And there came a messenger unto Job
Not a messenger of Satan, as Jarchi, or one of his angels, or evil spirits; though this is a sense which is embraced not only by some Jewish Rabbins, but by several of the ancient Christian writers, as Sanctius on the place observes; and such they suppose the other messengers after mentioned were; but both this and they were servants of Job, who escaped the calamity that came upon the rest of their fellow servants:
and said, the oxen were ploughing:
the five hundred yoke of oxen Job had, ( Job 1:3 ) , which were all out in the fields, and employed in ploughing them; and to plough with such was usual in those times and countries, as it now is in some places; see ( 1 Kings 19:19 )
and the asses feeding beside them;
beside the oxen, where they were ploughing, in pasture ground, adjoining to the arable land; and beside the servants that were ploughing with the oxen: "at their hands" F2; as it may be literally rendered, just by them, under their eye and care; or "in their places" F3; where they should be, and where they used to feed F4; these were the five hundred asses, male and female, reckoned among Job's substance, ( Job 1:3 ) , which were brought hither to feed, and some for the servants to ride on; this ploughed land being at some distance from Job's house; and others to carry the seed that was was to be sown here: now the situation and employment of these creatures are particularly mentioned, to show that they were in their proper places, and at their proper work; and that what befell them was not owing to the want of care of them, or to the indolence and negligence of the servants.
F2 (Mhydy le) "ad manus eorum", Mercerus.
F3 "Suis locis", Vatablus, Schmidt; so Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Bar Tzemach.
F4 "More solito", Schultens.