JOB 1:13-22

(C)opyright January 22, 2000
All Rights Reserved
Daniel J. Dyke

Things to note as you examine the text:

1.    How was this attack by Satan planned, calculated, and executed?

a.    What factors made the day of the attack the worst possible day for Job?
b.    Did Satan attack immediately upon receiving permission or did he wait?
c.    Notice the structure of the passage.
(1)    Circumstance: There are three circumstances which are dealt with in the scene.
(a)    The first was the day on which the attack took place (the day of the feast at the house of the eldest son).  The eldest son is the firstborn and as such holds special status in society and in Job's mind.
(b)    The second was a crucial moment that Satan chose for the attack upon the children.  Job had feared for his children when they were eating and drinking wine (yayin/!yIy:).  If one examines chapter 1 he will see that Job feared for his children at this type of  moment and would quickly make sacrifice for sins that he thought they may have committed in their heart while they were doing such things.
(c)    The third is the coming of the messengers.  Notice after attack one takes place the messengers arrival is recorded with the refrain,
 
While he was still speaking another also came to Job and said . . .
. . . rm;aYOw: aB' hz<w> rBed;m. hz< dA[
(2)    Message: The nature and extent of the calamity is described.  The attack was made upon the very things that gave Job status in his society and were the visible tokens of his righteousness.  By the fact they are simultaneously taken away would imply God's disfavor.  Satan is not omnipresent, but he can simultaneously act either personally or through his henchmen at multiple places.  Note the various "instruments" that Satan uses in attacking Job and how each attack would shift blame either to humans or to God himself.
(1)    Calamity #1: Sabeans (Human-Earthly)
(2)    Calamity #2: Fire of God (Heavenly)
(3)    Calamity #3: Chaldeans (Human-Earthly)
(4)    Calamity #4: Wind (Heavenly)
REM:  Please note that when God does appear to Job he manifests himself in the form of one of the attacks (the wind).  This adds to the complexity of the problem.  Sometimes the wind is the instrument of Satan and sometimes it is the manifestation of God, but the problem is that frail man cannot always tell the difference. In fact when God comes in the whirlwind (hr'['s.) the Hebrew term is a stronger term than here (x;Wr).

(3)    Fortuitous Escape: A single servant escapes to deliver bad news.  A question that arises is of the moral nature of the escaping servant.  Was he randomly chosen or was he someone who was under the power of Satan to some degree.

2.    How did Job respond?
a.    Satan's challenge would be that Job would curse God to his face.  The word Satan used for curse was barak (%rB to kneel, bless, praise, salute, curse [used  euphemistically]).  It obviously can be used in two ways bless or curse.  In 1:21 it is used in the former sense and in 1:11 in the latter.  Job obviously disappoints but does not disillusion Satan at this point for he will pursue the idea once again in chapter 2.

b.    Job's response is very traditional. It is a mixture of acts done in moments of extreme sorrow (cf. II Samuel 13:31; Jeremiah 41:5), acts signifying disgrace () and those done in reverence (Daniel 3:7).

(1)    Arose
(2)    Tore
(3)    Shaved
(4)    Fell to the Ground
(5)    Worshipped
3.    Divine Evaluation: The editor of the book reveals to us that God's estimation of Job, does not change.  One of the messenger's has blamed God in the story, but Job did not.

4.    It is interesting that we do not see a friend, neighbor, or family member forming a conclusion about Job's spiritual status when he lost his possions that were external to his own person (property, servants, children).  It could be that people thought these calamities came because of the sins of the servants and of the children.
 
 

Calamity #1 (13)Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house,  (14)a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, (15) and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
Calamity #2 (16)While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
Calamity #3 (17)While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
Calamity #4 (18)While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house,  (19)and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
Response (20)Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. (21)He 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 (%rB) be the name of the LORD." 
Evaluation (22)Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.