Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Job
Book: Job
Chapter: 1

The Piety and prosperity of Job. (1-5) Satan obtains leave to
try Job. (6-12) The loss of Job's property, and the Death of his
children. (13-19) Job's patience and Piety. (20-22)

1-5 Job was prosperous, and yet pious. Though it is hard and
rare, it is not impossible for a rich Man to enter into the
kingdom of Heaven. By God's Grace the temptations of worldly
wealth may be overcome. The account of Job's Piety and
prosperity comes before the history of his great Afflictions,
showing that neither will secure from troubles. While Job beheld
the harmony and comforts of his sons with satisfaction, his
knowledge of the human Heart made him fearful for them. He sent
and sanctified them, reminding them to examine themselves, to
confess their sins, to seek forgiveness; and as one who hoped
for acceptance with God through the promised Saviour, he offered
a burnt-Offering for each. We perceive his care for their souls,
his knowledge of the sinful state of Man, his entire dependence
On God's Mercy in the way he had appointed.

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

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.

20-22 Job humbled himself under the Hand of God. He reasons
from the common state of human Life, which he describes. We
brought nothing of this world's goods into the world, but have
them from others; and it is certain we can carry nothing out,
but must leave them to others. Job, under all his losses, is but
reduced to his first state. He is but where he must have been at
last, and is only unclothed, or unloaded rather, a little sooner
than he expected. If we Put off our clothes before we go to Bed,
it is some inconvenience, but it may be the better borne when it
is near Bed-time. The same who gave hath taken away. See how Job
looks above instruments, and keeps his Eye upon the First Cause.
Afflictions must not divert us from, but quicken us to religion.
If in all our troubles we look to the Lord, he will support us.
The Lord is righteous. All we have is from his Gift; we have
forfeited it By Sin, and ought not to complain if he takes any
part from us. Discontent and impatience charge God with folly.
Against these Job carefully watched; and So must we,
acknowledging that as God has done right, but we have done
wickedly, So God has done wisely, but we have done very
foolishly. And may the malice and power of Satan render that
Saviour more precious to our souls, who came to destroy the
Works of the Devil; who, for our Salvation, suffered from that
enemy far more than Job suffered, or we can think.