of Satan in the Old Testament. Perhaps PB's resident OT scholar @iainduguid would like to chime in? I know its Heiser, I don't want it to be about him, he has both good and bad things to say and some that make you think. Additionally, a question that surfaces is why doesn't Satan get mentioned more often?


Wouldn't the Calvinist interpretation be that Satan tempted since the Lord decreed it?
https://drmsh.com/yahweh-satan-samuel-chronicles/
https://drmsh.com/the-absence-of-satan-in-the-old-testament/
I lean towards the view that the Ha-Satan in the OT probably isn't Lucifer, at least not in Job or Samuel/Chronicles. Maybe in Zechariah. There are passages about the Dark Cherub that are more relevant to demonology, but I wouldn't use the standard "satan" passages.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
There is not a lot of mention of Hell or Heaven either. There are obviously messianic passages but they are not the New Testament. Revelation unfolded over millennia. Doctrines developed.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
It is a complex question, actually more complicated than he recognizes. Yes, "Satan" is a title not a personal name: the "accuser." However, that does not prevent it having a particular individual in view. Rev. 12:10 springs to mind (the accuser of the brethren). Also in Genesis, the text moves seamlessly from ha'adam (the human; 2:8) to adam (the name; 3:17). Heiser's fundamental problem is that he thinks there is a contradiction between Kings and Chronicles, when in fact they present complementary perspectives. Here's what I wrote in the ARP Quarterly on the subject:

In both Samuel and Chronicles, the great victories that God gives David lead to disaster. That message is even clearer in Chronicles: in Samuel, the victories of David are scattered through the book (8:1-18; 10:1–11:1; 12:26–31; 21:18–22). After the second success, the writer of Samuel recounts the story of David and Bathsheba, which focuses on David’s “private” sin. The Chronicler groups David’s military successes together (chs. 18-20) as the prelude to David’s “public” sin of numbering the people (David’s other significant failure in Chronicles was also in a public matter, bringing up the ark to Jerusalem in chapter 13; in both cases God “strikes” someone; 13:10; 21:7 ).

The first obvious difference from the account in Samuel is that whereas 2 Samuel 24:1 tells us: “Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah’,” the Chronicler attributes the incitement to Satan. The word “Satan” simply means “the adversary” and can be used of human opposition as well as of a heavenly being, though here it is clear that the latter is in view (as also in Job 1-2 and Zech. 3:1). As in the Book of Job, Satan is portrayed as a heavenly troublemaker, though he has no power beyond that which is permitted him. In Job 1:8, the Lord instigates the conflict by asking Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Satan then insinuates that Job’s piety is due to his prosperity, and the story unfolds from there. A similar dynamic unfolds in Chronicles. 2 Samuel attributes the census ultimately to God’s anger against David (which is an ongoing result of his sin against Bathsheba); the Chronicler fills in the intermediate cause: Satan, the evil one who desires to lead us into temptation, but whose nefarious plans God always turns for good.
 
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