Q.

Please comment on Job 1:6 and 7. Where did the event recorded in these verses take place? Does Satan normally associate with the “sons of God”? Does God regularly converse with Satan? Also, when was the book of Job written, and when did Job live?

A.
The verses you cite follow a brief introduction to Job and his godly character. They describe what we could call a “council meeting” of God’s angels, who have the function of divine messengers and servants in His courts. This scene indicates that they systematically report to God.

Satan also went to that meeting. How often Satan goes we do not know, but the Bible certainly indicates that he has access to God. Revelation 12:10 states that Satan is the “accuser of our brethren.” In addition, passages such as Romans 8:31–34, 2 Corinthians 2:11, Ephesians 4:11–15, Ephesians 6:10–18, Colossians 1:13, 1 Peter 5:8, and 1 John 2:1 infer that this accusing is constant.

Please note one important truth from Job 1:7, however. Satan is subject to God. It was God Who asked Satan the first question. Further, it appears that Satan must report to God concerning his nefarious activities; God is always in control. He never allows Satan to do anything beyond His permissive will. If Satan could do what he wanted to do, we’d all be goners in no time. God allowed Satan to test Job severely, but Satan never went one iota beyond what God willed. And all things worked out for good for Job in the end (James 5:11; Rom. 8:28). As believers today we should be thankful that we have in Jesus an advocate Who pleads our case before God the Father when Satan accuses us.

The conflict of Job with Satan is nothing out of the ordinary today. One contemporary writer notes that the methods Satan used against Job and the character he displayed in attacking Job are still manifested by the Enemy, though not always as extreme. Studying Job’s adversary (and ours too) and his ways will enable us to gain the knowledge God desires us to have for our daily spiritual battles. We should also note that Satan didn’t come from Hell to this reporting session of angels; he came from the earth.

This fact is significant to us, for Satan’s current domain is the earth. He knows much more about this planet than we. He surely is a dangerous foe, so we must follow the Bible and be grounded in it. The deception among many professing believers today is astonishing, and it is due almost always to a lack of Bible doctrine and/or obedience.

When and where did Job live? These are mysteries surrounding the life of Job, but he was likely one of the patriarchs—like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. One clue about Job is found in Job 42:16, which states that Job lived 140 years after his testing. His total life span likely went beyond the age of 200. This age parallels the total years of men in the patriarchal period of Bible history. Isaac lived to be 180 years of age, for example (Gen. 35:28).

Another clue has to do with the Mosaic law. It would appear that Job came before this period, since the book of Job records nothing about priests, laws, the feast days, or the tabernacle. Also, Job 42:15 indicates that Job’s daughters were heirs of his belongings just as their brothers were. Compare this passage with Numbers 27:8, which states that the Mosaic law did not allow this occurrence if a daughter’s brothers were still alive.

Other clues include a number of personal and place names in the book of Job that are similar to the patriarchal period (see passages such as Genesis 22:21; 25:3, 15; and 36:4; compare with Job 1:1, 15; 2:11; 6:19). One of Job’s visitors was Bildad the Shuhite in Job 8:1, or the son of Shuah. Genesis 25 states that the youngest son of Abraham by his second wife, Keturah, had the name Shuah.

Further, Job’s occupation and wealth, which centered around livestock, fits with the occupation of Abraham and Jacob, in contrast to the appreciation of precious metals by the time of Solomon and others. Another interesting comparison is found in Genesis 33:19 and Job 42:11; the phrase “piece of money” is used only of Jacob and of Job.

Job (Job 1:1) dwelt in the land of Uz. Exactly where Uz was located is also a mystery. Some think it was east of Canaan or in the vicinity of Edom. Three Biblical passages with the name Uz lend support to an association with Edom (Gen. 36:21, 28; Jer. 25:20, 21; Lam. 4:21). Other scholars believe Uz was somewhere around Damascus or in the land of Bashan. You may enjoy trying to find some of these places in a Bible atlas.

Perhaps even more baffling is determining who wrote the book of Job and when it was written. Job, Moses, Ezra, or Elihu (Job’s friend) are some possibilities. Even Solomon, who loved literature (especially poetry), has been suggested, since Job is a poetical book of the Old Testament. Others fancy a number of writers’ compiling it, but this is unlikely since the book is so unified in structure.

When Job was written obviously hinges upon who wrote it. I believe we should be wary of the late dates some have given it, such as those who place the date of writing during or after the captivity of God’s chosen people.

Despite all of these uncertain aspects to the book of Job, its canonicity (its meeting the standards for inclusion in the Bible) has never been questioned. What is so fascinating is that Job may not have even been an Israelite, yet the book has had a secure place among Hebrew sacred Scripture!

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (April 1997).
© 1997 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.