What the Hebrew Bible Says About Satan

What the Hebrew Bible Says About Satan by Myra Kahn Adams for Town Hall

Thanks for joining our study. Today we begin a two-part series on what the Bible says about Satan in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and next week in the New Testament.

First, let’s review the various names attributed to “the being” responsible for introducing evil into the world and who is the personification of evil. Most often, he is called Satan or the Devil. A deceiver whose goal is to separate you from God and trick you into sinning against others, yourself, and by default, the Almighty.

In the commentary “What Are Some of the Different Titles of Satan?”author Don Stewart wrote, “Fifty-two times in Scripture this being is designated as Satan.” And “the Devil” is “one of the most popular names” but “only appears in the New Testament. ” Other biblical names are “The Evil One,” “Tempter,” “Ruler of Demons,” “Deceiver of the Whole World,” “Serpent,” and more here.

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The Devil is the “serpent” when we make his acquaintance in the third chapter of Genesis — the first book of the Hebrew Bible. We learn that the serpent has a special skill against which we must always be on guard:

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ ” (Genesis: 3:1). Yes, God “really” did say that and He was abundantly clear that Adam and Eve could eat from any tree except “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” or they would “surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).  

If you are unfamiliar with the Old Testament’s most consequential passages in the Garden of Eden where humankind fell prey to sin  — more commonly called “The Fall of Man” — read it here and here.

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