Job 1 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Job 1)

Verse 1

[1] There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Uz — Part of Arabia.

Perfect — Not legally or exactly, but as to his sincere intentions, hearty affections, and diligent endeavours to perform all his duties to God and men.

Upright — Heb. right, exact and regular in all his dealings, with men; one of an unblameable conversation.

Feared — One truly pious, and devoted to God.

Eschewed — Carefully avoiding all sin against God or men.

Verse 3

[3] His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

Camels - Camels in these parts were very numerous, and very useful, both for carrying burdens in these hot and dry countries, as being able to endure thirst much better than other creatures, and for service in war.

Asses — He-asses also may be included in this expression, because the greatest part of them (from which the denomination is usually taken) were she asses.

The greatest — That lived in those parts. The account of his piety and prosperity comes before the account of his afflictions, to shew that neither of these will secure us from the common, no, nor from the uncommon calamities of human life.

Verse 4

[4] And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

Feasted — To testify and maintain their brotherly love.

His day — Each his appointed day, perhaps his birth-day, or the first day of the month.

Verse 5

[5] And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

When — When each of them had had his turn.

Satisfied — He exhorted them to examine their own consciences, to repent of any thing, which had been amiss in their feasting, and compose their minds for employments of a more solemn nature.

Early — Thereby shewing his ardent zeal in God's service.

May be — His zeal for God's glory, and his true love to his children, made him jealous.

Cursed — Not in a gross manner, which it is not probable either that they should do, or that Job should suspect it concerning them, but despised or dishonoured God; for both Hebrew and Greek words signifies cursing, are sometimes used to note only, reviling or setting light by a person.

Hearts — By slight and low thoughts of God, or by neglecting to give God the praise for the mercies which they enjoyed.

Thus — It was his constant course at the end of every feasting time, to offer a sacrifice for each. Parents should be particular in their addresses to God, for the several branches of their family; praying for each child, according to his particular temper, genius and disposition.

Verse 6

[6] Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

A day — A certain time appointed by God.

The sons — The holy angels, so called, chap. 38:7; Daniel 3:25,28, because of their creation by God, for their resemblance of him in power, and dignity, and holiness, and for their filial affection and obedience, to him.

Before — Before his throne, to receive his commands, and to give him an account of their negotiations. But you must not think that these things are to be understood literally; it is only a parabolical representation of that great truth, that God by his wise and holy providence governs all the actions of men and devils: It being usual with the great God to condescend to our shallow capacities, and to express himself, as the Jews phrase it, in the language of the sons of men. And it is likewise intimated, that the affairs of earth are much the subject of the counsels of the unseen world. That world is dark to us: but we lie open to it.

Verse 9

[9] Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

For nought — Out of pure love and respect to thee? No. It is policy, not piety, that makes him good; he doth not serve thee, but serveth himself of thee, serving thee for his own ends.

Verse 12

[12] And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

Behold, … — It seems strange, that, God should give Satan such a permission as this. But he did it for his own glory, for the honour of Job, for the explanation of providence, and the encouragement of his afflicted people in all ages.

Verse 14

[14] And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:

Messenger, … — One messenger immediately followed another; Satan so ordering by God's permission, that there might seem to be more than ordinary displeasure of God against him in his troubles, and that he might not have leisure to recollect himself, but be overwhelmed by a complication of calamities.

Verse 15

[15] And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Sabeans — A people of Arabia, who led a wandering life, and lived by robbery and spoil.

I — Whom Satan spared, that Job might have speedy and certain intelligence of his calamity.

Verse 16

[16] While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

The fire of God — As thunder is the voice of God, so lightning is his fire. How terrible then were the tidings of this destruction, which came immediately from the hand of God! And seemed to shew, that God was angry at his very offerings, and would receive no more from his hands.

Verse 17

[17] While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Chaldeans — Who also lived upon spoil, as Xenephon and others observe.

Verse 19

[19] And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

The young men — This was the greatest of Job's losses, and therefore Satan reserved it to the last, that if the other provocations failed, this might make him curse God. They died by a wind of the devils raising, but which seemed to be the immediate hand of God. And they were taken away, when he had the most need of them, to comfort him under all his other losses. Such miserable comforters are creatures: in God we have a constant and sufficient help.

Verse 20

[20] Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

Shaved — Caused his hair to be shaved or cut off, which was then an usual ceremony in mourning.

Worshipped — Instead of cursing God, which Satan said he would do, he adored him, and gave him the glory of his sovereignty, of his justice, and of his goodness also, in this most severe dispensation.

Verse 21

[21] And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Naked — I brought none of these things with me, when I came out of my mother's womb into the world, but I received them from the hand of God, who hath now required his own again.

Return thither — I shall be as rich when I die as I was when I was born, and therefore have reason to be contented with my condition, which also is the common lot of all men. Into the lap of our common mother, the earth, as the weary child lays its head in its mother's bosom. We go out of the world naked; the body doth, tho' the sanctified soul goes clothed. ( 2 Corinthians 5:3.) Death strips us of all our enjoyments: clothing can neither warm nor adorn a dead body.

Taken — He hath taken away nothing but his own, and what he so gave that he reserved the supreme disposal of in his own hand. And what is it to me, by what hand he that gives, resumes what he gave?

Verse 22

[22] In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Charged — Heb. not imputed folly to God; so far was he from blaspheming God, that he did not entertain any dishonourable thought of God, as if he had done anything unworthy of his infinite wisdom, or justice, or goodness, but heartily acquiesced in his good pleasure, and in his righteous though sharp proceedings against him. Discontent and impatience do in effect impute folly to God. Against the workings of these we should carefully watch, acknowledging that God has done well, but we have done foolishly.