« 上一頁繼續 »
adversary nor evil occurrent.” Here the term satan is used in the singular, and is again rendered adversary. Solomon does not name, as in the preceding text, any person referred to; but the scope of the context evidently shows, that he had in view human beings, who were accustomed to be satans or adversaries to Israel. His father David had many such satans to contend with during his reign, but now Solomon had none of them to disturb the peace of his kingdom. He therefore determined to build an house to the Lord, which his father was prevented from doing by his frequent wars with them. We shall soon see that Solomon was not altogether free from his troubles from such satans or adversaries.
1 Kings, xi. 14, 23, 25. “And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon; Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom.-And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer, king of Zobah.--And he was an adversary to Israel, all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria." In these verses the word satan is used three times, and is uniformly rendered adversary. The term is applied to human beings, who are distinctly named, Hadad the Edomite, and Rezon the son of Eliadah. The last was a satan to Solomon all his days. It would be ridiculous to suppose that satan here had any reference to a fallen angel; for in the first case it would be to make him an Edomite, and in the second the son of Eliadah, and that he was called Hadad and Rezon as well as satan. It is of more importance to observe, that it is said God stirred up those satans against Solomon. Had only one satan been mentioned, and no name given to show who was particularly meant, it is likely some would have concluded, that God stirred up a fallen angel against him. This conclusion would
have been as correct as that drawn from the next passage, where it is supposed satan means a fallen angel, because it is said, satan provoked David to number Israel, and in the parallel place that God moved him to do it. But here, it is put beyond all controversy, that satan has no reference to a fallen angel. We would then ask, ought not such texts, where the circumstances mentioned so clearly decide that this term designates no such being, to teach us caution in concluding that this is its meaning in any passage. When the word satan is introduced, and no circumstances are mentioned clearly to decide who or what is meant, is it rational or scriptural to say that a fallen angel or wicked spirit must be meant ? We should think not; and until it is satisfactorily proved, that such a being does exist, no rational man would ever think of such a conclusion.
1 Chron. xxi. 1. “And satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” Here for the first time the word satan is left untranslated; but I can perceive no good reason why it was not rendered adversary, as it is in other places. No evidence appears from the text or context, that a fallen angel or wicked spirit provoked David to number Israel. If the rule in other cases, be allowed here, plain passages ought to interpret doubtful and obscure ones, and common scripture usage of a word, ought to determine in particular cases in what sense the sacred writers used it. It is then determined here, for no previous Scripture writer has said any thing about a fallen angel, or used the word satan in reference to such a being. Supposing they had done this, it would not be safe to conclude he was spoken of, for it is evident that the term satan is applied to human beings and to the angel of Jehovah in preceding passages, which might be the case here. In every text the question ought to be, what satan or adversary is in:
tended? As the word is not translated, and the idea of an evil being is associated with it in people's minds, and nothing directly being said to the contrary, it is concluded that this being provoked David to number Israel. Though the labor of proving this belongs to them, yet I shall offer the following remarks in proof of its falsehood.
1st. If the term satan designates in this passage a fallen angel, it is the first time we hear any thing concerning such a being in the Bible under this or any other name. But it is evident satan is not here introduced as a new and extraordinary being, nor, is there any evidence that the word is used in a different sense from what it is in the passages already considered. To believe his existence from this text, is not only implicit faith, but in face of evidence to the contrary,, arising from scripture usage of the word satan, and the silence of all preceding writers about such a being.
2d. Had the word satan been rendered adversary as in other places, previous scripture usage would have led us to conclude, that one of David's enemies had menaced him with a new war, and thus provoked him to number Israel. It should be remembered, that the strength of Israel did not consist in the multitude of their armies, but their confidence in Jehovah and obedience to his laws. In thus numbering Israel, David sinned greatly, as it intimated a removal of his trust from God to that of the number and strength of his forces. It has been thought by some, that David's sin consisted in his wishing to establish a military government for conquest, and hence gave orders to enrol all Israel for this purpose.
3d. But what in this passage is ascribed to satang is in 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. ascribed to God. 6 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, go number
Israel and Judah." We are sure that God tempts no man to evil, James i. 13. Should it be said God permitted satan, a fallen angel to do it, we ask where isthe proof of this? The passage affords none, except the gratuitous sense affixed to the term satan, which we have seen signifies an adversary. To say satan here means a fallen angel, is not only begging the question, but it is opposed to all former scripture usage of this word.
4th. When David's heart smote him for his sin, he imputes no part of the blame either to satan or God. No, he says "I have sinned greatly in that which I have done."" 1 Chron. xxi. 17. Nor do we find that satan suffers any part of the punishment or is threatened with any.Others suffered severely for his sin, but if satan was the chief cause of all this evil, why does he escape all punishment ? David does not plead his influence in mitigation of his offence, or the punishment it incurred. But if either God, or a fallen angel did move David to commit this sin why does no blame attach to them ?
5th. But some orthodox critics declare, that there is no reference to such a being in this passage. Parkhurst says on this word; “I would understand it, 1 Chron. xxi. 1. of a human adversary: compare 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. which perhaps may be best rendered; and again the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and David was moved against them by (one's) saying, or rather indefinitely, and one moved David against them saying, go number Israel and Judah." See Dr. Chandler's Life of king David. Farmer, on Christ's Temptation, quoting from Dr. Chandler, says, “ for, speaking of David's numbering the people, he says, if the Devil had bid him do it, I suppose he might have seen the cloven foot and would scarce have followed the measure for the sake of the adviser."
6th. I would simply suggest it for consideration if David was not led to number the people from some evil passion or desire in his own mind, and that it is called satan. It is evident, that this is the sense of the term in the first place it occurs, above considered. That men's evil lusts and passions are afterwards called satan in Scriptựre will be shown in its place. This view is in unison with the way God says men are tempted to evil. James i. 14. Satan we have seen means an adversary. All acts of an adversary arise from some opposing principle or desire in the mind. It is perfectly natural, and we shall see it is scriptural, to call the opposing principles or passions of men by the name satan. But scripture usage of this term will permit us to say, that satan who provoked David to number Israel, was either the evil desires of his own mind, or some human adversary. Previous and I think also after scripture usage of this word forbid us thinking that the satan who provoked David was a fallen angel. Nor would it be very strange that the anger of Jehovah was in this passage the satan referred to, seeing an angel of Jehovah is evidently called satan in a preceding passage. This is the view which some take of this
passage. Ezra iv. 6. " And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, wrote they unto him an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.” In this text the word satan is a noun feminine and is rendered accusation. Notice, it is not the persons who wrote who are called satan, but the thing written. The persons who wrote, were, properly speaking, the satan or adversary, yet it is the written document, sent by them to Ahasuerus, which is called satan, for it was not them but it, which was to appear before the king as the accuser or adversary of the Jews. Who the persons were we learn from verses 1-6. “ The people of the land weakened the hands