And the Sabeans fell - The Vulgate alone understands this of a people. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic, understand it as implying a marauding party. The Chaldee says, "Lilith, queen of Zamargad, rushed suddenly upon them, and carried them away." The Sabeans mentioned here are supposed to have been the same with those who were the descendants of Abraham by Keturah, whose son Jokshan begat Sheba. The sons of Keturah were sent by Abraham into the east, Genesis 25:6, and inhabited Arabia Deserta, on the east of the land of Uz. Hordes of predatory banditti were frequent in those countries and continue so to the present day. They made sudden incursions, and carried off men, women, children, cattle, and goods of every description; and immediately retired to the desert, whither it was in vain to pursue them.
And the Sabeans - Hebrew שׁבא shebâ' Vulgate, “Suboei.” The Septuagint gives a paraphrase, καὶ ἐλθόντες οἱ αἰχμαλωτεύοντες ἠχμαλώτευσαν kai elthonia hoi aichmalōteuontes ēchmalōteusan “And the plunderers coming, plundered them,” or made them captive. On the situation of Sheba and Seba, see Isaiah 43:3, note; Isaiah 45:14, note; Isaiah 9:6, note. The people here referred to were, undoubtedly, inhabitants of some part of Arabia Felix. There are three persons of the name of Sheba mentioned in the Scriptures.
(1) A grandson of Cush; Genesis 10:7.
(2) A son of Joktan; Genesis 10:28.
(3) A son of Jokshan, the son of Abraham by Keturah.
“Calmet.” The Sheba here referred to was probably in the southern part of Arabia, and from the narrative it is evident that the Sabeans here mentioned were a predatory tribe. It is not improbable that these tribes were in the habit of wandering for purposes of plunder over the whole country, from the banks of the Euphrates to the outskirts of Egypt. The Bedawin Arabs of the present day resemble in a remarkable manner the ancient inhabitants of Arabia, and for many centuries the manners of the inhabitants of Arabia have not changed, for the habits of the Orientals continue the same from age to age. The Syriac renders this simply, “a multitude rushed” upon them;” omitting the word “Sabean.”
Fell upon them - With violence; or rushed unexpectedly upon them. This is the way in which the Arab tribes now attack the caravan, the traveler, or the village, for plunder.
And took them away - As plunder. It is common now to make such sudden incursions, and to carry off a large booty.
They have slain the servants - Hebrew נערים na‛arı̂ym “the young men.” The word נער na‛ar properly means a “boy,” and is applied to an infant just born, Exodus 2:6; Judges 13:5, Judges 13:7; or to a youth, Genesis 34:19; Genesis 41:12. It came then to denote a servant or slave, like the Greek παῖς pais Genesis 24:2; 2 Kings 5:20; compare Acts 5:6. So the word “boy” is often used in the Southern States of North America to denote a slave. Here it evidently means the servants that were employed in cultivating the lands of Job, and keeping his cattle. There is no intimation that they were slaves. Jerome renders it “pueros, boys;” so the Septuagint τοῦς παὶδας tous paidas And I only am escaped alone - By myself, בד bad There is no other one with me. It is remarkable that the same account is given by each one of the servants who escaped, Job 1:16-17, Job 1:19. The Chaldee has given a very singular version of this - apparently from the desire of accounting for everything, and of mentioning the “names” of all the persons intended. “The oxen were plowing, and Lelath, queen of Zamargad, suddenly rushed upon them, and carried them away.”
It was generally believed by the Jews that sin is punished in this life. Every affliction was regarded as the penalty of some wrongdoing, either of the sufferer himself or of his parents. It is true that all suffering results from the transgression of God's law, but this truth had become perverted. Satan, the author of sin and all its results, had led men to look upon disease and death as proceeding from God,—as punishment arbitrarily inflicted on account of sin. Hence one upon whom some great affliction or calamity had fallen had the additional burden of being regarded as a great sinner. DA 471.1
Thus the way was prepared for the Jews to reject Jesus. He who “hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows” was looked upon by the Jews as “stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted;” and they hid their faces from Him. Isaiah 53:4, 3. DA 471.2
God had given a lesson designed to prevent this. The history of Job had shown that suffering is inflicted by Satan, and is overruled by God for purposes of mercy. But Israel did not understand the lesson. The same error for which God had reproved the friends of Job was repeated by the Jews in their rejection of Christ. DA 471.3Read in context »
Very early in the history of the world is given the life record of one over whom this controversy of Satan's was waged. Ed 155.1
Of Job, the patriarch of Uz, the testimony of the Searcher of hearts was, “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.” Ed 155.2
Against this man, Satan brought scornful charge: “Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast Thou not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? ... Put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath;” “touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.” Ed 155.3Read in context »
Through spiritualism, Satan appears as a benefactor of the race, healing the diseases of the people, and professing to present a new and more exalted system of religious faith; but at the same time he works as a destroyer. His temptations are leading multitudes to ruin. Intemperance dethrones reason; sensual indulgence, strife, and bloodshed follow. Satan delights in war, for it excites the worst passions of the soul and then sweeps into eternity its victims steeped in vice and blood. It is his object to incite the nations to war against one another, for he can thus divert the minds of the people from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God. GC 589.1
Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would—He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them. GC 589.2
While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. “The earth mourneth and fadeth away,” “the haughty people ... do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” Isaiah 24:4, 5. GC 589.3Read in context »
14-17. Consecrated Women Can Act Important Part—Through Esther the queen the Lord accomplished a mighty deliverance for His people. At a time when it seemed that no power could save them, Esther and the women associated with her, by fasting and prayer and prompt action, met the issue, and brought salvation to their people. 3BC 1140.1
A study of women's work in connection with the cause of God in Old Testament times will teach us lessons that will enable us to meet emergencies in the work today. We may not be brought into such a critical and prominent place as were the people of God in the time of Esther; but often converted women can act an important part in more humble positions (Letter 22, 1911). 3BC 1140.2Read in context »