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The Accusing Angel Versus The Serpent In The Book Of Job

1542 words - 7 pages

The Accusing Angel versus the Serpent in The Book of Job

The Book of Job is a very complex translation in which two images of evil are presented. Steven Mitchell calls them the Accusing Angel (Accuser) and the Serpent. They are both very powerful and portrayed as supernatural beings. His first reference to the Accusing Angel appears early on, however references throughout the story do not exist. Unlike the Accusing Angel, the Serpent is mentioned throughout the book. Disturbing imagery and ideas from the unnamable voice from the whirlwind help to give the reader an accurate perception of the Serpent. Although the context in which they are presented is different, the way that both ...view middle of the document...

Even though Satan and Lucifer may seem like synonyms, there is a slight difference in their definitions. Satan is defined as “the adversary of God and lord of evil” while Lucifer is defined as “a fallen rebel archangel, the Devil.” By these definitions it is possible to give either name to the Accusing Angel. The Accusing Angel fits the description of “the adversary of God” because he is sent to torment Job and test his faith. The Accusing Angel could also be depicted as an adversary because of the way he tempts God into allowing him to test Job. The Accusing Angel says that Job must be protected by some kind of divine power and that if he was to fall into hard times, he would “curse [God] to [His] face.” The Accusing Angel also fits the definition of Lucifer because of the idea that the Accusing Angel is a fallen angel. Thus, the definition of Accusing Angel is a combination of Satan and Lucifer.
Mitchell also uses the image of a Serpent to portray evil in his rendering of The Book of Job. The Serpent is not described in great detail until later in the story, but the description given is extensive. The first mention of the Serpent is by Job when he issues his “curse.” Job says, “Let the sorcerers wake the Serpent to blast [the day I was born] with eternal blight.” Job introduces the Serpent as extremely powerful, but does not give the reader any information regarding where it came from or what purpose it serves. However, by mentioning sorcerers in the same sentence, Job creates the idea of mystical power and magical strength. The second mention of the Serpent comes when Bildad the Shuhite says that “[God] shattered the Ocean with his breath and pierced the primeval Serpent.” This comparison, of God to the Serpent, brings the power of the Serpent into context. If God was needed, or is one of the only ones who can pierce the Serpent, it can be assumed that the Serpent is a formidable opponent and being. The use of the word primeval is interesting because it brings a new understanding to the Serpent’s character. “Primeval” is defined as “of or relating to the earliest ages, existing in or persisting from the beginning.” This definition means that the Serpent is not only a formidable opponent, but one who has lasted throughout the ages, and existed in the beginning. The third and most descriptive mention of the Serpent comes from the Unnamable. The voice from the whirlwind describes to Job the awesome power of the Serpent and relates the idea that “hope is a lie.” God tells Job that the Serpent is so strong that hope alone is not enough. The unnamable also offers a description of the Serpent which portrays it as indestructible and overpowering. The voice says that “no one on earth is [the Serpent’s] equal, a creature without fear.”
The Serpent, or “primeval Serpent,” is defined as “the Devil, a treacherous person.” This definition relates to the definitions of both Satan and Lucifer because they commonly correspond to...

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