And the Lord said unto Satan, whence comest thou?
&c.] This question is put, not as ignorant of the place from whence he came; for the omniscient God knows all persons and things, men and angels, and these good and bad, where they are, from whence they come, and what they do, see ( Genesis 3:9 ) ( 4:9 ) but it is put either as being angry with him, and resenting his coming among the sons of God, and chiding him for it, as having no proper business there, like the question in ( Matthew 22:12 ) , or rather in order to lead on to another, and to bring out from him what he intended to have expressed by him, of what he had seen and taken notice of in the place from whence he came, and particularly concerning Job: how God and spirits converse together we are not able to say; but no doubt there is a way in which God talks with spirits, even with evil ones, as well as good ones, and in which they speak to him; and so this does not at all affect the reality of this narrative:
then Satan answered the Lord and said, from going to and fro in the
earth, and from walking up and down in it;
this he said as swaggering and boasting, as if he was indeed the God of the whole world, the Prince and King of it, and had and exercised a sovereign dominion over it, and as such had been making a tour through it, and taking a survey of it, see ( Matthew 4:8 ) , and as if he was at full liberty to go where he pleased, and was under no control, when he was in chains of darkness, and could go nowhere, nor do anything, without divine permission; could not touch Job, nor his substance, nor, as in the days of Christ, so much as enter into a herd of swine without leave: likewise this may denote the disquietude and restlessness of this evil spirit, who could not abide long in a place, but moving to and fro, seeking rest, but finding none, ( Matthew 12:43 ) , as also his diligence and indefatigableness in doing and seeking to do mischief, going about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, taking all opportunities of doing injury, sowing his tares while men are asleep and off their guard, ( 1 Peter 5:8 ) ( Matthew 13:25 ) , and so the first word here used signifies a diligent search, and is rendered by some, and particularly by Mr. Broughton, "from searching about the earth" F15, "and from walking in it"; and so the Targum,
``from going about in the earth, to search the works of the children of men, and from walking in it;''and it points at the place of Satan's abode, the earth, with the circumambient air, ( Ephesians 2:2 ) and the extent of his influence, which reaches not to heaven, and to the saints there, out of which he is cast, and can never reenter, but to the earth only, and men on it; and here no place is free from him; he and his angels are roving about everywhere, city and country; public and private places, men's own houses, or the house of God, are not exempt from them; and therefore all here need to watch and pray, lest they enter into temptation, ( Matthew 26:41 ) . Schultens interprets the word of Satan going through the earth with great force and violence, whipping and scourging miserable mortals.
F15 So Rambam and Ben Melech.