"And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. Job 1:12. ESV


  1. Did Satan obey or disobey the LORD's "do not"?

  2. Can we extend this and say it means, "Satan always obeys"?

  3. Is this an example of "obey unrighteousness" as in Romans 2:8?

"but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury." Romans 2:8

  • 1
    You did not report the second conversation between Satan and the Lord : But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. Job 2: 1-6. Satan requested further permission - and was granted it.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 16:30
  • @Nigel I think "in thine hand" means instumental but not ultimate responsibility. Knife in hand cuts but only has instrumental responsibility if that hand is sustained and enabled by ultimate responsibility.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 16:51

2 Answers 2


What does "do not" mean in terms of who Satan is, and of the LORD's relationship with him? Job 1:12

Answer: Satan is only allowed a certain latitude by God, but that latitude is significant.

This is a very thought provoking question because it strikes at the heart of evil all over the world. Were Satan allowed to do anything he wanted, he would quickly destroy humanity in the blink of an eye. When you read this enemy's response to God, it is dripping with contempt:

Job 1:9-11: "Satan answered the LORD, 'Does Job fear God for nothing? 10Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face'" (emphasis added).

Satan's argument, that Job would "surely curse You to Your face", was realized in Job's wife. Note the words that she used:

Job 2:9: "Then his wife said to [Job], 'Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!'” (emphasis added).

The term she used is so similar as to be virtually certain that Job's wife did this under the direct influence of the Devil! So what is Satan's relationship with God? His vindictiveness is restricted by what God will allow him to do.

We see the results of his (Satan's) work all around us on a daily basis. Why would anyone drive a truck into a crowd of people celebrating the holidays? This celestial monster would like nothing better that to send all of us to Hell along with him — his ultimate destiny.


God's "permission" to Satan and the extent to which Satan was permitted to afflict Job came in two stages:

Stage #1: Job 1

In tgis first stage, Satan is allowed to afflict Job and test Job's integrity with definite limits - Satan claimed that Job's real faith was in his wealth, not in God. Thus we find the following exchange between Satan and God (Job 1):

9 Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not placed a hedge on every side around him and his household and all that he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out Your hand and strike all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face.”

12 “Very well,” said the LORD to Satan. “Everything he has is in your hands, but you must not lay a hand on the man himself.”

Thus, Job's first trial consisting in ruining his possessions only. Job's health was not unaffected because Satan was not permitted to touch Job's person.

Stage #2: Job 2

Job's second trial was even more personal. Satan realized that the first trial had failed to break Job's faith so Satan wanted to try again but need God's permission to do so. Thus we have the following exchange between God and Satan (Job 2)

4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give up all he owns in exchange for his life. 5 But stretch out Your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse You to Your face.”

6 “Very well,” said the LORD to Satan. “He is in your hands, but you must spare his life.”

Thus, in the second trial, Satan was not allowed to kill Job but was permitted to afflict him with great sickness.


God's omnipotence is displayed here - even Satan cannot do that which God did not permit. In both trials, what Satan could do was limited by God and Satan had no choice but to comply because the only things that occur are those which God permits.

Note, the absolute omnipotence and Sovereignty of God, without trampling free will, is listed in many places such as Dan 4:35, Isa 43:13, 14:27, 26:4, 5, Matt 19:26, Job 42:1, 2, Luke 1:37, Acts 26:8, Jer 32:27, Deut 33:27, etc.

  • @ Dottard For your analysis +1.As a hard determinist I do not understand your compatibilism. I put forward my position in Christianity Stack e.g. "Why did God create us so that it is in our nature to sin?"
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 12:16
  • @C.Stroud - that is a much debated question - First I do not accept that God created us to sin. He created us in His image (Gen 1:26-28), to love (1 John 4:8, 16, John 13:34, 35). However, love necessarily involves freedom (else it is not love as love cannot be forced); freedom involves risk; risk involves responsibility; but only responsibility involves moral and character growth.
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 19:49
  • If you would care to debate this with me I would be happy to do so. A chat room I understand would be appropriate.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 19:57
  • @C.Stroud - I am very happy to discuss - I am not sure debate is what I am prepared for.
    – Dottard
    Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 20:00
  • Sorry, discuss.
    – C. Stroud
    Commented Nov 25, 2021 at 20:01

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