1 Once there was a man from Uz by the name of Job. He was a very good man—his character spotless, his integrity unquestioned. In fact, he so believed in God that he sought to honor Him in all things. He deliberately avoided evil in all of his affairs. 2 He had 7 sons and 3 daughters; 3 he owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a large number of servants. Among Easterners, he was the most powerful and influential man. 4 His sons, who were all wealthy landowners, too, all used to gather together on each others’ birthdays and special occasions. The brothers would take turns hosting the others in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When these days of feasting were through, Job would call all of his family to his own house and purify them, rising up early in the morning to offer burnt sacrifices for each one.
Job: God, forgive my children for any secret sins or grudges they have against You deep in their hearts.
No worshiper of God could ever curse Him, so the Hebrew says “bless God” when the reality is, as Job says, they have “grudges . . . deep in their hearts.”
Job did this again and again.
6 Now one day, it came time for the sons of God, God’s heavenly messengers, to present themselves to the Eternal One to give reports and receive instructions. The Accuser[a] was with them there.
The dialogue between the Accuser and God is similar to what might be heard during a court case. Job is a person of the utmost integrity; he is someone God highly respects as His servant. Attacked by the Accuser in God’s heavenly court, Job’s actions are both supported and evaluated by God, who fills the roles of both Job’s Advocate and the Promoter of Justice.
Eternal One (to the Accuser): 7 Where have you been?
The Accuser: Oh, roaming here and there, running about the earth and observing its inhabitants.
Eternal One: 8 Well, have you looked into the man, Job, My servant? He is unlike any other person on the whole earth—a very good man—his character spotless, his integrity unquestioned. In fact, he so believes in Me that he seeks, in all things, to honor Me and deliberately avoids evil in all of his affairs.
The Accuser: 9 I won’t argue with You that he is pious, but is all of this believing in You and honoring You for no reason? 10 Haven’t You encircled him with Your very own protection, and not only him but his entire household and all that he has? Not only this, but Your blessing accompanies whatever his hand touches, and see how his possessions have grown. It is easy to be so pious in the face of such prosperity. 11 So now extend Your hand! Destroy all of these possessions of his, and he will certainly curse You, right to Your face.
Eternal One: 12 I delegate this task to you. His possessions are now in your hand. One thing, though: you are not to lay a finger on the man himself. Job must not be touched.
With that, the Accuser left the court and the Eternal’s presence.
13 Now one day, all of Job’s children were gathered together under the roof of Job’s firstborn for their usual celebration—feasting and drinking wine— 14 when a messenger came to Job.
Messenger: We were in the field. The oxen were plowing, the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and out of nowhere, the Sabeans attacked. They stole your animals, all 1,000 oxen and donkeys, and as for your servants, they put their swords to us, and everyone is dead—every last one, except me. I am the only one who got away from the fields to tell you.
16 And while the words were still leaving the messenger’s mouth, another messenger arrived.
Second Messenger: Lightning has struck! The fire of God fell from the sky and burned the 7,000 sheep alive . . . alive! Shepherds, too—all of them burned; everyone is dead—every last one, except me. I am the only one who got away from the pastures to tell you.
17 And while the words were still leaving that messenger’s mouth, a third messenger arrived.
Third Messenger: Chaldeans! Three groups of them attacked us. They converged on the camels and stole your 3,000 animals, and as for your servants, they put their swords to us, and everyone is dead—every last one, except me. I am the only one who got away to tell you.
18 And while the words were still leaving that messenger’s mouth, yet a fourth messenger arrived.
Fourth Messenger: All of your children were gathered together today under the roof of your firstborn to celebrate—eating a feast and drinking wine— 19 and then a powerful wind rose up from the other side of the desert, and it struck all four corners of the house. It collapsed! Everyone is dead—all of those young people—every last one, except me. I am the only one who got away from your son’s house to tell you.
20 Then Job stood up, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell to the ground. Face down, Job sprawled in the dirt to worship.
21 Job: I was naked, with nothing, when I came from my mother’s womb;
and naked, with nothing, I will return to the earth.
The Eternal has given, and He has taken away.
May the name of the Eternal One be blessed.
22 In all of this Job neither sinned nor did he make foolish charges against God.
- 1:6 Literally, the Satan