Taking advice from @Jonathan_Burke, I decided to make an “eye-catching title” … what do you think of the “clickbait”? … lol …
In discussions about the Flood, there is one significant passage that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention, no matter which camp you’re in (YEC, OEC, EC, etc.,) … And that’s Genesis 6:1-4:
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”
It’s been said that there’s never been so much controversy, per square inch, in any other passage of the Bible. And questions abound.
What are your guys’ thoughts on this passage?
In the Book of Job, “sons of God”, has been understood to mean angels. Is this passage talking about the procreation of angels and human females to create a race of giants?
It says, “There were giants in the earth in THOSE DAYS (hence the past), and also AFTER THAT (implying the present)…” … were giants understood to be destroyed by the flood? And if that is the case, why does this verse seem to say they live on?
What has been the understanding of this passage through the ages? The Book of Enoch goes into much more excessive details about this passage … even towards describing their great height and how people were forced to feed them.
The passage seems to be fairly important, as it’s the opening passage of chapter 6, where it talks about the “wickedness of man”.
Is their any correlation of this bizarre episode and other flood stories, or is it more exclusively Hebrew?
Curious what your guys opinions on this are … thanks!
I’m not very familiar with the Persian worldview … but when you say “angelology” are you referring to the general idea of angels in the Bible (of which they make their appearance in many, many diverse ways) are simply apart of the Persian worldview? Or the specific case of “angel-human procreation”?
They make appearances in the NT as well … Gabriel being in Daniel and in Matthew.
Angelology seems to be one of the most mysterious things (in my opinion) in the Bible.
I concur with the handful of scholars who have decided that the whole notion of Angels comes from contact between Jewish priests, outside of Judea, with Persian zoroastrians and scholars.
This of course implies that Genesis, which is RESPLENDENT with Angels, was written after 550 BCE. I think the facts support that position. I also know that there are plenty of people who don’t agree with me on that.
I believe the “sons of God” in Job and Genesis 6 are members of the covenant community, not angels.
The correct translation is “Nephilim”, not “giants”. And yes they did survive the flood, they’re mentioned again in Numbers 33. That’s one of the internal pieces of evidence demonstrating that the flood was local.
‘The bald allusion to the Nephilim (lit. fallen ones) in Gen 6:3 (‘The Nephilim were on the earth in those days … ’) fits uneasily into a context that has always presented a challenge to exegetes.’, Coxon, ‘Nephilim’, in Toorn, Becking & Horst (eds.), ‘Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible’, p. 618 (2nd rev. ed. 1999).
‘In Genesis 6, the Nephilim are connected with the multiplication of humanity on the face of the earth (v 1) and with the evil of humanity which brings about God’s judgment in the form of the flood (vv 5–7). Verse 4 includes a reference to later (postdiluvian) Nephilim. The majority of the spies who were sent by Joshua to spy out Canaan reported giants whom they called Nephilim, and who are designated in the account as the sons of Anak (Num 13:33).’, Hess, ‘Nephilim’, in Freedman (ed.), ‘Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary’, volume 4, p. 1072 (1996).
‘From Numbers 13 we learn that the Anakites are said to be descendants of the “Nephilim.” If the Nephilim of Num 13:33 and Gen 6:4 are taken as the same group, the verse indicates that the Nephilim and their descendants survived the flood.’, Matthews, ‘New American Commentary’, p. 336 (2001).
‘It is not clear why or how the Nephilim survived the Flood to become the original 'Canaanites; probably a duality of older oral traditions can be detected in the clash between these two texts.’, Hendel, ‘Nephilim’, in Metzger & Coogan (eds.), ‘The Oxford guide to people & places of the Bible’, p. 217 (2004).
‘The nephilim of Num 13.33 are the people whom the men saw when they were sent to spy out the land of Canaan while Israel was in the wilderness. These beings described as giganteV in LXX present the reader with the problem of how giants survived the Flood, in contrast to the Watcher tradition that conveys that all the giants were physically killed.’, Wright, ‘The Origin of Evil Spirits: The Reception of Genesis 6.1-4 in Early Jewish Literature‘, p. 81 (2005).
‘Thus, within the Flood narrative itself, the sole continuity of life between pre-Flood and post-Flood is represented by Noath and the others in the ark. Beyond the Flood narrative proper, however, there are implicit pointers in a different direction. One issue is the presence of “the Nephilim” both before the Flood (Gen. 6:4) and subsequently in the land of Canaan as reported by Israel’s spies (Num. 13:33). Indeed, there is a note in the text of Genesis 6:4 which expliciitly points to the continuity of Nephilim pre-and post-Flood: “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days - and also afterwards” (my italics), a note which of course poses the problem rather than resolves it.’, Barton & Wilkinson, ‘Reading Genesis After Darwin’, p. 12 (2009).
‘Although in Numbers 13 the inhabitants of Canaan are considered enemies of the Israelites, both the use and co-ordination (LXX) or derivation of the designation (MT) in an allusion to Genesis 6 betrays an assumption that one or more of the Nephilim must have escaped the great deluge.’, Auffarth & Stuckenbruck, ‘The Fall of the Angels’, p. 92 (2004).
Early Second Tempe Period Jewish commentary of the Greek era interpeted these as fallen angels. Early Christian era Jewish commentary interpreted them as members of the covenant community. Early Christian exposition was divided between the two views, though the “fallen angels” interpretation became dominant.
I agree. It makes sense that they would want to link the heroes of old to the Jewish family tree. It is also a theme throughout the OT that contamination of God’s community (by inter-marrying with idol worshippers) eventually leads to wickedness every time.
Yes there’s a very strong recurring theme of the ongoing warfare between the “two seeds”, the covenant community (the seed of the woman, the sons of God), and the apostate community (the seed of the serpent, the daughters of men).
Thanks for giving a very detailed response, Jon. I guess I should have clarified: “It doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention on BioLogos, in regards to talking about the Flood.” … at least from my experience.
Can you elaborate what “covenant community” means exactly? I’ve never heard that terminology before. When I’ve read the first couple chapters of Job, when “the Satan” is having a conversation with God, it sounds to me like a scene taking place in some sort of divine realm … not necessarily on the earth. The “sons of God” being associates with “the Satan” and God, in a kind of celestial courtroom (the doctrine of the Divine Council as Michael Heiser puts it) …
That’s kind of what I was getting at too. The context of the Flood passage, and the “nephilim”, are difficult to explain in a global flood scenario.
The Canaanites, to my understanding, were the descendants of Ham’s son, Canaan, whom Noah laid a curse on during a drunk episode after the Flood. I’m assuming their were multiple groups then, called “Canaanites”…?
I know a lot of folks who don’t like the Fallen Angels interpretations … my guess is because it sounds to them as “uncomfortably mythological”. Other New Testament authors seem, also, to allude to the fallen angel interpretation:
Jude 6 “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”
2nd Peter 2:4,5 “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;”
Notice that in the Peter passage, it refers first to “angels that sinned” in the context of “Noah’s Flood” that “destroyed the old world” …
The idea of fallen angels mixing with human females is, I freely admit, incredibly bizarre, but it seems hard to avoid the conclusion that that’s what these authors are referring too.
While I don’t disagree with you that intermarrying with idol worshipers would surely cause lots of trouble for God’s people, it’s difficult for me to see what it is you’re seeing in this particular passage of Genesis 6:1-4 …
“And it came to pass, when HUMANS began to multiple on the face of the earth, and DAUGHTERS were born unto them; that the SONS of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair, and took them wives all of which they chose…”
The text seems to be deliberately setting up “humans” as being distinct from the “sons of God” … in other words, not on the same plane of existence. If it’s referring to one group as being “idol worshipers” why is it specifically singling out “daughters” as being the bad group … almost as if it’s gender specific? It seems from my perspective that the very act of these “sons of God” intermarrying with the “daughters of men” are what’s the area of conflict … not because of idol-worship. Though I could be wrong.
This isn’t a bad interpretation, as I can see the lines of Seth and the lines of Cain, as being portrayed quite differently in the text. But again, like with my question with Christy, I have trouble connecting with why “daughters of men” is synonymous with the apostate community? Apostasy takes all stripes (and genders) … why are they just female, in this passage? The NT authors seem to see this as fallen angels, rather than different opposing lineages …
When Genesis was written, I don’t have a huge issue with. But the idea that angels (which occur, really, quite often through out the entirety of the Bible) are a “borrowing of another’s worldview”, makes me uncomfortable. The exact nature of angels are mysterious and cryptic, as the primary focus is too give a message about God and his character … but nonetheless, it seems to be quite the elaborate fiction, to say they have no basis in reality, when they appear in such a diverse, and multitude of different ways, and circumstances, through out the Old Testament (and even in the New Testament where angels are at Jesus’ tomb, to tell the good news to Mary and Martha … which is right in the middle of Christianity’s most important claim … that of Jesus’ resurrection) …
You’ll find the term “covenant community” used regularly in the scholarly literature to describe those people with whom God has made a covenant and marked out for His own; whether Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, the nation of Israel, or Christians. In this case it’s speaking of the people descended from Seth, who were worshipping God.
One of several problems involved with a “satan” who is part of a “divine council” in Job, is the complete lack of evidence for any such belief at this point in Hebew theology. Have you noticed that the satan and God manage to get on pretty well? They’re not exactly enemies. And the “satan” has complete access to heaven, if that’s where this is supposed to be. But Job himself shows no awareness of this satan whatsoever, and nor does his wife and nor do any of his friends; literally no one has ever heard of this “satan” who is a member of God’s celestial courtroom. Everyone just assumes all Job’s sufferings are coming directly from God.
On the other hand, the scene does make sense if it’s views as a gathering of the (human), covenant community before God, and Job’s (human), enemy is there expressing his jelaously for Job.
There were Canaanites who were descended from Canaan, but the term is also used more generally of “people living in the land of Canaan”. In Numbers 33 we’re told about the Anakim, who are said to be the descendants of the Nephilim. That little fact is just thrown casually into the record, and it is assumed that the audience knows who the Nephilim are. It’s clear evidence that the flood was local and the Nephilim were among the survivors.
You cite Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4-5, and suggest this is evidence fior the “fallen angels” interpretation. And yeah superfiically that looks likely. But wait a minute, what’s missing? Oh, any reference to “the sons of God”. It’s not that this term is absent from the New Testament. On the contrary, the term “sons of God” is used half a dozen times in the New Testament. And what is it used of? That’s right, it’s never used of the angels (fallen or otherwise), and it’s always used of (wait for it), the covenant community. So if “sons of God” in Genesis 6 is supposed to be fallen angels, the New Testament writers certainly don’t seem to know about it. They only know “sons of God” as members of the convenant community.
Ok so you’ll say that still leaves me with the issue of what Jude and Peter actually meant. Fair enough. My personal view on that would take too long to describe here. However, in brief I argue that both Peter and Jude are demythologizing the material they use, and that material is the Second Temple Period Enochian literature such as the Book of the Watchers, (not Genesis 6). My argument takes its starting point from Shelckes’ proposal that Peter demythologizes his Enochian source material. This is further substantiated by Pierce’s proposal that out of all the Enochian literature “individually, none of them provide the background to 2 Pet 3:18-22”, and that “throughout later [Enochian] literature there appears to be a trend of using the fallen angel and giant stories to describe or correct human behavior”. deSilva’s equivalent argument that the Epistle of Enoch itself actually demythologizes the story of the Watchers, also contributes to my case.
The text of Genesis 6 isn’t setting up a distinction between human and non-human; that could be argued perhaps if it said “sons of God” and “sons of men”. But it doesn’t say that. The contrast is gender specific, as you note. Why? Because inter-marriage between the covenant community and those outside the covenant community is a perennial problem in Israel’s history, and it is always described as the fault of the men who go lusting after women outside the covenant community. By the time Genesis 6 is written (which I believe is during the Babylonian captivity at earliest, but more likely the Persian era), this is a very well established trope. It would also be a warning for the Jews who were going to be returning to the land (as Daniel was certain they would, on the basis of his reading of Jeremiah), not to inter-marry outside the community.
So to turn directly to this question of yours.
Because the problem with apostatsy is always lusty men getting involved with women outside the covenant community. This theme is repeated all the way through the BIble, well into the New Testament. Apostasy is represented repeatedly as men gettting carried away with strange women.
 ‘The only earlier evidence that might betray some unease with 1 Enoch might be 2 Peter, which retains the content of Jude 6 (the Fall of the Watchers), but omits the explicit reference to Enoch. Schelke goes so far as to speak here of one book demythologizing the other (Petrusbrief, Judasbrief, p. 221).’, Hultin, Jude’s Citation of 1 Enoch, in Charlesworth & McDonald (eds.), J’ewish and Christian Scriptures: The Function of ‘Canonical’ and ‘Non-Canonical’ Religious Texts’, Jewish and Christian Texts in Contexts and Related Studies, volume 7, p. 125 (2010).
 ‘Having looked at the many sin and punishment traditions concerning angels, giants, spirits, and humans, the present study finds that, individually, none of them provide the background to 1 Pet 3:18-22. Rather, the stories of angelic sin and punishment, the birth of the giants, the presence of evil spirits, the examples of human evil, and the proclamations made to them exist in such multiple and conflated forms from the third century B.C.E. to the composition of 1 Peter that it is impossible to specify a single tradition-historical explanation behind this passage in 1 Peter.’, Pierce, ‘Spirits and the Proclamation of Christ: 1 Peter 3:18-22 in Light of Sin and Punishment Traditions in Early Jewish and Christian Literature’, Wissenschaftliche Unteersuchungen zum NeunTestament 2. Reihe, volume 305, p. 236 (2009).
 ‘However, throughout later literature there appears to be a trend of using the fallen angel and giant stories to describe or correct human behavior.’, ibid., p. 236; ‘For example, 1 En 54:2 describes the kings and the mighty of earth punished by being thrown into a deep valley, a punishment traditionally associated with the angels. Similarly sins attributed to the giants such as the trampling of the earth in 1 En 7:3 and 9:9 are now leveled against the kings and the mighty in the Similitudes. In fact, it appears that the Similitudes has replaced the giants with humans who are in authority.’, ibid., p. 236.
 deSilva, ‘The Jewish Teachers of Jesus, James, and Jude: What Earliest Christianity Learned from the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha’ (2012).
Side note: You can’t be apostate if you never were part of the community in the first place.
Obviously, if the passage is controversial, no interpretation is going to be without its questions.I personally prefer an interpretation that fits the thematic thrust of the surrounding narratives as opposed to one that speculates about supernatural interbreeding. Maybe it is the sons who have awesome genes and the women who are a snare because societies have been sexist from time immemorial. Probably more because men (fathers and sons) picked brides and women didn’t have much say in the matter. I think Abraham’s family is contrasted with the people who found wives for their sons where they weren’t supposed to be finding wives by the fact that he went through a lot of trouble to get Isaac a wife from his own people.
Below is a list of the Books where the words “angel” or “angels” most often occur (Old Test. only).
It is interesting that one of the highest incidences is in Zechariah (19 times), which is generally agreed was
written during the time of Darius, king of Persia. The other book that has 19 references is Judges, which
is a collection of stories that has such a timeless quality, some historians aren’t willing to definitively say
how many years or centuries are covered by the stories. Genesis, with 11 references, ties with Numbers…
but in Numbers virtually all the references appear in just one chapter (chapter 22).
19 in Zechariah: 6 in Zech 1, 1 in Zech 4, 3 in Zech 6, 3 in Zech 4, 2 in Zech 5, 2 in Zech 6 and 1 in Zech 12.
[during reign of Darius]
19 in Judges, with 2 in Jud 2, 1 in Jud 5 & 5 in Jud 6; 11 in Jud 13.
11 in Genesis (4 in Gen 16, 3 in Gen 21/22, 2 in Gen 24, and 1 each in Gen 31 & 48)
11 in Numbers, 1 in Num 20 & 10 in Num. 22.
8 in 1/2 Chronicles (probably AFTER Persian era).
6 in Exodus: 1 in Ex. 3, Ex. 14, Ex. 32 & 33, with 2 in Ex. 23.
6 in Samuel: 1 in 1Sam 39; 2 in 2 Sam 14, 1 in 2 Sam 19 and 2 in 2Sam 24.
6 in Kings: 1 in 1Kin 13, 2 in 1 King 19, 2 in 2 Kings 1, 1 in 2 Kings 19.
@Jonathan_Burke is on fire! Really solid breakdown almost across the board. The above is the only bit I would quibble with.
Pentateuch studies have gone through as many iterations as evolutionary theory. The Documentary Hypothesis has been largely abandoned in Europe in favor of the Neo-Documentary Hypothesis, which addresses literary questions and leaves aside the question of dating. Here is an interesting article comparing the two approaches by Joel Baden of Yale Divinity School (who advocates for the Neo- position). I also think that Meredith Kline’s insight in his “Treaty of the Great King” has to give one pause about dating the Pentateuch. He argues pretty convincingly (to my mind) that the Decalogue in Ex. 20 and the book of Deuteronomy as a whole follow the pattern of ancient Hittite suzerainty treaties (ca. 2nd millennium B.C.) between a “great king” and a vassal king. John Frame’s excellent article Covenant and the Unity of Scripture play upon that theme.
As an aside, Kline is also the theologian who popularized the modern “framework” view of Genesis. His essay Space and Time in Genesis Cosmogony pulls apart a literal reading of Genesis.
I don’t have the expertise to dive into a deep discussion of the dating of the Pentateuch, but I do think that there are too many open questions to rule out a date far earlier than the exile. My 2c
Thanks for the encouragement. Yes I’m very familiar with the Documentary Hypothesis, as well as the history of its rise, fall, and subsequent reprise. In my missspent youth I spent a lot of time arguing against it. Then I studied the Bible more carefully and realized there was truth in it. Then I started reading better scholarly literature and gradually caught up with the current state of play. It was quite revealing.
I am very much in agreement that the Deuteronmic code follows the second millennium BCE suzerainty treaties; Kenneth Kitchen has written on this matter with great skill (since he is tremendously qualified). And yes we must pause when dating the Pentateuch. But I’m only speaking of Genesis 1-11.
Naturally I have sympathy for this point of view, since my personal view is the “day/vision” interpretation.
Most of the Pentateuch undobutedly pre-dates the Exile. But the Pentateuch shows evidence of extensive editing and redaction over the years, and Genesis 1-11 certainly dates to the Exile at earliest. There’s a very obvious literary seam between Genesis 11 and Genesis 12. It is pretty well established across the board that Genesis 1-11 is a literary unit post-dating the rest of the Pentatuech. I have written on this topic before, and nothing I have written is remotely new, it’s all very well recognized in the literature.
Read over your earlier post. Lots of interesting stuff that certainly raises questions. The difficulty comes in our lack of manuscript evidence in the transmission of the text, since it is so ancient. I wonder how many of those things might have been scribal glosses that worked their way into the text during the course of copying and transmission? Hard to say, especially when I haven’t really studied the issue in-depth.
I definitely think, as do all other commentators, that there is a literary seam after Genesis 11. Whether that indicates a different date of composition … I don’t know. At the very least, it indicates that we should read Gen. 1-11 with a different literary framework for understanding.
From the looks of it you’ve obviously done a lot more research on the topic than I have. Which is one of the reasons I posted this topic … I have my own understanding, but far more confusion on the matter than answers …
Thanks for clarifying. One such passage in the New Testament that supports “sons of God” meaning a person which is in covenant with God, is in Luke 3:38 “… the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”
However, the term is also used in other ways as well. Job 38:6,7 “Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened, or who laid the cornerstone thereof? When the morning stars sang, and all the sons of God (bene ha’elohim) shouted for joy?”
In the verse, the sons of God are present at the time of the creation of the world … so in this sense (not saying every occurrence of this term, but this one), sons of God are referring to some form of divine being.
Yes. I’ve realized that “the Satan” which I’m told literally means “the Accuser” or “the Challenger”, wasn’t thought of as a personal name, in the Old Testament … nor was “the Satan” being referred too as a necessarily “demonic figure”. This could almost be a separate topic in and of itself, “What is the Biblical View of Satan?” …
Satan can’t do anything to a person, lest he gets permission from God.
This is actually why I believe that wherever this scene is taking place … the dialogue between the sons of God, the Satan, and God … it would make sense that Job and his friends aren’t aware of it … because Job on his friends are on earth wondering why all this suffering is going on … while the sons of God, Satan, God, are elsewhere “behind the scenes” so to speak.
His sufferings are coming “indirectly” from God, because God allowed the Satan to do a limited number of things to Job.
Hmmm … I’m trying to understand this point of view more. I’ll requote the passages here replacing “sons of God” with “covenant community” and “the Satan” with “the Accuser” to see how it sounds.
“Now there was a day when the covenant community came to present themselves before the Lord, and The Accuser came also among them. And the Lord said unto The Accuser, Whence comest thou? Then The Accuser answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto The Accuser, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then The Accuser answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto The Accuser, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.”
Couple points I’d like to draw out here. God asks the Accuser “whence have you been”, to which he replies, “From walking to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.” … If this scene is taking some place on earth, why has the Accuser “just gotten back” from walking around the earth? What is meant by this phrase?
My second point is that God gives everything that Job has, in his power. But as we read on, Job’s entire family gets killed, as well as all his livestock, some of which are the result of groups of people attacking (the Sabeans, the Chaldeans) and others are the result of “fire from heaven” and “storms”. Are you saying that Job’s HUMAN enemy had the power to call down fire from heaven onto his livestock and kill his family with a great storm?
Later on the Accuser strikes Job with terrible boils …
Your other arguments are quite scholarly, and it shows ignorance on my part, concerning this topic. I’ve only read bits and pieces of the Book of Enoch, and it would be an understatement to say that it’s a strange book. Jude 14 and 15 give a direct quote from the book, which is information you don’t see in Genesis. About Enoch prophesying about the Lord’s legion of angels coming in the last days.
It does seem a bit strange to go back and forth between different books in the same passage … Jude 6 referring to Enoch, Jude 7 referring to Genesis 18 and 19, with Sodom and Gomorrah.
Christy, I sense that you, amongst all the BioLogos ‘faculty’, are about the strongest in defense of OT’s relevance to today’s problems–when correctly interpreted, that is. And you seem (to me, at least) very open minded when it comes to using the latest scientific information in achieving that correct interpretation of OT. I am sure you are aware of the recent research by Svante Paabo’s group using mtDNA that indicates an appreciable amount of interbreeding occurred between our ancestral Homo sapiens and the Neanderthals and Denisovans. In an earlier post, you discounted my suggestion that the early oral fables which influenced the earliest written scripture could have arisen from this historical fact. Could it be possible that, while most of the “sons of God” were the Homo sapiens who had already received the Gift of Conscience (brain–> mind) and were mating with their own kind and spreading this Gift, a few mated with an earlier ‘cousin species’, the Neanderthals? What do other responders to this thread think of this proposal? The fact that this DNA apparently had some positive value to add to the human genome would indicate that, biologically at least, the effect was not all negative (i.e., wicked), but it certainly would have raised a few eyebrows.
Interesting musings, but it places scientific meaning on a non-scientific writing, in a sense doing what AIG does with their theologic interpretation. However, it is interesting to entertain as a possibility just as a musing, not as dogma.
That’s an important first step before approaching the satan in Job.
He seems to be unaware of this; he actually asks God to do everything, and God says it is satan who is moving God to destroy Job, not satan asking permission to destroy Job. Meanwhile, Job is also totally unaware of all this.
My point is not just that this dialogue is unknown to Job and his friends, it’s that the very existence of this satan is totally unknown to Job and his friends. There is no indication anywhere in the book of Job that a supernatural being called “satan” is a factor in their etiology of evil. For them, God is the only supernatural source of good and evil. That’s it. Now why is this?
Look at it like this. The congregation of the faithful is gathered together for worship. Someone turns up at the back, someone who hasn’t been around for a long time. Maybe some people don’t notice. God notices. Where have they been? God asks them. They reply evasively, defensively “Oh you know, I’ve been around”; the reply of someone with a guilty conscience, who knows they’ve been away from the place where they should have been on a regular basis.
Almost casually, God then throws out a seemingly completely irrelevant question; “Have you seen my servant Job recently? Now there’s a good man”. Immediately it strikes a nerve, and the person being questioned lashes out with an expression of anger and jealousy; “Oh sure he’s a good man, look at all the stuff you’ve done for HIM, is it any surprise that he behaves himself given all the STUFF you’ve showered on HIM, and the protection you’ve provided him? But his service is only skin deep, take away his stuff and he’ll curse you!”.
Is this the kind of response we expect from a divine being? Or is this the kind of response we expect from a human adversary of Job who had left the covenant community because of his personal dissatisfaction with God, and his personal grudge against Job, and who has only recently returned? God put His finger right on the man’s problem, forcing him to confront the issue the man had been trying to avoid. Considering the likely audience of the book, with which scenario are they more likely to identify?
No, I’m saying that in reality it was God doing everything, which is why no one in the entire book of Job attributes Job’s calamity to anyone but God. No one has any clue about this divine being called “satan” who gets permission from God to go to heaven and torment righteous people.
Pretty standard for the New Testament, in which a couple of different books can be cited in a single verse without even differentiating between them. Also pretty standard for the New Testament to cite two different sources to build a contrast to reinforce an argument.