Job's "satan": an angel of evil? (but not, of course, a
- Job's "satan" comes into the presence of God, and is in conversation with
Him, among the "sons of God" (Job 1:6). Elsewhere in Job the sons of God are
plainly His angels (Job 38:4-7). True, "sons of God" can refer to human
believers (as in 1Jo 3:2), but Job should interpret Job first!
affliction is consistently attributed to God (Job 4:9; 5:17; 6:4; 7:20; 11:6;
19:21; and esp Job 42:11).
I would suggest that in all that this "satan" says of Job
there is no sign of wickedness, only limited understanding seeking
clarification. He declares his unwillingness to believe that Job's
"righteousness" is anything but self-serving:
- Why is an angel of God called "Satan" (or "satan")? Because this
designation well described his actions here -- he was Job's "adversary" (cp also
- Isn't there a wicked or sinful mind behind his words (Job
1:9-11; 2:5)? Answer: The words CAN be read that way, but they do not HAVE to be
read that way. Although "angels of God" are immortal, they can be limited both
in their personal knowledge and in their personal powers. (Consider Mat 24:36;
1Pe 1:12; Dan 10:13; 8:13; Gen 22:12; 32:24-28; Exo 31:1,7 compared with Exo
23:12). So it is possible to read the words of this angelic "satan" as
expressing his assessment of the life of Job... distorted a bit by his own
"Then Satan answered the LORD, Does Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not put a
hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast
blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse thee to
thy face" (Job 1:9-11).
As if to say, 'All my experience of this race of humans tells
me that when they serve God they do so only for selfish reasons. Let us see how
he reacts to severe trials.'
And so God gives over to this "angel" the testing of
"Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself do not put forth
your hand" (v 12).
Now compare this v 12 with v 21: "The LORD gave, and the LORD
has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." Who was it that took away
Job's health, wealth, and family?
And with Job 2:10: "Shall we receive good at the hand of God,
and shall we not receive evil?"
And also with Job 19:21, where Job says: "Have pity on me,
have pity on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me!" Doesn't
this equate the "satan" with "the hand of God"?
And so, all through Job 2, "Satan" continues to hold out for
his own assessment of things, while God agrees to bring more and yet more trial
upon Job... until, eventually, it may be assumed, "Satan" is finally satisfied
with the integrity of Job.
Is this fair? Is this the way God acts? Of course. The NT is
filled with discussions of the trials brought by God on His faithful ones, to
perfect or purify their faith.
And from his trials, extreme though they were, Job emerges as
a man of tested and perfected faith... a fitting type of the Lord Jesus Christ,
who was to come, and who would himself suffer "unfairly" and "unjustly" as a way
of showing (to men... and to angels?) the way into the most holy place of the
Also, please note 1Pe 1:6-12:
"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer
various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold
which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and
honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having seen him you love him;
though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable
and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your
souls. The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched
and inquired about this salvation; they inquired what person or time was
indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of
Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving
not themselves but you, in the things which have now been announced to you by
those who preached the good news to you through the Holy Spirit sent from
heaven, things into which angels long to
In this passage (and, compared with Job) we see:
- severe trials by which the faith of the believer is purified.
prophets (OT writers?) who saw, faintly perhaps, the sufferings of Christ
mirrored in the lives of OT men (like Job?).
- the sufferings were followed by
- ... AND... "into these things (sufferings, trials,
perfecting of faith, of righteous men who pointed forward to the Messiah) ANGELS
LONGED TO LOOK!"