How can Satan/the Devil be in a Jewish story (the “Book of Job”?

I'm confused. I thought that Jews, and even the entire Old Testament, didn't have any concept of Satan or the Devil? I thought this was purely a Christian/New Testament thing? Yet this story apparently involves:

The prologue on Earth introduces Job as a righteous man, blessed with wealth, sons, and daughters, who lives in the land of Uz. The scene shifts to Heaven, where God asks Satan (Hebrew: הַשָּׂטָן‎ – haśśāṭān, literally "the accuser") for his opinion of Job's piety. Satan answers that Job is pious only because God has blessed him; if God were to take away everything that Job has, then he would surely curse God. God gives Satan permission to take Job's wealth and kill his children and servants, but Job nonetheless praises God: "Naked I came out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return: the Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."[9] God allows Satan to afflict his body with boils. Job sits in ashes, and his wife prompts him to "curse God, and die", but Job answers: "Shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil?"

Have I fundamentally misunderstood something?

  • 1
    Well, yes, I think you must have misunderstood something because there it is in your bible. (It's in my bible, too ! ) And the Serpent is there as well in Genesis. Whoever told you that the OT 'did not have a concept of Satan' ? ? He's there in Psalm 109:6 and there again in Zechariah 3: 1 and 2.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 8:06
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    Have I fundamentally misunderstood something? - Apparently so. The Christian and Jewish concepts of Satan do indeed differ, but not by denying his very existence (!). Basically, Judaism does not view Satan as a fallen angel, but rather as an angelic tempter, meant to test and verify people's hearts, and their devotion to God or conscience. Just like a district's attorney accusing evildoers of their wrongdoings, or an undercover police officer trying to catch lawbreakers or perpetrators in the act.
    – user46876
    Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 10:53
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    Hey! Welcome to the site. I'm curious as to what gave you the idea that the Old Testament does not mention the Adversary? Perhaps if reference to the materials that buttress that notion were included in the question the down votes would go away. Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 18:25
  • The Devil is in the OT. He appears first in Genesis chapter 3. Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 15:56

2 Answers 2


The mainstream Jewish view of Satan emanates from the Book of Job. Satan is seen as the Adversary or Prosecutor, an agent of Jehovah, very much part of the divine council, that searches out the individual's wrongdoings and appears as their accuser. This notion differs from mainstream Christian notions of Satan as some demonic fallen angel who opposes God or personifies evil in a war in heaven between the forces of good and evil.

This is illustrated in Isaiah 45:7

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

Identifying Jehovah, not Satan, as the disposer of all events, good and evil alike.


First. The original Church was 100% a Jewish sect. All twelve Apostles where Jewish. The one Apostle sent to the Gentiles, appealed first to the local synagogues, as it is written, to the Jew first.

Second. The concept of Old and New Testaments is a Gentile notion, purely fabricated. Its roughly equivalent to an index. Bible verses are also a Gentile invention, and relatively modern. The modern view of Old and New is largely a matter of formatting.

Third. Devil, Satan, Serpent and Dragon, are not proper names. Each discribe some facet or view of the same person.. Serpent and Dragon are astrological descriptions. Humans in antiquity would be far more familiar with these latter two terms, than modern humans.

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