Job’s Piety. 1In the land of Uz* there was a blameless and upright man named Job,a who feared God and avoided evil. 2Seven sons and three daughters were born to him; 3and he had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred she-donkeys, and a very large household, so that he was greater than anyone in the East.* 4His sons used to take turns giving feasts, sending invitations to their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5And when each feast had run its course, Job would send for them and sanctify them, rising early and offering sacrifices for every one of them. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned and cursed* God in their hearts.” Job did this habitually.
The Interview Between the Lord and the Satan. 6b One day, when the sons of God* came to present themselves before the LORD, the satan also came among them.c 7The LORD said to the satan, “Where have you been?” Then the satan answered the LORD and said,d “Roaming the earth and patrolling it.” 8The LORD said to the satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.” 9The satan answered the LORD and said, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? 10Have you not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock are spread over the land. 11e But now put forth your hand and touch all that he has, and surely he will curse you to your face.” 12The LORD said to the satan, “Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on him.” So the satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
The First Trial. 13One day, while his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, 14a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing beside them, 15and the Sabeans* carried them off in a raid. They put the servants to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16He was still speaking when another came and said, “God’s fire has fallen from heaven and struck the sheep and the servants and consumed them; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17He was still speaking when another came and said, “The Chaldeans* formed three columns, seized the camels, carried them off, and put the servants to the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18He was still speaking when another came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, 19and suddenly a great wind came from across the desert and smashed the four corners of the house. It fell upon the young people and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell you.”
Job’s Reaction. 20Then Job arose and tore his cloak and cut off his hair. He fell to the ground and worshiped. 21He said,
“Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb,f
and naked shall I go back there.*
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
blessed be the name of the LORD!”
22In all this Job did not sin,g nor did he charge God with wrong.
* [1:1] Uz: somewhere in Edom or Arabia; see Lam 4:21. Job: the name probably means “Where is the (divine) father?” In Hebrew it is almost a homonym with the word for “enemy” (see note on 13:24; cf. 33:10).
* [1:3] The East: that is, east of Palestine.
* [1:5] Cursed: lit., “blessed.” So also in v. 11; 2:5, 9.
* [1:6] Sons of God: members of the divine council; see Gn 6:1–4; Dt 32:8; Ps 82:1. The satan: lit., “adversary” (as in 1 Kgs 11:14). Here a member of the heavenly court, “the accuser” (Zec 3:1). In later biblical traditions this character will be developed as the devil (Gk. diabolos, “adversary”).
* [1:15] Sabeans: from southern Arabia.
* [1:17] Chaldeans: from southern Mesopotamia; in the mid-first millennium B.C., synonymous with “Babylonians.”
* [1:21] Go back there: to the earth; cf. Gn 2:7; see note on Sir 40:1.
c. [1:6] Gn 6:2, 4; Zec 3:1; Lk 22:31; Rev 12:9.
f. [1:21] Eccl 5:14; 1 Tm 6:7.