1:1 There was a man in the land of a Uz, whose name [was] Job; and that man was perfect and b upright, and c one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
1:3 His d substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of e the east.
The Argument - In this history the example of patience is set before our eyes. This holy man Job was not only extremely afflicted in outward things and in his body, but also in his mind and conscience, by the sharp temptation of his wife and friends: who by their vehement words and subtle disputations brought him almost to despair. They set forth God as a sincere judge, and mortal enemy to him who had cast him off, therefore in vain he should seek him for help. These friends came to him under pretence of consolation, and yet they tormented him more than all his afflictions did. Even so, he constantly resisted them, and eventually succeeded. In this story we must note that Job maintains a good cause, but handles it badly. His adversaries have an evil matter, but they defend it craftily. Job held that God did not always punish men according to their sins, but that he had secret judgments, of which man knew not the cause, and therefore man could not reason against God in it, but he should be convicted. Moreover, he was assured that God had not rejected him, yet through his great torments and afflictions he speaks many inconveniences and shows himself as a desperate man in many things, and as one that would resist God, and this is his good cause which he handles well. Again the adversaries maintain with many good arguments that God punishes continually according to the trespass, grounding on Godís providence, his justice and manís sins, yet their intention is evil; for they labour to bring Job into despair, and so they maintain an evil cause. Ezekiel commends Job as a just man, (Ezekiel 14:14) and James sets out his patience for an example, (James 5:11).
(a) That is, of the country of Idumea, (Lamentations 4:21), or bordering on it: for the land was called by the name of Uz, the son of Dishan, the son of Seir (Genesis 36:28).
(b) Since he was a Gentile and not a Jew and yet is pronounced upright and without hypocrisy, it declares that among the heathen God revealed himself.
(c) By this it is declared what is meant by an upright and just man.
(d) His children and riches are declared, to commend his virtue in his prosperity and his patience and constancy when God took them from him.
1:5 And it was so, when the days of [their] feasting were gone about, that Job sent and f sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and g offered burnt offerings [according] to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and h cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job i continually.
(e) Meaning, the Arabians, Chaldeans, Idumeans etc.
(f) That is, commanded them to be sanctified: meaning, that they should consider the faults that they had committed, and reconcile themselves for the same.
1:6 Now there was a day when the k sons of God came to present themselves l before the LORD, and Satan m came also among them.
(g) That is, he offered for each of his children an offering of reconciliation, which declared his religion toward God, and the care that he had for his children.
(h) In Hebrew it is, "blessed God", which is sometimes taken for blaspheming and cursing, as it is here and in (1 Kings 21:10,13).
(i) While the feast lasted.
(k) Meaning the angels, who are called the sons of God because they are willing to execute his will.
1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence n comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, o From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
(l) Because our infirmity cannot comprehend God in his majesty, he is set forth to us as a King, that our capacity may be able to understand that which is spoken of him.
(m) This declares that although Satan is an adversary to God, yet he is compelled to obey him, and do him all homage, without whose permission and appointment he can do nothing.
(n) This question is asked for our infirmity: for God knew where he had come from.
1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for p nought?
(o) In this is described the nature of Satan, which is always seeking his prey, (1 Peter 5:8).
(p) He fears you not for your own sake, but for the blessing that he received from you.
1:10 Hast not thou made q an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
(q) Meaning, the grace of God, which served Job as a rampart against all temptations.
1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and r touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to s thy face.
(r) This signifies that Satan is not able to touch us, but it is God that must do it.
1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath [is] in t thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the u presence of the LORD.
(s) Satan notes the vice to which men are commonly subjected, that is, to hide their rebellion and to be content with God in the time of prosperity which view is disclosed in the time of their adversity.
(t) God does not give Satan power over man to gratify him, but to declare that he has no power over man, but that which God gives him.
1:15 And the x Sabeans fell [upon them], and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
(u) That is, went to execute that which God had permitted him to do for else he can never go out of Godís presence.
(x) That is, the Arabians.
1:16 While he [was] yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The y fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
(y) Which was also done by the craft of Satan, to tempt Job even more grievously, so he might see that not only men were his enemies, but that God made war against him.
1:18 While he [was] yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy z sons and thy daughters [were] eating and drinking wine in their eldest brotherís house:
(z) This last plague declares that when one plague is past which seems hard to bear, God can send us another far more grievous, to try his and teach them obedience.
1:20 Then Job arose, and a rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
(a) Which came not from impatience, but declares that the children of God are not insensible like blocks, but that in their patience they feel affliction and grief of mind: yet they do not rebel against God as the wicked do.
1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my motherís womb, and naked shall I return b thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; c blessed be the name of the LORD.
(b) That is, into the belly of the earth, which is the mother of all.
1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God d foolishly.
(c) By this he confesses that God is just and good, although his hand is sore on him.
(d) But declared that God did all things according to justice and equity.