Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Job 1:19

and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Bereavement;   Job;   Meteorology and Celestial Phenomena;   Resignation;   Temptation;   Thompson Chain Reference - Job;   Meteorology;   Storms;   Tempests;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Children;   Dead, the;   Resignation;   Wind, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Whirlwinds;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Poor;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Animals;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greatness of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Corner;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Winds;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Job, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Job;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Wind;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Satan;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Winds;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bildad;   Four;   Uz (1);   Wind;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Job;   Winds;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A great wind from the wilderness - Here was another proof of the influence of the prince of the power of the air. What mischief might he not do with this tremendous agent, were he not constantly under the control of the Almighty! He seems to have directed four different currents, which, blowing against the four corners or sides of the house, crushed it together, and involved all within in one common ruin.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Job 1:19". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/job-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

There came a great wind - Such tornadoes are not less common in Oriental countries than in the United States. Indeed they abound more in regions near the equator than they do in those which are more remote; in hot countries than in those of higher latitude.

From the wilderness - Margin, “From aside.” That is, from aside the wilderness. The word here rendered “from aside” in the margin (מדבר mı̂dbâr ) means properly “from across,” and is so rendered by Dr. Good. The word עבר ‛âbar means literally a region or country beyond, or on the other side, sc. of a river or a sea, which one must “pass;” Judges 11:18; Genesis 2:10-11; Deuteronomy 1:1, Deuteronomy 1:5. Then it means on the other side, or beyond; see the notes at Isaiah 18:1. Here it means that the tornado came sweeping across the desert. On the ample plains of Arabia it would have the opportunity of accumulating its desolating power, and would sweep everything before it. The Hebrew word here rendered “wilderness,” מדבר mı̂dbâr does not express exactly what is denoted by our word. We mean by it usually, a region wholly uncultivated, covered with forests, and the habitation of wild beasts. The Hebrew word more properly denotes a “desert;” an uninhabited region, a sterile, sandy country, though sometimes adapted to pasture. In many places the word would be well translated by the phrases “open fields,” or “open plains;” compare Joel 2:22; Psalm 65:13; Jeremiah 23:10; Isaiah 42:11; Genesis 14:6; Genesis 16:7; Exodus 3:1; Exodus 13:18; Deuteronomy 11:24; compare Isaiah 32:15; Isaiah 35:1-2.

And smote the four corners of the house - Came as a tornado usually does, or like a whirlwind. It seemed to come from all points of the compass, and prostrated everything before it.

And it fell upon the young men - The word here rendered” young men” is the same which is rendered in Job 1:15, Job 1:17, servants הנערים hana‛arı̂ym There can be no reasonable doubt, however, that the messenger by the word here refers to the children of Job. It is remarkable that his daughters are not particularly specified, but they may be included in the word used here נערים na‛arı̂ym which may be the same in signification as our phrase “young people,” including both sexes. So it is rendered by Etchhorn: Es sturtzo tiber den jungen Leuten zusammen.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Job 1:19". "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, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness,.... Most probably from the wilderness of Arabia, winds from such places being generally very strong, Jeremiah 4:11 as this was, and is called a "great one", a very strong and blustering one; and being so, and because of the effects of it, and being an uncommon and extraordinary one, as what follows shows, a "behold" is prefixed to the account, exciting attention and wonder:

and smote the four corners of the house; which shows it to be an unusual wind, it blowing from all parts and on all sides; and was either a whirlwind, which whirled about this house; or Satan, with his posse of devils with him, took the advantage of the sweep of it, as it came by this house, and with all their force and strength, might and main, whirled it about it; otherwise Satan has no power to raise winds, and allay them at pleasure; God only creates them, holds them in his fists, and brings them out of his treasures; and this wind blowing from the desert, the devil and his angels took the opportunity, and with such violence whirled it about the house that it fell, as follows:

and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; not upon Job's sons only, but upon his daughters also, the word used takes in both; and Mr. Broughton renders it, "and it fell upon the young folk"; this was the sorest affliction of all, and which Satan reserved to the last, that if the others did not succeed to his wish, this might; and a very trying, grievous one it was, to lose all his children at once in such a manner, and at such a time; his children, which were parts of himself, whom he had taken so much care of in their education, who had been as olive plants about his table, and now brought up to men's and women's estates, comfortably settled in the world, and living in great peace and harmony among themselves, and not one of them left to comfort him under his other afflictions; and these taken away not by any distemper of body, which would have prepared him for the stroke, but by a violent death; and which had the appearance of the hand and judgment, wrath and vengeance of God; and while they were feasting together in mirth and gaiety, however innocent, and not in a serious frame of spirit, or having any serious turn upon their minds for death and eternity, of which they had no thought; had they been in the house of God attending religious worship, or though in their own houses, yet either in their closets praying, or else conversing about spiritual things, with one another, it would have greatly taken off of the affliction; but to be snatched into eternity at once, and in this manner, must be cutting to Job; though there is no reason to think that this was for any sin of theirs, or through any displeasure of God to them, but was permitted purely on Job's account, for the trial of his faith, patience, sincerity, and integrity; and here, as in the former instances, only one servant was spared to bring the sad tidings:

and I only am escaped alone to tell thee; so that all the servants in the house, excepting this, perished in the ruins of it, as well as Job's sons and daughters; see Gill on Job 1:15. It is a notion of some Jewish writers, as Simeon bar Tzemach observes, that each of these messengers, as soon as they had delivered their message, died, and so all that Job had was delivered into the hands of Satan, and nothing left; but this seems contrary to Job 19:16. It may be observed that Aristeas, an Heathen writer, as quoted by Alexander PolyhistorF9Apud. Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 25. p. 431. , another Heathen writer, gives an account of each of these calamities of Job, just in the same order in which they are here. It may be observed from all this, that no character ever so great and high can secure persons from afflictions, even grievous ones; Job had an high and honourable character given and confirmed by God himself, yet so sorely afflicted; and let men be the beloved of God, his chosen and precious, his covenant people, the redeemed of the Lamb, righteous and godly persons, the sons and heirs of God, yet neither nor all of these exempt them from afflictions; and those that befall them are many, frequent, and continued, and come from different quarters, from men good and bad, and from devils, and all by the permission and according to the will of God. And this shows us the uncertainty of all outward enjoyments, gold, silver, cattle, houses, lands, children, friends and relations, all perishing, and sometimes suddenly taken away: and it may be observed, among all Job's losses, he did not lose anything of a spiritual nature, not one spiritual blessing; though he lost all his outward mercies, yet not the God of his mercies; not his covenant interest in him, nor his share in his love, favour, and acceptance, which all still continued; he did not lose his interest in a living Redeemer; his children were all dead, but his Redeemer lived, and he knew it; he did not lose the principle of grace in him, the root of the matter was still with him; nor anyone particular grace, not his faith and confidence in God, nor his hope of eternal life, nor his love and affection to God, and desire after him; nor his patience and humility; nor his integrity, faithfulness, and honesty, which he retained and held fast; nor any of his spiritual riches, which are durable; he had riches in heaven, where thieves cannot break through and steal, a better and a more enduring substance there, an inheritance incorruptible, reserved in the heavens his conduct under all this follows.

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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 1:19". "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

a great wind from the wilderness — south of Job‘s house. The tornado came the more violently over the desert, being uninterrupted (Isaiah 21:1; Hosea 13:15).

the young men — rather, “the young people”; including the daughters (so in 2:21).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 1:19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/job-1.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

The young men — This was the greatest of Job's losses, and therefore Satan reserved it to the last, that if the other provocations failed, this might make him curse God. They died by a wind of the devils raising, but which seemed to be the immediate hand of God. And they were taken away, when he had the most need of them, to comfort him under all his other losses. Such miserable comforters are creatures: in God we have a constant and sufficient help.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Job 1:19". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/job-1.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Job 1:19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Ver. 19. And behold, there came a great wind] The devil, doubtless, was in this wind (as he is, by Divine permission, "the prince of the power of the air," Ephesians 2:2, and can thereby do much mischief); what wonder, then, though it were a great wind, since spirited by him, and came ( ventus a veniendo), came on amain, and with a force, as being driven on by the devil. It was a wonderful wind (belike a whirlwind), and hath, therefore, a "behold" set upon it; such a wind as the relater had never known before; the Rabbis say, that he was so frightened with it, that no sooner had he made an end of his report of it to Job, but he fell down dead at his feet. Sure it is, that he relateth the matter punctually and graphically, with singular diligence, and without that moderation and making the best of things at first, as in such cases is usual, when parents are first made acquainted with the sudden death of their children, or other sad accidents that have befallen them. This messenger cluttereth out all at once, being thereunto set on and induced by Satan (as Lavater thinketh) to stir up Job’s stomach, and to make him break off that so well twisted thread of his patience.

From the wilderness] Of Idumea, or Arabia, called Deserta. The devil, who haunteth dry and desert places, was the Aeolus that sent it. Let us bless that God (the maker and master of these meteors, and of all things else) who bindeth up such an enemy and boundeth such a power.

And smote the four corners of the house] This was extraordinary, and, therefore, the more dreadful; God seeming to fulfil upon Job and his children what he threateneth in the law, Deuteronomy 28:59, I will make their plagues wonderful. But what saith Solomon, and that after long debate with himself about occurrents of this nature? "For all this I considered in mine heart, even to declare all this, that the righteous and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them," Ecclesiastes 9:1-2 by externals we cannot judge aright of eternals. Let it be our care to "lay hold on eternal life"; and then sudden death can do us no hurt; no guest cometh unawares to him who keeps a constant table.

And it fell upon the young men, and they are dead] No doubt but they were miserably mauled and dismembered by the fall, so that they were pulled forth piece-meal, and it could hardly be known which was which, as we say. The like death befell Scopas, a rich and noble man of Thessaly, together with his guests, all crushed and killed together by the ruin of that room where they were feasting, and fearing no such danger, as Cicero telleth us: Simonides was at that feast, but was at that instant happily called out by two young men that came to speak with him (Cic. lib. 2, de Orator). Luther had the like deliverance, by a special providence, as Mr Fox relateth. But so had not those Londoners, in the reign of King William II, who perished by a terrible tempest, which blew down suddenly six hundred and six houses in that chief city (Acts and Mon. fol. 787. Stowe’s Chron.). No more had those that died by the fall of part of a house in Blackfriars, where and while Drury, a Popish priest, was preaching, who, together with a hundred more Papists, his hearers, had there their passport: this happened in the year 1623. And the like we had lately at Witney, in Oxfordshire, where a scurrilous, blasphemous comedy was, by the fall of the room wherein it was noted, Feb. 3, 1652, turned into a tragedy, as ending with the deaths of six, and injuries of about sixty, who were bruised and maimed, and some, as it were, half dead, carried away by their friends. The narrative whereof, together with what was preached there in three sermons on that occasion from Romans 1:18, is set forth by Mr John Rowe, lecturer in that town, in his book called Tragicomedia.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Job 1:19". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/job-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Job 1:19. From the wilderness From the further part, or across; whence it appears that Job's situation was on the northerly side of the Arabian desart; the stormy winds in those countries blowing from the southerly quarters. Heath. It has been urged by some, that it is very unlikely that so many misfortunes should fall at once upon this good man, as that the messenger of one bad piece of news had no sooner done speaking, than another and another comes. But it should be observed, that the unlikelihood of a thing, or its very rarely happening, is no argument against the truth or credibility of it; especially in a case so extraordinary as this, where the great adversary of mankind, who delights in doing mischief, had so large a scope permitted him. But, suppose we should here claim an allowance for the poetical way of describing things in expressions somewhat figurative and hyperbolical. It is very usual in common speech to say, when a man's misfortunes succeed each other very quick, that they followed close upon the heels of each other. Job's messengers here perhaps do the same; and the poet, as I take it, may have the privilege of drawing out a figure of speech to its full length. Further, as to the remarkable circumstance of only one servant escaping with the news of each calamity, it may be exactly according to the fact, for any thing that appears to the contrary. Besides, it is not told us by the historian, but by each messenger who brought the bad news, and who probably might think so in the hurry of his fears, though there were others saved beside himself; for, when people are dispersed in a fright, and run different ways, one who finds himself alone after a long flight, may easily conclude himself the only person that escaped. Peters.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Job 1:19". 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

From the wilderness; whence the fiercest winds came, as having most power in such open places. See Jeremiah 4:11 13:24.

Smote the four corners; in which the chief strength of the house did consist. It smote these either all together, or rather successively, one immediately after another, being possibly a whirlwind, which comes violently and suddenly, whirling about in a circle, and being driven about by the power of the devil, which is very great.

The young men; his sons in their youth, and his daughters also, as appears from the sequel.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Job 1:19". 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

19.From the wilderness — Literally, from beyond the desert. המדבר with the article as here, generally signifies the great Arabian desert, lying to the south of Palestine, and extending from Egypt as far as the Persian Gulf. The most destructive storms come from that direction. Sweeping across this desert, with no obstacle to break its force, this storm constantly increased in intensity until it became a whirlwind, (so Dillmann thinks,) and thus struck the four corners of the house at once. Mr. Buckingham thus describes a whirlwind which he encountered in the desert of Suez: “Fifty gales of wind at sea seemed to me more easy to be encountered than one among these sands. It is impossible to imagine desolation more complete; we could see neither sun, earth, nor sky; the plain at ten paces distance was absolutely imperceptible; our beasts, as well as ourselves, were so covered as to render breathing difficult; they hid their faces in the ground, and we could only uncover our own for a moment to behold this chaos of midday darkness.” Such winds, says Dr. J.L. Porter, are common in the desert. “They pass along with a roar like a cataract, and can be both seen and heard at a great distance. I have often witnessed them. Such a tornado would destroy a house exactly as here described, ‘smiting it upon the four corners.’”

Young men נערים. An archaic form of frequent use in the Pentateuch (like the Greek παις) for either or both of the sexes.

They are dead — The climax of conceivable evils is now reached. Each additional one had been more disastrous than that which preceded. This — before which the others are dwarfed — is forcibly left to the last. Dante says of Satan that he is a master logician. The first stroke was the work of men, and entailed the loss of five hundred yoke of oxen and as many asses; in the second, the fire of God fell, and burned up the seven thousand sheep; in the third, men were again the agents, and the Chaldeans swooped up the three thousand camels; in each case their attendants being left dead on the field. But what are all these in the presence of a family of ten dead children? These diversified calamities were so ordered, that, like so many claps of thunder, the reverberation of one died not away before another broke upon the sky.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Job 1:19". "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 1:19. And behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness — From the further part of, or across the wilderness, whence the fiercest winds came, as having most power in such open places: see Jeremiah 4:11; Jeremiah 13:24. By this it appears that Job’s situation was on the northerly side of the Arabian desert; and smote the four corners of the house — In which the chief strength of the house consisted. The wind smote these either all together, or rather successively, one corner immediately after another, being possibly a whirlwind, which came violently and suddenly whirling about in a circle; and it fell upon the young men — Upon his sons in their youth, and his daughters also, as appears from the sequel. This was the greatest of all Job’s losses, his ten children being, undoubtedly, by far the dearest and most valuable of his possessions; and it could not but go nearest to him, and, therefore, Satan reserved it to the last; that, if the other provocations failed, this might make him curse God. Our children are parts of ourselves, and it touches a good man in a most tender part to be deprived of any of them. What then must Job have felt, when he learned that he had lost his whole ten at once, and that in one moment he was written childless! It was also an aggravation of the calamity that they had been taken away so suddenly, without any previous warning. Had they died by some lingering disease, and he had had notice to expect their death, and prepare for the breach, the affliction would have been more tolerable. And that they had died when they were feasting and making merry, was another and still more distressing circumstance. Had they died suddenly when they were praying, he might have better borne it; for. in that case, he would have hoped that death had found them in a state of preparation for another world, which he had great reason to fear now it had not. They died, indeed, by a wind of the devil’s raising, but which seemed to come from the immediate hand of God, and to be sent as a judgment of God upon them for the punishment of their sins: and they were taken away when Job had most need of them to comfort him under all his other losses.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 1:19". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/job-1.html. 1857.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"A great wind": Suggests something like a tornado or whirling wind that gained in momentum as it came across the desert. "It fell on the young people and they died": Job"s children are grown and yet they are still young. "A man"s children are dearer than any earthly treasure. Ten funerals! How can he bear it? Surely Job will break under such a weight of grief-so Satan hoped" (Jackson p. 21). Yes, Satan knows what will cause many men to break, yet he cannot break one determined to be faithful. The way that we can really get under Satan"s skin is to remain calm, confident, joyful, and faithful even during times of trouble. Notice the contrast. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (John 3:16), Satan will destroy everything we have in the attempt to break us, he will even kill our children-given the chance!

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Job 1:19". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/job-1.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

wind. Hebrew. ruach. App-9.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Job 1:19". "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, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Wind from the wilderness - literally, 'from across the wilderness,' south of Job's house. The tornado came the more violently over the desert as being uninterrupted (Isaiah 21:1 ; Hosea 13:15).

The young men - rather the young people; including the daughters (so in Ruth 2:21).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 1:19". "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, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
a great
Jeremiah 4:11,12; Ephesians 2:2
from
Heb. from aside, etc. it fell.
Judges 16:30; 1 Kings 20:30; Matthew 7:27; Luke 13:1-5; Acts 28:4
they are dead
Genesis 37:32,33; 42:36; 2 Samuel 18:33
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 22:20 - escaped;  Job 1:15 - and I only;  Job 4:9 - by the breath of his nostrils;  Job 4:11 - the stout;  Job 5:4 - they are crushed;  Job 8:4 - he have cast;  Job 18:19 - neither;  Job 19:16 - my servant;  Amos 6:9 - if;  Mark 4:37 - great storm;  Luke 8:42 - one;  Luke 13:4 - fell

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Job 1:19". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/job-1.html.