Job 1:14
And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
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Job 1:14-15. And the asses feeding beside them — That is, beside the oxen. And the Sabeans fell upon them — A people of Arabia, who led a wandering life, and lived by robbery and plunder, as Strabo and other heathen writers observe. They were the descendants of Abraham by Keturah, whose son Jokshan begat Sheba, their progenitor. Indeed, the Hebrew here is, Sheba fell upon them; and took them away — The whole five hundred yoke of oxen, and the five hundred asses which he had. Yea, they have slain the servants, &c. — Who faithfully and bravely did their best to defend them. And I only am escaped to tell thee — Him Satan spared no less maliciously than he destroyed the rest, that Job might have speedy and certain intelligence of his calamity.

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.And there came a messenger unto Job - Hebrew מלאך mal'âk; the word usually rendered "angel," appropriately rendered "messenger" here. The word properly means "one who is sent."

The oxen were plowing - Hebrew "the cattle" (בקר bâqâr) including not merely "oxen," but probably also "cows;" see the notes at Job 1:3.

And the asses - Hebrew אתון 'âthôn "she-asses." The "sex" is here expressly mentioned and Dr. Good maintains that it should be in the translation. So it is in the Septuagint αἱ θήλειαι ὄνοι hai thēleiai onoi. So Jerome, "asinoe." The reason why the sex is specified is, that female asses, on account of their milk, were much more valuable than males. On this account they were preferred also for traveling; see the notes at Job 1:3.

Beside them - Hebrew "By their hands," that is, by their sides, for the Hebrew יד yâd is often used in this sense; compare the notes at Isaiah 33:21.

14. the asses feeding beside them—Hebrew, "she asses." A graphic picture of rural repose and peace; the more dreadful, therefore, by contrast is the sudden attack of the plundering Arabs. i.e. Beside the oxen, therefore both were taken away together.

And there came a messenger unto Job,.... Not a messenger of Satan, as Jarchi, or one of his angels, or evil spirits; though this is a sense which is embraced not only by some Jewish Rabbins, but by several of the ancient Christian writers, as Sanctius on the place observes; and such they suppose the other messengers after mentioned were; but both this and they were servants of Job, who escaped the calamity that came upon the rest of their fellow servants:

and said, the oxen were ploughing: the five hundred yoke of oxen Job had, Job 1:3, which were all out in the fields, and employed in ploughing them; and to plough with such was usual in those times and countries, as it now is in some places; see 1 Kings 19:19

and the asses feeding beside them; beside the oxen, where they were ploughing, in pasture ground, adjoining to the arable land; and beside the servants that were ploughing with the oxen: "at their hands" (b); as it may be literally rendered, just by them, under their eye and care; or "in their places" (c); where they should be, and where they used to feed (d); these were the five hundred asses, male and female, reckoned among Job's substance, Job 1:3, which were brought hither to feed, and some for the servants to ride on; this ploughed land being at some distance from Job's house; and others to carry the seed that was was to be sown here: now the situation and employment of these creatures are particularly mentioned, to show that they were in their proper places, and at their proper work; and that what befell them was not owing to the want of care of them, or to the indolence and negligence of the servants.

(b) "ad manus eorum", Mercerus. (c) "Suis locis", Vatablus, Schmidt; so Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Bar Tzemach. (d) "More solito", Schultens.

And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
14, 15. The first stroke, the loss of the oxen and she-asses, with the slaughter of the servants. Job’s servants were probably armed, as is usual in the East, and offered resistance, for the Bedawin do not usually shed blood unless opposed. The Sabeans were an Arab tribe, or possibly different tribes bore the name (Genesis 10:7; Genesis 10:28; Genesis 25:3). In Job 6:19 they are represented as trading with caravans. They are mentioned in connexion with Dedan, and probably detachments of them encamped on the borders of Edom, and these would be the assailants of Job’s servants. The raid came from the direction of the South, and the fact that the oxen were plowing indicates that the disaster befell in winter.

Verse 14. - And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were ploughing, and the asses (literally, the she-asses) feeding beside them (literally, at their hand). Note that, notwithstanding the festival, labour was still going on; there was no general holiday; the oxen were at work in the field, not perhaps all of them, but the greater number, for the ploughing-time is short in the Oriental countries, and the "earing" is all done at the same time. The bulk of Job's labourers were probably engaged in the business, and they had brought the asses with them, probably to keep them under their eye, lest thieves should carry them off, when the catastrophe related in the next verse occurred. Job 1:1413-15 And it came to pass one day, when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, that a messenger came to Job, and said, The oxen were ploughing, and the asses feeding beside them, when the Sabeans fell upon them, and carried them away, and smote the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

The principal clause, היּום ויהי, in which the art. of היּום has no more reference to anything preceding than in Job 1:6, is immediately followed by an adverbial clause, which may be expressed by participles, Lat. filiis ejus filiabusque convivantibus. The details which follow are important. Job had celebrated the usual weekly worship early in the morning with his children, and knew that they were met together in the house of his eldest son, with whom the order of mutual entertainment came round again, when the messengers of misfortune began to break in upon him: it is therefore on the very day when, by reason of the sacrifice offered, he was quite sure of Jehovah's favour. The participial construction, the oxen were ploughing (vid., Ges. 134, 2, c), describes the condition which was disturbed by the calamity that befell them. The verb היוּ stands here because the clause is a principal one, not as Job 1:13, adverbial. על־ידי, properly "at hand," losing its radical meaning, signifies (as Judges 11:26) "close by." The interpretation "in their places," after Numbers 2:17, is untenable, as this signification of יד is only supported in the sing. שׁבא is construed as fem., since the name of the country is used as the name of the people. In Genesis three races of this name are mentioned: Cushite (Genesis 10:7), Joktanish (Genesis 10:28), and Abrahamic (Genesis 25:3). Here the nomadic portion of this mixed race in North Arabia from the Persian Gulf to Idumaea is intended. Luther, for the sake of clearness, translates here, and 1 Kings 10:1, Arabia. In ואמּלטה, the waw, as is seen from the Kametz, is waw convertens, and the paragogic ah, which otherwise indicates the cohortative, is either without significance, or simply adds intensity to the verbal idea: I have saved myself with great difficulty. For this common form of the 1 fut. consec., occurring four times in the Pentateuch, vid., Ges. 49, 2. The clause לך להגּיד is objective: in order that - so it was intended by the calamity - I might tell thee.

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