Chapters 1 and 2 -- The Prologue Chapter I- Job's Character and Life--Job 1:1-5
(v. 1) There was a man in the Land of Uz, by the name of Job, and that man was perfect and upright, because he feared God and departed from evil.
(v.2) And there was born to him seven sons and three daughters.
(v. 3) And his possessions were seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she donkeys, and very many servants. And that man was greater than all the sons of the East.
(v. 4) And the sons went and made a feast in each one's house, in his day, and they sent and called to their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
(v.5) And it came to pass as the days of feasting were come around, Job sent and sanctified them. He rose up early in the morning and he offered up burnt offering for all of them by number, because Job said, Perhaps my sons have sinned and left God in their hearts. Job did accordingly every day.
(v.1) THERE WAS A MAN IN THE LAND OF UZ:
"The Land of Uz" was situated, perhaps, mainly to the north of Edom, near Syria, east of Palestine. Uz is mentioned in Gen. 10:23 as the son of Aram, the son of Shem. Uz is also mentioned in Jer. 25:20 where kings of various countries whom God will destroy are mentioned. Uz is distinguished from Edom. In Lam. 4:21 we read that Edom who dwells in the land of Uz ought to rejoice. In Gen. 22:21 we read of Uz, son of Nahor, along with Buz, his brother, Uz being the firstborn. In Gen. 36:28 Uz is mentioned as the son of Dishon. Josephus writes that Uz (Dusos), son of Aram (Gen. 10:23) established Trachonitus and Damascus, rather than Edom. This was a fertile valley and even today is called Job's Place. Mahain-Eyub, also Job's cloister, Dair Eyub. This places it south of Nawa. Uz is mentioned in Jer. 25:50 as one of a series of nations, and in Lam. 4:21 as a lord to whom Edom shall go. Passages in Jer. 25:20 and Lam. 4:21 indicate a distinction from Edom, yet related.
Reference to "Sons of East" in Job 1:3b indicates they were east of Jordan, toward Euphrates. The word used in the LXX is ausitide. Because Uz and Buz were brothers, and sons of Nahor (Gen. 22:21), there is perhaps relationship between Edom and Uz.
BY THE NAME OF JOB:
In Hebrew the word for Job is (Hebrew) 'iyob. In Arabic it is Eyoub, and in German it is Hiob. He is different from the third son of Issachar (Gen. 46:13). Perhaps the name stems from Aib (to be fertile) because Job lived on fertile land. He is not the Jobab of Gen. 36:33; that date is too late. Nor is he the Jobab of Gen. 10:29; that is too early.
AND THAT MAN WAS PERFECT:
The word for "perfect" (Hebrew) tam is used also in Job 1:1, 1;8, 2:3, 8:20, 9:20.21.22; Ps. 64:4; Prov. 29:10. Gesenius suggests the word means "plain, innocent" based on Gen. 25:27, but even there reference is apparently to one morally perfect in Christ. We believe Solomon chose this word; it is basic to salvation. Adam was perfect until he sinned, but God still demands perfection which can be attained only through Christ.
A Jewish guide in Israel was asked by a Christian for the meaning of tam. His answer was "to be silly". The correct answer would imply also that there is no way to achieve it except through Christ, which he could not allow.
BECAUSE HE FEARED GOD AND DEPARTED FROM EVIL:
The book of Jasher was a book of the upright (II Sam. 1:18). The connective (Hebrew) waw before "feared God" makes it explicative, meaning "because he feared God and departed from evil." The second statement of "perfect" grows from the first statement of "perfect." The third and fourth statements of "fearing God and departing from evil" uphold the first two statements. We can properly fear God only in Christ, and this is implied. The word (Hebrew) yashar is found also in Job 23:7 referring to people regarded as "righteous." In Job 4:7 Eliphaz asks if righteous, (Hebrew) yeshariym, were cut off, Job 1:1-3 referring to civic righteousness.
(v.2) AND THERE WERE BORN TO HIM SEVEN SONS AND THREE DAUGHTERS:
The numbers three and seven are a reminder of numbers used elsewhere in Scripture, e.g., 70 (or seven times 10) disciples, the seven deacons, three synoptic Gospels, 12 minor prophets, seven princes of Persia, 10 sons of Haman, three sons of Noah. Also, we think of seven sons of Japheth, 12 sons of Ishmael, 12 sons of Jacob. Jesus was 3x10 years old when He began teaching and His ministry lasted three years. He healed seven lepers; He cast out seven devils from Mary Magdalene; He spoke seven words from the cross. He told Peter to forgive 70x7. Generally, three is a holy number; the number of the Holy Spirit is generally seven. Here we have both three and seven which total ten. Ten follows the number for the world (Dan.7:7, Rev.13:1).
(v.3) AND HIS POSSESSIONS WERE SEVEN THOUSAND SHEEP, AND THREE THOUSAND
CAMELS, AND FIVE HUNDRED YOKE OF OXEN, AND FIVE HUNDRED SHE DONKEYS:
There were 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke (or pair) of oxen, 500 she donkeys. In the Pulpit Commentary Rawlinson suggests that donkeys were not known in Egypt until 1600-1650 B.C. We think he is in error. Donkeys were native to central Asia. Abraham (Gen.12:16) had similar wealth: sheep and oxen, he donkeys and she donkeys, male and female servants, and camels. This large number of camels indicates Job lived near the border of a desert.
Job was not only a wandering Bedouin; he participated in growing of food. He plowed (1:4). Eliphaz says that stones and beasts of the field can be in league with Job (5:23), and 31:8 mentions sowing and eating, while in 31:38 we read of furrows of land crying against Job. He was a farmer concerned about ecology (31:38-40). Female donkeys in Syria commanded three times the price of males. Not only did they produce milk, they produced offspring.
AND VERY MANY SERVANTS:
We are reminded of the wealth of Isaac (Gen.26:24) which was the envy of the Philistines. This also consisted of flocks, herds, and servants. Orientals and Egyptians had many servants.
AND THAT MAN WAS GREATER THAN ALL THE SONS OF THE EAST:
Sons of the East included people living between Palestine and the Euphrates (Gen.29:1, Judges 6:3, ls.11:14, Jer.49:28). Because of Job 29 and 31, describing his power and righteousness, we think Job may have been a world power. Because of his refusal to employ violence, he did not exercise the force required of a world leader and that is why Solomon writes here that Job was the greatest man in the East. This supports the position that someone other than Job wrote this portion of the book, the Prologue (Job 1-2).
(v.4) AND THE SONS WENT AND MADE A FEAST IN EACH ONE'S HOUSE, IN HIS
It is nearly conclusive that this was done on birthdays, e.g., Pharaoh--Gen.40:20 and Herod--Mark 6:21. The birthday idea is referred to also in Job 1:13.18 when Job's children were destroyed by a wind. The word for "feasting" mishtah implies a special feast, not a daily or even weekly event. This is further implied by use of the word for "day" (Hebrew) yom Compare Hos.1:11, 2:15, 7:5. In Job 3:1 we read that Job (Job 3:1-5) cursed his day, his birthday. Thus, "day" means "birthday." In Job 1:13 we have an indication that the calamity struck on the birthday of the eldest son.
AND THEY SENT AND CALLED TO THEIR THREE SISTERS TO EAT AND DRINK WITH
This indicates that such feasts were occasional, not ongoing. Genuine family love indicates good training by Job.
(v.5) AND IT CAME TO PASS AS THE DAYS OF FEASTING WERE COME AROUND,
JOB SENT AND SANCTIFIED THEM:
Job wanted to be sure his children had not sinned, not even indirectly. They may have drunk too much wine, sinned in their hearts, either blessed false gods or cursed the true God, or left God. (Hebrew) Barak generally means "bless" but sometimes, in contrast, it means "curse" as in Job 2:9 and I Kings 21:10. It may also mean "to leave God" or bid adieu to Him. In our opinion, to bid goodbye or to bless, is the preferred meaning. Job may have felt his children did not serve God as they ought. (Some evolutionists whose gods are time, chance and environment in place of Father, Son and Spirit, may outwardly serve the true God.)
HE ROSE UP EARLY IN THE MORNING AND HE OFFERED UP BURNT OFFERING FOR
ALL OF THEM BY NUMBER, BECAUSE JOB SAID, PERHAPS MY SONS HAVE SINNED AND
LEFT GOD IN THEIR HEARTS. JOB DID ACCORDINGLY EVERY DAY:
Already at the time of Cain and Abel burnt sacrifices were offered to God. (Gen.8:20, 22:8.13, 31:54, Ex.18:12). Such expiatory offering indicates Job had an understanding of forgiveness in the picture of a burnt offering. Job was sanctified not merely through religious practices, but through genuine repentance and forgiveness. At this time there were not yet priests to officiate, but Job the patriarch served as priest. Nothing was overlooked. At this time he enjoyed a full, or total Gospel, though later Elihu needed to remind him.
Life Not Primitive
(Job 1:1-5): The idea that life was primitive in 2000 B.C. or that religion had not yet developed, is not upheld by the picture of Job presented here. People enjoyed feasting in connection with birthday celebrations. And there was an understanding of the need for an inflexible morality. Though the culture had its distinct flavor and historical setting, it was not primitive. Job's family lived in houses.
Job also understood what moral perfection demanded and applied it to material blessings. Especially he feared their enjoyment would lead to forsaking God. More than drinking to excess or sexual sins, he feared lack of total service to God. It is error to separate anything material from God.
Heavenly Preparation for First Temptation (Job 1:6-12)
(v.6) There was a day when the sons of God came to establish themselves together before the Lord: and Satan also came in the midst of them.
(v. 7) and the Lord said to Satan: from whence do you now come? then Satan answered and said, from going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it.
(v.8) and the Lord said to Satan, have you considered in your heart my servant Job, that there is no one like him on the earth, a man who is perfect and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil?
(v.9) And Satan answered the Lord and said, In vain does Job fear God.
(v. 10) Have you not made a hedge about him and about his house and about all that is his? You have blessed the work of his hands round about, and the spreading of his possessions in the earth.
(v. 11) If now you put forth your hand and smite all which is his (see) if he will not depart from your face.
(v.12) And the Lord said to Satan, behold all which is his is in your hand, only not shall you put your hand upon him. And Satan went out from the face of the Lord.
(v.6) AND THERE WAS A DAY:
Commentators as Gesenius, Ewald and Dillmann, wish to establish this as a certain, definite day. We prefer, as Zoeckler does, to make it indefinite (as in I Kings 4:22). It is an abstract, commonplace type of day when an assembly such as this was likely to be held.
WHEN THE SONS OF GOD CAME:
Normally we would think of angels, as in the same expression in Job 38:7. In Ps. 29:1 (Hebrew) beneey ha'elohiym translated as "mighty," may refer to angels but could also refer to saints. The Psalmist is apparently describing the Noahic flood. In Job 4:18 angels are described as "messengers" and "servants" rather than as "sons of God." In Job 5:1 and 15:15 they might be "saints" (Hebrew) qadoshiym but more likely in these passages the reference is to Christians. The problem is more acute in Gen. 6:1 where the "sons of God," many believe, is a reference to angels. However, we believe the righteous descendants of Seth are meant. In Ps.89:6 "the mighty are 'sons of God'" apparently is a reference to angels.
TO ESTABLISH THEMSELVES TOGETHER BEFORE THE LORD:
The Hebrew word (Hebrew) lehiteyatzeb seems to imply that the angels both stood and sat. This is the meaning found by Delitzch. It is used also in Job 2:1. It is an Hithpalel form, meaning it may be translated "themselves." We are reminded of the Hebrew word (Hebrew) sod, meaning "assembly" as in Jer.23:18 and Ps. 89:8. It also reminds us of the four horses (red, black, grisled, and bay horse) or the four spirits. These came forth from standing before the Lord of the whole earth. We are reminded too of I Kings 22:19 where Micah told Ahab and Jehoshaphat that he had seen the Lord on His throne, with the host of heaven standing by Him.
AND SATAN ALSO CAME IN THE MIDST OF THEM:
Some claim this word ought to be sathan derived from "shut"--a going back and forth on earth. This is what Ewald, Eichhorn, Herder, llgen and Stuhlman do. But most commentators say it is Satan, taken from a background of "adversary." See Zechariah 3: 2, Luke 22:31 and I Peter 5:8 where we have the Greek word for adversary. This is true also in Rev. 12:9. In I Chron. 21:1 it is used without an article as a proper name. In Zech. 3:2 Satan is the resistor and accuser and, as such, he is condemned by God. His accusations are generally false; thus, he is called "the Diabolus" in Rev.12:10 or "the slanderer." Note: there seem to be only two references in Scripture to God's permitting Satan to enter heaven to make a challenge: here and in Zech. 3:1.
(v.7) AND THE LORD SAID TO SATAN, FROM WHENCE DO YOU NOW COME?
The imperfect in the verb (Hebrew) tabo is best translated as "now." Obviously God does not trust Satan, but He trusts His angels. From John 8:44 we learn that the devil is a liar and the father of lies. This question implies the devil is an intruder; we get the feeling he has pushed himself in. Still, it is remarkable that God permits the devil to challenge Him in heaven itself.
The use of (Hebrew) Yehvah is significant. We have already considered its use in the Introduction (p. 10). Its use in the Prologue and Epilogue leads us to believe that Solomon wrote these sections. In the Epilogue it is used 7 times (Job 42:18.104.22.168.12). These are holy numbers. In the whirlwind talks it is used five times (Job 12:9, 28:28). In the latter, however, the word (Hebrew)adonay is used in place of Jehovah. This indicates that Solomon is the most likely author.
AND SATAN ANSWERED THE LORD AND SAID, FROM GOING TO AND FRO IN THE EARTH
AND FROM WALKING UP AND DOWN IN IT:
The devil gave the answer. This indicates there is communication also in heaven and the Word is essential even there. Communication is necessary also in science disciplines. According to John 6:63, God's words are spirit and life. We need the Word in our study of nature (Job 28:28).
(Hebrew) Shuth implies a going forth from one end of the earth to the other. The Israelites "went about" gathering manna (Num. 11:8). David commanded Joab to go through all the tribes, from Dan to Beersheba, to number them (II Sam. 24:1). Amos describes a famine of the Word of God, with people running to and fro in the world and not finding the Word (Amos 8:12). Jeremiah (5:1) challenges the people to run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem looking to find an upright judge. Zechariah (4:10) speaks of the eyes of the Lord that run to and fro throughout the whole earth. The devil who seeks equality with God tries to imitate Him. When King Asa sought to work in league with Ben-hadad and Hanani (II Chron. 16:9), the prophet described the eyes of the Lord as running to and fro throughout the earth; therefore, Asa would be wise to depend on the Lord. Only God can truly run to and fro through the earth; the devil was sinful in trying to be equal with God.
The hithpael of (Hebrew) halalg (Hebrew) hithaleg which indicates a walking back on one's self, or as here, means walking up and down in the earth. In Zech. 1:10 we have a description of a man among the myrtle trees, walking to and fro, or up and down, through the earth. It is described twice. In Zech. 6:7 we read of the bay horse of the horses which have four colors, going to and fro and up and down in the earth. God walked to and fro, or up and down, in the Garden of Eden, looking for fallen Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:8).
Two truths are indicated. One is that the devil always imitates God and that he works feverishly in his attempts to be equal with God and to supplant Him. If God walks to and fro, the devil must do so. Also, the devil is intensely active. He must be because he cannot, or will not, depend on God's providence. In I Peter 5:8 he is described as walking about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
(v.8) AND THE LORD SAID TO SATAN, HAVE YOU CONSIDERED IN YOUR HEART:
The Hebrew reads "Have you a place in your heart?" It means "to consider in the heart;" the heart needs to be reached. Thus, in science evidence for creation is not enough; the heart must be reached. In Hag.1:7 we find the same construction: "place to your heart" or "consider." The same expression is used in Job 2:3 and 22:22. "Place to your hearts" is used in asking people to produce reasons for rejecting God.
MY SERVANT JOB, THAT THERE IS NO ONE LIKE HIM IN THE EARTH, A MAN WHO
IS PERFECT AND UPRIGHT: FEARING GOD AND TURNING AWAY FROM EVIL:
Here Job is mentioned by name as in 1:22.214.171.124. He is also mentioned by name in the discourses: 26:1, 27:1, 29:1. The three friends do not address him directly by name. In Job 32:126.96.36.199, 33:1.31 and 34:5.7 Elihu does. In 38:1 God addresses Job by name in the whirlwind talk and also in 40:1. The name Job is used a total of 34 times in the book. God regards him as one of the greats, along with Moses (Heb.3:5), Joshua (Josh. 1:2) and David (I Kings 11:13).
God repeats the four descriptions of Job 1:1 indicating the formality of the book. This, we believe, argues against Job himself being the author of this section. Speaking about his own experiences, Job would not have been so formal or displayed so little emotion. The description of Job's righteousness is repeated for the third time in 2:3, a reminder of "three" as a holy number. Here, again, we see the need for moral perfection.
(v.9) AND SATAN ANSWERED THE LORD AND SAID IN VAIN DOES JOB FEAR GOD:
The devil does not punch holes in Job's conduct as his three friends do later. He attacks Job's motives, revealing his shrewdness. "In vain" means that Job fears God more than in vain. In John 15:18 Christ states that the world hates Him without a cause. The devil became the accuser of Job; this is how he is described in Rev.12:10.
(v.10) HAVE YOU NOT MADE A HEDGE ABOUT HIM, AND ABOUT HIS HOUSE, AND
ABOUT ALL THAT IS HIS?
The word (Hebrew) saketa refers to placing a hedge round about, as around a vineyard (Matt.21:33). The word (Hebrew) ad (about him) is used three times: about him, about his house, about all he possesses. Again, the devil imitates God, using the holy number three. The devil is deceptive, but skilled accuser, who makes use of holy numbers for his wicked purposes. Here we have a gematria, a misuse of holy numbers.
YOU HAVE BLESSED THE WORK OF HIS HANDS ROUND ABOUT:
The completeness of the hedge is noted in "round about." There blessing is so complete there is no room for temptation. The devil knows that God tests people's faith, so he challenges God on that basis. Our remarkable God can permit a challenge and still remain in control. This is part of the answer as to why the righteous suffer; God permits the faith of His beloved to be tested.
"The work of his hands" is a reminder of Ps. 90:17 and Deut.2:7; God blesses the work of the hands of the Israelites in the wilderness. In Deut.14:29 we read that if the Israelites gave tithes to the Levites, they would support the Levites, and the work of their own hands would be blessed. The devil is stating that Job is blessed because he is righteous, but he implies that if God were to remove these blessings, Job would renounce Him. Not only is the devil an accuser, he is also a destroyer. We are reminded of God's blessings upon Joseph (Gen. 39:3): because of Joseph, also Potiphar and Pharaoh were blessed.
AND THE SPREADING OF HIS POSSESSIONS IN THE EARTH:
The verb (Hebrew) paratz means "to break forth." Job's possessions had broken forth, spread out, increased, particularly his cattle. So richly was Job blessed that even without effort, his possessions increased, and that is why Job is perfect, the devil claims.
His blessings break out as a river breaks through a dam. In II Sam. 5:20 David says the Lord breaks forth on his enemies. We think also of Abraham's blessings (Gen. 28:14), Jacob's blessings while serving Laban (Gen. 30:30.43), and Rehoboam (II Chron. 11:23), and Cyrus (ls.45:3).
(v. 11) IF NOW YOU SEND FORTH YOUR HAND AND SMITE ALL WHICH IS HIS,
SEE IF HE WILL NOT DEPART FROM YOUR FACE:
"Send forth your hand" as one who strikes a blow. Abraham was stopped from laying hands on Isaac (Gen. 22:12). The Lord promised to smite Egypt (Ex. 3:20) and promises to smite again (Ex. 9:15). "Smite" (Hebrew) wega' emphasizes sending forth of the hand and it is a violent smiting which the devil wants. He always destroys; he never builds up. He is an anarchist. In Hebrew the word for "smite" (Hebrew) naga' is used with a (Hebrew) B and an (Hebrew) 'al as a particle following the verb.
The word "depart" as in verse 5 means first to bless and sometimes, to curse, but here the better meaning is "to depart" from the Lord. That includes all cursing and is more fundamental than the word "cursing." Satan's objective was to lead Job to depart from the Lord and in small measure he succeeded. It was Elihu with the deeper Gospel of the Messenger in a Thousand who stayed him from departing from the Lord (Job 33:23).
(v.12) AND THE LORD SAID TO SATAN, BEHOLD ALL WHICH IS HIS IS IN YOUR
HAND, ONLY YOU SHALL NOT PUT YOUR HAND UPON HIM:
The Lord permits the devil a certain freedom, but He sets a limit. In Is. 45:7 we read that God creates good, and also evil; everything is under His control. The Lord permitted the Babylonian ambassador to tempt Hezekiah (II Chron.32:31). The Psalmist prays the Lord not to forsake him (Ps. 27:9). The big question in the book of Job is why the Lord permits evil. We need a thorough testing; however, the Lord puts restraints on the devil's testing and tempting of believers.
AND SATAN WENT OUT FROM THE FACE OF THE LORD:
The devil wasted no time; he went to work immediately. This is characteristic of the forces of evil. Also, Satan could not bear to be in God's presence longer than necessary. The "face of the Lord" is repugnant to the evil one.
Scientific Considerations (Job 1:6-12)
Much activity, a great deal of a certain kind of wisdom, and materialism are displayed by Satan when he faces God. Accusations and deception also are his trademarks. Today there is deception, including that proposed by evolutionists. Materialism is also prevalent. Even by definition, science is materialistic. And today, also, Satan is an accuser. When, by definition, evolutionists rule out God, they live only for material benefits.
Destruction of Job's Possessions and Family (1:13-19)
(v. 13) And there was a day when the sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of the firstborn brother.
(v. 14) And a messenger came to Job and said, The cattle were plowing and the female donkeys were feeding at their side.
(v. 15) And the Sabeans fell and took them. And the young men they smote with the edge of the sword. And I alone am escaped to tell you.
(v. 16) While this one was speaking then another came and said, a fire of God came and fell down from heaven and burned up the flocks and the young men and consumed them. And I alone am escaped to tell you.
(v. 17) And while this one was speaking, then another came and said, the Chaldeans made three divisions and seized the camels and took them and the young men they smote with the edge of the sword, and I alone am escaped to tell you.
(v. 18) And while this one was speaking another came and said, your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of the firstborn brother.
(v. 19) And behold, a great wind came from across the desert and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young ones and they are dead, and I alone am escaped to tell you.
(v.13) AND THERE WAS A DAY WHEN THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS WERE EATING AND
DRINKING WINE IN THE HOUSE OF THE FIRSTBORN BROTHER:
Everything taken away is listed, the most important things last--cattle, she donkeys, sheep, camels, and finally, sons and daughters. The calamity came when least expected-at a feast celebrating the birthday of the eldest son. The book of Job teaches that calamities occur when least expected.
(v.14) AND A MESSENGER CAME TO JOB AND SAID:
The first of four messengers arrived. Each repeats what the other has said. Some think this denotes primitive writing; we believe it indicates someone other than Job is the author. If Job had written about his traumatic experiences, he would have been less formal and unable to repeat exactly. If Solomon is the author, he used exact repetition to teach a lesson on why the righteous suffer. This formality enhances the point that all calamities are under God's control even though the devil has a hand in them.
THE CATTLE WERE PLOWING AND THE FEMALE DONKEYS WERE FEEDING AT THEIR
We read female cattle (Hebrew) baker and "plowing" which seems to be a feminine form. She donkeys (clearly feminine) were "feeding at their side" which is masculine. Such mixing of genders is permissible in Hebrew, especially when cattle or other animals are involved. This comes up in Job 42:15 when the fair daughters (feminine) receive an inheritance (apparently masculine). In Ps.104:8 we read the mountains go up and the valleys fall, even though to translate like this means a mixing of genders.
Mixing of Genders
Such mixing of genders is found several times in Job. Here in Job 1:14 the masculine verb "feeding" is used with the feminine subject "she donkeys." In 42:15 the fair daughters (feminine) receive an inheritance, apparently masculine. In 14:19 a plural masculine subject is used with a singular feminine verb. "And its inundations sweep away the dust of earth" (Hebrew) tishthaph sephiychiyeah. This is explained in Gesenius' grammar, paragraph 146:8 and in Ewald, paragraph 184.
In Job 17:16 "bars" or "body" of (Hebrew) sheol uses a plural masculine noun with the verb "shall descend" (Hebrew) teeradenah, a singular feminine, another switch in gender. In a sense in Job 22:21 there is a combination of feminine and neutral: Eliphaz says "through these things" (Hebrew) bahem "will come to you" (Hebrew) tebo'ateka double feminine "good things." When we are friendly with God, we will experience material blessings.
In Job 26:6 the word for "hell" (Hebrew) she'ol is feminine while the adjective "before him" (Hebrew)negedo is masculine. This is an alteration though the adjective (Hebrew) neged' comes first and is masculine. It need not be regulated by a noun.
A classical and purposeful mixing of genders is found in 31:11 where Job indicates that adultery is a crime. In the expression "And this is a crime for judges," the word "this" (Hebrew) hayo' is feminine while the word for crime (Hebrew) 'aon is masculine. A masculine demonstrative and feminine predicate are used for wickedness in Job 31:11 a while in 11b there is a feminine demonstrative and a masculine word for "crime." This is horrible grammar, but definitely deliberate to point up the magnitude of the sins of adultery and fornication.
At least six times in Job there is such switching of genders. And in 24:15 numbers are switched: the "adulterer" (Hebrew) no'eeph is singular (v. 15) while in v. 16 the verbs for "they dig" (Hebrew) chatar and (Hebrew) chitemu in and "they know not" (Hebrew) lo'yade'u are plural.
In Ps. 104:8 the verbs for "go up" (Hebrew) ya'alu and "go down" (Hebrew) yardu are masculine. But the word for "valleys" (Hebrew) beqa'ot is feminine. This translates as "the mountains go up and the valleys go down." Switch in gender is not uncommon in the Hebrew Bible. To say "waters go up by the mountains and down by the valleys" requires a particle which is absent.
In Ps.12:7 the immediate antecedent to "you shall keep them" or "you shall preserve them forever" is "the words of the Lord." The nouns are feminine while the verbs are masculine. Some commentators do not regard "words" as antecedent and refer back to "godly" people. This is not necessary and the statement can be used to indicate that God has miraculously preserved the Bible which we can accept as being perfect.
At Job's time cattle were used for plowing and donkeys were watched to prevent their being stolen. Work continued even when his ten children enjoyed a party. Job was a good manager. The plowing season was short and work could not wait.
(v.15) AND THE SABEANS FELL AND TOOK THEM:
The Sabeans may have been the southern Sabeans, living south of Ethiopia where the Queen of Sheba hailed from and where there was gold (Ps. 72:10), Jer.6:20, I Ki. 10:1) but, more likely, these were the northern Sabeans, near Idumea, known for their marauding. Seemingly they are also referred to in Job 6:19. They may have come from Dedan mentioned in Gen. 10:7 and 25:3 or they may have come from the land of the Cushites (Gen. 10:7) or from the Joktanites (Gen. 10:25) or from Keturah and Sheba (Gen. 25:3). They may have been a mixed breed.
AND THE YOUNG MEN THEY SMOTE WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD:
This was a quick and dramatic death. Everything indicates suddenness and completeness.
AND I ALONE AM ESCAPED TO TELL YOU:
This is repeated, exactly, four times. Again, this emphasizes the formality of the prose introduction. The verb is not cohortative, even with a "he" at the end, but it does indicate rapid action. Only one escaped.
(v.16) WHILE THIS ONE WAS SPEAKING, THEN ANOTHER CAME AND SAID, A FIRE
OF GOD CAME AND FELL DOWN FROM HEAVEN AND BURNED UP THE FLOCKS AND THE
This fire seems to be distinguished from the volcanic action which apparently destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:18-26, Ps. 78:21). Fire is also described in Num. 11:1-3 and referred to in Ps. 78:21 when Israel complained against God and when Moses prayed for the fire to stop at the edge of camp. It is more like the fire which Elijah used to destroy the two "captains of fifties" which King Ahazariah had sent to capture him. It is also similar to the fire from heaven which destroyed the sacrifice which Elijah had prepared (I Ki. 18:23, II Ki. 1:12) and like the fire which John and James asked to descend from heaven upon those who would not follow Jesus (Luke 9:54). It is difficult to picture how 7000 sheep could be burned by a lightning type of fire. But if it happened in Egypt, and in the wilderness, it could have happened here. It is more logical to suggest that than to suggest volcanic action.
(v.16b) AND I ALONE AM ESCAPED TO TELL YOU:
This is an exact repetition.
(v.17) AND WHILE THIS ONE WAS SPEAKING, THEN ANOTHER CAME AND SAID,
THE CHALDEANS MADE THREE DIVISIONS AND SEIZED THE CAMELS AND TOOK THEM,
AND THE YOUNG MEN THEY SMOTE WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD.AND I ALONE AM
ESCAPED TO TELL YOU:
The (Hebrew) kasediym is the usual Hebrew word for Chaldeans or Chaldees. It is difficult to explain why Hebrews substituted a sibilant for a liquid, but already in Gen. 11:31 it was done. Some derive (Hebrew) kasediym from (Hebrew) chesed, one of the sons of Nahor (Gen. 22:22), but Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees before Chesed was born (Gen.22:20). The Chaldeans were perhaps early settlers in Babylonia, or the tract nearest the Persian Gulf. References to Chaldeans are found in Gen. 11:31. Perhaps they descended from Arphaxad (Gen. 10:22).
The "three heads" into which the Chaldeans divided themselves is difficult to translate and keep the thought of "head." It seems to mean they divided themselves into three companies, as Abraham did when he defeated the kings who had captured Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen.14:15). Gideon did this also (Judges 7:16) and Abimelech (Judges 9:34), and Saul did it to defeat the Ammonites (I Sam.11:11). We translate "three divisions." Luther translated this as "three points."
Camels would be the most valuable of Job's material possessions and 3000 camels was a very desirable booty. The word (Hebrew) pashath means to "seize" or "to plunder." It is a technical term used when robbers overcome their victims. It is used also in Judges 9:33.34, I Sam.23:27, 30:14, Hosea 7:1.
(v.18) WHILE THIS ONE WAS SPEAKING, ANOTHER CAME AND SAID:
Here is used the Hebrew 'ad rather than (Hebrew) 'aod emphasizing the last calamity was the worst.
YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS WERE EATING AND DRINKING IN THE HOUSE OF
THEIR FIRSTBORN BROTHER:
Four successive calamities, each worse than the preceding one, would indicate something supernatural.
The children were having a good time, legitimately. Suddenly, all were gone. Statements on Job's careful watch over these feasts (1:5) indicates this was not a punishment for excesses on their part.
(v.19) AND BEHOLD, A GREAT WIND CAME FROM AFAR ACROSS THE DESERT AND
SMOTE THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE HOUSE AND IT FELL UPON THE YOUNG ONES AND
Winds blowing across a desert can be violent. Carrying along sand and muck, they can cause violence and discomfort. This one must have had hurricane force, as it destroyed the four corners of the house. We are reminded of the winds which demolished the house built on sand, described in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt.7:27). Often rain and floods are associated with violent wind, but are not necessary.
"Young ones" is ne'ariym in Hebrew. It includes both genders. This is early Hebrew and is found in Gen.24:14 and Ruth 2:21. Job refers to it when his children (Hebrew)ne'aray were about him (Job 29:5).
There is no reference to death of servants nor of grandchildren suffering loss of life. This is not the point of the account. It merely mentions that all ten children were killed; the servant said he alone escaped. Fall of a house does not generally destroy all its inhabitants.
Scientific Considerations (Job 1:13-19)
First, the fire. It may have been due to volcanic action as perhaps took place in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. More likely, however, it was a lightning-type of fire which destroyed cattle, or when fire from heaven destroyed the captains and their 50 in Elijah's time. How or when lightning fire might destroy 7000 sheep and their attendants is not known, but it seems to be the type of fire indicated here. Clearly, it was supernatural. Perhaps we are using this type of fire in connection with nuclear energy?? A beginning has been made in use of volcanic energy, but not much to harness energy from lightning. While electricity is similar, it is not a direct use of lightning energy.
We could be concerned with evidence of scientific warfare here. The Sabeans simply fell on the cattle and donkeys and killed the attendants with the edge of the sword. The Chaldeans were more scientific and used military strategy. They divided themselves into three bands in order to more easily capture the 3000 camels and to destroy the attendants. The challenge is for superior military strategy.
We may wonder also about the great wind which blew across the desert and destroyed the four corners of the house. It seems to be more than wind; it must have been a whirlwind. Perhaps in our aerospace program we ought to do more research on the wind, especially the value of wind in curves, in rotation, and use of its energy.
Job's Patience (Job 1:20-22)
(v.20) Job arose and rent his garment and shaved his head, and fell to the ground and worshiped:
(v.21) And he said, naked I came out from the womb of my mother and naked I return thither. The Lord gives and the Lord takes. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
(v.22) In all of this Job did not sin, and he did not consider God foolish:
(v.20) JOB AROSE:
He did not rise until the last calamity struck, destroying the children.
AND RENT HIS GARMENT:
This was the outer robe worn by men of rank. His three friends also rent their "mantles" (Job 2:12) where the same word (Hebrew) me'iyl is used. Job says he put on righteousness and it clothed him (29:14) which seems to be a reference to the Gospel. He says judgment was a robe (Hebrew) me'iyl and a diadem for him. Reuben and Jacob rent their mantles when hearing of Joseph's disappearance (Gen. 37:29.34). The brothers rent their clothing (Gen.44:13) when Joseph's gold cup was found in Benjamin's sack. Ahab rent his mantle when Elijah condemned him for the murder of Naboth (I Ki. 21:27). Hezekiah tore his mantle when the Assyrians challenged him (II Ki.19:1). Mordecai rent his mantle at the Proclamation of Haman against the Jews (Esther 4:1). The prophet Joel called for a day of repentance and prayer at the time of a grasshopper plague, urging people to rend their hearts, not their garments (Joel 2:13).
SHAVED HIS HEAD:
This was a sign of grief but was forbidden to Jews (Lev.21:5 and Deut.14:1). It was practiced widely among Gentiles (ls.15:2, Jer.47:5 and 48:37).
AND FELL TO THE GROUND AND WORSHIPED:
Falling to the ground was part of his act of worship and preliminary to the technical and formal act of worship as found in (Hebrew) yisetachu. Different ages and places have different forms of worship.
(v.21) AND HE SAID, NAKED I CAME OUT OF MY MOTHER AND NAKED I RETURN
This verse poses a problem, for people do not return to their mothers' womb and be born a second time (John 3:4).
Most commentators believe this refers to mother earth. Ps.139:15 contains statements about being curiously wrought in the lowest part of the earth and it follows Ps.139: 13 where we read that God covered us in our mother's womb. According to Eccl.5:15 we emerged naked from our mother's womb and we leave this world naked. This may refer to the fact that Job had lost all his descendants, and coding of his genes would not be carried on. The only hope of continuing the coding would be an event such as took place at his conception. Perhaps his mother was still living. But we must guard against the concept of preexistence of the soul. Ps. 104:30 seems to indicate the soul is created at conception. But coding for matter has existed since Creation Week.
THE LORD GIVES AND THE LORD TAKES, BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD:
This stresses the covenant name of the Lord. It is used three times, a holy number. Later, it is used only once by Job (12:9) and never by his friends. Elihu does not use it. God uses it of Himself (38:1, 40:1). Job answers with it in 42:1 and God answers with it in 42:7. It is used twice when the three friends repented (42:9). It is also found in 42:10 as the Lord gave Job twice what he had before. It is significant that it is used here three times.
The devil predicted Job would curse God, but he does the opposite, demonstrating perfect resignation at this point. Emphasis on "name" indicates Job knew forgiveness well.
(v.22) IN ALL OF THIS JOB DID NOT SIN:
At this point Job had not yet sinned.
AND HE DID NOT CONSIDER GOD FOOLISH:
Job did not give God folly or, as the Authorized Version states: "charge God foolishly." He did later, but not at this point. As the grief continued and his friends charged him with committing a special sin, he defended himself and accused God of injustice. At this point he was patient and made no complaints. The usual expression "giving God foolishness" seems to imply that later Job did so.
First is the problem of a person returning to his mother's womb. This
may not be unscientific when considering that genetic coding is continued
recessively (Ps. 139:16). Job had lost hope of his genes being continued
through his children, all of whom were dead.
Continuation of his coding could take place only if his mother conceived and gave birth. This does not argue for preexistence of a soul but preexistence in coding of all material parts. The Psalmist seems to imply a creation going on which may be of the soul at conception (Ps. 104:30). The statement offers a scientific challenge which may be suggested also in Eccl. 5:15. In Eccl.12:7 we read that dust (the body) returns to earth and the spirit to God. This may also be reference to earth as our mother as Adam was formed from the dust of the earth, and at death man returns to dust. Job was wise and he held to a strong faith in the covenant God.
In the homiletical section of the Pulpit Commentary E. Johnson
suggests that life is divinely delivered to trial but not to destruction.
Always there is light in heaven though there is darkness on earth (23).
In the same commentary R. Green indicates we have here (1) Religious Example,
(2) Religious Instruction, (3) Religious Government, (4) Religious Worship
(26). Green also describes a righteous man as inwardly holy, upright, reverent
toward God and abhorring evil (29). Adeney writes of "unparalleled calamities":
1. At a season of festivity, 2. In rapid succession, 3. From various quarters,
4. They become worse (32).