The word satan appears first in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) as a common noun for someone or something that obstructs one's way. In the Book of Job, it is given as a name for the fierce angel who persuades God to test Job. The figure of Satan as a powerful force of evil bent on destruction derives from the combination of two ideas: the banim (“sons of the Lord”), who were the wicked “watcher angels” of Genesis 6, and malakim (“powers”) who were agents of the Lord—or manifestations of the Lord—in his relationship with humans. When the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek about 200 BCE, satan was translated as diabolos (from which the term Devil is derived), meaning “adversary.” The concept of a ...

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