(2) Satan’s First Attack <1:6-22>
“One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them.” <1:6 (NIV)>. The angels, members of the heavenly council, assemble around God’s throne, <see 1 Kings 22:19; Psa.89:5-7> and Satan who roams throughout the earth joins with them; and God presents His servant Job to Satan. “Have you considered my servant Job?, was the question put to Satan <v.8>, who responds that Job’s reason for being faithful is because God has placed a hedge around him, his household, and all his possessions <v.10>, and if God should remove that protection Job will surely curse God <v.11>.
“The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”” <1:12 (NIV)>; God gives Satan the power to torment Job, with a restriction, Satan, however, is under God’s control as He sometimes uses Satan to carry out His testing or discipline upon His children <see 1 Chron.21:1 cf 2 Sam.24:1; see also 1 Sam.16:14; 1 Cor.5:5; 2 Cor.12:7; Heb.2:14>. Satan then unleashes his attack on Job; first the Sabeans raid the oldest son’s property, kill the servants and steals all his oxen and donkeys, only one servant survives to report to Job <1:13-15>. “The Sabeans were descendants of Seba (eldest son of Cush, or of Sheba his grandson) in North Ethiopia” <Isa.45:14> (from Book of Life-Historical Digest). Then Satan is permitted to “arm himself with this dreadful artillery of heaven” (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.), The fire of God. … “A great fire;” evidently meaning a flash of lightning, or a thunderbolt. The Hebrew is “fire of God;” (from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.) which burns all the sheep and the servants, and only one servant escapes to reveal the disaster. While this servant is speaking to Job another servant comes to report that the Chaldeans raided and carried off all the camels, again killing all the servants; “The Chaldeans … inhabited each side of the Euphrates near to Babylon, which was their capital”. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.). The final blow was again at the oldest son’s house when a mighty wind destroyed the house killing all the occupants. So Job has now lost all his riches ( his animals) and all his children in Satan’s first attack. Did Job sin against God as Satan predicted? No, for it is recorded that “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” <1:22 (NIV)>. So often today when disaster strikes the term “an act of God” is used to explain the damage, and God is blamed for all that has happened; God is not the cause, but in His sovereignty He allows these to occur so that His will is accomplished.
Job’s response to all that had taken place was to fall to the ground and worship God; “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” <1:21 (NIV)>. And when his wife suggested that he curse God and die his response was: “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” <2:10 (NIV)>. So let us, like Job, offer our praise and worship to God even in our suffering, for in the end He will reveal to us the reason.
(3). Satan’s Second Attack <2:1-10>
“Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”” <2:3 (NIV)>. Again Satan enters God’s presence and Job’s response to his suffering is brought to Satan’s attention; although “you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason”, God says, he has not sinned. Satan then proposes a more drastic attack; “…strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” <2:5 (NIV)>; so God allows this to happen: “The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” <2:6 (NIV)>, again adding a condition – his life must be protected. Satan then attacks Job with painful sores, which caused him to sit among the ashes and scrape his sores with a piece of broken pottery; <2:8> “One object of doing this was to remove from his body the filth accumulated by the universal ulcer …. and another design probably was, to “indicate” the greatness of his calamity and sorrow. The ancients were accustomed to show their grief by significant external actions….. and nothing could more strongly denote the greatness of the calamity, than for a man of wealth, honor, and distinction, to sit down in the ashes, to take a piece of broken earthen-ware, and begin to scrape his body covered over with undressed and most painful sores. It does not appear that anything was done to heal him, or any kindness shown in taking care of his disease. It would seem that he was at once separated from his home, as a man whom none would venture to approach, and was doomed to endure his suffering without sympathy from others.” (from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.). So here we find Job abandoned by his wife and friends suffering greatly under the hand of Satan, being encouraged to sin against God; “His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”” <2:9 (NIV)>. Here again we see the attempt by his wife to blame God for his anguish, and so often this is the attitude today; when someone is in agony it is easy to ask where is God and why doesn’t He do something. Job, however, because of his righteousness responds: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” <2:10 (NIV)>.
(4) The Arrival of Job’s Friends <2:11-13>
Job’s three friends:
- Eliphaz – chief of the three; a descendant of Teman; an Edomite name; from whom a portion of Arabia took its name.
- Bildad – a Shuhite; descended from Shuah, son of Abraham by Keturah <Gen.25:1-2>; lived in the east section of Arabia.
- Zophar – a Naamathite, from the family of Naaman, grandson of Benjamin; probably from Edom. (Source: The Book of Life – Historical Digest; System Bible Study)
They all agreed to go and sympathize with Job and to comfort him; when they saw Job, it was difficult to recognize him. As was the custom then, they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads; “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” <2:13 (NIV)>. This was their expression of sympathy, and their presence would be more of a comfort than their words of advice and disapproval, in the debates that were to follow.