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In the framing story of Job, we read about הַשָּׂטָן (ha-Satan) and בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים (ben 'elohiym) appearing before God:

Now it fell upon a day, that the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.—Job 1:6 (JPS)

Wikipedia (and all the other places I can recall the issue being discussed) suggests that Satan is among the "sons of God" (AKA, the Divine Council). But the way the clause is rendered in English, it sounds more like he slipped in when the door was opened to let the legitimate audience enter.

Leaving aside the question of who the sons of Elohim might be, does the text allow for the idea that the Adversary was not counted among their number? Or does the Hebrew make more clear than the English translation that it was one group and Satan was specifically called out as a member?

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This question came up as I tried to answer When was “diablo” first used to refer to the Devil? on History. –  Jon Ericson Dec 26 '12 at 23:07

3 Answers 3

The Hebrew for the final clause is:

וַיָּבוֹא גַם הַשָּׂטָן, בְּתוֹכָם.

גַם means "also", so a straightforward reading suggests that the satan was not part of the group. We see another "exclusive gam" in Gen 33:7, where Yaakov's concubines (handmaids) approach Eisav and "gam Leah" -- Leah is not a handmaid but a wife. These are just two examples, though, so there might be an "inclusive gam" in Tanakh somewhere. A quick search finds 508 occurrence of the word.


Please note: This answer was written for a neutral, academic audience and is not intended to be interpreted in the context of a religious belief or doctrine.

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I'm going to find some way of incorporating "exclusive gam" into my vocabulary! That example is helpful since concubines are not unrelated to wives, but an important distinction must be made. Very interesting. –  Jon Ericson Dec 26 '12 at 23:13

I'd say Satan was a son of God before he sinned, but not now or at the time he appeared before God in Job.

No doubt Satan was summoned before God for accusing Job in his heart: "Have you considered my servant Job..." or in other words--"You have been considering my servant Job..."

Satan was believing that Job was not as righteous as he appeared, and that he could get Job to sin if God would take down "the hedge".

Job's perseverance showed up Satan and furthered his humiliation in that the lesser creation--man--had outdone the greater--angels.

Satan rebelled against God's economy--that the lesser would exceed the greater to the praise and glory of God the Creator.

Angels are God's ministers--God's appointed servants OF and TO mankind--a notion that did not sit well with Lucifer--a spectacular and unparallelled creation who thought himself a little TOO good for this kind of work or way of ranking.

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Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange! We're a little different from other sites. This post contains a lot of assertions with no sources nor logical explanation arising solely from the text in question. Keep in mind that we expect posts to 'show their work' and that this is not a religious site. We strive to take a scholarly approach to the text. –  maj nem ɪz dæn Dec 18 '13 at 6:12

It seems that anyone who is termed the "son of God" is someone who is directly created by God. Thus Adam is the "son of God" because he was directly created by God (Luke 3:38). Likewise, Jesus is the "son of God" because he was begotten by his heavenly father. Satan, like other angels, was created by the direct hand of God (Ezek 28:13), and therefore he too is a "son of God" (Job 1:6). Satan addressed Jesus as the "son of God," and yet Satan still believed that by tempting Jesus, he might cause Jesus to sin, and thus (like Satan) become a fallen son. The reason that one is a "son of God" in the New Testament era is that when you are born again, you receive eternal life, which was something you had not had as a spiritually dead person. (We are all sons of Adam, and therefore we are born spiritually dead.) That is, when you believe, your new spiritual life is the direct creation of God, and therefore the believer is termed a "son of God" (Gal 3:26).

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+1 I like your reasoning which broadly makes a lot of sense to me. It isn't as well formatted and clear as some of your other efforts though: if you have a few minutes would you be willing to break it up a little? Do pop into the site chat room, 'The Library', if you'd like me to show you what I mean. –  Jack Douglas Dec 27 '12 at 20:54

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