Thursday, May 21, 2015

If HaSatan (HaSawtawn) is a proper name, why HaBarber, HaTreasurer, HaQueen and HaAstrologer cannot be?

Friends,

[If you are reading this post on a device with a small screen or on a device that has no Unicode support, I suggest you switch to a device that has a larger screen and Unicode support, as this post has quite a few Hebrew words in it. You need not to know Hebrew language, all that you need to do is to recognize the pattern. Full text of Hebrew verses are not provided here, as I do not expect my readers to be good at Hebrew. You can verify the things presented here against any unaccented Hebrew Bible.]




Theologians and Bible scholars know that the Hebrew word translated as Satan means 'an adversary' or 'a rival' or 'an opponent', rather than a celestial monster with a trident, forked tongue, and a forked tail. But, admitting it openly would prove detrimental to their theology and of course, their careers. They had to come up with a solution. They observed that in the Hebrew text of the books of Job and Zechariah the word appears prefixed with the Hebrew letter named He (ה - the 5th alphabet, pronounced as Ha). So, they assumed that a common noun like 'an adversary' can become a proper name when prefixed with Ha.

Presently, many ordinary Christians, who are hardly good at the grammar of their own native tongues, will tell you how HaSatan is different from a plain vanilla adversary or opponent.

[In case if you are not familiar with the difference between proper names and common nouns: America, India, Tomsan Kattackal and Duncan Heaster are proper names, whereas, 'father', 'blogger', 'software developer', 'teacher', 'preacher', etc., are common nouns.]

Here is the Strong's definition of the Hebrew word translated as Satan:

H7854 שׂטן (śâṭân, saw-tawn')

From H7853; an opponent; especially (with the article prefixed) Satan, the arch enemy of good: - adversary, Satan, withstand.
[Please ignore for a moment Strong's claim that a common noun when prefixed with a definite article can become a proper name. If the theory were true, then "the teacher" or "the policeman" should be proper names. That is not how grammar works. Strong's lexicon is a concordance of the King James Bible and not a dictionary of Hebrew language.]

The very first time this word is used in the Bible is in the context of the angel of the LORD blocking the way of Balaam, who was proceeding to meet Balak:
Num 22:22 ... the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary [H7854,לשׂטן,] against him.
(In Num 22:32, the same form of the word is rendered as 'withstand' - which is wrong, because the word is a noun and not a verb)
Throughout this post the prefixes and suffixes are shown in different colors. Please remember that Hebrew is read right-to-left and hence prefixes appear rightmost. In the above verse שׂטן stands for 'adversary' and ל (Hebrew letter Lamed) is the prefix.

The same form of the word is used in 1Sa 29:4, where Philistines doubt that David (who was an ally of the king of Achish) will betray them and may turn out to be an adversary.
1Sa 29:4 ... let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle an adversary [H7854,לשׂטן,] to us: ...
Such prefixes are used throughout the Hebrew text, because of grammatical requirements.

The same word is used in its base form in the following passages:
1Ki 5:4 But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary [H7854 שׂטן] nor evil occurrent.
1Ki 11:14 And the LORD stirred up an adversary [H7854 שׂטן] unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite:..
1Ki 11:23 And God stirred him up another adversary [H7854 שׂטן], Rezon the son of Eliadah... (See also: 1Ki 11:25)
In all these cases, the word points to a plain vanilla adversary and not any cosmic monster.


The base form of the word rendered as Satan.


Though Strong's Lexicon told us that the Hebrew word when prefixed with a definite article becomes a proper name pointing to 'the arch enemy of good', the very first time the word is translated as Satan, the corresponding Hebrew text has no prefixes at all.

1Ch 21:1 And Satan [H7854: שׂטן] stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

If Strong's theory is correct, what prompted the translators to render this passage differently from the passages we have considered above?

Here comes HaSatan!


From the very beginning of the Book of Job, the Hebrew word indicated by H7854 appears with a prefix of the Hebrew letter 'He' (ה, pronounced as Ha).
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan (H7854 השׂטן) came also among them. (The same pattern is followed in Job 1:6, 7, 8, 9, 12; 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7;)
"Scholars" and Strong's lexicon tell us that when prefixed with Ha, the word that means "an adversary" will become a proper name - HaSatan. The way we are indoctrinated, we may be inclined to believe that their theory is correct. Conspicuously, these HaSatan passages happens to be exactly those passages which are traditionally thought to be referring to a celestial monster called Satan, with horns, forked tail and a trident.

If prefixing Ha to common nouns can make them proper names, we will have proper names like HaBarber, HaAstrologer, HaTreasurer and so on (albeit in their Hebrew forms).

In the table below is a list of ten common nouns prefixed with Ha. [Please note that in Hebrew language when a common noun is suffixed with 'eem' (ים) it becomes the plural form of the word. ]

James Strong (if he were alive) and Biblical  will have to explain how these (and many more) common nouns won't become proper names when prefixed with Ha, unlike the word rendered as Satan.


Strong's # Word Verse KJV text Hebrew textPlural
H825 אשׁף Dan 1:20 the astrologers האשׁפים
H970 בחור Jdg 14:10 the young men  הבחורים
H1377 גבירה 1Ki 11:18 the queen. הגבירה
H1489 גזבר Ezr 1:8 the treasurer הגזבר
H1532 גלב Eze 5:1 barber's הגלבים
H1616 גלב Exo 23:9 strangers הגלבים
H1771 דיג Isa 19:8 the fishers
הדיגים
H2259 חבל Jon 1:6 the shipmaster החבל
H2400 חטא Num 16:38 sinners
החטאים
H2748 חרטם Gen 41:24 the magicians החרטמים


Altogether there are 26,286 occurrences of 2,262 distinct words prefixed with Ha. These include nouns, verbs and adjectives. I have examined only a third of these words. There are common nouns like ass, ax, bull, camel, captives, child, cypress, daughter, fir, fire, flesh, gentiles, hillock, idol, iron, knee, lamb, maid, meat, men, onion, pool, son, virgin, women ... prefixed with Ha. Imagine the scenario where all these are treated as proper names like HaAss, HaBull, HaCamel, HaChild ...


Conclusions:

  • The theory that a common noun when prefixed with a definite article can become a proper name makes no sense.
  • The proponents of the rule have violated their own rule in the interpretation of 1Ch 21:1
  • Theologians and Bible scholars have to realize one thing: they cannot delude people forever: with Computers and the availability of Hebrew Text in Unicode format, even a not-so-smart software engineer can write a few lines of code that can prove their theories wrong.
In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal