3 And Yahweh said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth Elohim, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
As to Job's tempter, we think that a critical reading will remove the obscurity.
Job was a priest, and the greatest of all the sons of the East; he was withal
"perfect and upright, and one that feared God and eschewed evil."
He was also a faithful teacher of the truth; for, saith he,
"I have not concealed the words of the Holy One."
He was above princes and nobles; for when he appeared among them,
"the princes refrained from talking, and the nobles held their peace." Yea, "I chose out their way," saith he, "and sat chief, and dwelt as king in the army."
The excellent of the earth were his associates and friends-the sons of God, who presented themselves from time to time before the Lord, according to his appointment.
But the sons of God in all past ages have not all of them been without rebuke. Many have passed for sons of God who have been but roaring lions and ravenous wolves.
"Judas was a devil;" yet, "an angel of light," or messenger of knowledge, and a "minister of righteousness"-a very satan amid the sons of God; for said Jesus to the twelve, "One of you is a devil."
Yet he sent this devil out to preach the Gospel, to proclaim repentance, and to heal the sick. He went up to the house of God in company with Jesus, took sweet counsel with him, and betrayed him. This constituted him a satan to Jesus; for Jesus had more satans than one to contend against him.
hash-satan, signifies the adversary, from sahtan, to be hostile, to oppose. The noun with the definite article occurs in Job 1:6.
When Job and his friends, the sons of the Elohim, came to present themselves before Yahweh, a Judas, the adversary of Job, came in the midst of them. Yahweh, knowing the enmity of his heart against Job, opened the conversation respecting him, recorded in the book. The adversary of Job was evidently a powerful prince, according to his own account, for he seemed to march to and fro at his pleasure; only that he could not invade Job's possessions to destroy them, because Yahweh had "made a hedge about him."
But Yahweh's protection was removed from everything but Job's person, and his adversary was allowed to prevail against him. The Sabeans, fire from heaven, the Chaldeans, and the whirlwind, were the means by which Job was reduced to the greatest extremity.
These were the "hand," and "power" of the adversary, or satan, of Job, who is said to have done the evil, because he moved Yahweh to do it. "Thou movedst me against him, saith Yahweh, to destroy him without cause." Yahweh did it all, but it is attributed to Job's adversary, because he instigated Yahweh to do it; and Yahweh did it, not to torment Job, but to vindicate his integrity against the assertions of his enemy.
Much might be added upon this subject; but, for the present, we must dismiss it, with the hope that sufficient has been said to remove the obscurity that may have existed.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1857
7 So went Satan forth from the presence of Yahweh, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
Then, in seeming heartless response by God to this loving and godly reaction, he was smitten from head to foot -- again obviously by the hand of God -- with the most painful, loathsome and abhorred disease known to man, inevitably fatal in terrible suffering in the natural course of events: a particularly repulsive form of consuming, deforming leprosy, universally regarded as a manifestation of God's especial wrath.
Bro Growcott - Doth Job fear God for nought
9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse Elohim, and die.
10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of Elohim, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
Job is ever a helpful illustration on this point. A man of the thoroughly approved stamp, God overthrew him in all his affairs without letting him know that he was being subjected to a test. Job, while asserting his integrity, took it all in submission, on the ground that God was supreme and did as He willed, and that man, as a created being, had no room to murmur if evil, as well as good were his lot.
In this Job took the right ground; for his judgment of the case was divinely endorsed as against that of his three friends, who argued that because Job had fallen into evil, therefore he must have been unrighteous. Now, why was Job's case recorded? Like all other ancient examples, it was "written for our instruction"; "it happened to them for ensamples (to us)" (I Cor. x. II). If so, it follows that we may sometimes be put to a similar proof if we are worthy of the test.
Consequently, we shall argue wrongly if we say God has forsaken us when something has gone wrong, or that things will always and necessarily go well with us. Can we expect to be better off in these things than the servants of God who have gone before? And what is their history? One and all, they came through sore trouble. The Lord himself was the greatest sufferer of all, and is it not written, "We must suffer with him"?
Nay, is it not the very characteristic of the great assembly of which we hope to form a part that they came out of "great tribulation"? Paul told the disciples that "we must through tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." We do not live in the days of their tribulation, but we must not marvel if we have our share, peculiar to our own times. It is a necessity if we are ever to be worth anything in the Master's service. What preparation is a bed of roses for the great muster of those who have been tried and purified and made white?
Bro Roberts - 'God a sun and shield.'
A man of God in trouble
Now, we know that God loved David and brought him at last out of all trouble, and will place him high in the Kingdom of God. It is this that makes it so helpful for us, who are in trouble, to see him in trouble. The very fact that he is in trouble is instructive.
Why should it be so? The Eliphazes of the natural mind always reason that it should not be so, and as a fact is not so, that a righteous man should get into trouble. They argue that the fact of a man getting into trouble is a proof that he is a God-forsaken man. They did so in the case of Job, whose case has been placed on record to enable the children of God in all ages to correctly interpret trouble.
Job was in the deepest trouble it is possible for a man to get into. His friends said it was evident that he must have been a wicked man in secret. But Job would not have it. He protested his integrity. He said he would die, asserting his innocence. To God he said:
"Thou knowest that I am not wicked."
He could not account for the terrible calamities that had overtaken him. His philosophy of the case was that God had a right to do as He liked with His own; that He had given him great blessing in the past, and now He had taken it away, and who could hinder or find fault?
"Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and not receive evil?"
He recognised God's right to kill:
"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him."
God endorsed Job's speeches on the matter, and reproved the views of his three friends. So it is no strange picture that we see, when we see David in trouble. It is the portion of all God's children at one time or other of their lives. It is necessary. It is refining and improving every way when not carried to the point of destruction - which God does not allow.
"He will not suffer us to be tried above that we are able to bear."
A good man is made better by trouble. It chastens and subdues and humbles him. It enables him more acutely than ever to discern and feel the vanity of all mortal excellence, and the intrinsic majesty and authority of the Eternal One, from whom all have proceeded and in Whom they subsist from day to day. It enables him to sympathize more easily with others. It prepares him for the Kingdom.
12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.
When did we last sit with an afflicted friend 'upon the ground seven days and seven nights'. (They were committed friends!)
And so time dragged on wearily, with Job lying in misery in the ashes (2:8) (the Septuagint says "dung-heap," which is probably the meaning), until his three especial friends heard of his calamities, and assembled to comfort him. They were so struck with his misery and dreadful appearance that they sat around him in silence for seven days. Then, when he repeatedly implored their comfort and sympathy, they more and more heatedly condemned him and accused him of the vilest crimes and hypocrisies.
This is the background against which we must consider him. Truly, like Moses, under tremendous stress he "spake unadvisedly with his lips."
Job is throughout wrestling tremendously with this problem. Upon the shame and misery of his condition is heaped the smug and self-righteous condemnation of his closest friends. His friends' rejection aroused an over-reaction in what he said, but threw him more and more on God. He had sought their support and sympathy against the hand of God. They railed on him, thinking they were thereby earning God's favour. This added to his bitterness, but it showed him there was nowhere to turn for comfort and understanding but to God Himself.
The friends' condemnation was an essential part of the trial, and of the final result. Though it added immeasurably to his grief, it was probably more helpful to him (in a way opposite what they intended) than their sympathy would have been.
Bro Growcott - Doth Job fear God for nought