Job 1 Study Notes


1:1 The English rendering of Job’s name comes from the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the OT. The Hebrew form (’iyyob) reflects a name that is common in the ancient Near East, meaning “Where Is the (Heavenly) Father.” The only other use of the name outside this book is in Ezk 14:14,20. The name carries a double significance for the story. Not only will Job wonder whether God has abandoned him, but it suggests the deeper questions: Is God really sufficient for every aspect of life? Will he be there when I need him? Uz could name a place east of the Jordan River anywhere from Aram to Edom (Gn 10:22-23; Lm 4:21). Job’s devotion to God was wholehearted. He had complete integrity (lit he was “blameless and upright”) and walked wisely before the Lord (28:28). This indicates that Job had a consistent spiritual life, not that he was sinless.

1:2-3 The numbers seven (seven sons and seven thousand sheep and goats), three (three daughters and three thousand camels), and one thousand (five hundred yoke of oxen, where a yoke represents a pair; and five hundred female donkeys) symbolized perfection and completeness. Job’s impressive family, servants, livestock, and material wealth made him the greatest man in the east, where “east” could designate “virtually any place from Damascus to Arabia and as far east as Persia” (Robert Alden, Job, New American Commentary).

1:4-5 To ensure his family’s spiritual purity Job regularly acted as priest. The word cursed renders the Hebrew “blessed” (used as a euphemism in this case). Job’s wife later used the same word in the same way (2:9).


Hebrew pronunciation [sah TAHN]
CSB translation adversary, Satan
Uses in Job 14
Uses in the OT 26
Focus passage Job 1:6-9,12

Satan denotes adversary (1Sm 29:4) or enemy (1Kg 5:4). Even the angel of the Lord could be one who opposes (Nm 22:22). Satan refers to military (1Sm 29:4) and political (1Kg 11:25) enemies. OT evidence favors the connotation “accuser.” The related noun sitnah means accusation (Ezr 4:6). A judicial setting shows an accuser at someone’s right hand to give him his own treatment, which was verbal attack (Ps 109:2-7). In a heavenly courtroom, someone standing at Joshua’s right hand opposes him before the angel of the Lord (Zch 3:1-2). Here and seventeen other places satan seems to identify a particular supernatural being by the name or title Satan, as in Arabic; once the article is absent from satan (1Ch 21:1). The verb satan (6x: oppose, be an enemy) may derive from the noun and appears alongside it (Zch 3:1). The verb form satan occurs in five of the Psalms.

1:6 The heavenly setting indicates that the sons of God are angels (2:1; cp. Ps 29:1; 103:20). Satan (the Accuser, cp. Zch 3:1-2) also came to the heavenly council. He always opposes the work of the Lord (Mt 16:23; Rv 12:9) but is limited in his power (Jb 1:12; 2:6). Lord translates the Hebrew name of the covenant God of Israel (Yahweh).

1:7-8 The Lord’s questions suggest that Satan came to the meeting uninvited but do not indicate that God was ignorant of Satan’s activities. God’s omniscience is attested throughout the Scriptures (Ps 139:7-12). Instances in which he asks questions are acts of accommodation that allow him to relate to humans via dialogue.

1:9-11 Satan challenged Job’s motives for fearing God. He suggested that Job’s devotion to God depended on his life circumstances.

1:12 The limitation God imposed on Satan’s testing demonstrated the Lord’s desire that Job be a trophy of God’s grace even in his suffering.

1:13-15 The Sabeans mentioned here were apparently nomads from northern Arabia, not the later wealthy kingdom of south Arabia whose renowned queen Sheba visited King Solomon (1Kg 10:1-13) and whose people Isaiah prophesied would submit to Israel (Is 45:14).

1:16 God’s fire (probably lightning) is normally a divine weapon (2Kg 1:10-14). Ironically, Satan was given permission to use it against God’s servants.

1:17 Like the Sabeans, the Chaldeans were nomadic raiders. King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon was a Chaldean (2Kg 24:1; Dn 1:1).

1:18-19 As after the Sabean raid (v. 15), a force of nature completed the attack against Job’s family.

1:20 Tearing one’s garments (Gn 37:34; 2Ch 34:19) and shaving one’s head (Am 5:10) were symbolic acts of grief. Job’s falling to the ground to worship God reflected a traditional method of showing reverence (Jos 5:14; Rv 1:17).

1:21-22 Job recognized that ultimately the Lord determines all things, so he submitted himself to God’s sovereign will. The word blessed occurs in v. 11 where it is translated “curse” (see note at vv. 4-5). Rather than cursing God as Satan had predicted, Job blessed his name and did not blame God. The word name reflects the revealed character and reputation of God (Jl 2:26). The term name came to be a surrogate for God (Dn 9:18-19) and was later applied to Christ (Ac 5:41; 3Jn 7).