Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hebrew Words (mis)translated as Satan/Devil in the Old Testament.


This is part #1 in a two part series on the words that are translated as Satan/Devil. In this post we will see every individual Hebrew word translated as Satan/Devil. Please note that all the scripture citations are from the King James Version (KJV), unless specified otherwise.

There are three Hebrew words translated as Satan or Devil. Of these the most popular one is שָׂטָן, pronounced as Shaitan or saw-tawn, H7854 in Strong's lexicon. Strong's lexicon says it means the arch enemy of God when it is prefixed with the definite article (Hebrew letter namded Ha). We have disproved this theory in the post: If HaSatan (HaSawtawn) is a proper name, why HaBarber, HaTreasurer, HaQueen and HaAstrologer cannot be? The theory is proven false by KJV's rendering the word as Satan in 1Chr 21:1, though it is not prefixed with the definite article.

The word simply means an adversary or an enemy.

  • Num 22:22 And God's anger was kindled because he [Balaam] went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary [H7854] against him...
  • 2Sa 19:22 And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries [H7854] unto me?...
  • 1Ki 5:4 [Solomon says] But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary [H7854] nor evil occurrent.
  • 1Ki 11:14 And the LORD stirred up an adversary [H7854] unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom
  • 1Ki 11:23 And God stirred him up another adversary [H7854], Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: 

Devil #2, שֵׁד, shêd, H7700 in Strong's

This word is used only twice in the Old Testament:
Deu 32:17 They sacrificed unto devils [H7700], not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
Psa 106:37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils [H7700],
Strong's lexicon tells us that this word is derived from another word, H7736 in Strong's. H7736 is used only once in the Old Testament:
Psa 91:6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth [H7736] at noonday.
Psa 91:6 (YLT) Of pestilence in thick darkness that walketh, Of destruction that destroyeth [H7736] at noon,
Psa 91:6 (ESV)  nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes [H7736] at noonday.
In short, there is nothing to prove that the word indicated by H7700 is about Devil, it could as well be destruction or wasteness.

Devil #3, שָׂעִר  שָׂעִיר, śâ‛ı̂yr śâ‛ir, H8163 in Strong's. Is Devil or just a lamb?

This word is used 59 times in the Old Testament. Of these just 2 times as devils. We can see it translated as hairy while describing the appearence of Esau:
Gen 27:11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy [H8163] man, and I am a smooth man:
Gen 27:23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy [H8163], as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him.
Probably, Esau had hair like a lamb and that's why Rebecca covered Jacob's hand's shoulders with the skins of the kids of the goats  (Gen 27:16)

If the word indicated by H8163 indeed has the meaning of devil, imagine the chiefs of the 12 tribes of Israel bringing devils to the tabernacle!

Num 7:16 One kid [H8163] of the goats for a sin offering:
Num 7:22 One kid [H8163] of the goats for a sin offering:
Num 7:28 One kid [H8163] of the goats for a sin offering:
Num 7:34 One kid [H8163] of the goats for a sin offering:
Num 7:40 One kid [H8163] of the goats for a sin offering:

Now, all of a sudden, kid or lamb becomes devil!
Lev 17:7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils [H8163], after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.
2Ch 11:15 And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils [H8163], and for the calves which he had made.

How did this happen? Please read 2Ch 11:25, again. It is about worshiping animals, lambs and calves - which he [Jeroboam] had made. It was a case of worshiping idols of animals, as Israel did, while Moses was absent. Please read the same scripture from Young' Literal Translation:
2Ch 11:15 and he establisheth to him priests for high places, and for goats, and for calves, that he made. (YLT)
to be continued in part #2,
in Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal

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