Signifies, properly, adversary, enemy, 1 Kings 11:14 Psalms 109:6, and is so applied by Jesus to Peter, Matthew 16:23 Mark 8:33. Hence it is used particularly of the grand adversary of souls, the devil, the prince of the fallen angels, the accuser and calumniator of men before God, Job 1:7,12 Zechariah 3:1,2 Revelation 12:10. He seduces them to sin, 1 Chronicles 21:1 Luke 22:31; and is thus the author of that evil, both physical and moral, by which the human race is afflicted, especially of those vicious propensities and wicked actions which are productive of so much misery, and also of death itself, Luke 13:16 Hebrews 2:14. Hence Satan is represented both as soliciting men to commit sin, and as the source, the efficient cause of impediments which are thrown in the way of the Christians religion, or which are designed to diminish its efficacy in reforming the hearts and lives of men, and inspiring them with the hope of future bliss, Matthew 4:10 John 13:27 Romans 16:20 Ephesians 2:2. See DEVIL.
The "synagogue of Satan," Revelation 2:9,13, probably denotes the unbelieving Jews, the false zealots for the Law of Moses, who at the beginning were the most eager persecutors of the Christians. They were very numerous at Smyrna, to which church John writes.