Job 1:16 MEANING

Job 1:16
(16) The fire of God.--Whether or not we understand this phrase as in the margin, it can hardly mean anything else than lightning. (Comp. Genesis 19:24, and 2 Kings 1:10-14.) It is characteristic of the Old Testament poetry to see in the convulsions of nature the immediate action of the Most High; but perhaps it is intended throughout Job that we should see more than this, as the book undoubtedly assumes to be the record of a Divine revelation.

Verse 16. - While he was yet speaking; literally, he yet speaking; ἔτι τούτον λαλοῦντος, LXX. The writer hurries his words to express the rapidity with which one announcement followed another (see vers. 17, 18). There came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven. "The fire of God" is undoubtedly lightning (comp. Numbers 11:1-3; 2 Kings 1:10, 14; Psalm 78:21). This Satan, under permission, might wield, as being "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2): but there is, no doubt, something very extraordinary in a storm extending over the pastures occupied by nine thousand sheep, and destroying the whole of them (Cook) Still, it cannot be said that such a storm is impossible; and perhaps the damage done was not greater than that which followed on the seventh Egyptian plague (see Exodus 9:18-26). And hath burned up the sheep, and the servants; literally, the young men; i.e. the shepherds who were in attendance upon the sheep. And consumed them; literally, devoured them. Fire is often said to "devour" what it destroys. "The Egyptians," says Herodotus, "believe fire to be a live animal, which eats whatever it can seize, and then, glutted with the food, dies with the matter which it feeds upon" (Herod., 3:16). And I only am escaped alone to tell thee (see the comment on ver. 15).

1:13-19 Satan brought Job's troubles upon him on the day that his children began their course of feasting. The troubles all came upon Job at once; while one messenger of evil tidings was speaking, another followed. His dearest and most valuable possessions were his ten children; news is brought him that they are killed. They were taken away when he had most need of them to comfort him under other losses. In God only have we a help present at all times.While he was yet speaking, there came also another,.... Another messenger, one of Job's servants, from another part of his fields where his sheep were grazing, and was one of those that kept them; he came with another piece of bad news, even before the other had finished his whole account; and the same is observed of all the other messengers that follow: so Satan ordered it, that all Job's afflictions should come upon him at once, and the news of them be brought him as thick and as fast as they could, to surprise him the more into some rash expressions against God; that he might have no intermission, no breathing time; no time for prayer to God to support him under the affliction, and sanctify it unto him; no time for meditation upon, or recollection of, past experiences of divine goodness, or of promises that might have been useful to him; but they came one upon the back of another, to hurry him into some indecent carriage and behaviour towards God, being considered by him as his judgments upon him:

and said, the fire of God is fallen from heaven; which the servant thought, or Satan put it into his mind to say, that it came immediately from God, like that which destroyed Nadab and Abihu and the murmurers in the camp of Israel, Leviticus 10:2 or, as it is commonly thought, is so called, because a most vehement one, as a vehement flame is called the flame of the Lord, Sol 8:6 this being such a fire as was never known, since the fire that came down from heaven and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain. I am inclined to think it was a prodigious flash or flashes of lightning; for as thunder is the voice of God, so lightning, which accompanies it, may be called the fire of God; and this agrees with the phraseology of the passage; it comes from heaven, or the air, and falls upon the earth, and strikes creatures and things in it; and which, as it is the effect of natural causes, Satan might be permitted to join them together and effect it; and this was done, and the news of it expressed in such language as to make Job believe that God was against him, and become his enemy, and that the artillery of heaven was employed to his harm, and to the ruin of his substance:

and hath burnt up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; as the fire or lightning which came down from heaven and consumed the captains, and their fifties, in Elijah's time, 2 Kings 1:10 and such like effects of lightning are often to be observed, both with respect to men and cattle; these were the 7000 sheep Job was possessed of, Job 1:3 and which were all destroyed at once, with the servants that kept them, excepting one; creatures very productive and very useful both for food and clothing, and also used for sacrifice; and it is thought that Satan's end in the destruction of these was, that Job might conclude from hence that his sacrifices were not acceptable to God, and therefore it was in vain to serve him; which he hoped by this means to bring him to express in a passionate manner to God:

and I only am escaped alone to tell thee; See Gill on Job 1:15.

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