Job 1:5-11

1:5 When the days of their feasting were finished, Job would send for them and sanctify them; he would get up early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job thought, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s customary practice. 10 

Satan’s Accusation of Job 11 

1:6 Now the day came when 12  the sons of God 13  came to present themselves before 14  the Lord – and Satan 15  also arrived among them. 1:7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” 16  And Satan answered the Lord, 17  “From roving about 18  on the earth, and from walking back and forth across it.” 19  1:8 So the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered 20  my servant Job? There 21  is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away 22  from evil.”

1:9 Then Satan answered the Lord, “Is it for nothing that Job fears God? 23  1:10 Have you 24  not made a hedge 25  around him and his household and all that he has on every side? You have blessed 26  the work of his hands, and his livestock 27  have increased 28  in the land. 1:11 But 29  extend your hand and strike 30  everything he has, and he will no doubt 31  curse you 32  to your face!”

Job 2:5-9

2:5 But extend your hand and strike his bone and his flesh, 33  and he will no doubt 34  curse you to your face!”

2:6 So the Lord said to Satan, “All right, 35  he is 36  in your power; 37  only preserve 38  his life.”

Job’s Integrity in Suffering

2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and he afflicted 39  Job with a malignant ulcer 40  from the sole of his feet to the top of his head. 41  2:8 Job took a shard of broken pottery to scrape 42  himself 43  with while he was sitting 44  among the ashes. 45 

2:9 Then 46  his wife said to him, “Are you still holding firmly to your integrity? 47  Curse 48  God, and die!” 49 


tn The verse begins with the temporal indicator “and it happened” or “and it came to pass,” which need not be translated. The particle כִּי (ki, “when”) with the initial verbal form indicates it is a temporal clause.

tn The verb is the Hiphil perfect of נָקַף (naqaf, “go around”), here it means “to make the round” or “complete the circuit” (BDB 668-69 s.v. II נָקַף Hiph). It indicates that when the feasting had made its circuit of the seven sons, then Job would sanctify them.

tn The form is a preterite with vav (ו) consecutive. The same emphasis on repeated or frequent action continues here in this verse. The idea here is that Job would send for them, because the sanctification of them would have consisted of washings and changes of garments as well as the sacrifices (see Gen 35:2; 1 Sam 16:5).

tn Or “purify.”

tn The first verb could also be joined with the next to form a verbal hendiadys: “he would rise early and he would sacrifice” would then simply be “he would sacrifice early in the morning” (see M. Delcor, “Quelques cas de survivances du vocabulaire nomade en hébreu biblique,” VT 25 [1975]: 307-22). This section serves to explain in more detail how Job sanctified his children.

sn In the patriarchal society it was normal for the father to act as priest for the family, making the sacrifices as needed. Job here is exceptional in his devotion to the duty. The passage shows the balance between the greatest earthly rejoicing by the family, and the deepest piety and affection of the father.

tn The text does not have “according to”; the noun “number” is an accusative that defines the extent of his actions (GKC 373-74 §118.e, h).

tn The clause stands as an accusative to the verb, here as the direct object introduced with “perhaps” (IBHS 645-46 §38.8d).

tn Heb “sons,” but since the three daughters are specifically mentioned in v. 4, “children” has been used in the translation. In this patriarchal culture, however, it is possible that only the sons are in view.

tn The Hebrew verb is בָּרַךְ (barakh), which means “to bless.” Here is a case where the writer or a scribe has substituted the word “curse” with the word “bless” to avoid having the expression “curse God.” For similar euphemisms in the ancient world, see K. A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, 166. It is therefore difficult to know exactly what Job feared they might have done. The opposite of “bless” would be “curse,” which normally would convey disowning or removing from blessing. Some commentators try to offer a definition of “curse” from the root in the text, and noting that “curse” is too strong, come to something like “renounce.” The idea of blaspheming is probably not meant; rather, in their festivities they may have said things that renounced God or their interest in him. Job feared this momentary turning away from God in their festivities, perhaps as they thought their good life was more important than their religion.

10 tn The imperfect expresses continual action in past time, i.e., a customary imperfect (GKC 315 §107.e).

11 sn The text draws the curtain of heaven aside for the reader to understand the background of this drama. God extols the virtue of Job, but Satan challenges the reasons for it. He receives permission to try to dislodge Job from his integrity. In short, God is using Job to prove Satan’s theory wrong.

12 tn The beginning Hebrew expression “and there was – the day” indicates that “there came a day when” or more simply “the day came when.” It emphasizes the particular day. The succeeding clause is then introduced with a preterite with the with vav (ו) consecutive (see E. Dhorme, Job, 5).

13 sn The “sons of God” in the OT is generally taken to refer to angels. They are not actually “sons” of Elohim; the idiom is a poetic way of describing their nature and relationship to God. The phrase indicates their supernatural nature, and their submission to God as the sovereign Lord. It may be classified as a genitive that expresses how individuals belong to a certain class or type, i.e., the supernatural (GKC 418 §128.v). In the pagan literature, especially of Ugarit, “the sons of God” refers to the lesser gods or deities of the pantheon. See H. W. Robinson, “The Council of Yahweh,” JTS 45 (1943): 151-57; G. Cooke, “The Sons of (the) God(s),” ZAW 76 (1964): 22-47; M. Tsevat, “God and the Gods in the Assembly,” HUCA 40-41 (1969/70): 123-37.

14 tn The preposition עַל (’al) in this construction after a verb of standing or going means “before” (GKC 383 §119.cc).

15 sn The word means “adversary” or with the article “the adversary” – here the superhuman adversary or Satan. The word with the article means that the meaning of the word should receive prominence. A denominative verb meaning “to act as adversary” occurs. Satan is the great accuser of the saints (see Zech 3 where “Satan was standing there to ‘satanize’ Joshua the priest”; and see Rev 12 which identifies him with the Serpent in Genesis). He came among the angels at this time because he is one of them and has access among them. Even though fallen, Satan has yet to be cast down completely (see Rev 12).

16 tn The imperfect may be classified as progressive imperfect; it indicates action that although just completed is regarded as still lasting into the present (GKC 316 §107.h).

17 tn Heb “answered the Lord and said” (also in v. 9). The words “and said” here and in v. 9 have not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.

18 tn The verb שׁוּט (shut) means “to go or rove about” (BDB 1001-2 s.v.). Here the infinitive construct serves as the object of the preposition.

19 tn The Hitpael (here also an infinitive construct after the preposition) of the verb הָלַךְ (halakh) means “to walk to and fro, back and forth, with the sense of investigating or reconnoitering (see e.g. Gen 13:17).

sn As the words are spoken by Satan, there is no self-condemnation in them. What they signify is the swiftness and thoroughness of his investigation of humans. The good angels are said to go to and fro in the earth on behalf of the suffering righteous (Zech 1:10, 11; 6:7), but Satan goes seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet 5:8).

20 tn The Hebrew has “have you placed your heart on Job?” This means “direct your mind to” (cf. BDB 963 s.v. I שׂוּם 2.b).

sn The question is undoubtedly rhetorical, for it is designed to make Satan aware of Job as God extols his fine qualities.

21 tn The Hebrew conjunction כִּי (ki) need not be translated in this case or it might be taken as emphatic (cf. IBHS 665 §39.3.4e): “Certainly there is no one like him.”

22 tn The same expressions that appeared at the beginning of the chapter appear here in the words of God. In contrast to that narrative report about Job, the emphasis here is on Job’s present character, and so the participle form is translated here asa gnomic or characteristic present (“turns”). It modifies “man” as one who is turning from evil.

23 tn The Hebrew form has the interrogative ה (he) on the adverb חִנָּם (khinnam, “gratis”), a derivative either of the verb חָנַן (khanan, “to be gracious, show favor”), or its related noun חֵן (khen, “grace, favor”). The adverb has the sense of “free; gratis; gratuitously; for nothing; for no reason” (see BDB 336 s.v. חִנָּם). The idea is that Satan does not disagree that Job is pious, but that Job is loyal to God because of what he receives from God. He will test the sincerity of Job.

24 tn The use of the independent personal pronoun here emphasizes the subject of the verb: “Have you not put up a hedge.”

25 tn The verb שׂוּךְ (sukh) means “to hedge or fence up, about” something (BDB 962 s.v. I שׂוּךְ). The original idea seems to have been to surround with a wall of thorns for the purpose of protection (E. Dhorme, Job, 7). The verb is an implied comparison between making a hedge and protecting someone.

26 sn Here the verb “bless” is used in one of its very common meanings. The verb means “to enrich,” often with the sense of enabling or empowering things for growth or fruitfulness. See further C. Westermann, Blessing in the Bible and the Life of the Church (OBT).

27 tn Or “substance.” The herds of livestock may be taken by metonymy of part for whole to represent possessions or prosperity in general.

28 tn The verb פָּרַץ (parats) means “to break through.” It has the sense of abundant increase, as in breaking out, overflowing (see also Gen 30:30 and Exod 1:12).

29 tn The particle אוּלָם (’ulam, “but”) serves to restrict the clause in relation to the preceding clause (IBHS 671-73 §39.3.5e, n. 107).

30 tn The force of the imperatives in this sentence are almost conditional – if God were to do this, then surely Job would respond differently.

sn The two imperatives (“stretch out” and “strike”) and the word “hand” all form a bold anthropomorphic sentence. It is as if God would deliver a blow to Job with his fist. But the intended meaning is that God would intervene to destroy Job’s material and physical prosperity.

31 sn The formula used in the expression is the oath formula: “if not to your face he will curse you” meaning “he will surely curse you to your face.” Satan is so sure that the piety is insincere that he can use an oath formula.

32 tn See the comments on Job 1:5. Here too the idea of “renounce” may fit well enough; but the idea of actually cursing God may not be out of the picture if everything Job has is removed. Satan thinks he will denounce God.

33 sn The “bones and flesh” are idiomatic for the whole person, his physical and his psychical/spiritual being (see further H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, 26-28).

34 sn This is the same oath formula found in 1:11; see the note there.

35 tn The particle הִנּוֹ (hinno) is literally, “here he is!” God presents Job to Satan, with the restriction on preserving Job’s life.

36 tn The LXX has “I deliver him up to you.”

37 tn Heb “hand.”

38 sn The irony of the passage comes through with this choice of words. The verb שָׁמַר (shamar) means “to keep; to guard; to preserve.” The exceptive clause casts Satan in the role of a savior – he cannot destroy this life but must protect it.

39 tn The verb is נָכָה (nakhah, “struck, smote”); it can be rendered in this context as “afflicted.”

40 sn The general consensus is that Job was afflicted with a leprosy known as elephantiasis, named because the rough skin and the swollen limbs are animal-like. The Hebrew word שְׁחִין (shÿkhin, “boil”) can indicate an ulcer as well. Leprosy begins with such, but so do other diseases. Leprosy normally begins in the limbs and spreads, but Job was afflicted everywhere at once. It may be some other disease also characterized by such a malignant ulcer. D. J. A. Clines has a thorough bibliography on all the possible diseases linked to this description (Job [WBC], 48). See also HALOT 1460 s.v. שְׁחִין.

41 tn Heb “crown.”

42 tn The verb גָּרַד (garad) is a hapax legomenon (only occurring here). Modern Hebrew has retained a meaning “to scrape,” which is what the cognate Syriac and Arabic indicate. In the Hitpael it would mean “scrape himself.”

43 sn The disease required constant attention. The infection and pus had to be scraped away with a piece of broken pottery in order to prevent the spread of the infection. The skin was so disfigured that even his friends did not recognize him (2:12). The book will add that the disease afflicted him inwardly, giving him a foul breath and a loathsome smell (19:17, 20). The sores bred worms; they opened and ran, and closed and tightened (16:8). He was tormented with dreams (7:14). He felt like he was choking (7:14). His bones were racked with burning pain (30:30). And he was not able to rise from his place (19:18). The disease was incurable; but it would last for years, leaving the patient longing for death.

44 tn The construction uses the disjunctive vav (ו) with the independent pronoun with the active participle. The construction connects this clause with what has just been said, making this a circumstantial clause.

45 sn Among the ashes. It is likely that the “ashes” refers to the place outside the city where the rubbish was collected and burnt, i.e., the ash-heap (cf. CEV). This is the understanding of the LXX, which reads “dung-hill outside the city.”

46 tn The versions have some information here that is interesting, albeit fanciful. The Targum calls her “Dinah.” The LXX has “when a long time had passed.” But the whole rendering of the LXX is paraphrastic: “How long will you hold out, saying, ‘Behold, I wait yet a little while, expecting the hope of my deliverance?’ for behold, your memorial is abolished from the earth, even your sons and daughters, the pangs and pains of my womb which I bore in vain with sorrows, and you yourself sit down to spend the night in the open air among the corruption of worms, and I am a wanderer and a servant from place to place and house to house, waiting for the setting sun, that I may rest from my labors and pains that now beset me, but say some word against the Lord and die.”

47 sn See R. D. Moore, “The Integrity of Job,” CBQ 45 (1983): 17-31. The reference of Job’s wife to his “integrity” could be a precursor of the conclusion reached by Elihu in 32:2 where he charged Job with justifying himself rather than God.

48 tn The verb is literally בָּרַךְ, (barakh, “bless”). As in the earlier uses, the meaning probably has more to do with renouncing God than of speaking a curse. The actual word may be taken as a theological euphemism for the verb קִלֵּל (qillel, “curse”). If Job’s wife had meant that he was trying to justify himself rather than God, “bless God” might be translated “speak well of God,” the resolution accepted by God in 42:7-8 following Job’s double confession of having spoken wrongly of God (40:3-5; 42:1-6).

sn The church fathers were quick to see here again the role of the wife in the temptation – she acts as the intermediary between Satan and Job, pressing the cause for him. However, Job’s wife has been demonized falsely. Job did not say that she was a foolish woman, only that she was speaking like one of them (2:10). Also, Job did not exclude her from sharing in his suffering (“should we receive”). He evidently recognized that her words were the result of her personal loss and pain as well as the desire to see her husband’s suffering ended. When God gave instructions for the restoration of Job’s friends because of their foolish words (42:7-9), no mention is made of any need for Job’s wife to be restored.

49 tn The imperative with the conjunction in this expression serves to express the certainty that will follow as the result or consequence of the previous imperative (GKC 324-25 §110.f).