The Trial of Job

Chapter 1

The holiness, riches, and religious care of Job for his children, 1-5. Satan, appearing before God, by slander obtains leave to afflict Job, 6-12. Realizing the loss of his children and goods, in his mourning Job blesses God, 13-22.

1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. And that man was upright and just, and one who feared God and shunned evil. 2 And there were born to him seven sons and three daughters. 3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very great household. This man was the greatest of all the men of the east. 4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, each his day, and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting had ended, Job sent and sanctified them, rose early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all, for Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, "Where did you come from?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From searching about on the earth and from walking up and down upon it." 8 And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is no one like him on the earth, an upright and a just man, one who fears God, and shuns evil?" 9 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have you not made a hedge about him, about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance has increased in the land. 11 But put forth your hand now and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face." 12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power. Only do not put forth your hand upon him." So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house, 14 And a messenger to Job came and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 And the Sabeans fell upon them and took them away. They have even slain the servants with the edge of the sword, and only I alone have escaped to tell you." 16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, saying, "The fire of God has fallen from heaven and has burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and only I have escaped alone to tell you." 17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, saying, "The Chaldeans made three bands and fell upon the camels and have carried them away. They have even slain the servants with the edge of the sword, and only I alone have escaped to tell you." 18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, saying, "Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house, 19 And behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead, and only I alone have escaped to tell you."

20 Then Job arose, rent his mantle, shaved his head, fell upon the ground, and worshiped,

21 And said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD."

22 In all this Job did not sin, nor charged God foolishly.

Commentary

Matthew Henry Commentary - Job, Chapter 1

Notes

John Gill's Chapter Summary:

In this chapter, Job, the subject of the whole book, is described by his native country, by his name, by his religious character, and by his family and his substance (verses 1-3), a particular relation is given of his children feasting together, and of Job's conduct during that time (verses 4-5), of a discourse which passed between God and Satan concerning him, the issue of which was that Satan obtained leave of God to afflict Job in his outward affairs (verses 6-12), then follows an account of his several losses, of his oxen, sheep, camels, donkeys, and servants, by the Sabeans, Chaldeans, and fire from heaven, and of his sons and daughters by the fall of the house in which they were through a violent wind (verses 13-19), and the chapter is concluded with the agreeable behavior of Job in the midst of all this (verses 20-22).

[v.1a] - "Job" - According to Matthew Henry, "His name Job, some say, signifies one hated and counted as an enemy. Others make it to signify one that grieves or groans; thus the sorrow he carried in his name might be a check to his joy in his prosperity."

[v.1b] - "upright and just" - This is not saying Job was sinless, but rather that he was a man of integrity (see Job 2:3). Job himself even acknowledges his sinful nature in Job 9:20.

[v.3] - "substance" - Substance refers to wealth and riches. Job's wealth was measured by his livestock. Job was upright and just, and therefore, God blessed him with riches. "The account of Job's piety and prosperity comes before the history of his great afflictions, to show that neither will secure us from the common, nor even from the uncommon calamities of human life." —Matthew Henry

[v.5a] - In this verse, Job is acting as a priest for his family. In this, Christ is typified, for he is our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14, see also Hebrews, ch. 5-7) and the head of his Church (i.e., his family, or body) (Ephesians 1:22, 4:15, 5:23; Colossians 1:18).

[v.5b] - "continually" - "The acts of repentance and faith must be often renewed, because we often repeat our transgressions. He who serves God uprightly will serve him continually." —Matthew Henry

[v.5c] - "cursed" - Job is not necessarily saying that his sons cursed, or blasphemed God by speaking out against or renouncing him. What is meant here is that Job's sons may have not blessed God for all that they have. And on that point, John Calvin states that not blessing God (that is, not blessing God for the many blessings he bestows upon us) is one in the same as cursing him. So, this text might also be read as, "It may be that my sons have sinned, and not blessed God in their hearts."

[v.6] - "the sons of God" - That is, the angels.

[v.7] - "From searching about on the earth" - This text was originally written as, "From going to and fro on the earth." The idea behind this response from Satan is that he was actively searching the earth and wandering about. That is why God then responds in verse 8 with, "Have you considered my servant Job?" It makes sense for God to ask that question if Satan is searching the earth for something. From John Gill's Exposition: "This may denote the disquietude and restlessness of this evil spirit, who could not abide long in a place, but moving to and fro, seeking rest, but finding none, Matthew 12:43, as also his diligence and indefatigableness in doing and seeking to do mischief, going about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, taking all opportunities of doing injury, sowing his tares while men are asleep and off their guard, 1st Peter 5:8, and so the first word here used signifies a diligent search."

[v.9] - In this verse Satan is accusing Job of being a hypocrite because of his prosperity, but in the chapters to come, Job's friends will accuse him of being a hypocrite because of his affliction.

[v.10-11] - In these verses, Satan is essentially saying, "Job only serves you because you have made him to prosper. Take it all away and watch him curse you."

[v.12a] - From Matthew Henry's Commentary: "It is a matter of comfort that God has the devil in a chain. He could not afflict Job without leave from God first asked and obtained, and then no further than he had leave... It is a limited power that the devil has."

[v.12b] - "do not put forth your hand upon him" - In other words, "do not touch his person, or his body."

[v.21a] - A poetic rendering of this verse would be as follows:

Naked I came from my mother's womb,
Naked I shall return to the tomb.
The LORD has given,
The LORD has taken.
Praise the name,
of Yahweh.

[v.21b] - "Naked I came" - Reference, Ecclesiastes 5:15; 1st Timothy 6:7.

[v.21c] - "naked I shall return there" - Not back to his mother's womb, but figuratively to his grave, or back to the earth from where man was created (Genesis 2:7, 3:19).

[v.21d] - "Blessed be the name of the LORD" - In other words, "Praise the name of the LORD," or, "Let the name of the LORD be praised."

[v.22] - "nor charged God foolishly" - In other words, Job did not attribute folly to God. Satan had taken Job's livestock, his servants, and worst of all, his children, and was certain that Job would curse God because of this great loss. Nevertheless, Job maintained his religion and his integrity and proved Satan to be a liar. Job, instead of cursing God, blessed him. "Afflictions must not divert us from, but quicken us to, the exercise of religion." —Matthew Henry

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