Job 1:9
Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing?
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(9) Doth Job fear God for nought?—Manifesting the worst kind of scepticism, a disbelief in human goodness. Satan knows that the motive of an action is its only value, and by incrimination calumniates the motives of Job. The object of the book is thus introduced, which is to exhibit the integrity of human conduct under the worst possible trial, and to show man a victor over Satan.

Job 1:9. Doth Job serve God for naught? — That is, sincerely and freely, and out of pure love and respect to thee? No: it is policy, not piety, that makes him good: he doth not serve thee, but serves himself of thee; and is a mere mercenary creature, serving thee for his own ends.1:6-12 Job's afflictions began from the malice of Satan, by the Lord's permission, for wise and holy purposes. There is an evil spirit, the enemy of God, and of all righteousness, who is continually seeking to distress, to lead astray, and, if possible, to destroy those who love God. How far his influence may extend, we cannot say; but probably much unsteadiness and unhappiness in Christians may be ascribed to him. While we are on this earth we are within his reach. Hence it concerns us to be sober and vigilant, 1Pe 5:8. See how Satan censures Job. This is the common way of slanderers, to suggest that which they have no reason to think is true. But as there is nothing we should dread more than really being hypocrites, so there is nothing we need dread less than being called and counted so without cause. It is not wrong to look at the eternal recompence in our obedience; but it is wrong to aim at worldly advantages in our religion. God's people are taken under his special protection; they, and all that belong to them. The blessing of the Lord makes rich; Satan himself owns it. God suffered Job to be tried, as he suffered Peter to be sifted. It is our comfort that God has the devil in a chain, Re 20:1. He has no power to lead men to sin, but what they give him themselves; nor any power to afflict men, but what is given him from above. All this is here described to us after the manner of men. The Scripture speaks thus to teach us that God directs the affairs of the world.Doth Job fear God for nought? - "Is his religion disinterested? Would not anyone be willing to worship God in such circumstances?" The idea is that there was nothing genuine about his piety; that religion could not be tried in prosperity; that Job had an abundant compensation for serving God, and that if the favors conferred on him were taken away, he would be like the rest of mankind. Much of the apparent virtue and religion of the world is the result of circumstances, and the question here proposed "may," it is to be feared, be asked with great propriety of many professors of religion who are rich; it "should" be asked by every professed friend of the Most High, whether his religion is not selfish and mercenary. Is it because God has blessed us with great earthly advantages? Is it the result of mere gratitude? Is it because he has preserved us in peril, or restored us from sickness? Or is it merely because we hope for heaven, and serve God because we trust he will reward us in a future world? All this may be the result of mere selfishness; and of all such persons it may be appropriately asked, "Do they fear God for nought?" True religion is not mere gratitude, nor is it the result of circumstances. It is the love of religion for its own sake - not for reward; it is because the service of God is right in itself, and not merely because heaven is full of glory; it is because God is worthy of our affections and confidence, and not merely because he will bless us - and this religion will live through all external changes, and survive the destruction of the world. It will flourish in poverty as well as when surrounded by affluence; on a bed of pain as well as in vigorous health; when we are calumniated and despised for our attachment to it, as well as when the incense of flattery is burned around us, and the silvery tones of praise fall on our ear; in the cottage as well as the palace; on the pallet of straw as well as on the bed of down. 9. fear God for naught—It is a mark of the children of Satan to sneer and not give credit to any for disinterested piety. Not so much God's gifts, as God Himself is "the reward" of His people (Ge 15:1). i.e. Sincerely and freely, and out of pure love and respect to thee? No. It is policy, not piety, that makes him good; he doth not serve thee, but serveth himself of thee, and is a mere mercenary, serving thee for his own ends. Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, doth Job fear God for nought. Satan does not deny any part of Job's character, nor directly charge him with anyone sin; which shows what a holy man Job was, how exact in his life and conversation, that the devil could not allege any one thing against him; nor does he deny that he feared the Lord; nay, he owns it, only suggests there was a private reason for it; and this he dares not affirm, only puts it by way of question, giving an innuendo, which is a wretched way of slander many of his children have learnt from him: he insinuates that Job's fear of God, and serving him, was not "for nought", or "freely" (s), it was not out of love to him, or with any regard to his will, or his honour and glory, but from selfish principles, with mercenary views, and for worldly ends and purposes: indeed no man fears and serves the Lord for nought and in vain, he is well paid for it; and godliness has a great gain along with it, the Lord bestows everything, both in a temporal and spiritual way, on them that fear him; so that eventually, and in the issue, they are great gainers by it; and they may lawfully look to these things, in order to encourage them in the service and worship of God, even as Moses had respect to the recompence of reward; when they do not make these, but the will and glory of God, the sole and chief cause and end thereof: but the intimation of Satan is, that Job's fear was merely outward and hypocritical, nor cordial, hearty, and disinterested, but was entirely for his own sake, and for what he got by it; and this he said as if he knew better than God himself, the searcher of hearts, who had before given such an honourable character of him. Sephorno observes, that he supposes that his fear was not a fear of the greatness of God, a reverence of his divine Majesty, but a fear of punishment; or what we call a servile fear, and not a filial one.

(s) "gratis", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius Piscator, Schmidt, Schultens.

Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for {p} nought?

(p) He fears you not for your own sake, but for the blessing that he received from you.

9. for nought] Satan does not dispute Job’s piety; only, the devotion of the rich landowner to the Bountiful Giver of all good is not ill to understand! A different estimate of what true religion is and of the things that are difficulties in the way of it was formed by Another, who said: “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” A subtle turn is given to the words of Satan by Godet in his Essay on Job, who thinks that while they are openly a slur upon man, they are covertly a sarcasm on the Most High Himself, implying that no one truly loves Him, He is served only for the benefits He confers. The Essayist may do no injustice to Satan, but he does to the Old Testament conception of him. The Satan of this Book may shew the beginnings of a personal malevolence against man, but he is still rigidly subordinated to heaven, and in all he does subserves its interests. His function is as the minister of God to try the sincerity of man; hence when his work of trial is over he is no more found, and no place is given him among the dramatis persona of the poem.Verse 9. - Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Satan insinuates that Job's motive is purely selfish. He serves God, not for love of God, or for love of goodness, but for what he gets by it. Satan is too shrewd to endeavour, as Job's friends do later, to pick holes in Job's conduct. No; that is exemplary. But the true character of acts is determined by the motive. What is Job's motive? Does he not serve God to gain his protection and blessing? Similarly, in modern times, ungodly men argue that religious and devout persons are religious and devout with a view to their own interest, because they expect to gain by it, either in this world, or in the next, or in both. This is a form of calumny which it is impossible to escape. And bad men, who are conscious to themselves of never acting except from a selfish motive, may well imagine the same of others. It is rarely that such an insinuation can be disproved. In the present instance God vindicates his servant, and covers the adversary with shame, as the other adversaries and calumniators of righteousness will be covered at the last day. 2, 3 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and servants in great number; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

It is a large, princely household. The numbers are large, but must not on that account be considered an invention. The four animals named include both kinds. With the doubled אלפי corresponds the also constructive מאות, the Tsere of which is never shortened, though in the singular one says מאת, from מאה. The aorists, especially of the verb היה (הוה), which, according to its root, signifies not so much esse as fieri, existere, are intended to place us at once in the midst of his prosperity. Ex iis, says Leo Africanus in reference to flocks, Arabes suas divitias ac possessiones aestimant. In fine, Job was without his equal among the קרם בני. So the tribes are called which extend from Arabia Deserta, lying to the east of Palestine, northwards to the countries on the Euphrates, and south over Arabia Petraea and Felix. The wisdom of these tribes, treasured up in proverbs, songs, and traditions, is mentioned in 1 Kings 5:10, side by side with the wisdom of the Egyptians. The writer now takes a very characteristic feature from the life of Job, to show that, even in the height of prosperity, he preserved and manifested the piety affirmed of him.

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