Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 1:16

While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Job;   Resignation;   Temptation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Conflagrations;   Job;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Resignation;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Poor;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Animals;   Fire;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Job;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Thunder;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Satan;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Dawn;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Job;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The fire of God is fallen - Though the fire of God may mean a great, a tremendous fire, yet it is most natural to suppose lightning is meant; for as thunder was considered to be the voice of God, so lightning was the fire of God. And as the prince of the power of the air was permitted now to arm himself with this dreadful artillery of heaven, he might easily direct the zigzag lightning to every part of the fields where the sheep were feeding, and so destroy the whole in a moment.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 1:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

While he was yet speaking - All this indicates the rapidity of the movement of Satan, and his desire to “overwhelm” Job with the suddenness and greatness of his calamities. The. object seems to have been to give him no time to recover from the shock of one form of trial before another came upon him. If an interval had been given him he might have rallied his strength to bear his trials; but afflictions are much more difficult to be borne when they come in rapid succession. - It is not a very uncommon occurrence, however, that the righteous are tried by the rapidity and accumulation as well as the severity of their afflictions. It has passed into a proverb that “afflictions do not come alone.”

The fire of God. - Margin, “A great fire;” evidently meaning a flash of lightning, or a thunderbolt. The Hebrew is “fire of God;” but it is probable that the phrase is used in a sense similar to the expression, “cedars of God,” meaning lofty cedars; I or “mountains of God,” meaning very high mountains. The lightning is I probably intended; compare Numbers 16:35; see the note at Isaiah 29:6.

From heaven - From the sky, or the air. So the word heaven is often used in the Scriptures; see the notes at Matthew 16:1.

And hath burnt up the sheep - That lightning might destroy herds and men no one can doubt; though the fact of their being actually consumed or burned up may have been an exaggeration of the much affrighted messenger. - The narrative leads us to believe that these things were under the control of Satan, though by the permission of God; and his power over the lightnings and the winds Job 1:19 may serve to illustrate the declaration, that he is the “Prince of the power of the air,” in Ephesians 2:2.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 1:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/job-1.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Job 1:16

While he was yet speaking there came also another.

The calamities of Job

I. Many agents are watching for opportunities to injure us, but are restrained by the power of God. These may be divided into the visible and invisible. There are the invisible, those fallen spirits, of whose apostasy and active malignity so much is said in Scripture. Here you will see how the devil first tried to take away Job’s character for sincerity and virtue, then to insinuate that he was no better than a mercenary hypocrite, then to suggest that if he was but deprived of his outward possessions he would soon prove himself to be a downright blasphemer. Have we any reason to suppose it is otherwise with respect to us? Is not Satan still injuriously active? There are visible foes of our interests and of our peace. Man is not only alienated from God, but also from his fellow creatures. You especially ought to consider the debt you owe to God’s restraining and preserving mercy. Persecution is perfectly natural to depraved man. It is providence which throws chains upon his black and malignant passions.

II. The creatures can be readily converted by God into the authors of our injury or destruction. It is so with the very elements of nature themselves. So with our social connections. “A man’s foes may be those of his own household.” Thus it is also with our secular possessions: they may prove curses rather than blessings.

III. The external dispensations of God’s providence are not infallible criteria by which to form our estimate of human character. Prosperity is not, for it often happens that the horn of the wicked is exalted, and that they flourish like a green bay tree. Adversity is not an unequivocal test. Learn--

1. Our obligations to the protecting care of God.

2. What an illustration has been supplied of the precariousness of that tenure by which all earthly things are held. (John Clayton.)

The testing of Job

The question discussed in the Book of Job is this--Is it possible for man to be actuated by disinterested love for his Maker? Observe the tests to which Job was subjected.

I. He was ‘tried circumstantially. Though bereft of everything, Job does not throw off his allegiance to heaven, nor shriek curses into the ears of the infinite. Desolate he says--“Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

II. He was tried constitutionally. Satan asks--Let me act on him? He is smitten with a loathsome disease. Does his faith stand this?

III. He was tried theologically. His friends denounced him as a sinner. His nature rebelled. For many a long day he was tortured in his deepest convictions, the tenderest nerves of his soul. Does his loyalty to heaven then give way; does his trust in the Almighty die out? Here, in Job, is the question settled for all time, that the human soul is not essentially selfish. It can “fear God for nought.” (Homilist.)

The design of affliction

Job and affliction have long been associated together in our minds. Next to the “man of sorrows,” Job was perhaps the most afflicted of the servants of God. The principle of substitution at once explains the sufferings of the one, but to account for the sufferings of the other seems at first sight more difficult. The Book of Job is the most ancient of all the books of inspiration, and is entirely independent of them. Job’s history is not linked with that of the people of God, nor does it advance in any way the manifestation of the purposes of God. As resulting from the fall, and as stamping the Divine curse upon creation, affliction is the common lot of mankind. Affliction, in one shape or another, is the special portion of God’s people. God is the author of the afflictions of His people. We are apt to ascribe it to second causes, and to lose sight of the great first cause. God has a design in affliction.

I. The design of God in the afflictions of the wicked.

1. He intends to punish the wicked by affliction. But He designs also to awaken them, to arrest their attention, and to show them the nothingness and vanity of all things here. How blessed is that affliction which brings the prodigal back to his father’s house, however severe it may be.

II. The design of God in afflicting His own people.

1. To try the genuineness of their faith. The apostle speaks of the “trial of our faith.” In all his trial Job’s faith was found genuine, and to the praise and honour of God; Job never does anything which is inconsistent with his being a child of God. Some, when they are put into the furnace of affliction, prove themselves to have been but hypocrites.

2. To discover the latent corruption of their hearts. When a man is first converted he little thinks how much evil there still remains behind! But the trial comes, and then unbelief arises in its former strength. Rebelliousness rages in every region of the soul. Unsubdued passions resume their strength, and he is utterly dismayed at the fearful scene. Job, who was the most patient of all men, then showed impatience. In the days of his prosperity he seemed to be perfect, but affliction showed what was in his heart.

3. To purify and to sanctify them. God puts us into the furnace to purge us from the dross--to make us holy and spiritually minded--to make us seek those things which are above.

4. To call into exercise the graces of the Spirit. There is a great tendency even in the people of God to spiritual sloth and slumber. They have grace, but their grace is not in lively exercise. Their movements are sluggish and lifeless. By affliction God awakens us to a sense of our high responsibilities, and calls forth into exercise our dormant graces.

5. To enhance the value of true religion. What can sustain you when trial and trouble, in various forms, has come upon you, but real, heartfelt piety? What else could have supported Job in his unparalleled and complicated afflictions?

6. God afflicts His people also in order to manifest His own glorious attributes. The great object in all that God does is to manifest His own glory. Learn--

Whom He loveth He chasteneth

Among the mysteries of God’s providence there is perhaps no mystery greater than the law by which suffering is meted out in the world. It is not a mystery that sin should bring forth sorrow; it is not a mystery that pain, disease, and death should be the fruit of man’s fall. The conscience of men in all ages--the heathen as well as the Jewish and Christian--has acquiesced in the justice of that moral constitution of things by which sin becomes chastisement and suffering the expiation of guilt. The really difficult problem is not the problem of suffering in the abstract: it is the problem of the meting out of suffering on any theory; it is the problem why the innocent are called upon to suffer, whilst the guilty too often escape. This is a problem which comes before us in the Book of Job. Job is a righteous man, living in the fear of God, and eschewing evil. He is a man of large wealth and possessions, but he does not spend his wealth in selfish gratification. He is charitable to the poor, hospitable to the stranger, bountiful to all. He was not only the greatest of all the men of the East--he was the best. But in a moment the sky of his prosperity is overcast; blow follows blow with fearful rapidity. On what principle of justice is such a man made to suffer? Here is a man exemplary in life, devout, pure, charitable, of sterling integrity, earnest piety, and sincere faith in God; Why is he crushed with this awful suffering? Contrast with this the tragedy of “Prometheus,” written by AEschylus. Prometheus has been the benefactor of mankind. He has entered into a sublime conflict with Zeus, the supreme being, for the good of the race. He is crushed by his adversary and he dies with defiance on his lips. The conception is grand, but the chief element of grandeur lies in the fact that it is power, and not righteousness, which sits on the throne, and rebellion against supreme power which is not supreme right must always be grand. The struggle in the history of Job is far nobler. He knows that the God he worships is not supreme power only, but supreme righteousness also. This it is that makes his trial so hard. With him the difficulty is to reconcile the God of his conscience and his faith with the God who is ruling the world. On the throne of the universe sits one who, judging by the facts of life, is not absolutely righteous. The struggle in the drama of Job is not the defiance of power, it is not the arrogant assertion of self-righteousness: it is the confession of ignorance of self, and ignorance of God; it is the submission of the sorely tried man to the revelation of that God whose revelation he had longed to see. The problem is that of innocent suffering. What is the solution of it? Three answers are given.

1. That of the three friends. Though representing three different types of character, all concur in one thing--they all hold the same theory of the Divine government, and on the strength of that theory they all condemn Job. God is just, and therefore God rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked. If a man suffers, he suffers because he deserves it. Job may be upright, but he must be cherishing some secret sin, and it is this which has called down on him the vengeance of the Most High. This is their compendious system of theology. But it breaks down. It is not large enough to cover the facts. Centuries of teaching could not root out of men’s minds the obstinate belief that suffering is the measure of sin; but the sufferer himself repudiates it. The righteousness of God is the fundamental article of God’s creed; but then comes his cruel perplexity. Job does not maintain absolute freedom from sin. For a moment he is tempted to take refuge in blind submission. But in his inmost heart he cries out, “God must be righteous.” And so to the very last word he uttered he refused to be convinced of direct sin as the cause of his suffering. We know that Job is right, bat he still needed to learn the greatest lesson of all, that his very righteousness was not his own. He is right in maintaining his own innocence against his friends, right in holding fast his integrity, right in trusting God through all, right in appealing to Him to declare his righteousness when it seems to be hidden.

2. Another theory of suffering is given by Elihu. He is angry with Job for his obstinacy; and with the friends, because they have failed so completely to vindicate the righteousness of God. Elihu represents a younger theology. God’s purpose in chastisement He declares to be the purification of His servant. If He puts those whom He loves into the crucible, it is to purge away their dross, to cleanse them from past sins, and to keep them from failing in the future. Here, certainly, is a step in advance. To see a purpose of love in affliction is to turn it into a blessing. Job accepts in silence this interpretation of suffering.

3. But the mystery of suffering is not fully explained even when this purifying power is assigned to it. There is a suffering which is not even for the salvation or purification of the individual soul, but for the glory of God. In the prelude Satan tells God to His face that His servants serve Him not from disinterested motives or sincere affection, but in the spirit of the hireling, from the lowest and most mercenary, considerations. “Doth Job fear God for nought?” This is the challenge given, and it is one that strikes at the nature of God Himself. It means that he is incapable of inspiring a genuine, disinterested affection. God accepts the challenge. Job has to learn that suffering comes, because God is honoured in the trial of His people; and surely no more noble part can be assigned to man than to be the champion of God. (Bishop Perowne.)

The mystery of pleasure and pain

Pleasure and pain, happiness and suffering, are elements of creaturely experience appointed by God. The right use of them makes life, the wrong use of them mars it. They are ordained, all of them, in equal degrees, to a good end; for all that God does is done in perfect love as well as in perfect justice. It is no more wonderful that a good man should suffer than that a bad man should suffer: for the good man, the man who believes in God and therefore in goodness, making a right use of suffering, will gain by it in the true sense; he will reach a deeper and a nobler life. It is no more wonderful that a bad man, one who disbelieves in God, and therefore in goodness, should be happy, than that a good man should be happy, the happiness being God’s appointed means for both to reach a higher life. The main element of this higher life is vigour, but not of the body. The Divine purpose is spiritual evolution. That gratification of the sensuous side of our nature for which physical health and a well-knit organism are indispensable--paramount in the pleasure philosophy--is not neglected, but is made subordinate to the Divine culture of life. The grace of God aims at the life of the spirit--power to love, to follow righteousness, to dare for justice’s sake, to seek and grasp the true, to sympathise with men and bear with them, to bless them that curse, to suffer and be strong. To promote this vitality, all that God appoints is fitted--pain as well as pleasure, adversity as well as prosperity, sorrow as well as joy, defeat as well as success. We wonder that suffering is so often the result of imprudence. On the ordinary theory the fact is inexplicable, for imprudence has no dark colour of ethical faultiness. He who by an error of judgment plunges himself and his family into what appears irretrievable disaster may, by all reckoning, be almost blameless in character. If suffering is held to be penal, no reference to the general sin of humanity will account for the result. But the reason is plain. The suffering is disciplinary. The nobler life at which Divine providence aims must be sagacious no less than pure, guided by sound reason no less than right feeling. And if it is asked how, from this point of view, we are to find the punishment of sin, the answer is, that happiness as well as suffering is punishment to him whose sin and the unbelief that accompanies it pervert his view of truth, and blind him to the spiritual life and to the will of God. The pleasures of a wrong-doer who persistently denies obligation to Divine authority and refuses obedience to the Divine law are no gain, but loss. They dissipate and attenuate his life. His sensuous or sensual enjoyment, his delight in selfish triumph and gratified ambition, are real, give at the time quite as much happiness as the good man has in his obedience and virtue, and perhaps a great deal more. But they are penal and retributive nevertheless, and the conviction that they are so becomes clear to the man whenever the light of truth is flashed upon his spiritual state. On the other hand, the pains and disasters which fall to the lot of evil men, intended for their correction, if in perversity or in blindness they are misunderstood, again become punishment, for they too dissipate and attenuate life. The real good of existence slips away while the mind is intent on the mere pain or vexation, and how it is to be got rid of. (Robert A. Watson, D. D.)

The three-fold calamity

This sincere, right-hearted man must be passed through the entire round of human troubles. If any usual form of human sorrow is left untried in the case of Job, then the problem of the book is not yet fully solved. According to this poet author, the calamity of human life is three fold.

I. Trouble affects a man through his possessions. The case of Job is quite a model of the troubles that can come to a man through his possessions. He had scarcely time to take breath after hearing one mournful tale before another messenger of woe burst upon him, and the climax of his woe seems utterly heartbreaking. How is it that these changes of circumstances came to press on this man as troubles? Nothing really hurts us save as it affects the mind, and different things affect us differently according as they reach the various parts of our mental and spiritual nature. What part of us, then, is touched by these outward calamities which deprive us of the things that we possess? There is in our nature the desire of acquisition, and its satisfaction is the source of very many of our pleasures. The hurt to the mind which follows on losing our possessions takes its highest form in the loss of our children and friends. So far, however, as such troubles are concerned, our manhood ought to be great enough to enable us to deal with them, and we have no overwhelming admiration for the man who can see all his possessions go and yet maintain his integrity and keep his hold on God.

II. Troubles may come to a man through his body. We could not easily overestimate the relation which health and bodily vigour bear to a bright, hopeful spirit and a cheery, active faith. A vast proportion of the doubts and fears and inward struggles of men have their secret source in conditions of the beds, failure at the springs of vitality, or the presence of insidious disease. The secret relations of the body and the spirit are very mysterious. Consequently you come nearer to a man, you touch him to the quick, you put his spirit to a far higher test, when you bring calamity in upon his body. From the descriptions given it is probable that Job’s disease was what Eastern travellers know as elephantiasis, because the extremities of the body swell enormously, and the skin becomes as hard as the elephant’s hide. It is hard to bear when disease is painful; harder still when it is prostrating; harder still when it is disfiguring and loathsome; harder still when it involves social disabilities. And Job’s was all this. Can a man so suffer and keep hold of God? These calamities which come through our bodies affect other parts of our nature, and in some senses higher parts. The love of life. The desire of pleasure. The faculty of hope. All these are struck back, pressed down, forbidden to speak, and it is their inward wrestling which makes the bitterness of such trouble-times. But if affliction only reached these two things, our possessions and our bodies, we should not be able to call the testing sublime. Something would still be wanting.

III. Trouble affecting a man through his mind. For this greater testing the outward troubles of Job were but the approach and preparation. These new trials were of a kind, and came in such a way, as was most likely to cause mental confusion. The visit of the friends, and their bad theology and false accusations, were the very things to awaken the inner conflicts of the soul. They offered forms of truth which roused his resistance. They presented creeds, in their grave and formal way, which Job felt were too small to meet his case. They started doubts in his mind which almost swelled into the agony of despair. Job’s mental anguish took one particular form. The facts of his condition were brought into conflict with the formal creed of his day, the creed in which he himself had been brought up. That creed declared that suffering was the exact and necessary accompaniment of every sin; and that great calamity betokened great sin. Job feels sure that this must somehow be wrong. The creed would not fit his case. Scripture provides us with other illustrations of this highest and most imperilling form of human trouble. But the most sublime example is found in the Lord Jesus Himself. Bodily sufferings He had, but no man knows what the Lord has borne for him until he can enter into the spiritual conflict of Christ’s temptation, and the infinitely mysterious inward distress of Gethsemane and Calvary. We are not alone in these agonies of soul. Not alone while the struggle is being waged, not alone in the blessed victory it may be given us to win. We, too, with Job, may hold fast our integrity. Two things need a passing notice. Observe how the mental struggle was intensified by the influence of the foregoing outward calamities. The loss of all he possessed had humbled him. Grief at the loss of his children had oppressed him. Long-continued suffering of body had wearied him, and now the very spirit was weak. And observe also, that in such times of strain a man may very nearly fail and yet hold his integrity. Sometimes a man is, for a moment, smitten down. Job sometimes fails, and talks foolishly. He seems as if, in his desperation, he set his righteousness against God’s. But from the very borderland of infidelity and despair Job comes back to the trust and the rest of the child heart that finds the Father in God. (Robert Tuck, B. A.)

Usually where God gives much grace, He tries grace much

To whom God hath given strong shoulders, on him, for the most part, He layeth heavy burdens. And so we are come to the second main division of the chapter, which is the affliction of Job; and that is set forth from this verse 6 to the end of verse 19. And lest we should conceive it to have come upon him by chance, it is punctually described four ways.

1. By the causes of it (verse 6, 7, etc.).

2. By the instruments of it (verse 15, 16, etc.).

3. By the manner of it (verses 14, 15, 16, etc.).

4. By the time of it (verse 13). (J. Caryl.)

The tests to which God puts His people

God puts His servants sometimes into these experiments that He may test them (as He did Job), that Satan himself may know how true-hearted God’s grace has made them, and that the world may see how they can play the man. Good engineers, if they build a bridge, are glad to have a train of enormous weight go over it. When the first great exhibition was built they marched regiments of soldiers, with a steady tramp, over the girders, that they might be quite sure that they would be strong enough to bear any crowd of men, for the regular tramp of well-disciplined soldiers is more trying to a building than anything else. So our wise and prudent Father sometimes marches the soldiery of trouble right over His people’s supports, to let all men see that the grace of God can sustain every possible pressure and load. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The severest temptation last

When he thinks we are at the weakest, then he cometh with the strongest assaults. If Satan had sent Job word of the death of his children first, all the rest would have been as nothing to him. We observe in war, that when once the great ordnance are discharged, the soldiers are not afraid of the musket: so when a great battery is made by some thundering terrible judgment upon the soul, or upon the body, or estate of any man, the noise and fears of lesser evils are drowned and abated. Therefore Satan keeps his greatest shot to the last, that the small might be heard and felt, and that the last coming in greater strength might find the least strength to resist it. (J. Caryl.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Job 1:16". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/job-1.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

While he was yet speaking, there came also another,.... Another messenger, one of Job's servants, from another part of his fields where his sheep were grazing, and was one of those that kept them; he came with another piece of bad news, even before the other had finished his whole account; and the same is observed of all the other messengers that follow: so Satan ordered it, that all Job's afflictions should come upon him at once, and the news of them be brought him as thick and as fast as they could, to surprise him the more into some rash expressions against God; that he might have no intermission, no breathing time; no time for prayer to God to support him under the affliction, and sanctify it unto him; no time for meditation upon, or recollection of, past experiences of divine goodness, or of promises that might have been useful to him; but they came one upon the back of another, to hurry him into some indecent carriage and behaviour towards God, being considered by him as his judgments upon him:

and said, the fire of God is fallen from heaven; which the servant thought, or Satan put it into his mind to say, that it came immediately from God, like that which destroyed Nadab and Abihu and the murmurers in the camp of Israel, Leviticus 10:2 or, as it is commonly thought, is so called, because a most vehement one, as a vehement flame is called the flame of the Lord, Song of Solomon 8:6 this being such a fire as was never known, since the fire that came down from heaven and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain. I am inclined to think it was a prodigious flash or flashes of lightning; for as thunder is the voice of God, so lightning, which accompanies it, may be called the fire of God; and this agrees with the phraseology of the passage; it comes from heaven, or the air, and falls upon the earth, and strikes creatures and things in it; and which, as it is the effect of natural causes, Satan might be permitted to join them together and effect it; and this was done, and the news of it expressed in such language as to make Job believe that God was against him, and become his enemy, and that the artillery of heaven was employed to his harm, and to the ruin of his substance:

and hath burnt up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; as the fire or lightning which came down from heaven and consumed the captains, and their fifties, in Elijah's time, 2 Kings 1:10 and such like effects of lightning are often to be observed, both with respect to men and cattle; these were the 7000 sheep Job was possessed of, Job 1:3 and which were all destroyed at once, with the servants that kept them, excepting one; creatures very productive and very useful both for food and clothing, and also used for sacrifice; and it is thought that Satan's end in the destruction of these was, that Job might conclude from hence that his sacrifices were not acceptable to God, and therefore it was in vain to serve him; which he hoped by this means to bring him to express in a passionate manner to God:

and I only am escaped alone to tell thee; See Gill on Job 1:15.

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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 1:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/job-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

While he [was] yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The y fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

(y) Which was also done by the craft of Satan, to tempt Job even more grievously, so he might see that not only men were his enemies, but that God made war against him.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Job 1:16". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/job-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

fire of God — Hebraism for “a mighty fire”; as “cedars of God” - “lofty cedars” [Psalm 80:10 ]. Not lightning, which would not consume all the sheep and servants. Umbreit understands it of the burning wind of Arabia, called by the Turks “wind of poison.” “The prince of the power of the air” [Ephesians 2:2 ] is permitted to have control over such destructive agents.

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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 1:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-1.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

The Second Messenger:

16 While he was yet speaking, another came, and said, The fire of God fell from heaven, and set fire to the sheep and servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

The fire of God, which descends, is not a suitable expression for Samm (Schlottm.), that wind of the desert which often so suddenly destroys man and beast, although indeed it is indicated by certain atmospheric phenomena, appearing first of a yellow colour, which changes to a leaden hue and spreads through the atmosphere, so that the sun when at the brightest becomes a dark red. The writer, also, can scarcely have intended lightning (Rosenm., Hirz., Hahn), but rain of fire or brimstone, as with Sodom and Gomorrha, and as 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:12.

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Bibliographical Information
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Job 1:16". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/job-1.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

The fire of God — As thunder is the voice of God, so lightning is his fire. How terrible then were the tidings of this destruction, which came immediately from the hand of God! And seemed to shew, that God was angry at his very offerings, and would receive no more from his hands.

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Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 1:16". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-1.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 1:16 While he [was] yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Ver. 16. Whiles he was yet speaking] See here, we may, that miseries many times stay not for a mannerly succession to each other, but, in a rude importunity, throng ill at once: Fluctus fluctum trudit, one deep calleth to another; and as one shower is unburdened, another is brewed, Ecclesiastes 12:2. It must not seem strange, but be joyous, to saints when they fall, or be precipitated, plunged, into divers temptations, James 1:2. For crosses seldom come single, Aliud ex alio malum (Terent.), πονος πονω πονον φερει (Aristoph.).

Then came also another, and said] Before Job could recollect and recover himself, or take breath: this was a sore trial. It is a mercy that we have some lucida intervalla, bright periods, that the rod of the wicked doth not always rest on the lot of the righteous; that there are any interspiria, periods of life any halcyons; since here they must have it, or nowhere, Revelation 21:4.

The fire of God] This was more terrible than the former; because God seemed to fight against Job with his own bare hand, by fire from heaven, as once he did against Sodom. Be not thou a terror unto me, O Lord, saith Jeremiah, Jeremiah 17:17, and then I care not though all the world set against me. If mariners in a tempest have sea room enough, there is no fear; so, if men in afflictions can see and say, Yet God is good to Israel. To the pure in heart, there is comfort; and, on the contrary, it is fearful to fall into the hands of the living God! Hebrews 10:31.

And hath burned up thy sheep] Wherewith Job was wont to offer sacrifice. It was great joy to those in Joel, that God, after a sore and long famine, would yet leave a blessing behind him; "even a meat offering and a drink offering," &c., Joel 2:14.

And thy servants] Those souls of men, as they, are called, Revelation 18:13. This was a worse loss than that of his sheep.

And I only, &c.] {See Trapp on "Job 1:15"}

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 1:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-1.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

While he was yet speaking; before he could have time to compose his disturbed mind, and to digest his former loss, or indeed to swallow his spittle, as he expresseth it, Job 7:19.

The fire of God; a terrible flame of fire sent from God in an extraordinary manner, to intimate that both God and men were his enemies, and all things conspired to his ruin.

Is fallen from heaven, i.e. from the air, which is oft called heaven, as hath been noted again and again, whereof Satan is the prince, Ephesians 2:2.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 1:16". 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

SECOND MESSENGER.

16.Fire of God — Or lightning, as in 1 Kings 18:38. Thus Euripides:

Alas! alas! may the fire of heaven

Strike through my head. Medea, 144.

According to Delitzsch, a rain of fire like that of Sodom. Umbreit and Ewald suppose it to have been the simoom — the fiery, sulphurous wind of Arabia, called by the Arab and the Turk “the wind of poison.” Its approach is heralded by an unusual redness of the sky, which, while the wind lasts, seems to be all on fire. The blast of air, heated to quite two hundred degrees, frequently becomes a tornado, whirling along vast mounds of sand, which sometimes overwhelm armies, as in the case of Cambyses and his 50,000 men. But as this visitation “fell (נפלה ) from heaven,” it seems more natural to interpret it of lightning. It is significant that the second stroke came from heaven, as if to impress Job with the conviction that God, as well as man, was against him.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 1:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/job-1.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Job 1:16. While he was yet speaking — Before the former had done speaking, or Job could have time to compose his disturbed mind, and to digest his former loss; there came also another — Another messenger of evil tidings; and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven — Not ordinary lightning, which could scarcely have destroyed seven thousand sheep at once; but an extraordinary, terrible, and widely-spreading flame or fire, issuing from the air, accompanied, probably, by a dreadful storm of thunder and hail, 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. We need not wonder that this fire and storm were so destructive, since they were raised by him who is emphatically termed the prince of the power of the air, and who had now permission to use his power to the utmost against the property of Job. Thunder is termed in Hebrew the voice of God, and the messenger terms this lightning the fire of God, not knowing that the evil spirit had any hand in causing it. How terrible then must have been the tidings of this destruction, which was represented as coming immediately from the hand of God, and which seemed to show that God was angry at Job’s very offerings, and would receive no more at his hands!

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 1:16". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Heaven, or the air, where the devils exercise a power, Ephesians ii. 2.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Job 1:16". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/job-1.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"The fire of God": This is not a reference to Divine wrath, but probably refers to lightening. In this section we learn that Satan, when given latitude, can move both men and nature to serve his purposes.

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 1:16". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-1.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

While he was yet speaking. Repeated three times to show the rapidity and vehemence of Satan"s assault.

The fire of God = A fire of Elohim. Figure of speech Enallage (App-6) = a great (or terrible) fire. Elohim used as an adjective. Compare Song of Solomon 8:6. Psalms 80:10.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 1:16". "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

While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Fire of God - Hebraism for a mighty fire; as cedars of God-lofty cedars. Umbreit understands it of the burning wind of Arabia, called by the Turks 'wind of poison.' But the burning wind would not be said to fall from heaven: therefore, it is likely by "the fire of God" is meant lightning (Exodus 9:23; Numbers 16:35; 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:10; 2 Kings 1:12; 2 Kings 1:14). "The prince of the power of the air" is permitted to have control over such destructive agents.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 1:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/job-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(16) The fire of God.—Whether or not we understand this phrase as in the margin, it can hardly mean anything else than lightning. (Comp. Genesis 19:24, and 2 Kings 1:10-14.) It is characteristic of the Old Testament poetry to see in the convulsions of nature the immediate action of the Most High; but perhaps it is intended throughout Job that we should see more than this, as the book undoubtedly assumes to be the record of a Divine revelation.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Job 1:16". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/job-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
there came
Genesis 19:24; Leviticus 9:24; 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:10,12,14; Amos 7:4; Revelation 13:13
The fire of God
or, A great fire.
Exodus 9:28; 1 Samuel 14:15; *marg:
Reciprocal: Genesis 34:28 - GeneralNumbers 11:1 - and the fire;  1 Kings 1:22 - GeneralJob 1:15 - and I only;  Job 19:16 - my servant;  Job 22:20 - the fire;  Ephesians 2:2 - of the air

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 1:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-1.html.