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Christian perspective of Satan in the Old Testament

Satan in the Old Testament The name Satan is derived from a root meaning ‘to oppose’ or ‘to be or to act as an adversary.’ In some cases, he is not necessarily malevolent and he may have even been sent by the Lord to prevent worse harm (such as in Numbers). Examples of passages using this early interpretation include:

“But God was incensed at his going; so an angel of the LORD placed himself in his was as an adversary [Hebrew: satan]” – Numbers 22:22

“He shall not march down with us to the battle, or else he may become an adversary [Heb: satan] in battle.” – 1 Samuel 29:4

“Appoint a wicked man over him; may an accuser [Heb: satan] stand at his right side. – Psalm 109:6 Satan possesses no real demonic qualities in the OT writings. He is mentioned as a distinct personality in 3 passages. These passages are thought to be post-exilic and are dated between 519 and 300 BCE.

“He further showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right to accuse him.” – Zechariah 3:1

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