Job 1

Prologue: Job’s Prosperity, Woes, and Resignation[a]

Chapter 1

A Good and Righteous Man.[b] 1 Job, a good and righteous man, lived in the land of Uz. He feared God and shunned evil. 2 He was the father of seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he possessed seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred donkeys, in addition to a large number of servants. Thus, he was the greatest man throughout the entire East.

4 Job’s sons had the custom of taking turns hosting banquets in one another’s house, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 And when each banquet had been completed, Job would send for his children and sanctify them, rising early in the morning and sacrificing burnt offerings for each of them. For Job said, “It could perhaps have happened that my sons have sinned and blasphemed against God in their hearts.” This was his regular custom.

“Why Should Job Not Be a God-Fearing Man?”[c] 6 One day the sons of God assembled to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan was with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “I have been roaming the earth and going back and forth in it.” 8 The Lord asked him, “Have you paid any notice to my servant Job? You will not find anyone like him on the entire earth. He is a good and righteous man who fears God and shuns evil.”

9 Satan said in reply, “Why should Job not be a God-fearing man? 10 You have safeguarded him and his family and all his possessions with your protection. You have blessed every one of his undertakings, and his flocks have continued to increase throughout the land. 11 But if you stretch out your hand and strike all that he has, he will surely curse you to your face.” 12 The Lord then said, “Very well. All that he has is in your power. However, you may not lay a hand upon him.” So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

13 Messengers of Woe.[d] One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “While your oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing beside them, 15 the Sabeans[e] swooped down on them and carried them off, after first putting the herdsmen to the sword. I alone have escaped to tell you.”

16 While he was speaking, another messenger arrived and said, “The fire of God[f] flashed from heaven, striking the sheep and their shepherds and consuming them. I alone have escaped to tell you.”

17 While he was still speaking, another messenger ran up and said, “Three bands of Chaldeans[g] made a raid on the camels and carried them off and slaughtered those who were tending them. I alone have escaped to tell you.”

18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came forth and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house. 19 Then suddenly a powerful wind swept across the desert. It struck the four corners of the house, which collapsed upon the young people, and they are all dead. I alone have escaped to tell you.”

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.[h]

20 Then Job arose, tore his cloak, and shaved his head. He threw himself prostrate on the ground 21 and said:

“Naked I emerged from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will return.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin, nor did he revile God.

Footnotes

  1. Job 1:1 Job, a personage celebrated for his virtues and his misfortunes, is one of those nomadic or seminomadic leaders—“the people of the East”—who had a reputation for wisdom. He is not an Israelite but lives in the Arabian wilderness that surrounds southern Palestine. He belongs to a distant past as one of a trio of legendary figures celebrated in Israel—the others being Noah, the hero of the flood, and Daniel, the protagonist of the biblical Book modeled after an earlier Phoenician king renowned for wisdom, right judgment, and true piety (Ezek 14:14-20).
  2. Job 1:1 Job represents the ideal righteous person according to the Old Covenant, one who is faithful to all the religious observances. God blesses him in his children and in his possessions.
  3. Job 1:6 The ancient story imagines God as surrounded by his court of heavenly beings for a discussion of human destinies. Satan is one of these servants; as his name indicates, his role is that of a prosecutor who is hostile to this human being (see Zec 3:1). Later on, Satan (Greek, diabolos, devil) will be turned into God’s principal adversary, the leader of the demons, and will be identified with the “serpent” of Gen 3:1.
  4. Job 1:13 Four times without respite the announcement of disaster takes place. The accounts are linked together and are given along the same lines in order to dramatize the catastrophe.
  5. Job 1:15 Sabeans: nomadic raiders from northern Arabia.
  6. Job 1:16 Fire of God: that is, lightning (see Num 11:1; 1 Ki 18:38; 2 Ki 1:12).
  7. Job 1:17 Chaldeans: Syrian nomads.
  8. Job 1:19 Submissive to God in misfortune, Job is the model of pure religion, bereft of any egotism. He already announces the ideal of the Gospel.

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