The Accusing Angel versus the Serpent in The Book of Job Essays

The Accusing Angel versus the Serpent in The Book of Job Essays

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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 are talked about, and defined, are very similar and lead the reader to believe that the two may be the same entity.
The Accusing Angel, one of the aforementioned evils, is first mentioned in The Book of Job on “the day when angels [come] to testify before the lord.” The Accusing Angel came with the other angels and God made it a point to mention his faithful servant, Job, to him. In this context, the Accusing Angel is described as a fallen angel, which could define the Accusing Angel as Lucifer or Satan. Mitchell mentions in his translation that the Accusing Angel “came too,” on the day when the other angels had to make an appearance before the Lord. The connotation of the phrase “came too,” in this context, leads one to believe that the Accusing Angel was not invited, or does not regularly attend. If the Accusing Angel was not invited, or does not regularly attend this meeting, he must be a fallen angel, or an angel who has fallen from the graces of God. Then, the Accusing Angel, when asked “Where have you come from?” by the Lord, respon...

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...en by Mitchell. The words he chose to describe evil in his story, to describe two beings, are very similar and one could conclude that the two are the same being. The only problem with this assumption are the visual associations that already exist in people’s minds. It seems impossible that an angel, something noted for its winged physique and angelic appearance, or a fallen angel, namely Satan, who is characterized as a red demon, could be the same as the Serpent, which is described as a sea monster. Although modern conceptions of the devil have changed, and the devil has become more monster like, it can still be hard to imagine the devil, who was an angel, to look like a sea monster. Once visual connotations are put aside, it is possible to interchange the two characters.


Mitchell, Steven."The Book Of Job" New York, New York 1937

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