And the Sabeans fell upon them
Or, "Sheba fell" F5; that is, as Aben Ezra and Simeon Bar Tzemach supply it, an host of the Sabeans, or a company of them; these were not the descendants of that Sheba that sprung from Ham, ( Genesis 10:7 ) nor of him that came from Shem, ( Genesis 10:28 ) , but from Sheba, the son of Jokshan, a son of Abraham by Keturah, who with the rest of her sons were sent into the east country, the country of Job; and these Sabeans, who descended from the same, were his near neighbours, ( Genesis 25:3 Genesis 25:6 ) , they were the inhabitants of one of the Arabias, it is generally said Arabia Felix; but that is not likely, since it was a very plentiful country, the inhabitants of which had no need to rob and plunder others; and besides was at a great distance from the place of Job's habitation, and lay to the south, and not the east; though Strabo F6 indeed says, that the Sabeans inhabited Arabia Felix, and made excursions into Syria, which agrees with these Sabeans; but rather Arabia Deserta, as Spanheim F7 has abundantly proved, a barren place; hence we read of Sabeans from the wilderness, ( Ezekiel 23:42 ) , the inhabitants of which lived upon the plunder of others; and these being naturally given to spoil and rapine, were fit persons for Satan to work upon, as he does in the children of disobedience; into whose hearts he put it to make such a descent on Job's fields, and carry off his cattle, as they did; they fell upon his oxen and asses at once and unawares, in a body, in an hostile and furious manner:
and took them away;
as a booty; they did not kill them, but drove them off the ground, and led them into their own country for their use and service:
yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword;
who were ploughing with the oxen, and looking after the asses, and who might make an opposition, though in vain; this was an addition to affliction, that not only his cattle were carried off, but his servants were slain, who were born in his house, or bought with his money:
and I only am escaped alone to tell thee;
this single servant was preserved, either by the special providence of God, in kindness to Job, that he might know of a certainty, and exactly, and what had befallen him, and how it came to pass, which men are naturally desirous of; or else, as it is generally thought, through the malice and cunning of Satan, that the tidings might the sooner be brought to him, and more readily be believed by him, and strike him with the greater surprise, a servant of his own running with it, whom he knew, and could believe; and he appearing with the utmost concern of mind, and horror in his countenance.
F5 (abv lptw) "et delapsa est Seba", Montanus, Bolducius; "et irruit Sheba", Schmidt, Cocceius.
F6 Geograph. l. 16. p. 536.
F7 Histor. Jobi, c. 3. sect. 12. p. 44