Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 1:14

a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Plow;   Resignation;   Temptation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Agriculture;   Agriculture-Horticulture;   Job;   Plowing;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Agriculture or Husbandry;   Ox, the;   Ploughing;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Angel;   Ox;   Plough;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Poor;   Shepherd;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Animals;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Agriculture;   Angel;   Messenger;   Ox;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Agriculture;   Ass;   Cattle;   Job, the Book of;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Satan;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Ox;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Plow;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Agriculture;   Angels;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Agriculture;   Job;   Shepherd;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The asses feeding beside them - אתנות athonoth, the she-asses, which appear to have been more domesticated, as of more worth and use than the others, both for their milk and their work.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 1:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

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.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 1:14". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-1.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

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"F2על ידיהם "ad manus eorum", Mercerus. ; as it may be literally rendered, just by them, under their eye and care; or "in their places"F3"Suis locis", Vatablus, Schmidt; so Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Bar Tzemach. ; where they should be, and where they used to feedF4"More solito", Schultens. ; 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.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Job 1:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-1.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

the asses feeding beside themHebrew, “she asses.” A graphic picture of rural repose and peace; the more dreadful, therefore, by contrast is the sudden attack of the plundering Arabs.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 1:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-1.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:

Messenger, … — One messenger immediately followed another; Satan so ordering by God's permission, that there might seem to be more than ordinary displeasure of God against him in his troubles, and that he might not have leisure to recollect himself, but be overwhelmed by a complication of calamities.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 1:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-1.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 1:14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:

Ver. 14. And there came a messenger] A sad relater, not a devil in the shape of a man, as the Rabbis would have it (let that pass for a Jewish fable), but one of Job’s own servants, or some other eye witness, to make Job believe, belike, that, as an evil man, he only sought rebellion, since such cruel messengers were sent against him, Proverbs 17:11.

The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding, &c.] i.e. We were none of us either idle, or ill-occupied; but taking pains, and tending our cattle, when this disaster befell us. "Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted," Psalms 107:17; they create themselves crosses, such as must therefore needs come with a sting in them, see Genesis 42:21. But Job’s servants were honestly employed when plundered and assassinated; which showeth that his losses were not penal, but probational.

And the asses feeding beside them] Peter Martyr, upon the First of Samuel, wittily applieth this text to prelates and non-residents; who, when put in mind of their duty, would usually answer, that they had substitutes and curates to do their business for them, Ita labor aliorum est, et proventus ipsorum; so that others took the pains, and they the profit, saith he, and as it is in the Book of Job, The oxen plow, and the asses feed beside them.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 1:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 1:14. Feeding beside them Feeding near them. Houbigant. Feeding as usual. Heath and Schultens. Job 1:15. The Sabeans fell upon them] Hebrew, שׁבא. Sheba fell upon them; Sheba was the general name of the nation; so the two kingdoms of the posterity of Jacob were called Judeah and Israel. These spoilers seem to have been Job's near neighbours; for the Sabeans lay at the north-west of his country. The Chaldee says, he was plundered by Lilith, queen of Zamargad and Barthinnon; this last is undoubtedly the Barathena of Ptolemy, and Zamargad was probably the name of the city of the Sabeans, called by Ptolemy σταυη . The name Lilith is supposed to be a name of dignity, as Pharaoh was among the Egyptians. The Sabeans were the descendants of Abraham by Keturah, whose son Jokshan begat Sheba. The sons of Keturah were by Abraham sent into the east, Genesis 25:6 inhabited Arabia the desart, and were notorious plunderers, as the Arabs are to this day. The Chaldeans, mentioned in the 17th verse, lay on the east and south-east of the Regio Ausitis, and were descended from Chesed, another son of Nahor; whence they are called Chesdim. Heath.

The fire of God i.e. The lightning. It has been thought scarcely reconcileable with the truth of history, that lightning should have destroyed seven thousand sheep at once: but let it be remembered, that we do not pretend to account for this or the other particulars here mentioned in a natural and ordinary way. It is evident from the history, that there was something supernatural in it. It was the prince of the power of the air who raised this storm of thunder, and caused perhaps an extraordinary hail-shower with it; such as that recorded Exodus 9 which destroyed both man and beast that were left without shelter in the field; or that which destroyed the army of the confederate kings, Joshua 10:11 or who shall say how far the power of this evil spirit may extend, when he is suffered to exert it? Peters.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 1:14". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/job-1.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

i.e. Beside the oxen, therefore both were taken away together.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 1:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/job-1.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

FIRST MESSENGER.

14.A messenger — In each of the four cases the messenger was, Chrysostom thinks, (though without authority from the text,) Satan himself, who brought the tidings to Job that he might feed on his misery.

The oxen were ploughing — A single touch of the pencil sets forth the quietude and peace that reigned around. The scientist speaks of a like hush of nature before an earthquake. “The ancient plough was entirely of wood, and of as simple a form as that of modern Egypt. It consisted of a share, two handles, and the pole or beam, which last was inserted into the lower end of the stilt on the base of the handles, and was strengthened by a rope connecting it with the heel. It had no coulter, nor were wheels applied to any Egyptian plough; but it is probable that the point was shod with a metal sock of bronze or iron. It was drawn by two oxen, and the ploughman guided and drove them with a long goad, without the assistance of reins, which are used by the modern Egyptians.” — Wilkinson.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 1:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-1.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

and. Note the Figure of speech Polysyndeton (App-6), to emphasize the details in all these reports of the calamities.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 1:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/job-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:

The donkeys 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.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 1:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-1.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
messenger
1 Samuel 4:17; 2 Samuel 15:13; Jeremiah 51:31
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 28:31 - ox;  Job 9:17 - multiplieth;  Job 39:10 - GeneralPsalm 42:7 - Deep calleth;  Proverbs 23:5 - riches

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 1:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-1.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"And there came a messenger unto Job"Job 1:14

As a matter of literal interpretation this was simple enough; but regarded suggestively the thought admits of large and useful expansion.—Messengers are always coming to men; if not living messengers, living messages—impulses, words of exhortation, encouragement, warning, the whole ministry of truth and light.—A voice came to Samuel in the darkness; we have seen already in earlier studies how many anonymous ministries there are in life,—men coming in the darkness, figures appearing in visions, voices heard in dreams, events forcing themselves upon religious attention.—There are many practical messengers coming to the cry of the heart every day: messengers of poverty, pain, bereavement; men requiring intellectual help, spiritual comfort, commercial direction: children needing to be trained, nurtured, directed, stimulated in right paths, protected from diabolical assaults.—"He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."—Providence itself is a great messenger and a great message.—If we choose to play the fool we can deafen ourselves to every voice and blind ourselves to every token: we can go up and down the earth saying that we hear nothing, see nothing; that we are practical, and that we pay no attention to the emotions of the soul, the peculiar actions that stir the inner being.—That certainly is one way of living; it is the poorest, meanest way of all; it is the way of the flower that has but a small root, and because there is no deepness of earth it will soon wither away.—He who dwells in daily communion with God fears no messenger who can come to him, even with evil news.—The fear of God takes away all other fear.—The surprise of the saintly soul is but a superficial or transient wonder; it does not affect the fountain and reality of his faith.—"If thou forbear to deliver him that is drawn unto death, God will judge thee; if thou sayest, Behold, I knew it not, he that searcheth the heart will bring thee to the judgment seat."—To the man who listens there is many an appeal; to the man who is wakeful there is many a passing vision from which he can learn abiding truths.—A messenger has come to every one of us to declare the everlasting gospel. He flies abroad in the midst of heaven; he proclaims his truth regardless of age, condition, or estate; his message is to every creature under heaven: it is a message charged with good news, meant to redeem and save and bless the heart.—Happy is the man who sees this messenger, and hears him, and provides for him a guest-chamber in his heart.

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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 1:14". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/job-1.html. 1885-95.