Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Revelation 12:10 and the "Accuser"

Greek: καὶ ἤκουσα φωνὴν μεγάλην ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ λέγουσαν Ἄρτι ἐγένετο ἡ σωτηρία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν καὶ ἡ ἐξουσία τοῦ Χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι ἐβλήθη ὁ κατήγωρ τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἡμῶν, ὁ κατηγορῶν αὐτοὺς ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτός.

The word translated "accuser" in Revelation 12:10 is κατήγωρ: the term is actually used of someone who brings a legal charge before a judge in court. Compare Zechariah 3:1-5.

From Vincent's Word Studies: "The correct form of the Greek for accuser is a transcript of the Rabbinical Hebrew, κατήγωρ. The Rabbins had a corresponding term συνήγωρ for Michael, as the advocate of God's people. The phrase is applied to Satan nowhere else in the New Testament."

From Jurgen Roloff's Revelation commentary: It is surprising that Satan is characterized here with a word like "accuser" (Gr. kategor), which appears nowhere else in the New Testament. In terms of the history of the motif this forms an association with the notion of Satan as the accuser of human beings before the divine tribunal (Job 1:9-11, 2:4-5: Zech. 3:1). This does not mean that the dominant view of Satan in this chapter as God's adversary should be minimized, but rather that a particular aspect of his activity is highlighted: his aim is to destroy the relationship of God with human beings.

Jurgen Roloff. Revelation (Continental Commentary Series) (Kindle Locations 2201-2203). Kindle Edition.

Jurgen Roloff. Revelation (Continental Commentary Series) (Kindle Location 2200). Kindle Edition.

William Mounce's definition for κατήγωρ: "accuser, Rev. 12:10, a barbarous form for κατήγορος*"


Matt13weedhacker said...

Hi Edgar.

There was a really good little section in Thayer's Lexicon (I remember from a study project I did 20 years ago) on a group of synonyms all centering on legal accusations.

[ SYNONYMS: αἰτίασθαι, διαβάλλειν, ἐγκάλειν, ἐπικάλειν, κατηγορεῖν:

αἰτίασθαι to accuse with primary reference to the ground of accusation (αἰτία), the crime;

κατηγορεῖν to accuse formally and before a tribunal bring a charge against (κατά suggestive of animosity) publicly;

ἐγκάλειν, to accuse with publicity (καλεῖν), but not necessarily formally or before a tribunal; ἐπικάλειν 'to cry out upon' suggestive of publicity and hostility;

διαβάλλειν, properly, to make a verbal assault which reaches its goal (διά); in distinction from the words which allude to authorship (αἰτιάομαι), to judicial procedure (κατηγορέω), or to open averment (ἐγκαλέω, ἐπικαλέω), διαβάλλω expresses the giving currency to a damaging insinuation.

διάβολος a secret and calumnious, in distinction from κατήγορος an open and formal, accuser. Schmidt, chapter 5.]

Thayer's Expanded Greek Definition, Electronic Database.
Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011 by Biblesoft, Inc.
All rights rserved. Used by permission.

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks for the contribution, Matt13weedhacker. I've always liked Thayer's and it's good to see the work is still being used. Additionally, I've read elsewhere that the accuser in Rev. 12:10, in accord with what you posted, is also known as the calumniator.