Monday, December 01, 2008

Samael= Satan?

I need a source for where Samael and Satan are identified as being the same angel (and I need it to be a medieval/ Midrashic/ Judaic source, preferably one that I can go look up, not folklore or fiction.)

Any takers? Thanks so much.


Chana said...

AKA, I found this post and it'd also work if anyone knows a place where Samael is equated with the Angel of Death, because then Bava Basra 16 allows me to say that Satan, the Yetzer Hara and the Angel of Death are all one.

Uri said...

Satan (Samael)

As noted above, the satan in the Old Testament is neither evil nor fallen; the Old Testament has no fallen angels, and classical Judaism rejects the possibility of angels rebelling against God. The satan in Job is not evil, but is an obedient servant of God, fulfilling his responsibilities of accusing. In Numbers 22:22, an angel of the Lord stands against Balaam "for an adversary." There is one instance (I Chronicles 21) where satan is mentioned without the definite article, but this generally accepted as a scribal oversight.

By the time of the New Testament and later apocryphal writings, however, satan is clearly a person (or being) named Satan (or Samael, although some sources distinguish Samael as the angel of death and different from Satan.) Satan thus evolved from an obedient servant to a cast-out and rebellious enemy, the devil incarnate, who opposes God's will. Apocryphal books such as Enoch II name him as the prince of demons. Revelation 12 describes Satan as a "great dragon." Medieval writers around the 1100s tried to establish Satan's presence in the Old Testament, positing that Satan/Samael was disguised as a serpent to tempt Eve. Satan often appears in paintings as a serpent or dragon.

Before his fall, Satan is generally considered to have been chief of the seraphim and virtues, but Aquinas says Satan was a cherub. Both cabalistic and Christian mystics say that Satan will be restored to his original rank in time.

Satan is often mistakenly identified with Lucifer, due to a misreading of Isaiah 14:12, which actually refers to Nebuchadnezzer.

Anonymous said...

Try Targum (Psudo) Yontan on Bereshit 3:6

Chana said...

Uri, thanks for all the background information!

Anonymous 6:51 PM, I love you! You're amazing! How do I cite Targum Pseudo-Jonathan?

Chana said...

For anyone interested, here's the beginning of the comment in Targum Pseudo-Jonathan:

וחמת אתחא ית סמאל מלאך מותא

Question: Can you translate the whole pasuk for me, in English (per the way he is translating it?) Thanks!!

thesamepersonasthefirstanonymous said...

6. And the woman beheld Sammael, the angel of death, and was afraid; yet she knew that the tree was good to eat, and that it was medicine for the enlightenment of the eyes, and desirable tree by means of which to understand. And she took of its fruit, and did eat; and she gave to her husband with her, and he did eat.

According to this translation:

I don't know much about this site, but the translation seems to match up coherently.

Gavi said...

I would just cite it as the translation of Yonasan Ben Uziel. Even though there are doubts as to whether he actually wrote it, you can probably just cite it as his, since it is identified as such in all the chumashim.

As for the translation of the Targum Yonasan on Bereishis 3:6, what has been posted is essentially accurate. I would just add that the Peirush Yonasan ad loc comments that the simple explanation would be that the woman saw that the tree was good, not that she perceived that Samael was the malach hamaves... He leaves the issue unresolved.

ssecunda said...

"the Old Testament has no fallen angels, and classical Judaism rejects the possibility of angels rebelling against God."

That is patently not true. Nefilim, rabbinic traditions about Metatron's punishment, etc etc

Also, the Enochic traditions about the fallen angels are probably as old as 3rd to 2nd century BCE. I'm not saying it's "classical" Judaism but it's definitely not "the time of the new testament."
And the reading of Job's Satan as being a faithful servant of God is not entirely convincing.

As for citing Pseduo-Jonathan, if it's an academic paper, it should indeed be cited as Pseudo-Jonathan. If you wanted an english translation to cite, there is the large black set of Targum (Macnamara) that you can find in our very own Stern college library.

Uri said...

Dr Secunda,thanks for your corrections.

ari kahn said...

Chana - there is a book called Malachey Elyon by HaRav Reuven Margoliot (Mosod HaRav Kook). it is an encyclopedia of angels and demons - all the sources you need can be found there.

Elitzur said...

As a YU student you should have access to the Bar Ilan database (as I do since I'm an alum). Samael comes up 267 times (after discounting repeats in the same source). Pirkei D'R Eliezer looks especially interesting since Samael is identified as the one who gets Chava to sin (chapter 12), is thrown out of heaven (14,27), attempts to disrupts Avraham from offering Yitzchak as a sacrifice (30), and causes the death of Sarah (31).

jdub said...

midrash tanhuma, parshat va-yera. there's a midrash about how Samael/Satan tried to block the ram from being sacrificed by Avraham. The midrash uses Samael, but the verb associated with the name has as the shoresh "s-t-n", and the subsequent midrash switches expressly to Satan. The subsequent midrash is about how Satan disguised himself as Yitzhak and appeared to Sarah to say that Avraham almost sacrificed him leading to her death.

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