The devil IS NOT in Job’s Details!

Throughout the years I have a adopted a number of colloquialisms to convey thoughts. One of them is: “There’s more than one way to skin a cat!” Meaning: There is more than one way to solve a problem or to deal with an issue. Another one I am quite fond of using is: “The devil is in the details.” That means, the real difference between one meaning or another, is in the finer points that are sometimes overlooked or unknown.

Ironically, when it comes to the Book of Job in the Bible, the last colloquial expression I mentioned is both true and false! In the Book of Job, the devil is in the details, in the sense that there is a fine point in Job that most theologians and Bible scholars know, but they often overlook! What is that fine point? The fine point that is overlooked is the fact that the devil IS NOT in the details of the Book of Job! I know, it sounds confusing, so let me show you what I am talking about.

In the Book of Job, everywhere the term; ‘satan’ occurs, (Job 1:6, 7, 8, 9, 12; 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7) in the Hebrew (the original language in which Job was written), it is preceded by the Hebrew definite article; ‘ha,’ which is equivalent to the English definite article; ‘the.’ In other words, everywhere we encounter the term ‘satan’ in our English translations, it should be more properly rendered; ‘the satan.’ Now you might be asking, “Ok, but what difference does that make?” Well, just as there are rules of grammar in the English language, there are also rules of grammar in the Hebrew language. And one of the rules of grammar that is common to both English and Hebrew is that a proper noun (a name) is ‘never’ preceded by a definite article! If the definite article precedes the noun, then it is understood that the noun is not a name, but rather a title. In other words, according to the rules of grammar (and good theology), the term ‘satan’ in the book of Job, refers not a name, but rather to a title!

The term ‘satan’ is a Hebrew term that is translated into English as ‘adversary.’ Therefore, everywhere the term ‘satan’ is found in Job, instead of using it as a proper noun or name (which it isn’t), it should be translated into English as ‘the adversary.’ For instance, to be consistent and true to the rules of English and Hebrew grammar, Job 1:6, for example, should more properly read: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD (Yahweh), and the adversary also came among them.”

I have written before about how we sometimes can be confused by the KJV translation, but this is a case in which ‘all’ of the English versions dropped the ball, because the one called ‘satan,’ known as the devil in the New Testament IS NOT the same personality as the adversary presented in the Book of Job! I know, we often use the colloquial: “The devil is in the details.” But in the case of the book of Job in the Old Testament, the devil IS NOT in the details!

If you would like more information, there is a Virtual Bible Study I did on the subject on my You Tube Channel:

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