Job 1:6
(6) Sons of God.--Comp. Job 38:7, Genesis 6:2; Genesis 6:4; and for the sense comp. 1 Kings 22:19. The phrase probably means the angels; or at all events an incident in the unseen spiritual world is referred to simultaneous with a corresponding one on earth. (Comp. 1 Corinthians 11:10.) In the latter sense, a solemn thought is suggested by it to those who join in the public worship of God.

Satan.--The word appears in the Old Testament as the name of a specific person only here and in Zechariah 3:2, and possibly in 1 Chronicles 21:1 and Psalm 109:6. If this psalm is David's, according to the inscription, no reliance can be placed on speculations as to the late introduction of a belief in Satan among the Jews, nor, therefore, on any as to the lateness of these early chapters of Job. Precisely the same word is used, apparently as a common name, in the history of Balaam (Numbers 22:22; Numbers 22:32), also in 1 Samuel 29:4, and 1 Kings 5:4; 1 Kings 11:14; 1 Kings 11:23; 1 Kings 11:25, where it can hardly be otherwise. Here only and in Zechariah it is found with the definite article "the adversary." The theory of the personality of the evil one must largely depend upon the view we take of these and other passages of Scripture as containing an authoritative revelation.

Verse 6. - Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord. By "the sons of God" it is generally admitted that, in this place, the angels are meant (so again in Job 38:7). The meaning of the phrase is probably different in Genesis 6:2. Angels and men are alike "sons of God," as created by him, in his image, to obey and serve him. Christ, the "Only Begotten," is his Son in quite a different sense. We may gather, perhaps, from this place and Job 2:1 that there are fixed times at which the angelic host, often sent out by the Almighty on distant errands, has to gather together, one and all, before the great white throne, to pay homage to their Lord, and probably to give an account of their doings. And Satan came also among them. The word "Satan" has the article prefixed to it השׂתן here and elsewhere in Job, as in Zechariah 3:1, 2 and in Luke 22:31; Revelation 12:9. Thus accompanied, it is less a proper name than an appellative - "the adversary" (comp. 1 Peter 5:8; ὁ ἀντίδικος). In 1 Chronicles 21:1, without the article, it is undoubtedly a proper name, as in the New Testament, passim. Accusation of men before God is one of the special offices of the evil spirit (see Zechariah 3:1, 2), who is "the accuser of the brethren, he that accuses them before God day and night" (Revelation 12:10). The accusations that he makes may be either true or false, but they are so often false that his ordinary New Testament name is ὁ διάβολος, "the Slanderer." The existence of an evil spirit must have been known to all who read or heard the story of the fall of man (Genesis 3.), and the descriptive epithet, "the Adversary," is likely to have been in use from a very early date. The notion that the Satan of the Old Testament is a reflex of the Persian Ahriman, and that the Jews derived their belief upon the subject from the Persians, is quite untenable. The character and position of Satan in the Hebrew system are quite unlike those of Ahriman (Angro-mainyus) in the religion of the Zoroastrians (see 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 3. pp. 104-113).

1:6-12 Job's afflictions began from the malice of Satan, by the Lord's permission, for wise and holy purposes. There is an evil spirit, the enemy of God, and of all righteousness, who is continually seeking to distress, to lead astray, and, if possible, to destroy those who love God. How far his influence may extend, we cannot say; but probably much unsteadiness and unhappiness in Christians may be ascribed to him. While we are on this earth we are within his reach. Hence it concerns us to be sober and vigilant, 1Pe 5:8. See how Satan censures Job. This is the common way of slanderers, to suggest that which they have no reason to think is true. But as there is nothing we should dread more than really being hypocrites, so there is nothing we need dread less than being called and counted so without cause. It is not wrong to look at the eternal recompence in our obedience; but it is wrong to aim at worldly advantages in our religion. God's people are taken under his special protection; they, and all that belong to them. The blessing of the Lord makes rich; Satan himself owns it. God suffered Job to be tried, as he suffered Peter to be sifted. It is our comfort that God has the devil in a chain, Re 20:1. He has no power to lead men to sin, but what they give him themselves; nor any power to afflict men, but what is given him from above. All this is here described to us after the manner of men. The Scripture speaks thus to teach us that God directs the affairs of the world.Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord,.... This is generally understood of the angels, as in Job 38:7 who may be thought to be so called, because of their creation by the father of spirits, and their likeness to God in holiness, knowledge, and wisdom, and being affectionate and obedient to him; as also on account of the grace of election, and confirmation in Christ bestowed upon them, as well as because, in their embassies and messages to men, they represent God, and so may be called gods, and children of the Most High, for a like reason the civil magistrates are, Psalm 82:6 to which may be added, their constituting with the saints the family of God in heaven and earth: these, as they stand before God, and at his right hand and left, as the host of heaven, in which posture Micaiah saw them in vision, 1 Kings 22:19, so they may be said to go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth into the several parts of all the world, to do the will and work of God assigned them, Zechariah 6:5 and then, having done their work, return again, and present themselves before the Lord, to give an account of what they have done, and to receive fresh orders from him, being ready to do his pleasure in everything he shall command them, which is what is here supposed; though some think these were only the company or band of angels which were set as a guard about Job, his person, family, and substance, who now appeared before the Lord, to give an account of him, his affairs, and circumstances, as required of them:

and Satan came also among them; which word signifies an "adversary", as in 1 Kings 11:14 but does not design here a man adversary, as there, or one that envied Job's prosperity, as Saadiah Gaon thinks, but an evil spirit, the old serpent, the devil, as in Revelation 12:9 who is an implacable and bitter enemy to men, especially to Christ and his people; and so has this name from his hatred of them, and opposition to them: Origen (k) observes, that this word, translated into the Greek language, is an "adversary"; but R. Levi (l) derives it from "to decline" or "turn aside"; and so Suidas says (m), Satan, in the Hebrew language, is an apostate; and Theodoret (n) mentions both, that it signifies either an adversary or an apostate; the first derivation is best: knowing the end of the above meeting, that it was with respect to Job, and therefore he came with an intent to contradict what they should say of him, and to accuse him before God; he came among them as one of them, transforming himself into an angel of light, as he sometimes does; or he came, being sent for, and obliged to come to give an account of himself, and of what he had been doing in the world, in order to be reproved and punished: but though the stream of interpreters run this way, I cannot say I am satisfied with it; for, setting aside the passages in this book in question, angels are nowhere called "the sons of God"; for besides, this being denied of them in the sense that Christ is, they are represented as servants, yea, as servants to the sons of God, ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation; they call themselves the fellow servants of the saints, and of their brethren, but do not say that they are sons of the same family, or fellow heirs, or their brethren, Hebrews 1:5, moreover, they always stand in the presence of God, and behold his face, be they where they will, Matthew 18:10 nor is there any particular day assigned them for the service of God; for though they are under the moral law, so far as it is suitable to their nature, yet not under the ceremonial law, to which the observance of days belonged; and besides, they have no rest night nor day, but continually serve God, and glorify him, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty: and if this presentation of themselves to God is supposed to be in heaven, as where else should it be? it is not possible that Satan could come among them; he is fallen from heaven, being cast down from thence, nor can he, nor ever will he, be able to find a place any more there, see Luke 10:18 it seems better therefore to understand this of the people of God, of professors of religion, who, earlier than the times of Job, were distinguished from the men of the world by this character, "the sons of God", Genesis 6:2, such that were truly godly being so by adopting grace, and which was made manifest by their regeneration by the Spirit of God, and by their faith in Christ, and all were so by profession: now these assembled themselves together, to present themselves, their bodies and souls, before the Lord, which was but their reasonable service; as to pray unto him, and praise him, to offer sacrifice, and perform every religious exercise enjoined in those times; the apostle uses the like phrase of the saints' social worship, Romans 12:1 now for this there was a "day"; though I very much question whether any sabbath, or much less a seventh day sabbath, was as yet instituted; but inasmuch as men agreed together to call on the name of the Lord, or to worship him in a social way, Genesis 4:26 as it was necessary that a place should be appointed to meet at, so a time fixed by consent and agreement; even as now, the seventh day sabbath being abrogated, Christians agree to meet on the first day of the week, called the Lord's day, in imitation of the apostles of Christ; and on one of these days thus fixed and agreed on was the above meeting, at which Satan came among them, as he frequently does in the assembly of the saints, to do what mischief he can; by snatching away the word from inattentive hearers, and by directing the eye to such objects, and putting such things into the mind, as divert from the service of God; or by suggesting to the saints themselves, that what is attended to does not belong to them, with many other things of the like kind: the Targum interprets this day of the day of judgment, at the beginning of the year, and the sons of God of angels, as do other Jewish writers.

(k) Contr. Cels. l. 6. (l) In Ioc. (m) In voce (n) In 2 Reg. Quaest. 37.

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