Job 2:3 New International Version

Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason."

Was God blaming Satan for the disasters that came upon Job's family in Job 1?

  • 1
    As narrated, it is a simple statement of fact ..... 'You provoked me' . . (colloquially).
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 28, 2020 at 19:43
  • Is ‘incited’ past tense the best translation and not ‘incite’ present tense? Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 4:09

3 Answers 3


You can’t look at this verse in isolation. Neither can you rely on the English ‘interpretation’ or more specifically the English wording of chapter one to understand this verse. [Reason] Several Hebraic idioms in chapter one require understanding, and this failure to incorporate Jewish hermeneutics will (and has) caused this whole story to be mis-represented.

The word ‘incite’ comes from ‘cuwth’, which on the surface can mean ‘persuade’, but here actually means to be ‘moved aside’ because there is no defence- that is, the Lord had no choice.

The Lord was reacting because although Satan had a ‘right’ to afflict Job, the action, had absolutely no point or purpose to it (chinnam)

  • Can you clarify for me the idea of "there is no defense?" Why didn't the Lord have a choice? Very curious about this...
    – pbarney
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 16:49

I see no blame going on here at all - quite the opposite - God is taking responsibility for what happened, even though it is abundantly clear from the story that Job's disasters were the initiative, and directly caused by Satan.

The operative Hebrew word here is סוּת (suth) which means (BDB): "incite, allure, instigate". Here, God is actually saying that He allowed Satan to incite/allure Him to ruin Job, despite the obvious fact that God only allowed it while Satan actually worked the ruin.

This is part of a consistent pattern in Scripture as far as soteriology is concerned. God takes responsibility for man's sin, even though God is not directly responsible for sin and is not sinful at all!

Technically, this is known as the great divine exchange and is best expressed by Paul as listed below:

  • 2 Cor 5:21 - God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
  • Gal 3:13 - Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. For it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
  • Rom 5:8 - But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • Curious whether it reads that God was incited (past tense) or was being incited (present tense) by the accuser to finish Job off. Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 4:12
  • 1
    The Hebrew does not such tenses. Here it is וַתְּסִיתֵ֥נִי (wat·tə·sî·ṯê·nî) Conjunctive waw | Verb - Hifil - Consecutive imperfect - second person masculine singular | first person common singular
    – Dottard
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 7:55

1 Samuel 26:19 Now let my lord the king listen to his servant's words. If the LORD has incited you against me, then may he accept an offering. If, however, people have done it, may they be cursed before the LORD! They have driven me today from my share in the LORD's inheritance and have said, 'Go, serve other gods.'

According to David, it is possible that the LORD would incite Saul to chase after David. Was David putting the blame on the LORD in 1 Samuel 26:19? No. Neither was God blaming Satan in Job.

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