1:6 Now the day came when 2 the sons of God 3 came to present themselves before 4 the Lord – and Satan 5 also arrived among them. 1:7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” 6 And Satan answered the Lord, 7 “From roving about 8 on the earth, and from walking back and forth across it.” 9 1:8 So the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered 10 my servant Job? There 11 is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away 12 from evil.”
1 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.
2 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).
3 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.
4 tn The preposition עַל (’al) in this construction after a verb of standing or going means “before” (GKC 383 §119.cc).
5 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).
6 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).
8 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.
9 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).
10 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.
11 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.”
12 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.
13 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.