What book of the old testament is the story "The Devil and Daniel Webster" based on?be specific

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don’t think this short story is based on any one Old Testament book. Rather, wherever in the Old Testament that Satan appears in a role where he tempting man, then that is what has had some influence on this short story. For example, in Job, the Devil approaches God, and God asks hiim what he has been up to, and the Devil replies that he has been going around and about in the world. God points out Job as a good servant, and the Devil replies that yes, of course, you have blessed him, why wouldn’t he worship you? So God allows the Devil to tempt Job, but Job resists, in spite of all manner of evil that the Devil heaps upon him. Or, you could go back to Genesis where the Devil first shows up in the form of the serpent, tempts Adam and Eve, lying to them, and getting them kicked out of the Garden of Eden.

The story is really more connected, thematically, to the Faust legend, in which a man makes a pact with the devil for some profit but suffers dire consequences for his act. There are many similar stories of the devil interacting with man in the American literary tradition. Nathaniel Hawthorne's story “Young Goodman Brown”, Washington Irving’s “The Devil and Tom Walker”, Edith Wharton's novel Ethan Frome, Eugene O’Neill's play Desire Under the Elms (1924), etc.

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The Devil and Daniel Webster

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