on Job 1 :7
From going to and fro in the earth - The translation of the Septuagint is curious: Περιελθων την γην και εμπεριπατησας την ὑπ' ουρανον, παρειμι; "Having gone round the earth, and walked over all that is under heaven, I am come hither." The Chaldee says, "I am come from going round the earth to examine the works of the children of men; and from walking through it." Coverdale, who generally hits the sense, translates thus: I have gone aboute the londe ond walked thorow it. Mr. Good has it, from roaming round the earth, and walking about it.
St. Peter, as has been already stated, 1 Peter 5:8, refers to this: "Be sober, be vigilant; for your Adversary the Devil Goeth About, as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." I rather think, with Coverdale, that ארץ arets here signifies rather that land, than the habitable globe. The words are exceedingly emphatic; and the latter verb התהלך hithhallech being in the hithpael conjugation shows how earnest and determined the devil is in his work: he sets himself to walk; he is busily employed in it; he is seeking the destruction of men; and while they sleep, he wakes - while they are careless, he is alert. The spirit of this saying is often expressed by the simple inhabitants of the country: when they perceive a man plotting mischief, and frequent in transgression, they say, The devil is Busy with him.
on Job 1 :7
And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? - This inquiry does not appear to have been made as if it was improper that Satan should have appeared there, for no blame seems to have been attached to him for this. He came as a spirit that was subject to the control of yahweh; he came with others, not to mingle in their society, and partake of their happiness, but to give an account of what he had done, and of what he had observed. The poetic idea is, that this was done periodically, and that "all" the spirits employed by yahweh to dispense blessings to mortals, to inflict punishment, or to observe their conduct, came and stood before him. Why the inquiry is directed particularly to "Satan," is not specified. Perhaps it is not meant that there was any "special" inquiry made of him, but that, as he was to have so important an agency in the transactions which follow, the inquiry that was made of him only is recorded In respect to the others, nothing occurred pertaining to Job, and their examination is not adverted to. Or it may be, that, as Satan was known to be malignant, suspicious, and disposed to think evil of the servants of God, the design was to direct his attention particularly to Job as an illustrious and indisputable example of virtue and piety.
From going to and fro in the earth - Dr. Good renders this, "from roaming round." Noyes, "from wandering over." The word which is here used (שׁוּט shûṭ) means properly,
(1.) to whip, to scourge, to lash;
(2.) to row, that is, to lash the sea with oars;
(3.) to run up and down, to go here and there, or to and fro, so as to lash the air with one's arms as with oars, and hence, to travel over a land, or to go through it in order to see it, 2 Samuel 24:2, 2 Samuel 24:8.
Dr. Good, in conformity with the interpretation proposed by Schultens, says that "the word imports, not so much the act of going forward and backward, as of making a circuit or circumference; of going round about. The Hebrew verb is still in use among the Arabic writers, and in every instance implies the same idea of gyration or circumambulation." In Arabic, according to Castell, the word means "to heat, to burn, to cause to boil, to consume:" then to propel to weariness, as e. g. a horse, and then to make a circuit, to go about at full speed, to go with diligence and activity. Thus, in Carnuso, as quoted by Schultens, "a course made at one impulse to the goal is called שׁוט shôṭ. In 2 Samuel 24:2, the word is used in the sense of passing around through different places for the purpose of taking a census. "Go now (Margin, "compass") through all the tribes of Israel." In Numbers 11:8, it is applied to the Israelites going about to collect manna, passing rapidly and busily in the places where it fell for the purpose of gathering it.
In Zechariah 4:10, it is applied to "the eyes of Yahweh," which are said to "run to and fro through the earth," that is, he surveys all things as one does whose eye passes rapidly from object to object. The same phrase occurs in 2 Chronicles 16:9. In Jeremiah 5:1, it is applied to the action of a man passing rapidly through the streets of a city. "Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem "compare Jeremiah 49:3. From these passages it is clear that the idea is not that of going "in a circuit" or circle, but it is that of passing rapidly; of moving with alacrity and in a hurry; and it is not improbable that the "original" idea is that suggested in the Arabic of "heat" - and thence applied to a whip or scourge because it produces a sensation like burning, and also to a rapid journey or motion, because it produces heat or a glow. It means that Satan had been active and diligent in passing from place to place in the earth to survey it. The Chaldee adds to this, "to examine into the works of the sons of men."
And from walking - That is, to investigate human affairs. On this verse it is observed by Rosenmullcr, that in the life of Zoroaster (see Zendavesta by John G. Kleukner, vol. 3: p. 11,) the prince of the evil demons, the angel of death, whose name is "Engremeniosch," is said to go far and near through the world for the purpose of injuring and opposing good people.
on Job 1 :7