A Classic Study:
The Book of Job
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[Here we continue a reprint of a small portion of Joseph Caryl’s study in Job. Mr. Caryl wrote twelve volumes on the book of Job. His study is a great example of how deep one can dig into the truths of the Bible.]
Job 1:7-8 (part 3) - God’s Second Question, pt. 1,
by Joseph Caryl (1644)
7And the Lord said unto Satan, “Whence comest thou?” Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” 8And the Lord said unto Satan, “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?” (KJV)
Let us now consider what the Lord replied, or His second question to Satan. Well, you have been walking to and fro in the earth, said God, “Hast thou considered my servant Job?” (vs. 8). Tell me, hast thou taken notice of such a one? “Hast thou considered?” The meaning is, Hast thou put thy heart upon Job? So it is word for word in the original, Hast thou laid Job to thy heart? Hast thou seriously, fully and exactly considered my servant Job? And so it is rendered out of the Septuagint, Hast thou attended with thy mind upon my servant Job? To put a thing upon the heart, is to have serious and special regard to it; as when the Scripture speaks of not putting a thing upon a heart, it notes a sleighting and neglecting of it. When the wife of Phineas was delivered, and they told her that she had brought forth a son, the text says, “She answered not, neither did she regard” (I Sam. 4:20); the Hebrew is, neither did she put her heart upon it; the same word is used here in Job. Thus Abigail speaks to David, “As for this son of Belial, let not my lord put his heart upon him” (I Sam. 25.25), or (as it can be translated), let not my Lord regard this man of Belial; take no notice of such a one as he is, he is fool name and thing, do not regard him, do not put him upon thy heart.
There are diverse such expressions where putting upon the heart is expressed by regarding, and not putting upon the heart, by not regarding. Then here, Hast thou put Job upon thy heart?, that is, Hast thou seriously weighed and considered Job? As if God had said, I am sure in thy travels and wanderings about the world, thou couldest not choose but take notice of Job; he is my jewel, my darling, a special man among all the sons of men. He is such a spectacle as may justly draw all eyes and hearts after him. When thou walkedst didst thou not make a stand at Job’s door? I cannot but look upon him myself and consider him, therefore surely thou hast considered him. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His heart is upon them, too. A wicked man hath not the eye of God, a godly man hath his heart, and shall have it to all eternity.
The sum is, this question teaches us, that amongst all the men dwelt on the face of the earth, Job was the most considerable.
“Hast thou not considered my servant Job”: It is as if one should say to a man come from this city in the country, “Were you at court, or have you seen the King?”, because he is the most eminent and considerable person. So God here speaks to Satan upon his account of walking about the earth, “Hast thou taken notice of Job? A godly man, who is the most considerable man in the world?” But then you must put your heart upon him, not your eye only, for then as it was said of Christ (see Isa. 53:3): you may perhaps see no beauty in him, his inside is the most considerable thing in the world.
But secondly, in reference to Satan, some read these words not by way of question, but by way of affirmation: Thus, thou hast considered my servant Job. You have been abroad in the world, surely then you have taken notice of my servant Job; you have considered him; that is, of all the men in the world, you have set yourself about Job to tempt him and to try him; when you came to Job’s house, there you made an assault; there you tried the uttermost of your strength to overcome him; you considered him what to do against him, how to overthrow him and, tell me, have you not found him a tough piece? Did you ever meet with such a one in the world before? To consider a thing is to try always how to gain it, or how to compass such a thing. As Samuel said to Saul, when he was seeking his father’s asses, “As for thine asses that were lost, set not thy mind on them” (I Sam. 9:20); that is, do not trouble yourself, do not beat your brains to consider which way to go to find them, or where it is most probable to get them. So here you have set your mind or considered my servant Job, that is, you have beat your brains, and set all your wits on work what course to take with greatest advantage to destroy my servant Job.
Take the words in that sense, and they yield us this instruction: That Satan’s main temptations, his strongest batteries are planted against the most eminent godly persons. When Satan sees a man that is eminent in grace, against him he makes his hottest and subtlest assaults: he sets his heart upon such a man, yea and vexes his heart too about him. Satan is most busy at holy duties (one said he saw in a vision ten devils at a sermon, and but one at the market) and about holy persons. As for others, he does not trouble himself about them, for they (as the Apostle shows), “are led captive by the devil at his will” (II Tim. 2:26), if he do but whistle (as it were) they easily follow him and come after him presently, so that he needs not set his heart or vex himself about them. But when he comes to a Job, he sets all his wits and all his strength a work, bends all his thoughts to consider what course to take to assault such a strong hold of grace. If he can get such a man down then there is triumph indeed, he sings Victoria. Then (if we may so speak), there is joy in hell; as there is joy indeed in heaven at the conversion of a sinner, so there is a kind of joy in hell, when one sins that is converted. If anything can make the devils merry, it is this, to give a godly man the foil. Though they see he is past their reach to destroy him, yet if they can but blemish or disgrace him, if they can but trouble and disquiet him, this is their delight. Hence it is that Satan with his legions of darkness, those infernal spirits encamp about such persons with deadly hatred, as when an army meets with a strong castle or city, they sit down and there consider what course to take for the besieging and gaining of it.
“Hast thou considered my servant Job.” The title which God give Job is very observable, “My servant Job.” A servant, you know, is one that is not at his own disposal, but at the call and beck of another. So the Centurion describes a servant: “For I am a man under authority and I have servants, and I say to this man go and he goeth, and to another and he cometh” (Matt. 8:9). Servants are at the word of another; they are not in their own power. Therefore, Aristotle calls servants, living tools, or living instruments, because they are at the will of another, to be used and employed at the discretion of the master. Here God calls Job his servant. And he calls him so, first, by way of distinction or difference; my servant, that is, mine not his own; many are their own servants; they serve themselves, as the Apostle says, “They serve not the Lord Jesus, but their own bellies (Rom. 11:16); they serve their own lusts, diverse lusts and pleasures; Job is not such a one; he is my servant.
Many are Satan’s servants; as if God should have said to Satan here: Satan thou hast gone about the world, and thou hast found a great family of thine one; thou hast found many servants in all places, but “hast thou considered my servant?” There is one I am sure that does thee no service, and by his good will, will do thee none; hast thou not found my servant?
Some are the servants of men; but Job is my servant; not a servant of men, to subject himself to their lusts, either for hope or fear. He is not (as the Apostle speaks) the servant of men (in that sense) to please men, with sinning against and provoking God.
Secondly, My servant, by way of special right and property. So Job and all godly persons are called God’s servants, as Paul is called a chosen vessel, that is, a chosen servant, to carry the name of God. 2. They are God’s servants by the right of purchase; my servant whom I have bought and purchased; so in I Cor. 6: “You are bought with a price, be not the servants of men,” that is, you are bought with a price to be my servants, therefore be not the servants of men in opposition to me, or to my disservice in anything. So Job was God’s servant by way of purchase; God buys every one of his servants with the blood of his son.
Thirdly, My servant, by way of covenant. Job was God’s covenant servant; God and he has (as it were) sealed indentures. Job entered into covenant with him that he should enjoy the privilege of a servant. Now that which is God’s by right of covenant, is his by special right.
Then again, we may further understand this, and all such like espressions: When God says, my servant, he does as it were glory in his servant. God speaks of him, as of his treasure, my servant, as a man does of that which he glories in. As the saints glory in God, when they use this expression, my God and my Lord, my Master and my Christ; this is a kind of glorying and triumphing in God. So this expression carries such a sense in it, “Hast thou not considered my servant Job?”, there is one that I have honor by, one that I rejoice and glory in, one that I can speak of with much more, than content, even with triumph, my servant Job: There’s a man.
It is man’s honor to be God’s servant, and God thinks himself honored by the service of man. It was once a curse, and it is a great curse still to be the servant of servants; but it is an honor, the great honor of the creature to be a servant of God. He that is a servant of Christ, is not only free, but noble. And Christ reckons that he has not only work done him, but honor done him by his willing people, and therefore he glories many such, my servant.
This article is taken from: Caryl, Joseph. An Exposition with Practical Observations upon the Book of Job. London: G. Miller, 1644. A PDF file of this book can be downloaded, free of charge, at