Job Chapter One


  1. The canonicity of Job has never been seriously question located in the English versions at the head of the poetical books: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and in the Hebrew Bible Job appears in the third division, known as the Writings.
  2. The language of the book of Job is notable for its numerous rare words and special examples of morphology and syntax (some 100 hapax legomena).
  3. The Prologue and Epilogue are prose (Job 1, 2, and 42) while the rest is high poetry structured generally in parallel lines.
  4. There is considerable variance of opinion on the authorship of Job.
  5. Writing in the Biblical Illustrator, Joseph Exell states: both the prevailing tone of the book and its literary style point steadily and unmistakably to the age of Solomon as the period in which at least assumed the form it has come down to us" (pg. 9).
  6. Solomon, who was the author of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Canticles (SOS) is a likely candidate, as he is described as possessing surpassing wisdom (1Kgs.4:29-31).
  7. Many texts in the book of Job are paralleled by phrases and metaphors in other OT books: (Job.4:8-Prov.22:8; Job5:17b-Prov.3:11a; Job.12:13-Prov.8:14; Job15:7b=Prov.8:25b; Job.18:5a, 6b; 21:7a-Prov.13:9b=24:20b; Job.18:7a-Prov.4:21a; Job.26:6-Prov.15:11a; Job.26:10b-Prov.8:27b; Job.28:15-19-Prov.3:14-15; 8:11,19; Job.5:16b-Ps.107:42b; Job.5:17-Ps.94:12a; Job.6:25a-Ps.119:103; Job.10:20b + 21a-Ps.39:13; Job.12:21a + 24b=Ps.107:40; Job.18:7-10-Ps.140:4-5; Job.9:10-Ps.52:5; Job.19:13,14-Ps.88:18; Job.22:19a-Ps.107:42a; Job.29:12-Ps.72:12; Job.33:14-Ps.49:7-9; Job.34:14-15-Ps.104:26; Job.6:4; 7:20; 16:12-Lam.3:12; Job.9:18b-Lam.3:15a; Job.12:4-Lam.3:14; Job.16:9b + 10a-Lam.2:16a,b;Job.19:7-8-Lam.3:14;Job.1:21-Eccl.5:15;Job.19:7-Jer.20:8;Job.19:24-Jer.17:1; Job.5:18-Hos.6:1; Job.13:28-Hos.5:12; Job.9:8b-Amos.5:8a; Job.9:9a-Amos.2:9c; Job.31:15-Mal.2:10a; Job.42:2b-Gen.11:6b; Job.42:17-Gen.25:8;35:29;Job.6c-1Kgs.19:21b;Job.9:8a=Isa.44:24c; Job.12:19b=Isa.41:20a;Job.12:24-25-Isa.19:14;Job.14:11=Isa.19:5; Job.15:35a=Isa.59:4d; Job.16:17a-Isa.53:9b; Job.26:12a-Isa.51:15b).
  8. Job clearly lived during the patriarchal era, since: (a) he lived to an age beyond 140 years, perhaps 210 (Job.42:16) and, (b) he functioned as a family priest (Job.1:5; 42:8) which reminds us of what the patriarch Noah did (Gen.8:20).

The Prologue (1:1-2:13)

Scene 1: Jobís Character, Faith and Prosperity (1:1-5)

VERSE 1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job (Amv. bAYai #W[-#r,a,b. hy"h' vyai [noun m.s. ish, man + Qal pf.3.m.s. hajah, to be + prep. be, in w/noun c.s.abs. eretz, land + proper noun Uz + noun proper abs. Job + noun c.m.s.constr.w/3.m.s.suff. shem, name]; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil [[r'me rs'w> ~yhil{a/ areywI rv'y"w> ~T' aWhh; vyaih' hy"hw> [conj. waw w/Qal pf.3.m.s. hajah "was" + m.s.abs. ish + hu, he "that" + adj.m.s.abs. tam, perfect, complete + conj. waw w/adj.m.s.abs. yashar, upright, straight + conj. waw w/adj.m.s.constr. yare, fearing + noun m.p.abs. Elohim + waw consec. w/Qal part.m.s.abs. sur, turn + prep. min, from w/adj.m.s.abs. ra, evil]).


  1. The short account of Jobís testing sets the stage for the long debate between the protagonist and his friends (3:1-42:6).
  2. This prose account is divided into two parts, the prologue (1:1-2:13) and the epilogue (42:7-17).
  3. This book has a very ancient form going back to the early patriarchal era (see N. Sarna, "Epic Substratum in the Prose of Job," JBL. 76 (1957) 13-25.).
  4. "The Protests of the Eloquent Peasant," a text datable to the 21st century B.C., is similar in format to Job, consisting of nine semi-poetic speeches set between a prose prologue and epilogue (Egyptian).
  5. The epic account is characterized in beautiful, simple, compact style typical of early Hebrew prose.
  6. Action is swift and definitive.
  7. Dialogue between characters is direct and terse.
  8. The stark simplicity of the narrative contrasts markedly with the depth of the problem addressed.
  9. Consequently, the account, though simple, captures the audienceís imagination.
  10. The Prologue is divided into five scenes, the first, third, and fifth set on earth, and the second and fourth set in heaven.
  11. The narrative opens in epic style, "there lived" or "there was."
  12. Job is simply introduced as a citizen of Uz.
  13. The exact location of Uz remains unknown.
  14. Two different locations have been suggested.
  15. A southern location in the vicinity of Edom and a northern site northeast of Palestine in the Hauran.
  16. According to Lam.4:21 the daughter of Edom lives in the land of Uz.
  17. In Jer.25:20-21 Uz is associated with Philistia, Edom and Moab.
  18. Uz was the son of Dishan, a chief of Edom (Gen.36:28; 1Chron.1:42).
  19. The LXX accepts Edom by reason of its associating, though erroneously, Job with Jobab, and Edomite king (Gen.36:33).
  20. This would place the time of Job close to the time when Israel migrated to Egypt.
  21. This seems too late into the patriarchal era.
  22. There is genealogical evidence for placing the epic of Job in northeast Mesopotamia five generations after the Flood.
  23. One Jobab son of Joktan son of Eber son of Shelah son of Arphaxad son of Shem son of Noah is a far better candidate for the Job of the book of Job (Gen.10:29).
  24. Notice also Gen.10:30 where the "settlement" of these sons clans is described as being "from Mesha as you go toward Sephar, the mountain of the east."
  25. Hauran is a area SE of Mt. Hermon, E of the Jordan and the Sea of Galilee, and N of the Yarmuk River.
  26. It is essentially a plateau (volcanic) and the soil is very rich producing great grain crops.
  27. Everywhere there may be seen abandoned houses built entirely of black basalt.
  28. It was called Bashan in OT times.
  29. The name appears only in Ezek.47:16 as the ideal border on the E.
  30. Aram son of Shem, brother of Arpachshad had a son named Uz (Gen.10:23).
  31. Another Uz was the oldest son of Nahor, the Aramean brother of Abraham (Gen.22:20-21).
  32. The reference to "the sons of the East" (v.3) means east of the Jordan River, if the author of Job lived in Palestine.
  33. Josephus, along with later Jewish and Arabic traditions, adopted this location of Uz.
  34. In addition, there is a monastery close to Damascus named Deir Ayyub in honor of Job.
  35. Job 13:24 (cf. 33:10) has an interesting play on the similarity between Jobís name and the Hebrew word for "enemy."
  36. There Job accuses God of treating him like his enemy.
  37. The basic meaning of the verb is "to be hostile to," "to be or treat as an enemy."
  38. Jobís name is not a literary invention but the real name of a patriarchal hero.
  39. Job is introduced without genealogy and without reference to his tribe or clan.
  40. Jobís moral/spiritual character is the theme of this scene, and the barest identification of the man is all that is needed.
  41. A customary formula with which a biblical narrative book begins is "and it came to pass that" or "and there was"; thus Joshua, Judges, 1Samuel (2 Samuel), Ruth, Esther.
  42. Here the opening phrase is, literally, "a man there was", the only genuine parallels occur at the beginnings of Nathanís parable (2Sam.12:1) and of Joashís fable (2Kgs.14:9).
  43. The implication is not what follows is a tale rather than history but the subsequent narrative has no link with any stage in Israelís canonical history.
  44. The importance of the name Uz is not so much where it is, but in where it is not.
  45. Israelites themselves may have not been familiar with its precise location but they will have known, as we do, that it was not in Israel.
  46. The headline verse finally epitomizes the character of Job.
  47. The perfect tense of "that man was" is a frequentative, indicating the constant nature of the man, which is attested here by the narrator and in 1:8 and 2:3 as the assessment of God.
  48. Two sets of word pairs characterize Job as a man of impeccable character and devout faith.
  49. The first pair, "blameless" (tam) and "upright" (yashar) indicates that Job was a believer who was right with God and man.
  50. In the Psalms, "blameless" and "upright" is a familiar combination in Proverbs and Psalms (e.g., Prov.2:21; 28:10; Ps.37:37).
  51. Hebrew tam frequently designates a sacrificial animal as "spotless, without blemish" (Lev.22:18-20).
  52. But when used of a person it means personal integrity, not sinless perfection (cf. Josh.24:14; Judg.9:16).
  53. The blameless person is one who walks in close fellowship with God (Gen.17:1) and who delights in obeying the directive will of God (Ps.119:1).
  54. Job was "blameless" or "irreprehensible" before God who He consistently served.
  55. Job was not one thing on the surface and another within.
  56. He was the epitome of the fully adjusted believer as attested by God Himself at 1:8.
  57. The term generally translated "upright" (yashar) indicates ethical propriety in the broadest sense.
  58. It is frequently found in connection with "good" (tobh) and with "righteous" (tsedeq) as per Deut.6:18; Ps.25:8 and Ps.32:11; 33:1 respectively.
  59. The word "upright" depicts faithful adherence to Godís statutes (1Kgs.14:8; 15;5).
  60. Job treated others in a just and compassionate manner, including his servants.
  61. He zealously showed mercy to the unfortunate.
  62. The second pair of words describes Jobís sincere positive volition (devout faith).
  63. The "fear of God" is an expression found throughout the OT and frequently in the wisdom literature.
  64. It stands for respect for the divine person.
  65. It exemplifies itself in the quest for knowledge of the plan and will of God (Prov.1:7; 9:10; Job.28:28).
  66. Those who fear God are those who seek Him out and come to a full understanding of His revelation of Himself.
  67. It also exemplifies itself by conformity to that revelation in thought and deed.
  68. The final item regarding Jobís spiritual profile is corollary to the fear of God.
  69. Job avoided the opportunity to participate in moral and spiritual (idolatry) when he encountered it.
  70. Furthermore, he applied the doctrine of separation.
  71. "The highway of the upright is to depart from evil" (Prov.16:17a).
  72. And "He who watches his way preserves his life" (Prov.16:17b).
  73. For the expression "turn away from evil" cf. also 1:8; 2:3; 28:28; Prov.3:7; 13:19; 14:16; 16:6,17; Pss.34:14; 37:27.
  74. The first indispensable fact for the interpretation of the book of Job is that its main character was a righteous man of the first order.
  75. It is set before us in the first verse and reiterated at 1:8 and 2:3 in the Prologue.
  76. This is the background to establishing the 2nd important fact presented in the Prologue and that is the fact that Jobís suffering was undeserved.
  77. From these two facts the whole issue of the book arises.
  78. To Job the issue is how to reconcile his experience of suffering with his knowledge of his innocence.
  79. To the readers the issue is rather how a righteous person is to behave when afflicted by undeserved suffering.
  80. Job went into his test totally oblivious to the circumstance that caused his great misery.
  81. His faith in God (and in himself, that is, in his own innocence) was tested greatly.
  82. Job is mentioned three other times outside this book (Ezek.14:14, 20; Jam.5:11).

Jobís Family (v.2)

VERSE 2 And seven sons and three daughters were born to him (waw w/Niphal pf.3.m.p. yaladh, be born + prep. lamedh w/3.m.s.suff. "to him" + adj.m.s.abs. sheba, seven + noun m.p.abs. ben, son + waw w/adj.f.s.abs. shalosh, three + noun f.p.abs. bath, daughter]).


  1. Jobís character, so the Hebrew suggests (waw consecutive) was the basis of his wealth in heirs and possessions.
  2. God had richly blessed his faithful servant.
  3. The numbers three, seven, and ten, all are symbolic of completeness, to demonstrate that Jobís wealth was staggering.
  4. God gave Job seven sons and three daughters.
  5. Sons were more prized than daughters in that culture, and hence are more numerous.
  6. In the Epilogue the importance of sons is counterbalanced by the mention only of the names of the daughters who were given a share in their fatherís inheritance (42:13-15).
  7. By the standards of the time Job had the ideal family.
  8. First mentioned as the finest blessing a man can have is the imposing number of sons; cf. Ps.127:3 where "sons" are a "heritage" from Yahweh, i.e., a grace gift, and a "reward", almost in the sense of a "boon."
  9. Cf. also Ps.128:3; 144:12.
  10. Seven symbolizes perfection or completeness.
  11. Again, the ratio of seven sons to three daughters reflects the superior worth attached to sons.
  12. As indicated above Job breached conventional custom when his fortunes were reversed by giving his daughters an inheritance equal to his sons (42:15).
  13. The figure three in its own way symbolized perfect wholeness (three Graces, etc.; cp. Solomonís 700 wives and 300 concubines; 1Kgs.11:3).
  14. Jobís wife is not mentioned among his blessings, not so much because of her ambiguous role as because it is dramatically more effective to postpone her appearance to the crucial juncture of 2:9.

Jobís Material Wealth (v.3)

VERSE 3 His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys (tAnAta] tAame vmex]w: rq'B'-dm,c, tAame vmex]w: ~yLim;g> ypel.a; tv,l{v.W !aco-ypel.a; t[; WhnEq.mi yhiy>w: [:waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. hajah + noun m.s.constr.w/3.m.s.suff. miqneh, livestock; "possessions" + adj.m.p.constr. eleph, thousand w/d.o.marker noun s.abs. tson, flock (sheep & goats) + waw w/adj.m.s.constr. shalosh, seven + adj.m.p.constr. aleph, thousand + noun m.p.abs. gamal, camel + waw w/adj.f.s.constr. chamesh, three + adj.f.p.abs. me-ah, hundred + noun m.s.abs. tsemedh, pair; "yoke" w.d.o.marker w/noun m.s.abs. baqar, ox + waw w/adj.f.s.constr.chamesh, five + adj.f.p.abs. me-ah hundred + noun f.p.abs. athon, female donkey], and very many servants; and that man was the greatest of all the men of the east [~d,q,-ynEB.-lK'mi lAdG" aWhh; vyaih' yhiy>w: daom. hB'r; hD'bu[]w: [waw w/noun f.s.abs. abuddah, household servant + adj.f.s.abs rabh, many + adv. me-odh, much; "very" + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. hajah, "was" + m.s.abs. ish + hu, he + adj.m.s.abs. gadhol, great; "greatest" + prep. min from w/noun m.s.constr. kol, all w/d.o.marker w/noun m.p.constr. ben son w/d.o.marker w/noun m.s.abs. qedem, east]).


  1. Jobís possessions are equally the reward of his uprightness and devotion: the verb shows that the enumeration of blessings in v.2 is continued.
  2. In keeping with the patriarchal flavor of the narrative, Jobís wealth is described entirely in terms of livestock and servants (cf. Gen.12:16; 26:14; 30:43; 46:32; 1Sam.25:2).
  3. Clearly Job also possesses farmland (cf. v.14; 5:23; 31:38) and gold (cf. 22:24; 31:24; 42:11), while the quantities of oxen (for plowing) and asses (for carrying produce from the fields) indicate forms of wealth besides the animals (for gold and silver among cattle as forms of wealth in patriarchal times, cf. Gen.24:35).
  4. Though the exclusive reference to animals creates the impression that Job is pictured as a nomad on the patriarchal pattern, the book as a whole shows Job as a settled agriculturist with princely rule in a "city" (cf. especially chaps. 29-31).
  5. The term translated "sheep" includes both sheep and goats, which customarily grazed together.
  6. Camels were used for carrying loads (cf. Gen.37:25; 2Kgs.8:9) as well as riding (cf. Gen.24:10; 31:17,34; Judg.6:5; Isa.66:20).
  7. Job perhaps engaged in the caravan trade considering the large number, which is more suited to the nomadic life.
  8. Oxen were yoked in pairs; and a "yoke" of land was the area a pair of oxen could plow in a day (1Sam.14:14).
  9. Oxen were also used for pulling (2Sam.6:6) and for carrying loads (1Chron.12:40).
  10. She-asses rather the he-asses are mentioned because of their superior value as milk-producers and for breeding; in recent centuries she-asses fetched three times the price of male asses.
  11. She-asses are also said to be better for transportation.
  12. A much smaller number of he-asses would need to be kept (cf. Gen.32:15).
  13. Asses were used for various farm work, for carrying burdens (e.g., Gen.42:26), plowing (Deut.22:10) and threshing, as well as riding (2Sam.17:23).
  14. Such a number of animals would require obviously a large staff of "servants" for their tending.
  15. The servants are classed among property since they had no legal rights.
  16. The "round" figures are marks of the folk wisdom that imparts numbers with symbolic significance.
  17. Jobís "greatness" as the simple narrative style has it, is here entirely his "wealth."
  18. The term "sons of the east" is used of the regions east of the Jordan River (cf. Gen.10:30; cp. Gen.25:6; 29:1; Isa.11:14; Judg.6:33; 7:12; 8:10; 1Kgs.4:30; Ezek.25:4,10; Jer.49:28).

Example of Jobís Diligence (vv.4-5)

VERSE 4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day (AmAy vyai tyBe hT,v.mi Wf['w> wyn"b' Wkl.h'w> [waw w/Qal pf.3.c.p. halak, walk, go, proceed + noun m.p.constr.w/3.m.s.suff. ben, son + waw w/Qal pf.3.m.s. ashah, doí "hold" + noun m.s.abs. mishteh, banquet (from root shata, drink) + noun m.s.constr. bayith, house + noun m.s.abs. ish, man; "each" + noun m.s.constr. w/3.m.s.suff. yom, day; "his day"], and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them [~h,M'[i tATv.liw> lkoa/l, Î~h,yteAyx.a;Ð Ņ~h,yteyOx.a;À tv,l{ War>q'w Wxl.v'w> [waw w/Qal pf.3.c.p. shalah, send + waw w/Qal pf.3.c.p. qara, call; "invite" + prep. lamedh w/adj.m.s.constr. shalosh, three + noun f.p.constr.w/3.m.p. ketib or qere ahot, sister + prep. lamedh w/Qal infin.constr. akal eat + waw w/prep. lamedh w/Qal infin.constr. shata, drink + prep im with w/3.m.p.suff.]).

VERSE 5 When the days of feasting had completed their cycle [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. hajah, not translated; "it was" + part. ki, so not translated + Hiphil pf.3.c.p. naqap, strike off; "had completed their cycle" + noun m.p.constr. yom, day + c.m.s.abs. mishteh, "feasting" , Job would send and consecrate them [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. shalach, send + proper noun iyob + waw w/Piel impf.3.m.s.w.3.m.p.suff. qadash, consecrate], rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all [~L'Ku rP;s.mi tAl[o hl'[/h,w> rq,BoB; ~yKiv.hiw> [waw w/Hiphil pf.3.m.s. shakam, rise early; only in hiphil + prep. be w/noun m.s.abs. boqer, morning + waw w/Hiphil pf.3.m.s. alah, go up; Ďoffer up" + noun f.p.abs. olah, whole burnt offering + noun m.s.contr. misepar, number + noun m.s.constr. w/3.m.p.suff. kol, all; "of them all"]; for Job said, "Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts [~b'b'l.Bi ~yhil{a/ Wkr]beW yn:b' Waj.x' yl;Wa bAYai rm;a' yKi [part. ki, for + Qal pf.3.m.s. amar, say + proper noun Job + part. ulay, perhaps + Qal pf.3.c.p. chata, sin + noun m.p.constr. w/1p.s.suff. ben, son + waw w/Piel pf.3.p. barak, bless translated "curse" but used euphemistically + noun m.p.abs. Elohim + prep. be w/noun m.s.constr.w/3.m.p.suff. lebh, heart]." Thus Job did continually [@ `~ymiY"h;-lK' bAYai hf,[]y: hk'K' [part. kaka, thus + Qal impf.3.m.s. ashah do + proper noun Job + noun m.s.constr. kol, all w/d.o.marker w/ noun m.p.abs. yom, day + paragraph marker]).


  1. The narrative returns to the theme of Jobís devotion to doctrine.
  2. One impressive example says more about the character of Job than any number of approbatory adjectives!
  3. At the same time the course of the narrative is advanced by this little cameo which explains how all the children of Job could happen to be together in the one place and so suffer the one fate that meets them all (1:18-19).
  4. The seven sons of Job are envisaged as seven princes, each with a house of his own, as royal princes have in 2Sam.13:7,20; 14:31, and with all the wealth to prepare an elaborate feast of food and wine. (v.13) that would last for some days.
  5. No censure is implied a life of regular festivity would be perfectly appropriate for the idyllic character of the portrayal.
  6. But the phrase "when the days of the feast had run their course" describes best a feast that last some days (cf. the seven-day feasts in Judg.14:10-18).
  7. Under the Law Tabernacles was a seven-day celebration of families.
  8. The "day" of each brother would naturally be his birthday (cf. "his day" in 3:1 and Hos.7:1
  9. With the addition of wives and children this would have been quite a gathering along a goodly number of servants and that seven times a year (49 days out of the year).
  10. This dramatically highlights the wealth of Job and the blessing by association that was his childrenís.
  11. Jobís concern for the spiritual well-being of his independent children as a family priest is remarkable.
  12. As patriarchal head of grown sons and daughters it is reasonable enough for him to regard himself as responsible to God for their spiritual condition; as much as it is possible for one to be responsible for another under these circumstances.
  13. Job took the initiative in providing an environment that would encourage his children not to get their eyes off of the source of their considerable good fortune.
  14. It is not supposed that his children may have sinned openly, whether in word or deed; their festivities are obviously decorous.
  15. It is somewhat strange at first glance that Job should fear that they may have committed the gravest of sins, to "curse God" ( a sin punishable by death; cf. 2:9; 1Kgs.21:10).
  16. The Hebrew, indeed, uses the normal term for "bless" (barak), but since blessing God is no "sin," without question we have here a euphemistic use of the verb such as we find in 1:11; 2:5,9; 1Kgs.21:10,13; Ps.10:3 to prevent the connection of the divine name with a term of abuse.
  17. The difficulty, unnoticed by most commentators, can be explained in two ways.
  18. First, the verb qalal conventionally translated "curse"¾ the verb for which barak "bless" no doubt stands here¾ means properly "despise, esteem lightly."
  19. Jobís concern may then be that they neglected or disregarded God in some fashion.
  20. That is, that they may have been guilty of some sin of omission rather than commission.
  21. A second explanation is more satisfactory and in harmony with the signification from what the term is clearly used in 1:11; 2:5, 9.
  22. In the extreme they might have sunk to a such a level of reversionism with no one being the wiser.
  23. Job is not concerned about some inadvertent sin but rather a secret condition that constitutes departure from God while holding to overt respectability within the family.
  24. The possibility of abandonment of the straight and narrow (through some temptation of the flesh or whatever) is what troubles him.
  25. With such an expression of Jobís concern, his won still-future temptation would be foreshadowed.
  26. Observe, the narrator would be saying, how the man who inconvenienced himself for his children, just in case they may have "cursed God," will himself soon fall into a state where his wife¾ and the Satan¾ will see his "cursing God" as his most reasonable course of action.
  27. What we have here is the most serious of sins which to walk away from God and pursue life according to the way of the world.
  28. Jobís concern for the "consecration" of his family¾ by which is meant their ritual purity and security within the sphere of divine protection¾ leads him to "send" and "consecrate" his children.
  29. There is a formal touch in the word "send" (as there was in the same idiom in v.4); it is certainly not a matter of patriarchal dignity not permitting him to visit his sonsí houses.
  30. Job summons his sons to his family home in order to be present at a sacrifice intended to decontaminate them from any stain that might have occurred since the last such occasion.
  31. No special technical term is used for sin-offering but a general term "ascending sacrifice" is used.
  32. Job himself offers the whole burnt offerings one each for his ten children.
  33. The sacrifice itself is intended to ceremonially cleanse them from sin, even a grave infraction such as "cursing" God.
  34. Job cannot change their hearts but he can exhort and encourage them to not abandon or renounce God.
  35. The verb "consecrate them" is anticipatory that is amplified in the mention of the "offering of burnt offerings."
  36. And so, the substitutionary death of Christ was understood and foreshadowed among the righteous throughout the long centuries before its realization.
  37. Forgiveness of sins Ph1 and Ph2 was clearly understood among those who followed the One true God through the ages.
  38. As applied to his sons the doctrine of Rebound was in view.
  39. So at the conclusion of each round of feasting Job offered burnt offerings, atoning sacrifices, just in case any of them had "cursed God in their hearts."
  40. Since the sacrifices were whole burnt offerings, the entire offering was consumed by fire (cf. Lev.1).
  41. Nothing was left to eat.
  42. Job did not want any of them to speak lightly of God or in a false way.
  43. He was covering all the bases doing all he could do to encourage their confession and repentance.
  44. He took his position as family priest very seriously.
  45. It was Jobís way of continually reminding those he was responsible for to take their place before God seriously.
  46. This little scene, in vv.4-5, has been narrated without any extravagance yet the scene is rich in every aspect.
  47. There is uninterrupted domestic felicity, to which the sistersí presence at the festivities adds a special emphasis.
  48. There is an unbroken pattern of existence, in which the childrenís absorption in social life is matched by Jobís devotion to their protection.
  49. There is his extraordinary scrupulousness that must cover even hidden sins of the mental attitude, that he must bestir himself "early in the morning," that must not offer one sacrifice but ten, that must never fail in its responsibility but "do so continually."
  50. This unwavering routine, no burden to Job any more than it is to his children, is not monotony but the ominous prelude to an irruption into the lives of all.

2nd Scene or 1st Scene before Yahweh (vv.6-12)

VERSE 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD (hw"hy>-l[; bCey:t.hil. ~yhil{a/h' ynEB. WaboY"w: ~AYh; yhiy>w: [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. hajah + m.s.abs. yom, day + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.p. bo, go in, enter; "came" + noun m.p.constr. ben, son + m.p.abs. Elohim + prep. lamedh w/Hithpael infin.constr. yatsab, stand, station oneself + prep al, above; "before" + noun proper abs. Yahweh], and Satan also came among them [~k'AtB. !j'F'h;-~g: aAbY"w: [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. bo, come + part. gam, also w/ m.s.abs. adversary; Satan; 26x of which 12 refer to Satan; 10 occur in Job chaps. 1 & 2; once in Zech.3:2 and once in 1Chron.21:1 + prep. be "among" w/noun m.s.constr.w/3.m.p.suff. tawek midst, middle]).


  1. From assemblies on earth (vv.4-5), the scene moves to one in the 3rd heaven where the visible throne of God resides.
  2. Yahweh is pictured as a King presiding over a royal court with other heavenly beings neither human nor divine.
  3. The concept of the royal council in which the king would be surrounded by his courtiers, receiving reports from them, taking counsel with them, and giving directives to them is familiar from the nations (esp. Egypt and Israel).
  4. The common royal practice was naturally ascribed to God also.
  5. The clearest OT analogies to this scene is 1Kgs.22:19-22, where Yahweh is envisaged as "sitting on a throne" with his courtiers on his right hand and on his left (cp. Dan.7:9-14, where the "ancient of days" is seated on a throne, thousands of courtiers attend him, and a court for judgment is set.).
  6. Other allusions to the same complex of ideas appear in Ps.29:9-10; 82:1; 89:5-7; 103:19; Isa.6:1-8.
  7. In the NT mention of a heavenly throne and court is seen in Matt.23:22; Heb.4:16; 8:1; 12:2; Rev.4:1; 4:2-10; 5:1ff.; 6:16; 7:9-17; 12:5; 14:3; 16:17; 19:4-5.
  8. It has an earthly counterpart when Christ rules from Jerusalem during the millennium (Matt.19:28; 25:31, et al).
  9. The phrase "there came a day when" (waw consecutive w/imperfect) introduces a scene when angels came and presented themselves before God.
  10. Some interpreters suggests that since we have the definite article with the yom/day that this refers to a set day when the "gods" came and presented themselves.
  11. This construction also occurs at: 1Sam.1:4; 14:1; 2Kgs.4:8,11,18; Job.1:13, 2:1.
  12. It would seem that the day in view was a specially designated event that occurred periodically.
  13. The "sons of God" (bene ha-elohim) are celestial beings or angels.
  14. The "sons of God" comprise the heavenly court is known in other Near Eastern literature, but especially in Ugaritic.
  15. In Canaanite religion the sons of God (El) are envisaged as his physical descendants.
  16. In Hebrew "sons of" is used for members of a group belonging or adhering to, or in some way participating in the nature of, their "father" (e.g., "sons of the prophets").
  17. In the framework of a monotheistic faith, in which the consort of the deity could not be imagined, the view that sees these "sons" as members of a group that in someway partake of the nature of their "father" is to be adhered to here.
  18. These heavenly beings are paralleled in 38:7 with the morning stars, identified with the "host of heaven" in 1Kgs.22:19 and called simply "gods" (elohim) in Ps.82:1 (cp. v.6 of earthly rulers).
  19. The expression "sons of God" also occurs first in Gen.6:2, 4 where they are clearly corrupt or fallen angels (demons) cohabiting with women and producing a super race before the Flood.
  20. They are identified in 2Pet.2:4 and Jude.1:6 as "angels" (the LXX translates the Hebrew "sons" as "angels" in texts where "sons of Elohim" appears).
  21. This expression occurs at: Gen.6:2, 4; Job.1:6; 2:1; 38:7 (cp. Dan.3:35 "son of God").
  22. It also appears in the emended text of Deut.32:8 where the text should read "according to the sons of God" (see article in Bibliotheca Sacra, January-March 2001, pg. 52).
  23. Theologically it can refer to both holy and fallen angels.
  24. Here it refers to the holy angels with Satan appearing in their assembly.
  25. Among the "sons of God" comes the Satan.
  26. To be "among" frequently enough expresses membership of the group in question; thus Gen.23:10; 40:20; 2Kgs.4:13; and cf. the common expression "from among" which regularly implies membership of the group.
  27. The infinitive "to present themselves" before Yahweh is make their reports and receive instructions.
  28. The fact that Satan is singled out for questioning has no other purpose than a narrative one: in some way the dialogue between God and Satan must be set in train; what more natural means than to have God ask of "the Satan" the question we may confidently assume is posed to all the "sons of God" who arrive in heaven with something to report?
  29. What is the character and function of this member (not in good standing) of the "sons of God," the "Satan"?
  30. We note first that the definite article appears before the term at each of its occurrences in Job (1:6,7,8,9; 2:1,2,3,4,6,7 and in Zech.3:1,2; cp. 1Chron.21:1 where the article is absent for the only other reference to this designation the OT).
  31. The article functions as a title rather than a personal name as in "The Adversary."
  32. The Hebrew root means, "to oppose at law.
  33. The personification of the Satan as an evil force hostile to Godís reign appears clearly in 2Chron.21:1, where the name occurs without the article (as in Matt.16:23).
  34. On the other hand, it refers to one who like a prosecuting attorney, brings charges against another in court (Zech.3:1-2).
  35. Satan does not function in a legal capacity but acts as a troublemaker, intruding himself into an environment that he previously repudiated.
  36. He is in effect an intruder up to no good.
  37. God allows him audience in the 3rd heaven where Satan is continually rebuffed before the heavenly court.
  38. His perverse character brings him into the realm of perfect holiness and purity.
  39. He is able to bring charges against the Elect but to no avail (Rom.8:33).
  40. He is from time to time granted permission to test believers (Lk.22:31 "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.").
  41. Satan accuses believers before the Judge of all flesh but he never prevails (Zech.3:1; Rev.12:10).
  42. In Zech.3:1,2 the high priest of Israel, Joshua, Godís servant, had given Satan occasion to bring accusations based on personal sin.
  43. Satan here is the great personal adversary so well known in Scripture in general especially when he interacts with Yahweh both in the Prologue and in Zechariah 3.
  44. He is not a mere personification or a generalized designation of an adversary (as in 2Sam.19:22).
  45. In summary, although the Hebrew word satan has the article, "the Satan," i.e., "the adversary," it is to be regarded as a proper noun and the name of the great superhuman adversary of God and man.
  46. Satan appears as one of the bene haíelohim to accuse Job before God.
  47. God permits the Evil One to do this over the course of the Angelic Conflict until the mid-point of the Trib. (Rev.12:10).

God Initiates (v.7)

VERSE 7 The LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?"(aboT' !yIa;me !j'F'h;-la, hw"hy> rm,aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. amar, say + proper noun Yahweh + prep. el, to w/ m.s.abs. satan + prep. min from w/adv. ayyeh, where + Qal impf.2.m.s. bo, come]) Then Satan answered the LORD and said [rm;aYOw: hw"hy>-ta, !j'F'h; ![;Y:w: [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. anah, answer + m.s.abs. satan + d.o.marker w/proper noun Yahweh + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. amar, say], "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it [HB' %Leh;t.himeW #r,a'B' jWVmi [prep. min from w/Qal infin.constr. shut, roam about + prep. be w/noun c.s.abs. erets, earth + waw w/prep min from w/Hithpael infin.constr. halak walk; walk around + prep be w/3.m.s.suff.])."


  1. Yahweh initiates the conversation with His archrival.
  2. It is remarkable that God permits the devil access to His presence in heavenís throne room.
  3. Since his fall and demotion Satan has had access to Godís presence.
  4. From his appeal forward Satan has had this access.
  5. Such a question does not imply ignorance on Godís part (cp. Ex.4:2, where God asks Moses, "What is that in your hand?").
  6. The question has a dramatic function in focusing upon the Satan as the significant member of the "sons of God" on the occasion at hand.
  7. It has the impetus for the ensuing conversation and its sequel; and it has the role-establishing function in making Yahweh the initiator of the conversation and action that follows.
  8. Satanís response has been taken by interpreters to suggest that he is "the vagabond among the heavenly beings," the one with no fixed commission but a roving commission (Duhm) looking for the opportunity to do evil (Pope), or that his short staccato reply is an expression of Satanís "impudence before his master" (Gordis); and finally, his reply is "non-committal" and "evasive" (Anderson).
  9. The verb "roaming" (shut) refers to going about for a particular purpose (Num.11:8 for manna); 2Sam.24:8 to take a census).
  10. The 2nd verb "walking around" (hithapael of halak-to walk about) or "strolling about" (Pope) as well as the 1st verb "roaming about" are casual terms.
  11. When applied to Satan these terms do not indicate aimless or haphazard movement (cf., e.g. Gen.13:17 "walk through the length and breadth of the land").
  12. The implication is that Satanís particular movements have been to collect information and assess the behavior of humans as appears from the next verse.
  13. Satanís answer is non-specific, as he has nothing to report, nothing to advise, nothing to initiate; but has nevertheless been abroad on the earth with his eyes wide open, amassing a reserve of observations, which he can use to his advantage.
  14. His one task has been to focus his attention upon human affairs.
  15. The Satan is predisposed to enmity and so his wanderings are not neutral movements.
  16. He ever seeks to sow the seeds of evil and to trip up those who seek to adhere to God and His will.
  17. Satan may be noncommittal but God knows his whereabouts and ways.
  18. The 1st verb is used of "the eyes of the LORD, which range (Polel shut) to and fro throughout the earth" (Zech.4:10).
  19. This constitutes an anthropomorphism relating to the divine attribute of omniscience.
  20. The 2nd verb describing Satanís activity is used 3x in Zech.6:7 (hithpaels) of in prophetic symbolism of the horses of the apocalypse and in Gen.3:8 (hithpael) of God tracking down Adam and Eve hiding in the garden.
  21. Two truths stand out.
  22. One that the devil always imitates God seeking to be equal with God and supplant Him; and the other, that he is intensively active.
  23. In 1Pet.5:8 he is described as walking about a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.

Godís Assessment of Job (v.8)

VERSE 8 The LORD said to Satan (!j'F'h;-la, hw"hy> rm,aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. amar, say + proper noun Yahweh + prep. el to w/d.o.marker w/ c.s.abs. satan], "Have you considered My servant Job [bAYai yDIb.[;-l[; ^ T'm.f;h] [interrog.part.insep.w/Qal pf.2.m.s. shum, place, set, appoint + noun m.s.constr. w/2.m.s.suff. lebh, heart; "in your heart"; transl. "Have you considered" + prep. al, above w/noun m.s.constr.w/1c.s.suff. ebeh, servant + proper noun Job]? For there is no one like him on the earth [#r,a'B' WhmoK' !yae yKi [part. ki, for + adv. ayin, none + prep kemo, like w.3.m.s.suff.; here the prepositon ki stands alone and when it does it always uses the expanded kemo and this form is used in combination with suffixes, e.g., "like me", "like you", "like him" + prep be w/noun c.s.abs. erets, earth]s, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil [[r'me rs'w> ~yhil{a/ arey> rv'y"w> ~T' vyai [noun m.s.abs. ish + adj.m.s.abs. tam, complete + waw w/adj.m.s.abs. yashar upright + adj.m.s.constr. hare, fearing + noun m.p.abs. Elohim + waw w/Qal part.m.s.abs. sur, turn + prep. min, from w/adj.m.s.abs. ra, evil])."


  1. The focus of the heavenly conversation narrows to the one figure Job.
  2. In the first scene, Job first appeared alone in the center of the stage (v.1); around him accumulated possessions (vv.2-3).
  3. The children moved to center stage (v.4), but only to illuminate the character of Job, who moved back into center stage again (v.5).
  4. In this second scene, a multitude who do not include Job occupy the stage (v.6), and a dialogue ensues between the two principal characters (v.7) and focuses ultimately upon the (absent) character of Job (v.8), revolves around him (vv.9-12a) and concludes with the spotlight upon Satan (v.12b) whose function becomes wholly Job-centered.
  5. In the first scene, the movement has been from the one to the many to the one again; in the second scene, from the many to the one.
  6. And whether the scene is on earth or in heaven, Job is at its center.
  7. Job is Godís boast.
  8. Not only does God endorse the authorís characterization of Job in v.1, using exactly the same words, but also denominates Job "my servant" and declares "there is no one like him on earth."
  9. This all dispels any shadow of doubt of Jobís piety as suspect.
  10. Jobís afflictions will stem from the God who affirms Jobís unimpeachable character.
  11. The term "my servant" is frequently applied to individuals by God.
  12. It is used of Abraham (Gen.26:24; Ps.105:6,42), Isaac (Gen.24:14), and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Ex.32:13; Deut.9:27).
  13. Most often Moses is designated Godís servant (cf. Num.12:7-8).
  14. One phrase definitely puts Job in a class by himself: "there is no one like him on earth."
  15. It is a phrase usually applied of God and used only here of humans and in 2:3 and 1Sam.10:24.
  16. Here it is the rhetoric of epic.
  17. Job was truly, not only in his time, but also for all time in a class shared by few others.
  18. It is possible to read in this question of Godís a taunt or provocation, as if in Job God had found the ultimate rebuttal to Satanís malignant hostility towards humankind and in particular those who held to the name of God.
  19. While Satan was less than candid God speaks in direct and specific terms.
  20. Godís purpose in making the Job the focus was to set Satan up knowing his predictable response.
  21. The challenge is based on divine omniscience.
  22. In all his comings and goings, has the Satan "given is attention" (lit., "set in the heart") to Job?
  23. Of course he has, not just because of Jobís spotless life, but because of Satanís diligence.
  24. Satan definitely knows those who represent the most adjusted of any era (cf. 2Cor.6:9).
  25. His G2 is considerable and he does not miss those who represent the biggest contrast with his schemes.

Satanís Slander (vv.9-10)

VERSE 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing (~yhil{a/ bAYai arey" ~N"xih; rm;aYOw: hw"hy>-ta, !j'F'h; ![;Y:w : [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. anah, answer + m.s.abs. satan + d.o.marker w/noun proper Yahweh + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. amar, say + hinnam freely, for nothing + Qal pf.3.m.s. yare, fear + proper noun Job + noun m.p.abs. Elohim])?

VERSE 10 "Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side (bybiS'mi Al-rv,a]-lK' d[;b.W AtyBe-d[;b.W Ad[]b; T'k.f; ÎhT'a;Ð ŅT.a;À-al{h] [interrog.part. ha w/neg. lo w/ attah, you + Qal pf.2.m.s. suk, hedge, fence up; "made a hedge" + part./prep.w/3.m.s.suff. ba-ad, around, behind + waw w/part./prep. ba-ad w/noun m.s.constr.w/3.m.s.suff. bayith, house + waw w/part. ba-ad, around + noun m.s.constr. kol all w/ asher w/d.o.marker w/prep. lamedh w/3.m.s.suff. + prep. min from w/adv. sabib, surrounding; "on every side"]? You have blessed the work of his hands [noun m.s.constr. ma-asheh, work + noun f.dual constr. w/3.m.s.suff. yad, hand + Piel pf.2.m.s. barak, bless], and his possessions have increased in the land [#r,a'B' #r;P' WhnEq.miW [waw w/noun m.s.constr.w/3.m.s.suff. miqneh, livestock; "possessions" + Qal pf.3.m.s. paras, burst through; verb is used of turning the tide in a military battle; an important nuance of paras is "to increase." Another important nuance is "to be insistent" as in 1Sam.28:23. In Eccl.3:3 it is used in contrast to bana/build + prep. be w/noun s.abs. erets, land, earth]).


  1. Satan cannot point to anything overtly (commission or omission) that would call into question the assessment of God with respect to Job.
  2. Had there been anything of consequence in Jobís past, no matter how distant, Satan would have brought it up.
  3. For instance, he never quit mentioning Mosesí murder of the Egyptian.
  4. Satanís retort denies the divine attributes of righteousness, veracity and omniscience.
  5. Satan contradicts or questions the One who dwells in light and who cannot lie or be deceived.
  6. Satan understood the divine attributes while denying them at every turn.
  7. When Satan calls into question Jobís integrity, he has the gall to attack the character of God.
  8. And that, to His face!
  9. So he calls into question the link between Jobís overt godliness and his exceptional prosperity.
  10. But God goes along with the Satan as in a court where it is the business to call into question matters of importance, and not be taken in by naive assumptions.
  11. The question, as subsequent events will demonstrate, is treated as entirely proper.
  12. In a word, does Job "fear God" gratuitously ("for nothing, for no reward," as in Gen.29:15; Isa.52:3)?
  13. Satan presents before the tribunal of heaven a challenge to the accepted version of who and what Job is.
  14. Here is "wisdom" thinking at work.
  15. It the casual connection between sin and suffering can be radically examined in the book as a whole, with the result that the popular, naive preconception is overturned, why cannot the supposed causal connection between godliness/piety and prosperity be subjected to the same scrutiny?
  16. Cynicism it may seem to ask "Does Job fear God for nothing?", and diabolical cynicism is what is involved here as Satan is absent any sincere motives.
  17. But we do not yet know, and the characters in the narrative do not yet know, whether Jobís piety is disinterested or not; it is a question that we all, would like to hear settled.
  18. Godís assessment of Job should be enough, but God chooses to set that aside and settle the issue once and for all leaving even the most skeptical and cynical challenger defeated, that being of course the Satan.
  19. Job has indeed "feared" (perfect tense) God up to this point with an unblemished record, but will he prove to have the same character assessment under opposite conditions?
  20. Again, even though Satan admits that God has prospered Job and protected him with his prosperity against all threats, we must put aside the obvious, namely that Satan brings into question (indirectly) Godís character.
  21. To Satan if God affirms a thing it is not automatically so.
  22. Satan casts aside the doctrine of divine essence in order to make his case.
  23. God allows him to do so, so He can set Satan up.
  24. Satan further insinuates that all good deeds arise from selfish motives.
  25. Satan is not an honest broker when he brings into question Jobís integrity (character of his positive volition).
  26. To Satan Jobís piety/devotion is a kind of imitatio Dei, whose workings are equally gratuitous and inexplicable.
  27. The question of v.9 is not a rhetorical question, and the questions of v.10 are designed to underscore Satanís contention that Jobís devotion to God is tied to his prosperity.
  28. Job has been surrounded as if by a thorn hedge protecting him from all manner of harm (in Hos.2:8 Yahweh uses a thorn hedge to check Israelís idolatrous ways; there the idea is stiflement here it is encompassing protection).
  29. Within the invisible but real protection afforded Job, his family, and his possessions there persisted a divine blessing upon "the works of his hands" (agricultural, cf. Gen.5:29) such as is promised under the Law of Moses to those obedient to Yahweh (Deut.14:29; 16:15; 24:19).
  30. Compare the similar metaphor of the "wall of fire" in Zech.2:5.
  31. Jobís "possessions" refers to livestock in general as first seen in Gen.4:20 (used of cattle and sheep see Eccl.2:7).
  32. The "You" is emphatic to affirm the absolute security of Job.
  33. Satan does acknowledge Godís omnipotence but engages in this exercise denying Godís omniscience and integrity.
  34. Had he fully acclimated to who and what God is Satan would have not called Jobís character into question.
  35. But again, as we shall see, God entertains Satanís allegation, ignoring the insult.

Satanís Challenge (v.11)

VERSE 11 "But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has (Al-rv,a]-lk'B. [g:w> ^d>y" an"-xl;v. ~l'Waw> [waw w/conj. ulam, nevertheless + Qal imperative shalach, send, extend w/interjection of intreaty na; "now" + noun f.sconstr.w/2.m.s.suff. yad, hand + waw w/Qal imperative naga, touch; strike cp. noun nega stroke, plague, disease + prep. be w/noun m.s.const. kol all w/relative pro. asher w/prep. l w/3.m.s.suff.]; he will surely curse You to Your face [&'k,r]b'y> ^yn<P'-l[; al{-~ai [part. im; context determines exact translation; here better "if" w/neg. lo not + prep. al, above; to w/noun c.p.constr.w.2.m.s.suff. paneh, face + Piel impf.3.m.s.w/2.m.s.suff. barak, bless; curse])."


  1. Satanís reaction to Yahwehís approbatory declaration of Jobís greatness is abrupt, peremptory.
  2. He employs the imperative voice in addressing God and he makes his prediction of Jobís fall from favor in colloquial fashion with self-imprecation.
  3. Note the extremely strong adversative ulam (w/adversative waw) that Satan opens with.
  4. It is used 10x in Job, where Satan argues that God should test Job (1:11; 2:5) and where Job and his friends voice deep differences (Job.5:8; 11:5; 13:3).
  5. It is used by God in taking an oath (Num.14:21).
  6. One translator (Martin) renders the sentence: "Surely, I warrant you, he will curse you to your face."
  7. Another (Anderson) brings out the self-imprecation as: "Iíll be damned if he doesnít curse you to your face."
  8. A translation of v.11: "But put forth your hand now and touch (strike) all that is his; surely he will curse you to your face!"
  9. The use of the imperative as a hypothetical is recognized by the grammarians
  10. Two imperatives are linked by simple waw, the first ("put forth") presents a condition, the second represents the consequence which the fulfillment of the condition will involve (cp. 2:2 "curse God and die!").
  11. Verse 11a is a kind of prodosis and v.11b is the apodosis in an oath form (al{-~ai).
  12. Satan makes a kind of a wager; and what is at stake is Godís assessment of Job versus Satanís.
  13. Satan is arrogantly sure of himself, and so challenges God.
  14. He predicts that Job will renounce God when his external blessings are removed.
  15. Satanís tone is not respectful nor his motives pure.
  16. Satan has no desire to see anyone gain and maintain the approbation of God.
  17. His interest in the character of Jobís devotion is insincere.
  18. His lie is that no one serves God out of pure motives.
  19. He isnít even neutral with respect to the outcome.
  20. In other words, maybe Job will prove devoted, maybe he wonít.
  21. Satanís charge against Job is that his godliness is based on prosperity.
  22. Hatred and jealousy motivate Satan.
  23. He wants to see Job brought down spiritually.
  24. The link between Jobís positive volition and his prosperity has never been tested at this level.
  25. It only needs God to "stretch out" his hand (for the hand as a symbol of Godís power, cf. Ex.13:3; Deut.4:34) in order to strike ("touch" is a euphemism; cf. Ex.3:20; 9:15) all that is Jobís , and Job will not only abandon his scrupulous devotion but turn upon God and "curse" (barak again as a euphemism) him "to His face," i.e., directly, impudently, and certainly not "in his heart, secretly" (cf. v.5).
  26. Everything is heightened since Job is not a man of moderate godliness, nor can he lapse into lukewarm piety.
  27. So the "test" is proposed.
  28. We are reminded of the "testing" of Abraham (Gen.22), where the "test" is Abrahamís loyalty to God over his affection for his "only son."
  29. For Job it is a "test" of his positive volition under the direst circumstances imaginable.
  30. It is a test to reveal the character of Jobís positive volition that is not apparent except under the dire circumstances that befall him.
  31. Because Jobís positive volition is intertwined with his prosperity that the prosperity must be removed in order to bring into the light the caliber of the positive volition within.
  32. Again, Satanís motivation is not indifferent, as he desires to see Job "crash and burn."

Yahwehís Agreement (v.12)

VERSE 12 Then the LORD said to Satan (!j'F'h;-la, hw"hy> rm,aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. amar, say + proper noun Yahweh + prep. el, to w/ m.s. satan as a title], "Behold, all that he has is in your power [^d,y"B. Al-rv,a]-lk' hNEhi [interj. hinneh, behold + noun m.s.constr. kol all w/ asher w/prep. lamedh w/3.m.s. + prep. be w/noun f.s.constr.w/2.m.s.suff. yadh, hand , only do not put forth your hand on him [^d,y" xl;v.Ti-la; wyl'ae qr; [adv. raq thin; "only" + prep. el w/3.m.s.suff. Ďto himí + neg. al not w/Qal impf.2.m.s.juss. shalach, put forth + noun f.s.constr.w.2.m.s.suff. yadh, hand]." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD [hw"hy> ynEP. ~[ime !j'F'h; aceYEw: [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. yatsa go out + m.s.abs. satan + prep. min w/prep. im + noun c.p.constr. panim face + proper noun constr. Yahweh]).


  1. Verse 11 is the pivot verse of the Prologue.
  2. So naturally does Yahweh agree to Satanís proposal that we are compelled to pause and ponder its implications.
  3. One commentator condemns Yahweh for his alacrity and cold-bloodedness in assenting to such a scheme (Duhm).
  4. Or is it that God Himself does not need to be convinced of Jobís devotion, but is prepared to allow Satan to satisfy himself of its reality (Rowley)?
  5. Or, to put it more positively, accepts the challenge in order to vindicate his servant against the insinuations of Satan (Peake)?
  6. Or are we to say that God assents to the trial of Job in order to refine Jobís character?
  7. Or, most absurdly, that Yahweh did not know the character of Jobís faith, and so, not knowing all hypothetical situations, did not know the outcome will be (Clines).
  8. This view of course denies the omniscience of Yahweh, and hence, His absolute deity.
  9. Clines says: "you cannot explain why Yahweh takes the slightest notice of the Satanís question or why he does not dismiss them out of hand from superior knowledge."
  10. Yahweh is Elohim and He possesses the immutable attribute of omniscience.
  11. He knows our frame even from eternity past (Ps.139; Jer.1:4; Job.14:5).
  12. Had God shown Satan the door, He would not have vindicated before his servant against the satanic insinuation.
  13. Remember that it was God who brought the discussion around to His servant Job not Satan.
  14. It was Yahweh who boasted in his servant knowing the predicable reaction from Satan.
  15. The final outcome vindicated before the "sons of God" the assessment of v.8 and served to defeat the allegation of the evil one.
  16. As a result Job was granted a surpassing reputation for all time.
  17. An important side benefit was that Jobís faith was refined.
  18. Testing of our Ph2 faith is designed to refine us or move us up the spiritual ladder (cf. 1Pet.1:6-7; Jam.1:3).
  19. All of Jobís suffering proved to be an unbelievable boon to this otherwise prosperous believer, and Satan was left beaten once again.
  20. Yahweh delivers into Satanís "hand" (power) all that Job possessed except the man himself.
  21. It is understood that Yahweh has agreed to "stretch forth His hand" and "smite" what is Jobís, and the delegation of the actual task to Satan is entirely in keeping with the nature of the challenge.
  22. This for at least three reasons: first, delegated permission is delegated authority and the delegator is the one who is superior; second, Satan cannot claim that Jobís suffering was not enough as he decided on its severity; and third, Jobís sufferings are fully Godís responsibility as He allowed it to happen.
  23. The testing of Job served both Satanís nefarious ends and Yahwehís righteous purposes.
  24. Satan "goes forth".
  25. That he goes "swiftly" (Duhm), "without delay" (Weiser), "eager" (Anderson), or "intent, like Judas, on his ghastly errand" (Peake), is what the narrator has no concern to relate; it will indeed be another day when the disasters strike Jobís possessions.
  26. Satanís obedience to his superiorís will is based on his hatred of Job and on his grudging recognition of Yahwehís superior power.

Scene Three: Jobís Losses and Response (vv.13-22)

Announcement of Disasters to Job (vv.13-19)

VERSE 13 Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house (rAkB.h; ~h,yxia] tybeB. !yIy: ~ytivow> wyt'nOb.W wyn"b'W ~AYh; yhiy>w: [ m.s.abs. yom, day + waw w/noun m.p.constr. w/3.m.s.suff. ben, son + waw w/noun f.p.constr.w/3.m.s.suff. bath, daughter + Qal part.m.p.abs. akal, eat + waw w/Qal part.m.p.abs. shatah, drink + noun m.s.abs. yayin, wine + prep. be w/noun m.s.constr. bayit, house + noun m.s.constr.w/suff.3.m.p. ach, brother + m.s.abs. bekor, firstborn]),

VERSE 14 a messenger came to Job and said (rm;aYOw: bAYai-la, aB' %a'l.m;W [waw w/noun m.s.abs. malak messenger + Qal perf.3.m.s. bo come + prep. el, to w/proper noun Job + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. amar, say], "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them [~h,ydey>-l[; tA[ro tAntoa]h'w> tAvr>xo Wyh' rq'B'h; [ m.s.abs. baqar, ox + Qal perf.3.m.s. hayah, to be + Qal part.f.p.abs. harash, plow + waw w/ f.p.abs. aton, female donkey + Qal part.f.p.abs. ra-ah, graze + prep. al w/noun f.dual constr.w.3.m.p.suff. yadh, hand; "beside them"]),

VERSE 15 and the Sabeans attacked and took them (~xeQ'Tiw: ab'v. lPoTiw: [waw w/Qal impf.3.f.s. naphal fall (upon); "attacked" + proper noun Sabeans + waw w/Qal impf.3.f.s.w/3.m.p.suff. laqach, take]. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword [br,x'-ypil. WKhi ~yrI['N>h;-ta,w> [waw w/d.o.marker w/ m.p.abs. na-ar, youth; servant + prep. lamedh w/noun m.s.constr. peh, mouth; "edge" + noun f.s.abs. cherebh, sword], and I alone have escaped to tell you [%l' dyGIh;l. yDIb;l. ynIa]-qr; hj'l.M'aiw" [waw w/Niphal impf.1c.s. malat, escape + adv. raq, thin; "alone" + pro.1c.s. ani, I + noun m.s.constr.w/suff.1c.s. badh, "by myself"; not transl. + prep. lamedh w/Hiphil infin.constr. nagad, tell + prep. w.2.m.s.suff.])."

VERSE 16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said (rm;aYOw: aB' hz<w> rBed;m. hz< dA[ [adv. odh, going around; "still" + adj.m.s.abs. zedh, this one + Piel part.m.s.abs. dabhar, speak + waw w/adj.m.s.abs. zeh, this + Qal perf.3.m.s. bo, come + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. amar, say], "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them [~lek.aTow: ~yrI['N>b;W !aCoB; r[;b.Tiw: ~yIm;V'h;-!mi hl'p.n" ~yhil{a/ vae [noun s.ab. esh, fire + noun m.p.abs. Elohim + Qal perf.3.f.s. naphal, fall + prep. min, from w/ m.p.abs. shamim, heaven + waw w/Qal impf.3.f.s. ba-ar, burn, consume + prep. be w/noun s.abs. tson flock + waw w/prep. be w/noun m.p.abs. na-ar, youth, servant + waw w/Qal impf.3.f.s.w/3.m.p.suff. akal, eat; consume], and I alone have escaped to tell you [%l' dyGIh;l. yDIb;l. ynIa]-qr; hj'l.M'aiw" [waw w/Hiphil impf.1c.s. malat escape + adv. raq, thin, "alone" + pro.1c.s. ani, I + prep. lamedh w/noun m.s.constr.w/1c.s.suff. badh, by myself + prep. lamedh w/Hiphil infin.constr. nagad, tell + prep. lamedh w/2.m.s.suff. "you"])."

VERSE 17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said (rm;aYOw: aB' hz<w> rBed;m. hz< dA[ [adv. odh, still + adj.m.s.abs. zeh, this + Piel part.m.s.abs. dabar, speak + waw w/adj.m.s.abs. zeh + Qal perf.3.m.s. bo, come + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. amar, say], "The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them [~WxQ'YIw: ~yLim;G>h;-l[; Wjv.p.YIw: ~yviar' hv'l{v. Wmf' ~yDIf.K; [noun proper abs. Kashedim + Qal perf.3.c.p. shum, appoint; "formed" + adj.m.s.abs. shalosh, three + noun m.p.abs. rosh, head; "bands" + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.p. pashat, strip; "raid"+ prep. al w/ m.p.abs. gamal, camel + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.p.w/3.m.p.suff. laqach, take] and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you [%l' dyGIh;l. yDIb;l. ynIa]-qr; hj'l.M'aiw" br,x'-ypil. WKhi ~yrI['N>h;-ta,w> ~WxQ'YIw: [waw w/d.o.marker w/ m.p.abs. na-ad, servant, youth + Hiphil perf.3.c.p. nakhah, smite, strike, kill + prep lamedh w/noun m.s.constr. peh, mouth; "edge" + noun f.s.abs. chereb, sword + waw w/Niphal impf.1c.s. malat, escape + adv. raq, thin "alone" + pro.1c.s. ani I + prep w/noun m.s.aconstr.w/1c.s.suff. badh alone, "by myself" + prep. lamedh w/Hiphil infin.constr. nagad, tell + prep. lamedh w/2.m.s.suff. "you"])."

VERSE 18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said (rm;aYOw: aB' hz<w> rBed;m. hz< d[; [prep. adh, perpetuity; "still" + adj.m.s.abs. zeh, this; "he" + Piel part.m.s.abs. dabar, speak + waw w/adj.m.s.abs. zeh, "another" + Qal perf.3.m.s. bo, come + waw w/Qal imperf.3.m.s. amar, say], "Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house [rAkB.h; ~h,yxia] tybeB. !yIy: ~ytivow> ^yt,Anb.W ^yn<B' [noun m.p.constr.w/2.m.s.suff. ben, son + waw w/noun f.p.constr.w/2.m.s.suff. bath, daughter + Qal part.m.p.abs. akah, eat + waw w/Qal part.m.p.abs. shata, drink + noun m.s.abs. yayin wine + prep. be w/noun m.s.constr. bayith, house + noun m.s.constr.w/3.m.p.suff. ach, brother + m.s.abs. bekor, firstborn]),

VERSE 19 and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house [~yrI['N>h;-l[; lPoYIw: tyIB;h; tANPi [B;r>a;B. [G:YIw: rB'd>Mih; rb,[eme ha'B' hl'AdG> x;Wr hNEhiw> [waw w/interj. hinneh, behold + noun c.s.abs. ruach, wind + adj.f.s.abs. gadhol great + Qal perf.3.f.s. bo + prep. min from w/noun m.s.constr. eber, region across or beyond; "across" + m.s.abs. midebar, wilderness + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. naga, stike + prep. w/adj.f.s.abs. arba, four + noun f.p.constr. pinna, corner + m.s.abs. bayith, house], and it fell on the young people and they died [WtWmY"w: ~yrI['N>h;-l[; lPoYIw: [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. naphal, fall + prep. al upon w/ m.p.abs. na-ar, youth, servant + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.p. muth, die], and I alone have escaped to tell you [%l' dyGIh;l. yDIb;l. ynIa]-qr; hj'l.M'aiw" [waw w/Niphal impf.1c.s. malat escape + adv. raq, thin "alone" + pro.1c.s. ani I + prep. lamedh w/noun m.s.constr.w/1c.s.suff. badh, alone + prep. lamedh w/Hiphil infin.constr. nagad, tell + prep lamedh w/2.m.s.suff.])."


  1. The narrator reaches the peak of his art in the central scene of the five that form the prologue.
  2. The contrast of the "before" and "after" of Jobís state is depicted in truly dramatic fashion; for it is the simple train of events and not come complicated chain of consequences the spells out the disaster.
  3. The opening sentence of the scene depicts afresh the carefree life of Jobís children already portrayed in v.4 and leaves us to think of Job still tranquil and unexpectant of evil up to the very point when the first messenger of doom comes.
  4. The focus is entirely upon Job, and not upon the disasters themselves, for the issues of the prologue revolve entirely around this man.
  5. The device of the messengers focuses attention upon Job rather than upon the scenes of disaster.
  6. Each disaster in succession creates an atmosphere of accelerating doom; each messenger after the first arrives before his predecessor has told his story; each messenger is the sole survivor of the disasters he witnessed.
  7. The unbroken succession of messengers further heightens the tension the hearer feels concerning Jobís reaction.
  8. Job cannot respond to any calamity until he responds to them all; for, after all, they are in reality one and the same calamity in design and effect.
  9. The pattern of the four disasters is the alternation of human and supernatural calamities (Sabeans, fire, Chaldeans, wind).
  10. The disaster strike from all points of the compass and probably increase in intensity (one thousand oxen, five hundred donkeys, servants; seven thousand sheep and goats, servants, three thousand camels, servants; Jobís children).
  11. Cumulatively, the disasters wipe out all of Jobís possessions mentioned in vv.2-3.
  12. The very number four symbolizes the completeness of the ruin.
  13. The style is simple and repetitive.
  14. The same device of the messenger is used four times.
  15. Each of the reports ends with the same formula; all but the first of the reports beginning with the same formula.
  16. The third scene opens, as did the second with the phrase "on the day".
  17. Since no one on earth was aware of the arrangement between Yahweh and Satan, all things in Jobís household continued as usual.
  18. The atmosphere was peaceful.
  19. Scrupulous Job would have recently offered whole burnt offerings to atone for any potential sins of his children.
  20. His sons had begun a new round of feasting at the home of the firstborn.
  21. The mention of wine is a touch that pictures the childrenís anticipated joy.
  22. The tragedy of the coming events stands out more sharply against the background of the childrenís carefree existence.
  23. A serene mood pervaded Jobís estate.
  24. In the fields his servants were busy plowing with the oxen.
  25. This gives us a clue as to the time of year when all this came upon Job.
  26. Oxen plowing would indicate early Spring.
  27. Nearby the donkeys that had brought the implements to the fields were grazing peacefully.
  28. Taking advantage of the unsuspecting atmosphere, a marauding band of Sabeans attacked the workers.
  29. They rounded up the animals and drove them off.
  30. Mercilessly they killed all the servants with the sword.
  31. The lone survivor providentially escaped and ran to Job with the news.
  32. The Sabeans are usually identified as a Semitic people living in a fertile district of southwestern corner of the Arabian peninsula, the area of present day Yemen.
  33. Their capital was located at modern Marib.
  34. In the OT Saba or Sheba is associated with Tema (Job.6:19; cf. Isa.21:13-15; Jer.25:23) and Dedan (Gen.10:7; 25:3).
  35. The Sabeans were known for trading in incense, gold and precious stones (Isa.60:6; Jer.6:20; Ezek.27:22-23).
  36. Since Seba is over a thousand miles from Uz, many have suggested that it was too remote for a band of that tribe to be making a raid on Jobís livestock; thus other explanations have been offered.
  37. A widely accepted view is that these Sabeans, not yet having settled in southwestern Arabia, were still a nomadic tribe.
  38. Others posit that the Sabeans may have had a trading station in northern Arabia from which this raid originated.
  39. Just as the first messenger of doom was finishing his report, a second servant entered and recounted another disaster.
  40. Jobís flocks were grazing contentedly when "the fire of God," i.e., a tremendous bolt of lightning fell from heaven and consumed everything in the area including the flocks and shepherds.
  41. This calamity has an ironic twist: the Adversary counterfeited Godís fire against Godís servant Job (cf. Gen.4:4; 19:24; Lev.10:2; Num.11:1,3; 1Chron.21:26; 1Kgs.18:38; Rev.11:5; 20:9).
  42. Satan will cause fire to come down out of heaven as apart of the satanic miracles associated with the Antichrist and the False Prophet (Rev.13:13).
  43. As that servant was finishing his report, a third servant arrived and told Job that the Chaldeans, divided into three bands, had swooped down on his vast herd of camels.
  44. Again, all the servants were put to the sword and the camels were herded off.
  45. These Chaldeans were the ancient forerunners of the Neo-Babylonian empire, which reached its peak under Nebuchadnezzar in the 6th century BC.
  46. At this time they were a semi-nomadic tribe.
  47. Immediately a fourth servant entered.
  48. He recounted the worst of the worst.
  49. While Jobís sons and daughters were feasting, the east wind struck the house and the house collapsed, killing all his children.
  50. A violent wind of tornadic proportions swept in from the eastern desert.
  51. The house of the eldest brother is obviously not a tent; the patriarchal story is set not in the world of nomadic shepherds, but of settled pastoralists and farmers.
  52. It struck the four corners of the house "and it fell on the young people and they died."
  53. Only this servant had escaped.
  54. Four calamities struck all that Job had.
  55. The number four symbolizes full measure, totality (as in the four winds of heaven).

Jobís Reaction (vv.20-22)

VERSE 20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped (WxT'v.YIw: hc'r>a; lPoYIw: Avaro-ta, zg"Y"w: Al[im.-ta, [r;q.YIw: bAYai ~q'Y"w: [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. qum arise + proper noun Job + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. qara, tear + d.o.marker w/noun m.s.constr.w.3.m.s.suff. meil robe + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. gazaz shear, shave + d.o.marker w/noun m.s.constr.w.3.m.s.suff. rosh head + waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. naphal fall + noun f.s.abs. w/directional heh eretz earth + waw w/Hithpalel impf.3.m.s. shacha, bow down]).


  1. What we have been waiting for is Jobís reaction to the news.
  2. As the story unfolds we have not an inkling of how the news registers with him.
  3. All that survives of his former wealth are four anonymous servants, whom even a quite unsophisticated audience will recognize as owing their survival to exigencies of the main story line (the manner of their escape is of no interest whatsoever).
  4. Job is alone when he receives the messengers, and even his wife is kept out of the picture until her significant appearance in 2:9.
  5. Up to this point, Job has been sitting, as is still the custom in many Middle Eastern societies when receiving visitors.
  6. His reaction excludes vigorous lament, crying out for vengeance, or in a frenzy seek to discover whether the reports of the messengers were fact not some sick joke.
  7. The three facets of the reaction we actually have: acts precede words; acts and actions are deliberate and few; and the words are vocal.
  8. The narrative does not suggest rapidity of movement; the acts are rather deliberate and though conventional deeply symbolic.
  9. The tearing of the outer garment, a rite of mourning (Gen.37:29; Josh.7:6; 2Sam.13:19; Lev.10:6; whatever its origins) is symbolic.
  10. Perhaps it symbolizes that the pain reaches the heart of the survivor; perhaps it expresses the mourners identification with the destruction of the deceased; perhaps it marks a recognition that a significant element of oneís own life has been irredeemably ended; perhaps it seeks relief from shock and horror in violent physical action.
  11. It is the outer mantel or robe that is torn, worn by a person of distinction over the ordinary tunic.
  12. Shaving the head as a mourning symbol was also common in ancient times (Isa.15:2; 22:12; Jer.7:29; 16:6; 41:5; 48:37; Ezek.7:18; Amos.8:10; Micah.1:16).
  13. Shaving the head denotes a dramatic alteration of oneís appearance signifying the dramatic change the loss in oneís life has resulted in.
  14. In the narrative here this symbolic act is plainly no impulsive hasty action, but one that necessitates preparations and a rather lengthy activity.
  15. In the same way, Jobís falling to the ground is not some immediate half-involuntary physical reaction against the distressing news.
  16. Unlike the former two mourning rites, whose conventionality cloaks any individual expression of feeling, this third act makes Jobís inner attitude plain.
  17. Falling to the ground (not itself a mourning rite) and "worshipping" or "doing obeisance" are here the same act of conscious and deliberate piety before God.
  18. Job falls the ground not in despair but in reverence no doubt touching the face to the ground in a silent act of submission.
  19. There is the Islamic custom of religious obeisance which is as follows: "He drops gently upon his knees places his hands upon the ground, a little before his knees, and puts his nose and forehead to the ground (the former first) between his two hands" (E.W. Lane).
  20. Jobís actions in response to the news are few: there has been no gashing of the body, no donning of sackcloth, no scattering of dust, no lamentation, no weeping, no fasting.
  21. It is his disproportionate restraint that stands out upon hearing of his unimaginable loss.
  22. Job acknowledged both his loss and Godís lordship over all that was his.

VERSE 21 He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there (hm'v' bWva' ~ro['w> yMiai !j,B,mi Îytiac'y"Ð Ņytic'y"À ~ro[' rm,aYOw: [waw w/Qal impf.3.m.s. amar, say + adj.m.s.abs. erom, naked + Qal pf.1c.s. yatsa, come out + prep. min from w/noun f.sabs. beten, womb + noun f.s.constr.w/1c.s.suff. em mother + waw w/adj.m.s.abs. erom naked + Qal impf.1c.s. shub return + adv. sham there]. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away [xq'l' hw"hyw: !t;n" hw"hy> hm'v' bWva' [proper noun Yahweh + Qal pf.3.m.s. nathan, give + waw w/proper noun Yahweh + Qal pf.3.m.s. laqach, take]. Blessed be the name of the LORD [Qal impf.3.m.s. jussive hayah to be + noun m.s.constr. shem name + proper noun Yahweh + Pual part.m.s.abs. barak bless])."


  1. The purely conventional acts of mourning have been performed, and narrated, first because the real issue, of whether Job will curse (i.e., renounce) God, must reserved for last (as that was the order of events).
  2. In the event Satan is proved right or wrong.
  3. He has said that if all that Job has is "struck" Job will "bless" God (v.11)¾ but he means "bless" as a euphemism for "curse."
  4. Job indeed "blesses" God; verbally Satan has been proven wrong.
  5. And what of Satanís prognostication that Job will "bless" God to [his] face"?
  6. Is there any significance in the fact that neither here nor in 2:10 (nor in chp.3) does Job address God directly?
  7. But blessing will not be Jobís first word.
  8. He makes a statement dealing with the advantages of life (associations and materialistic accumulation).
  9. Owning nothing Job (like all people) came into life, carrying nothing with him and he will leave it in the same fashion.
  10. The real you or the soul, which comes into existence by fiat creation at birth, leaves its house "naked."
  11. At death he must leave it all behind.
  12. So why does he make reference to this universal truth at this point.
  13. The answer: to acknowledge Godís sovereignty over his life.
  14. He applies the attribute of sovereignty to the removal of the advantages of life.
  15. As in birth and death so now he is helpless before the sovereignty of God.
  16. Job is resigning himself to the divine will rather than chaff under it.
  17. Job in his present state hasnít lost everything at this juncture he still has his health and his wife.
  18. But he has lost allot; enough to put make him a fatherless pauper.
  19. The words "naked I shall return there" has as its antecedent "my motherís womb."
  20. The reference is to the body which comes from dust (Adam to his mother) and returns to dust (see Gen.3:19 cp. Ps.139:15).
  21. His second womb is therefore mother earth.
  22. Since the outer man is made up of dust (chemicals programmed with the DNA) and the death gene is present in all, therefore all experience "dust to dust."
  23. First he utters a sentiment entirely in tune with what might be called pessimistic "wisdom" (reality): "Naked I came from my motherís womb, and naked I shall return there."
  24. Note also Eccl.5:15: "As he had come naked from his motherís womb, so will he return as he came; and he shall take nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand."
  25. The second element in Jobís declaration also emphasizes Godís sovereignty with respect to his earthly advantages.
  26. Job does not say, "Yahweh has given and the Sabeans, the Chaldeans, the lightning and the whirlwind have taken away."
  27. That attitude refuses to face the fact that God could have prevented the disaster.
  28. He does not merely say, "Yahweh has given" like many victims of loss who simply dwell on the past and the good things God has done for them refusing to dwell in the present reality of loss.
  29. He sees his human and natural enemies as secondary to the One who is ultimately responsible.
  30. Job has perfect balance between the gift(s) and the loss, the joy and the hurt as coming from the same hand.
  31. And yet further, Job does not merely say, "Yahweh has given, and Yahweh has taken away."
  32. That alone does not fully reveal the inner attitude of the sufferer toward the ultimate cause.
  33. That statement alone might merely express stoic resignation.
  34. The final statement does however make it clear where Jobís loyalties and devotion lie in the wake of his losses.
  35. In this sentence, then, of response to the disaster that has overtaken him, the Book of Job reaches¾ for the first time¾ what is its primary aim: to portray how one should behave under suffering.
  36. No more sudden or catastrophic suffering could be easily imagined: how should a believer respond?
  37. Precisely as Job, without recrimination, self-pity, or rejection of reality, and with praise to the Lord or his existence.
  38. Job is unarguably here set forth as an exemplar of faith in crisis.
  39. Nevertheless, the vast bulk of the Book of Job will depict a different Job who does not match the turmoil of emotion that the events of this chapter (and the next) come to awaken in him.
  40. There is no doubt that Jobís reaction here is right, and therefore exemplary; whether it is possible¾ at least to persist in¾ is another matter.
  41. For some it may be, and there are to be congratulated.
  42. For the rest, the remainder of the book will portray another way.
  43. Job in this benediction does not speak to God directly.
  44. The exact form of the blessing occurs only here and in Ps.113:2: "Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forever."
  45. The normal blessing is "blessed by Yahweh" (27x; Gen.9:26; 24:27; Ex.18:10; 1Sam.25:32,39; 1Kgs.1:48; 5:7; 8:15,56; 10:9; 1Chron.16:36; 2Chron.6:4; 9:8; Ezra.7;27; Pss.28:6; 31:21; 41:13; 68:19; 72:18; 89:52; 106:48; 124:6; 135:21; 144:1; Zech.11:5; Lk.1:68; cp. "blessed be God" in Gen.14:20; Ps.66:20; 68:35).
  46. Job does not directly bless God, but affirms Godís perfect character so that others can recognize that God has not acted in an unjust manner.
  47. What God does or allows to be done does not distract from Godís perfect character.
  48. Godís name refers to His impeccable reputation.
  49. What does it mean to bless God?
  50. It is a means of expressing gratitude and respect for His perfect character and ways even though they may not be understood.

VERSE 22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God (@ `~yhil{ale hl'p.Ti !t;n"-al{w> bAYai aj'x'-al{ tazO-lk'B. [prep.w/noun m.s.constr. kol, all w/ zoth, this + neg. lo w/Qal perf.3.m.s. chata, miss, miss the way, sin + proper noun Job + waw w/neg. lo w/Qal perf.3.m.s. nathan, give + noun f.s.abs. tiphelah, folly; "attribute blame" + prep lamedh w/noun m.p.abs. Elohim]).


  1. In no way did Job sin by cursing God.
  2. "In all this" refers to what Job has spoken.
  3. Mourning in silence he gave his lips no opportunity to sin and charge God with folly.
  4. To attribute "blame" to God would be would be the most modest from of cursing God.
  5. Job applies the doctrine of divine essence to his loss.
  6. When the four hammer blows of news came into Jobís life he reacted in a controlled manner and made his volitional decision not to attribute wrongdoing to God as that would violate the doctrine of divine essence.
  7. God is +R, Justice and Immutable therefore God could not be in the wrong with respect to Jobís mysterious suffering.
  8. Job exercised great self-control based on what he was on the inside.
  9. He honored God and demonstrated the falsity of Satanís slander.
  10. He had no inkling of what was behind the scenes.

END: Job Chapter One

August, 2002

Jack M. Ballinger