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Satan in the Book of Job and the Gospel of Matthews

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Assignment #1

RELI 394

Cleo Waugh


An analysis of the portrayal of Satan in the Book of Job and the Gospel of Matthews shows that there are differences between the two Satan’s, but the overall concept and portrayal is similar.

In the Book of Job, Satan joins in a heavenly meeting with God and other angels, he challenges God’s insecurities by saying if Job, who God brags about being such an honest and faithful being, is stripped of everything he owns and cares about, then he would curse God and stop worshiping him. Satan sees this as an opportunity to challenge God and He accepts the test and says that all of Job’s possessions are in Satan’s hands but he is not allowed to touch Job, “’Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not stretch out your hand against him!’”(Job 1:12). Yet after everything that is taken from him, Job falls to his knees and prays, however God is still in his prayers. Job said, “‘naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord’”(Job 1:21). After all he and his wife witnessed, she begs him to curse God for what was taken from them for she is questioning God for letting this happen, and yet again, he refuses and keeps his faith in God. This portrayal of Satan shows that he was indeed an accuser or an advocate and that he was an opposite of God. However, some believed that Satan in the Book of Job was not truly Satan and that he was another angel, since he was allowed to join in on heavenly meetings, “one day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them” (Job 1:6), since Satan is among other heavenly beings and God it also gives the sense that he was submissive to God. But that his sole purpose as an angel was to challenge as well as be an accuser of God and this gave the sense that he was a similar figure to Satan but not yet fully transformed into the Satan.

In the Gospel of Matthews the portrayal of Satan was similar in the way that he was trying to tempt and challenge someone. In this case he was challenging Jesus to worship him through temptation. Satan was trying to lure Jesus into dropping to his knees and worshiping him, and in return he was offering Jesus cities and kingdoms, Satan said “‘all these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me’” (Matthews 4:9). Instead Jesus refused and stated that he only worships one person and that is God, “‘Away with you Satan! For it is written, ‘worship the Lord your God, and serve only him’” (Matthews 4:10). Jesus is stating that no matter how much Satan bribes him, that his faith is ultimately in god and nothing can change that. This portrayal of Satan displays that he was not necessarily challenging God but the faithfulness of Jesus. Which is similar to the Book of Job and how Satan challenged the faithfulness of Job. But instead of stripping him of all the things he has, Satan is using bribery as his mechanism.



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