In Job 1:4-5 , it mentions that Job's children would often have feasts in order to celebrate.

Job 1:1-8

1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil...more...scripture....4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually...more...scripture....8 The Lord said to Satan, “Have you [c]considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, [d]fearing God and turning away from evil.” ......

(just added the Old Testament Hebrew translation)

1:1-8 The Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC)

1 אִ֛ישׁ הָיָ֥ה בְאֶֽרֶץ־ע֖וּץ אִיּ֣וֹב שְׁמ֑וֹ וְהָיָ֣ה׀ הָאִ֣ישׁ הַה֗וּא תָּ֧ם וְיָשָׁ֛ר וִירֵ֥א אֱלֹהִ֖ים וְסָ֥ר מֵרָֽע׃

2 וַיִּוָּ֥לְדוּ ל֛וֹ שִׁבְעָ֥ה בָנִ֖ים וְשָׁל֥וֹשׁ בָּנֽוֹת׃

3 וַיְהִ֣י מִ֠קְנֵהוּ שִֽׁבְעַ֨ת אַלְפֵי־צֹ֜אן וּשְׁלֹ֧שֶׁת אַלְפֵ֣י גְמַלִּ֗ים וַחֲמֵ֨שׁ מֵא֤וֹת צֶֽמֶד־בָּקָר֙ וַחֲמֵ֣שׁ מֵא֣וֹת אֲתוֹנ֔וֹת וַעֲבֻדָּ֖ה רַבָּ֣ה מְאֹ֑ד וַיְהִי֙ הָאִ֣ישׁ הַה֔וּא גָּד֖וֹל מִכָּל־בְּנֵי־קֶֽדֶם׃

4 וְהָלְכ֤וּ בָנָיו֙ וְעָשׂ֣וּ מִשְׁתֶּ֔ה בֵּ֖ית אִ֣ישׁ יוֹמ֑וֹ וְשָׁלְח֗וּ וְקָרְאוּ֙ לִשְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת ׳אַחְיֹתֵיהֶם׳ ״אַחְיֽוֹתֵיהֶ֔ם״ לֶאֱכֹ֥ל וְלִשְׁתּ֖וֹת עִמָּהֶֽם׃

5 וַיְהִ֡י כִּ֣י הִקִּיפֽוּ֩ יְמֵ֨י הַמִּשְׁתֶּ֜ה וַיִּשְׁלַ֧ח אִיּ֣וֹב וַֽיְקַדְּשֵׁ֗ם וְהִשְׁכִּ֣ים בַּבֹּקֶר֮ וְהֶעֱלָ֣ה עֹלוֹת֮ מִסְפַּ֣ר כֻּלָּם֒ כִּ֚י אָמַ֣ר אִיּ֔וֹב אוּלַי֙ חָטְא֣וּ בָנַ֔י וּבֵרֲכ֥וּ אֱלֹהִ֖ים בִּלְבָבָ֑ם כָּ֛כָה יַעֲשֶׂ֥ה אִיּ֖וֹב כָּל־הַיָּמִֽים׃ פ

6 וַיְהִ֣י הַיּ֔וֹם וַיָּבֹ֙אוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים לְהִתְיַצֵּ֖ב עַל־יְהוָ֑ה וַיָּב֥וֹא גַֽם־הַשָּׂטָ֖ן בְּתוֹכָֽם׃

7 וַיֹּ֧אמֶר יְהוָ֛ה אֶל־הַשָּׂטָ֖ן מֵאַ֣יִן תָּבֹ֑א וַיַּ֨עַן הַשָּׂטָ֤ן אֶת־יְהוָה֙ וַיֹּאמַ֔ר מִשּׁ֣וּט בָּאָ֔רֶץ וּמֵֽהִתְהַלֵּ֖ךְ בָּֽהּ׃

8 וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־הַשָּׂטָ֔ן הֲשַׂ֥מְתָּ לִבְּךָ֖ עַל־עַבְדִּ֣י אִיּ֑וֹב כִּ֣י אֵ֤ין כָּמֹ֙הוּ֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ אִ֣ישׁ תָּ֧ם וְיָשָׁ֛ר יְרֵ֥א

Job 1:5 indicates that Job would offer burnt offerings as an act of propitiation/expiation/atonement for his children's "probable/possible" sins:

Job 1:5

5 When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually

I use the words "probable/possible" sins of the children because Job himself uses the says "Perhaps my sons sinned and cursed God..."

Job 1:5b

.......“Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually....

However, Job offers sacrifices in a frequent and routine manner. These sacrifices were made by Job in order to propitiate/expiate/atone for sins that to Job's knowledge his children may or may Not of committed. Therefore, Job's offering of said sacrifices for sins that may Or may Not have happened seem to be legalistic.

A Godly person Only repents and makes atonement for a sin after she/he genuinely and sincerely accepts that she/he has committed said sin.

However, when Job says the following by using the word "Perhaps", it seems like he is just offering sacrifices in case his children did sin (Essentially, it makes offering sacrifices:

-seem like a routine, frequent & trivial business transaction( or purchasing some kind of insurance policy )

-as opposed to viewing the offering of sacrifices as a deeply mental & spiritual & emotional & intimate interaction that we human sinners have with God in order to atone for our sins ):

Job 1:5b

.......“Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually....

Most of the commentaries on https://biblehub.com/commentaries/job/1-5.htm
seem to give credit to Job for his act of offering burnt offerings in order to propitiate/expiate/atone for his children's sins.

However, I'm Not really all that satisfied with the said commentaries on biblehub.com because Job himself says to himself:

Job 1:5b

.......“Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually....

To me, the aforementioned verse seems to suggest that Job is legalistic because he says "perhaps" his children sinned and cursed God. It seems like Job is offering his sacrifices in a perfunctory and legalistic mechanical manner.

Could someone please provide their insight/interpretation/exegesis of said bible passage?

Relevant Related Question Posting: In Job 1:5, does Job offer sacrifices to atone for the sins of others, i.e. his sons?

  • I am not sure I understand you question. The grammar and narrative are straight forward. What is your real question? Is it that Job lived well before Sinai or something else?
    – Dottard
    Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 9:21
  • Sorry, let me reorganize and reword so that it's clearer. Commented Jan 22, 2022 at 13:46
  • @Dottard Just FYI. I reorganized and reworded the question posting Commented Jan 24, 2022 at 17:45
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    @RayButterworth However, don't you believe that a lot of the commentaries on biblehub.com/commentaries/job/1-5.htm are incorrect because they do Not see Job's aforementioned sacrifices as being legalistic--instead they seem to give Job credit for said sacrifices? Furthermore, as I quickly browsed over said commentaries, I Don't think any of them say that Job was legalistic for said sacrifices. Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 17:57
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    @crazyTech, Then, and now, Judaism is largely legalistic. Sins are based on what one does, not what one thinks. Thoughts become sins only retroactively, after one commits sinful behaviour because of those thoughts. ¶ Job wanted to "argue his case" with God, to find out why he was being punished despite following the rules. That sounds very much like legalism. Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 22:10

2 Answers 2


You have edged into a complex understanding - complex because in order to to answer it, you need to draw ‘in’ a lot.

The book of Job is actually crucial in ‘seeing the whole picture’- but instead most use it to support existing doctrine - example, the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. It is arguably the ‘oldest book’. What was it like for man post flood. How did they ‘know’ about ‘God’ - and what was required in order to interact with Him? Where has it ever been ‘seen’ that ‘man’ could ‘cover’ the ‘sin’ of others? Can we do that?

And the ‘root’ of Jobs ‘action was ‘fear’, or at the least - worry.

JOB 1:5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer 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 Job did regularly.

The motivation was wrong. God doesn’t use this to ‘motivate’ man. How then can this be seen as commendable?

This issue was further highlighted in comments - this was pre-Sinai. It was only at that time that sacrifices were instigated to cover ‘other people’s sin’ - Yom Kippur. And even then these required, or were instigated for a ‘nation’.

Much of Jobs’ issues where a result of ignorance - and the book of Job let’s us see that we can’t, or shouldn’t ‘act’ in ignorance. And that ‘ignorance’ in Job came about by ‘man’s reasoning’. He ‘reasoned’ - “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed. God in their hearts.”. And then later his three friends ‘reasoned’ why Job was afflicted.

There is no way that this action of Job in offering sacrifices for other peoples ‘sin’ was commendable. Besides, it didn’t even work!

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    It's interesting at the end of Job, right before God restores his fortunes, God demands his friends offer a burnt offering to Job on his behalf so that Job may pray for them so that God may accept Job's prayer. It seems quite a turn of events that Job goes from offering up sacrifices on behalf of others to receiving sacrifices from others. Job takes on this mediating role only after being perfected for it through suffering. Come now...
    – Austin
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 6:50

I am currently seeking understanding as well. Job being a blameless, upright and God-fearing man. He made atonement for his children often. I think is commendable, but i would gather these children are old enough to feast, eat and drink and i am sure wine and plenty of it as their dad had it abundantly. To say, I want to consecrate my children of sins they MAY have committed is taking on the role of a savior. God asked satan where has he been, Satan says roaming earth. The next line of communication NKJV, says, have you "considered my servant Job". WHY? my idea is, Job has had a false sense of security, he apparently thought that because you become robotically inclined to think your material things and protection of your family, health and wealth comes by way of having a system that shows you thank and believe God for it by lifting up sacrifices and you are immune from bad things happening. God tested Job and satan obliged him because he had not seen someone like job either, as he had been roaming the earth. Maybe the children did sin and that was the cause of Gods wrath and God used satan to punish and strengthen Job as to the God he served needed more than just a systematic relationship.

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