Bible Study – Job
Class Two: Job 1: 6-12

From the Orthodox Study Bible.

Satan is Permitted to Test Job

6.  Then as it so happened one day that behold, the angels of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the devil also came with them. 

7. The Lord said to the devil, “Where did you come from?” So the devil answered the Lord and said, “I came here after going about the earth and walking around under heaven.”

8. Then the Lord said to him, “Have you yet considered my servant Job, since there is none like him on the earth: a blameless, true, and God-fearing man, and one who abstains from every evil thing?”

9. So the devil answered and said before the Lord, “Does Job worship the Lord for no reason?

10. Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?  You have blessed the work of his hands, and his cattle have increased in the and. 

11.  But stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and see if he will bless You to Your face.”

12.  Then the Lord said to the devil, “Behold, whatever he has I give into your hand; but do not touch him.”  Thus the devil went out from the Lord.

Let’s break this down.

v. 6; why were the angels of God presenting themselves before the Lord?

Many angels surround Him continually;

·      Anaphora of St. John Chrsysostom.  For all these things we give thanks unto Thee, and to Thine only-begotten Son, and to Thy Holy Spirit; for all things of which we know and of which we know not, whether seen or unseen; and we thank Thee for this Liturgy which Thou hast willed to accept at our hands, though there stand by Thee thousands of archangels and hosts of angels (Daniel 7:10) the Cherubim and the Seraphim, six- winged (Isiah 6:2) many-eyed (Revelations 4:8) who soar aloft, borne on their wings:  Singing the triumphant hymn, shouting, proclaiming, and saying: “Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord of Sabaoth! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory’. (Isaiah 6:3) Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest. (Mathew 21:9, Mark 11:9-10, Psalms 118:26)

·      Hebrews 12:22.  But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,

   Possibly – they are part of His Divine Council

·      Psalm 81:1-2a; “God stood in the assembly of gods; He judges in the midst of gods,”  

·      Psalm 88: 9-13 (89:6-8). “The heavens shall confess Your wonders, O Lord, and Your truth in the church of the saints.  For who in the clouds shall be compared to the Lord and who among the sons of God shall be compared to the Lord?”

More likely – they are ministering angels

·      Hebrews 1:14.  Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

·      Psalms 90:11.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

·      Matthew 18:10.  “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Hesychius of Jerusalem (5th Century - not recognized as a saint): Was there ever a time when the angels did not stand before the Lord? Was it not written about them that “a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him”? (Daniel 7:11)But this coming, in our opinion, is that of the angels who had been sent to serve human beings. Paul actually says, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” HOMILIES ON JOB 2.1.6.

More on v.6: why was the devil with him?

Note – the problem is why God would be talking with the devil, and why the devil could even stand to be in His presence.

One way to resolve this is to note that there are other places in scripture when God talks to the devil and demons (temptation in the wilderness, demons at Gardenes).

Another way is to say that it wasn’t really “THE Devil”, it was “The Satan”, which is a job title, “The Adversary.”  This takes us back to the Divine Council.  As Michael Heiser writes;

Evidence for exactly the same structures in the Israelite council is tenuous. Despite the fact that popular Israelite religion may have understood Yahweh as having a wife, Asherah (see Hess), it cannot be sustained that the religion of the prophets and biblical writers contained this element or that the idea was permissible. There is also no real evidence for the craftsman tier. However, the role of the śāṭān (see Satan), the accuser who openly challenges God on the matter of Job’s spiritual resilience, is readily apparent (Job 1:6–12; 2:1–6). In the divine council in Israelite religion Yahweh was the supreme authority over a divine bureaucracy that included a second tier of lesser ʾĕlōhîm (bĕnê ʾēlîm; bĕnê ʾĕlōhîm or bĕnê hāʾĕlōhîm) and a third tier of malʾākîm (“angels”). In the book of *Job some members of the council apparently have a mediatory role with respect to human beings (Job 5:1; 15:8; 16:19–21; cf. Heb 1:14).
M. S. Heiser, “Divine Council,” ed. Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Inter-Varsity Press, 2008), 114.

However, these are not the tacts that St. John Chrysostom took.  By his time, this Satan had been seen to be the same as the fallen angel in the garden etc.

·      He had a lot to say about how angels and demons are mixed together here on earth (even remarking on the headcover passage 1 Corinthians 11:10).  This has obvious implications for us and our spiritual lives!

·      He also said that there was no way the devil could talk to God in this way, and that this is written for the sake of the story (page 24).

Also his comment on being rich already putting Job into the arena. [NOTE: I was kidding/prodding about St. John being woke, but he was/is supremely concerned for the poor and the obligations of the rich. Before the term became altered and politicized, this made him a strong promoter of social justice.]

v. 7–8 Where Have You Come From?

St Gregory the Great: Satan’s “going to and fro on the earth” represents his exploring the hearts of the carnal. In this way he is seeking diligently for grounds of accusation against them. He “goes round about the earth,” for he surrounds human hearts in order to steal all that is good in them, that he may lodge evil in their minds, that he may occupy completely what he has taken over, that he may fully reign over what he has occupied, that he may possess the very lives of those he has perfected in sin. Note that he does not say he has been flying through the earth but that he has been “walking up and down it.” For in fact he is never easily dislodged from whomever he tempts. But where he finds a soft heart, he plants the foot of his wretched persuasion, so that by dwelling there, he may stamp the footprints of evil practice, and by a wickedness similar to his own he may render reprobate all whom he is able to overcome. But in spite of this, blessed Job is commended with these words, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil.” To him, whom divine inspiration strengthens to meet the enemy, God praises as it were even in the ears of Satan. For God’s praise of Job is the first evidence of Job’s virtues, so that they may be preserved when they are manifested. But the old enemy is enraged against the righteous the more he perceives that they are hedged around by the favor of God’s protection. MORALS ON THE BOOK OF JOB 2.65.66.

v. 1:9–10 Does Job Fear God for Nothing?

St. John Chrysostom: Do you see that Job’s wealth was a gift from God? Do you see that it was not the fruit of injustice? How Job had to suffer in order to demonstrate to people that his wealth was not the fruit of injustice! And behold, the devil himself bore witness to him from above and did not realize that he praised Job as well by saying that he had not acquired that wealth through illicit trading and through the oppression of others. Instead, Job owed his wealth to God’s blessing, and his security came from heaven. You would have not rejoiced if Job had not been virtuous. But the devil praised and covered him with laurels without realizing what he was doing. COMMENTARY ON JOB 1:10.

Manlio Simonetti and Marco Conti, eds., Job, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 4–5.

Robert Charles Hill.  St. John Chrysostom Commentaries on the Sages, Volume One – Commentary on Job.  Holy Cross Orthodox Press.

What we will cover next week:

Job loses his possessions, his children, and his health.  Job 1:7-22

Direct download: 20240131-Job01_6-12.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:41am EDT