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In the Hebrew Bible, where he makes his first appearance (I Chron. 21:1), Satan, or the devil, is not the supreme evil force of the universe he became later in Jewish tradition and even more so in Christianity. Rather, he is part of the divine entourage of good and bad angels, and his function is to tempt people, as in the case of Job. Medieval Bible commentators, however, identify him as the snake in the story of the Garden of Eden, and ascribe him a much greater role in the divine plan. Today, Satan no longer occupies a position of prominence in most Jewish thinking, but his power is seen in the dark side of the human character that turns individuals into perpetrators of evil acts.

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