Explaining the Book

Bible Study Guide

Job

Why did Job Sacrifice for His Children?

Is it OK that Job sacrificed on behalf of his children?

Job 1:4 and 5 tell us that Job sacrificed for his children, just in case they sinned against God:

KJV Job 1:4 [And/Now] his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

KJV Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and [sanctified/consecrated] them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all:

for Job said,

It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.

Thus did Job continually.

Job’s Children Liked Each Other

So, apparently Job’s sons would have all of their siblings over to eat. And this was a regular pattern. Each of the seven sons would have the nine other siblings over. I’m not sure if this was happening every day of every week or if it was spread out throughout a month – but the point is that they would be eating at each other’s houses. They liked each other! They had a good family relationship.

Job Was Concerned for His Children’s Spiritual Wellbeing

But the even bigger point is that Job was concerned for them. Yes – they had a really good relationship with one another. But you know what Job was more concerned for? That they had a good relationship with God.

Job Was a Family Priest

He would sacrifice for them – just in case they sinned. He was acting as a priest for them – which reinforces the idea that they were outside of Israel and before the Mosaic Law. If they lived in Israel under the Mosaic Law, then the law prescribed priests in a Tabernacle or Temple. Job here is just sacrificing to the true God – but he’s doing it by himself outside any Temple. He’s a priest for his family.

He could be happy enough with his riches and his family. But he’s most concerned about the spiritual aspects of life.

Some Say Job Went Too Far

This man is commendable to all of us. Now, I read a commentary that said that Job was basically a little overwrought in his spiritual activities. Like, basically, Job is showing an unhealthy level of concern for his family’s spiritual state. Perhaps Job – said this commentator – is showing that his view of God is deficient. Like, Job is driven into an almost slave-like mentality where he’s basically operating under fear of God’s reprisal for the least pretense of sin.

Job Was Right to Sacrifice for His Children

But I just don’t think that’s the right way to interpret Job’s actions. That’s surely not the way that the narrator wants us to view Job’s activities. I mean – we’ve already been told that Job is pure and upright. He fears God. He turns from evil. I just don’t think that the way we’ve been introduced to Job allows us to think of his activity as superstition or driven by an unwholesome fear.

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Comments

  1. Only God knows the state and motives of one’s heart. So if God already declared in Job 1:8 that he is blameless and upright man, doesn’t this mean that the intents of his heart and action were acceptable to God and pure? I can’t imagine how can one still interpret his actions as one in a spirit of fear which is contrary to someone who was already declared as ” blameless”..

  2. first of all No where the bible says that he sacrificed in fear.
    secondly with fear he did not hide from God. fear that leads towards God to sacrife and reconcile is a good kind of fear.
    Apostle Paul had this type of fear
    2 corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
    What’s wrong with such fear. God praised that fear.
    8 And 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?
    God praised Job’s fearofear of God.

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