Job 1:17
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell on the camels, and have carried them away, yes, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell you.
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(17) The Chaldeans.—Literally, Chasdim, or descendants of Chesed (Genesis 22:22; see Note on Job 1:1). This name reappears in the classic Carduchia and in the modern Kurdistan, as well as in the more familiar Chaldæa; it being a well-known philological law that r and l and r and s are interchangeable. It is to be noted that this calamity arose from the opposite quarter to the last, illustrating the well-known fact that troubles never come alone, and that causes of a widely different nature seem to combine to overthrow the falling man.

Job 1:17. There came also another — Bringing tidings still more afflictive than either of the two former; and said, The Chaldeans — Who also lived upon spoil, as Xenophon and others observe; made out three bands —

That they might come upon their prey several ways, and that nothing might be able to escape them; and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away — The three thousand camels which Job had; (see Job 1:3;) a prodigious loss indeed! slaying, at the same time, the servants that tended them. If the fire of God, and the sword of the plunderers, which fell upon Job’s honest servants that were in the way of their duty, had fallen upon the Sabean robbers that were doing mischief, God’s judgments therein would have been like the great mountains, evident and conspicuous; but when the way of the wicked prospers, and they carry off their booty, while just and good men are suddenly cut off, God’s righteousness is like the great deep, the bottom of which we cannot find, Psalm 36:6.1:13-19 Satan brought Job's troubles upon him on the day that his children began their course of feasting. The troubles all came upon Job at once; while one messenger of evil tidings was speaking, another followed. His dearest and most valuable possessions were his ten children; news is brought him that they are killed. They were taken away when he had most need of them to comfort him under other losses. In God only have we a help present at all times.The Chaldeans - The Septuagint translates this, αἱ ἱππεῖς hai hippeis), "the horsemen." Why they thus expressed it is unknown. It may be possible that the Chaldeans were supposed to be distinguished as horsemen, and were principally known as such in their predatory excursions. But it is impossible to account for all the changes made by the Septuagint in the text. Tho Syriac and the Chaldee render it correctly, "Chaldeans." The Chaldeans (Hebrew כשׂדים kaśdı̂ym) were the ancient inhabitants of Babylonia. According to Vitringa (Commentary in Isa. tom. i. p. 412, c. xiii. 19), Gesenius (Commentary zu Isaiah 23:13), and Rosenmailer (Bib. Geog. 1, 2, p. 36ff), the Chaldees or Casdim were a warlike people who orignally inhabited the Carduchian mountains, north of Assyria, and the northern part of Mesopotamia. According to Xenophon (Cyrop. iii. 2, 7) the Chaldees dwelt in the mountains adjacent to Armenia and they were found in the same region in the campaign of the younger Cyrus, and the retreat of the ten thousand Greeks. Xen. Anaba. iv. 3, 4; v. 5, 9; viii. 8, 14.

They were allied to the Hebrews, as appears from Genesis 22:22, where כשׂד keśed (whence "Kasdim") the ancestor of the people is mentioned as a son of Nabor, and was consequently the nephew of Abraham. And further, Abraham himself emigrated to Canaan from Ur of the Chaldees כשׂדים אוּר 'ûr kaśdı̂ym, "Ur of the Kasdim"), Genesis 11:28; and in Judith 5:6, the Hebrews themselves are said to be descended from the Chaldeans. The region around the river Chaboras, in the northern part of Mesopotamia, is called by Ezekiel EZechariah 1:3 "the land of the Chaldeans;" Jeremiah Jer 5:15 calls them "an ancient nation;" see the notes at Isaiah 23:13. The Chaldeans were a fierce and warlike people, and when they were subdued by the Assyrians, a portion of them appear to have been placed in Babylon to ward off the incursions of the neighboring Arabians. In time "they" gained the ascendency over their Assyrian masters, and grew into the mighty empire of Chaldea or Babylonia. A part of them, however, appear to have remained in their ancient country, and enjoyed under the Persians some degree of liberty. Gesenius supposes that the Kurds who have inhabited those regions, at least since the middle ages, are probably the descendants of that people. - A very vivid and graphic description of the Chaldeans is given by the prophet Habakkuk, which will serve to illustrate the passage before us, and show that they retained until his times the predatory and fierce character which they had in the days of Job; Job 1:6-11 :

For lo I raise up the Chaldeans,

A bitter and hasty nation,

Which marches far and wide in the earth.

To possess the dwellings which are not theirs.

They are terrible and dreadful,

Their judgments proceed only from themselves.

Swifter titan leopards are their horses,

And fiercer than the evening wolves.

Their horsemen prance proudly around;

And their horsemen shall come from afar and fly,

Like the eagle when he pounces on his prey.

They all shall come for violence,


17. Chaldeans—not merely robbers as the Sabeans; but experienced in war, as is implied by "they set in array three bands" (Hab 1:6-8). Rawlinson distinguishes three periods: 1. When their seat of empire was in the south, towards the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates. The Chaldean period, from 2300 B.C. to 1500 B.C. In this period was Chedorlaomer (Ge 14:1), the Kudur of Hur or Ur of the Chaldees, in the Assyrian inscriptions, and the conqueror of Syria. 2. From 1500 to 625 B.C., the Assyrian period. 3. From 625 to 538 B.C. (when Cyrus the Persian took Babylon), the Babylonian period. "Chaldees" in Hebrew—Chasaim. They were akin, perhaps, to the Hebrews, as Abraham's sojourn in Ur, and the name "Chesed," a nephew of Abraham, imply. The three bands were probably in order to attack the three separate thousands of Job's camels (Job 1:3). The Chaldeans, who also lived upon the spoil, as Xenophon and others observe.

Made out three bands, that they might come upon them several ways, and nothing might be able to escape them. While he was yet speaking, there came also another,.... Another messenger from another part of Job's possessions, where his camels were, and this before the last messenger had told his story out:

and said, the Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away; these were the 3000 camels, as in Job 1:3 and perhaps they were in three separate companies and places, 1000 in each, and therefore the Chaldeans divided themselves into three bands; or "appointed three heads" (f), as it may be rendered; there were three bodies of them under so many leaders and commanders, and this was done, that they might the more easily take them; and they "diffused or spread themselves" (g), as the word signifies, upon or about the camels; they surrounded them on all sides, or otherwise, these being swift creatures, would have run away from them: these Chaldeans or Chasdim were the descendants of Chesed, a son of Nahor, who was brother to Abraham, Genesis 22:20, who settled in the east country, not far from Job: and this agrees with the character that Xenophon (h) gives of the Chaldeans, at least some of them, in later times; that they lived upon robbing and plundering others, having no knowledge of agriculture, but got their bread by force of arms; and such as these Satan could easily instigate to come and carry off Job's camels:

yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee; See Gill on Job 1:15.

(f) "posuerunt tria capita", Montanus, Bolducius, Schmidt; "duces", Pagninus, Vatablus. (g) "et diffuderunt se", Mercerus, Schmidt "effuderunt se", Cocceius. (h) Cyropaedia, l. 3. c. 11.

While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
17. The third stroke. The name Chaldeans was perhaps given generally to the tribes that roamed between the cultivated land on the east of the Jordan and the Euphrates. Dividing an attacking force into several bands, so as to fall on the enemy on several sides, was a common piece of Oriental tactics, Jdg 7:16; Jdg 9:43; 1 Samuel 11:11.Verse 17. - While he was yet speaking, there came also another (see the comment on ver. 16). The exact repetition of a clause, without the alteration of a word or a letter, is very archaic (comp. Genesis 1:4, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; and for another repetition, Genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25). And said, The Chaldeans; literally, the Casdim (כַשְׂדִים), which is the word uniformly used in the Hebrew where the Authorized Version has "Chaldeans" or "Chaldees." The native name seems to have been Kaldi or Kaldai, whence the Greek Ξαλδαῖοι, and the Latin Chaldaei. It is very difficult to account for the Hebrews having substituted a sibilant for the liquid; but it was certainly done from the earliest period of their literature (Genesis 11:31) to the latest (see Targums, passim). Some derive the Hebrew Casdim from "Chesed," one of the sons of Nahor (Genesis 22:22); but Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees before Chesed was born (Genesis 22:20). And there is no evidence of any connection between Chesed, who was born at Haran, and the Babylonian Chaldeans. The Chaldeans were probably early settlers in Babylonia; by degrees they were pressed to the south, and gave the name of Chaldea to Lower Babylonia, or the tract nearest to the Persian Gulf (Strab., 16:1, § 66; Ptolemy, 'Geographia,' 5:20). From a remote date they were a settled and civilized people; but no doubt originally they had the same predatory instincts as their neighbours. Made out three bands. Professor Lee translates, "appointed three captains," which is a possible meaning of the words; but the weight of authority supports the rendering of the Authorized Version. And fell upon the camels. Perhaps the most valuable part of Job's possessions. Three thousand camels would be regarded as a splendid capture by any body of Oriental marauders. And have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants (literally, the young men, as in ver. 16) with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee (compare the comment on ver. 15). 9-11 Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast Thou not made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Hast Thou not blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land? But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath: truly he will renounce Thee to Thy face.

Satan is, according to the Revelation 12:10, the κατήγωρ who accuses the servants of God day and night before God. It is a fact respecting the invisible world, though expressed in the language and imagery of this world. So long as he is not finally vanquished and condemned, he has access to God, and thinks to justify himself by denying the truth of the existence and the possibility of the continuance of all piety. God permits it; for since everything happening to the creature is placed under the law of free development, evil in the world of spirits is also free to maintain and expand itself, until a spiritual power comes forward against it, by which the hitherto wavering conflict between the principles of good and evil is decided. This is the truth contained in the poetic description of the heavenly scene, sadly mistaken by Umbreit in his Essay on Sin, 1853, in which he explains Satan, according to Psalm 109:6, as a creation of our author's fancy. The paucity of the declarations respecting Satan in the Old Testament has misled him. And indeed the historical advance from the Old Testament to the New, though in itself well authorized, has in many ways of late induced to the levelling of the heights and depths of the New Testament. Formerly Umbreit was of the opinion, as many are still, that the idea of Satan is derived from Persia; but between Ahriman (Angramainyus) and Satan there is no striking resemblance;

(Note: Moreover, it is still questionable whether the form of the ancient doctrine of fire-worship among the Persians did not result from Jewish influences. Vid., Stuhr, Religionssysteme der herdn. Vlker des Orients, S. 373-75.)

whereas Diestel, in his Abh. ber Set-Typhon, Asasel und Satan, Stud. u. Krit., 1860, 2, cannot indeed recognise any connection between עזאזל and the Satan of the book of Job, but maintains a more complete harmony in all substantial marks between the latter and the Egyptian Typhon, and infers that "to Satan is therefore to be denied a purely Israelitish originality, the natural outgrowth of the Hebrew mind. It is indeed no special honour for Israel to be able to call him their own. He never has taken firm hold on the Hebrew consciousness." But how should it be no honour for Israel, the people to whom the revelation of redemption was made, and in whose history the plan of redemption was developed, to have traced the poisonous stream of evil up to the fountain of its first free beginning in the spiritual world, and to have more than superficially understood the history of the fall of mankind by sin, which points to a disguised superhuman power, opposed to the divine will? This perception undoubtedly only begins gradually to dawn in the Old Testament; but in the New Testament, the abyss of evil is fully disclosed, and Satan has so far a hold on the consciousness of Jesus, that He regards His life's vocation as a conflict with Satan. And the Protevangelium is deciphered in facts, when the promised seed of the woman crushed the serpent's head, but at the same time suffered the bruising of its own heel.

The view (e.g., Lutz in his Biblishce Dogmatik) that Satan as he is represented in the book of Job is not the later evil spirit, is to be rejected: he appears here only first, say Herder and Eichhorn, as impartial executor of judgment, and overseer of morality, commissioned by God. But he denies what God affirms, acknowledges no love towards God in the world which is not rooted in self-love, and is determined to destroy this love as a mere semblance. Where piety is dulled, he rejoices in its obscurity; where it is not, he dims its lustre by reflecting his own egotistical nature therein. Thus it is in Zechariah 3:1-10, and so here. Genuine love loves God חנּם (adverb from חן, like gratis from gratia): it loves Him for His own sake; it is a relation of person to person, without any actual stipulations and claim. But Job does not thus fear God; ירא is here praet., whereas in Job 1:1 and Job 1:8 it is the adjective. God has indeed hitherto screened him from all evil; שׂכתּ from שׂוּך, sepire, and בּעד (בּעד) composed of בּ and עד, in the primary signification circum, since עד expresses that the one joins itself to the other, and בּ that it covers it, or covers itself with it. By the addition of מסּביב, the idea of the triple בּעד is still strengthened. מעשׂה, lxx, Vulg., have translated by the plural, which is not false according to the thought; for ידים מעשׂה is, especially in Deuteronomy, a favourite collective expression for human enterprise. פּרץ, a word, with the Sanskrito-Sem. frangere, related to פּרק, signifying to break through the bounds, multiply and increase one's self unboundedly (Genesis 30:30, and freq.). The particle אוּלם, proper only to the oldest and classic period, and very commonly used in the first four books of the Pentateuch, and in our book, generally ואוּלם, is an emphatic "nevertheless;" Lat. (suited to this passage at least) verum enim vero. אם־לא is either, as frequently, a shortened formula of asseveration: May such and such happen to me if he do not, etc., equals forsooth he will (lxx ἦ μήν); or it is half a question: Attempt only this and this, whether he will not deny thee, equals annon, as Job 17:2; Job 22:20. The first perhaps suits the character of Satan better: he affirms that God is mistaken. בּרך signifies here also, valedicere: he will say farewell to thee, and indeed על־פּניך (as Isaiah 65:3), meeting thee arrogantly and shamelessly: it signifies, properly, upon thy countenance, i.e., say it to thee, to the very face, that he will have nothing more to do with thee (comp. on Job 2:5). In order now that the truth of His testimony to Job's piety, and this piety itself, may be tried, Jehovah surrenders all Job's possessions, all that is his, except himself, to Satan.

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