What is “the devil?” Wikipedia can’t help, because its NT section just identifies each original character with every other, so Devil = Satan = Serpent = Lucifer and so on. No, substitution here is appropriate only for the indoctrinated. By equating all these unique characters, the result (and intention) is to hypostatize a distinct being having these locutions as senses or guises, and the terms lose their actual referents. (Saying Serpent is very different from saying “the one and only god of malice, in serpent mode.”) The being born from this conflation eventually becomes a generic god of malice, which is how we receive it today.
But the resulting mishmash was not so generic 2000 years ago. The term most used in the NT is devil, which, like Satan, merely means verbal criticism:
Here’s the NIV, which shortens the verb:
The verb διεβλήθη means was accused. The infinitive is διαβάλλω. It means to bring charges (usually with hostile intent). The great Google Translate gives make false and defamatory statements about. It’s root is interesting. It means “to throw across (back and forth), either with rocks or words (slander, gossip).” A
The generic bad guy is first and originally a bad mouther. This is his basis. He begins and arises as an accuser.
And that’s the end of this post. I am just wondering if the NT writers mean exactly the same thing as the writers of the Book of Job? In the latter, Satan is a divine assistant to Yahveh. But he does not wish ill of people (in fact in the Talmud, he is sympathetic). But the Greek-Christian devil is downright sinister, he who laughs and rubs hands. Where did that malice come from, the joy in other-suffering, come from? Only in Indian and Greek mythology do you see characters with enemy-like malice. For the Jews, only gods of other tribes could wish ill, or Yahveh himself. But all of his extensions and assistants are on board, because they owe Yahveh for their existence.
The NT writers use both terms—ho diabolos 32 times and ho satanas 11 times.