Puritan Board Professor
I came across this and am curious on your thoughts, specifically the absence of Satan in the Old Testament. Perhaps PB's resident OT scholar @iainduguid would like to chime in? I know its Heiser, I don't want it to be about him, he has both good and bad things to say and some that make you think. Additionally, a question that surfaces is why doesn't Satan get mentioned more often?
Due to this parallel, and due to the fact that “satan” here has no article, this is viewed by some as the single instance of an evil, cosmic figure called “satan” in the OT. It actually isn’t, though. If you’re familiar with my work on the two Yahwehs in the OT, the parallel (Yahweh-satan) is striking to you. The “satan” figure here is none other than the Angel of Yahweh — and so this instance without the article is akin to the two instances in the book of Numbers where “satan” was used of the Angel. This relieves the “is Yahweh Satan?” question and any notion of contradiction — since it would mean BOTH passages have Yahweh provoking David — one appears to be the invisible Yahweh; the other is the visible Yahweh.
There’s actually been a good recent article on why the satan in 1 Chron 21:1 is the Angel. The article is freely available online, so I’ve posted it here as a PDF. Consider this one fact that the article notes. It is in THIS passage that, after verse 1 mentions the “satan” provoking David, we read the Angel is there “with a sword drawn in his hand”. The Hebrew phrasing behind this occurs only three other times: Joshua 5:13 and Numbers 22:23, 31. ALL of these references are the Angel of Yahweh. and in one of them (Num. 22) he is the satan.
Wouldn't the Calvinist interpretation be that Satan tempted since the Lord decreed it?This is a good example of how an idea in Israelite religion plays out and is applied in different ways during the progress of revelation. God certainly does have a great enemy in the biblical story, one that surfaces in Eden. The point here is that his enemy never gets called “Satan” until the periods after the Old Testament.