Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
All Commentaries on Job 1:6 Go To Job 1
Gregory The Dialogist
2. It is interesting to observe the method followed by Holy Writ in delineating, at the commencement of its relations, the qualities and the issues of the particular cases. For one while by the position of the place, now by the posture of the body, now by the temperature of the air, and now by the character of the time, it marks out what it has coming after concerning the action which is to follow; as by the position of the place Divine Scripture sets forth the merits of the circumstances that follow, and the results of the case, as where it relates of Israel that they could not hear the words of God in the mount [Ex. 19, 17], but received the commandments on the plain; doubtless betokening the subsequent weakness of the people who could not mount up to the top, but enfeebled themselves by living carelessly in the lowest things. By the posture of the body it tells of future events, as where in the Acts of the Apostles, Stephen discloses that he saw Jesus, Who sitteth at the right hand of the Power of God [Acts 7, 55, 56], in a standing posture; for standing is the posture of one in the act of rendering aid, and rightly is He discerned standing, Who gives succour in the press of the conflict. By the temperature of the air, the subsequent event is shewn, as when the Evangelist was telling that none out of Judaea were at that time to prove believers in our Lord's preaching, he prefaced it by saying, and it was winter, for it is written, Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. [John 10, 22. Mat. 24, 12.] Therefore he took care to particularize the winter season, to indicate that the frost of wickedness was in the hearers' hearts. Hence it is that it is beforehand remarked of Peter, when on the point of denying our Lord, that it was cold, and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. [John 18, 18] For he was now inwardly unenlivened by the warmth of Divine love, but to the love of this present life he was warming up, as though his weakness were set boiling by the persecutors' coals. By the character of the time moreover the issue of the transaction is set forth, as it is related of Judas, who was never to be restored to pardon, that he went out at night to the treachery of his betrayal, where upon his going out, the Evangelist says, And it was night. [John 13, 30] Hence too it is declared to the wicked rich man, This night shall thy soul be required of thee; for that soul which is conveyed to darkness, is not recorded as required in the day time, but in the night. Hence it is that Solomon who received the gift of wisdom, but was not to persevere, is said to have received her in dreams and in the night. Hence it is that the Angels visit Abraham at midday, but when proposing to punish Sodom, they are recorded to have come thither at eventide, Therefore, because the trial of blessed Job is carried on to victory, it is related to have begun by day, it being said,
Now there was a day, when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
3. Now who are called the sons of God, saving the elect Angels? and as we know of them that they wait on the eyes of His Majesty, it is a worthy subject of inquiry, whence they come to present themselves before God. For it is of these that it is said by the voice of Truth, Their angels do always behold the face of My Father, Which is in heaven? [Mat. 18. 10] Of these the Prophet saith, thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. [Dan. 7, 10] If then they ever behold and ever stand nigh, we must carefully and attentively consider whence they are come, who never go from Him; but since Paul says of them, Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation? [Heb. 1, 14] in this, that we learn that they are sent, we discover whence they are come. But see, we add question to question, and as it were while we strive to unloose the loop, we are only fastening a knot. For how can they either always be in presence, or always behold the face of the Father, of they are sent upon external ministration for our salvation? Which will however be the sooner believed, if we think of how great subtlety is the angelical nature. For they never so go forth apart from the vision of God, as to be deprived of the joys of interior contemplation; for if when they went forth they lost the vision of the Creator, they could neither have raised up the fallen, nor announced the truth to those in ignorance; and that fount of light, which by departing they were themselves deprived of, they could in no wise proffer to the blind. Herein then is the nature of Angels distinguished from the present condition of our own nature, that we are both circumscribed by space, and straitened by the blindness of ignorance; but the spirits of Angels are indeed bounded by space, yet their knowledge extends far above us beyond comparison; for they expand by external and internal knowing, since they contemplate the very source of knowledge itself. For of those things which are capable of being known, what is there that they know not, who know Him, to Whom all things are known? So that their knowledge when compared with ours is vastly extended, yet in comparison with the Divine knowledge it is little. In like manner as their very spirits in comparison indeed with our bodies are spirits, but being compared with the Supreme and Incomprehensible Spirit, they are Body. Therefore they are both sent from Him, and stand by Him too, since both in that they are circumscribed, they go forth, and in this, that they are also entirely present, they never go away. Thus they at the same time always behold the Father's face, and yet come to us; because they both go forth to us in a spiritual presence, and yet keep themselves there, whence they had gone out, by virtue of interior contemplation; it may then be said, The sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord; inasmuch as they come back thither by a return of the spirit, whence they never depart by any withdrawal of the mind.
And Satan came also among them.
4. It is a very necessary enquiry, how Satan could be present among the elect Angels, he who had a long time before been damned and banished from their number, as his pride required. Yet he is well described as having been present among them; for though he lost his blessed estate, yet he did not part with a nature like to theirs, and though his deserts sink him, he is lifted up by the properties of his subtle nature. And so he is said to have come before God among the sons of God, for Almighty God, with that eye with which He regards all spiritual things, beholds Satan also in the rank of a more subtle nature, as Scripture testifies, when it says, The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good; [Prov. 15, 3] but this, viz. that Satan is said to have come before the presence of God, comes under a grave question with us; for it is written, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. [Matt. 5, 8] But Satan, who can never be of a pure heart, how could he have presented himself to see the Lord?
5. But it is to be observed, that he is said to have come before the Lord, but not that he saw the Lord. For he came to be seen, and not to see. He was in the Lord's sight, but the Lord was not in his sight; as when a blind man stands in the sun, he is himself bathed indeed in the rays of light, yet he sees nothing of the light, by which he is brightened. In like manner then Satan also appeared in the Lord's sight among the Angels. For the Power of God, which by a look penetrates all objects, beheld the impure spirit, who saw not Him. For because even those very things which flee from God's face cannot be hidden, in that all things are naked to the view of the Most High, Satan being absent came to Him, Who was present.