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Job 1:9-12

Context

1:9 Then Satan answered the Lord, “Is it for nothing that Job fears God? 1  1:10 Have you 2  not made a hedge 3  around him and his household and all that he has on every side? You have blessed 4  the work of his hands, and his livestock 5  have increased 6  in the land. 1:11 But 7  extend your hand and strike 8  everything he has, and he will no doubt 9  curse you 10  to your face!”

1:12 So the Lord said to Satan, “All right then, 11  everything he has is 12  in your power. 13  Only do not extend your hand against the man himself!” 14  So Satan went out 15  from the presence of the Lord. 16 

1 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.

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

3 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.

4 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).

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

6 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).

7 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).

8 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.

9 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.

10 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.

11 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “behold”) introduces a foundational clause upon which the following volitional clause is based.

12 tn The versions add a verb here: “delivered to” or “abandoned to” the hand of Satan.

13 tn Heb “in your hand.” The idiom means that it is now Satan’s to do with as he pleases.

14 tn The Hebrew word order emphatically holds out Job’s person as the exception: “only upon him do not stretch forth your hand.”

15 tn The Targum to Job adds “with permission” to show that he was granted leave from God’s presence.

16 sn So Satan, having received his permission to test Job’s sincerity, goes out from the Lord’s presence. But Satan is bound by the will of the Most High not to touch Job himself. The sentence gives the impression that Satan’s departure is with a certain eagerness and confidence.



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