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Why is Satan not mentioned at the end of the book of Job seeing Moses gave us such a behind-the-scenes look at a meeting that took place where it is not possible for human eyes to see?

The last I read of him clearly referred to is in Job 2:7 when he goes to destroy Job's health.

How do we understand Job 41:34 in light of the argument that God had with Satan in the beginning of the book?

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    Again, I think you are misunderstanding the site and attempting to initiate a discussion and debate about a biblical topic. The site specialises in examining the text of scripture hermeneutically. I have voted to close this question as lacking focus but you could edit the question (I suggest reduce it significantly) and focus fully and only on the text you quote in your header : Job 2:7. If the question is competently edited and focused, I can then withdraw my vote to close. (Five non-Moderator votes are needed for closure, or a Moderator may close on their one vote.)
    – Nigel J
    Mar 25, 2022 at 9:45
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    Nigel, thanks for the input. I think I do misunderstand the site. I actually joined because of what looked to me like a very fruitful discussion on another topic but I think I am finally getting it now. Thanks for your patience with my ignorance.
    – user49416
    Mar 25, 2022 at 10:00
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    I have taken the liberty of improving the format of your post to make it easier to read. May I respectfully suggest that the first paragraph is your own personal interpretation of events and, as you yourself say, "is a mouthful". Perhaps it would be better simply to quote the scriptures that are pertinent and leave out your own thoughts? Hope you can edit your question to avoid any more votes to close.
    – Lesley
    Mar 25, 2022 at 10:10
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    The purpose of Job is not to teach us about Satan, but about the sufficiency of God for us in every difficult situation.
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 25, 2022 at 14:10
  • @Lesley Thanks for your improving the format of my question. I am still learning how to do that from a mobile phone. I felt I needed to include my 'mouthful' since the reasearch I had done to arrive at that conclusion is more than a mouthful AND because I thought it would help others understand where I am coming from and why the absence of Satan at the end of the book is so important to me.
    – user49416
    Mar 26, 2022 at 13:24

3 Answers 3

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why is Satan not mentioned at the end of the book of Job

Summary: Satan appears as much as is needed in order to achieve the purpose of the book of Job.

There are innumerable questions like this that can be asked in every part of the Bible. They have a similar format:

"Why is" [Fill in the blank] "not mentioned again"

Another variation of this question is:

"Why doesn't God give us more details on" [Fill in the blank]

In 2 Peter 1 it says:

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For those who know Scripture to be true and authoritative this means that the answers to the "why" questions of Scripture are nice to have information - not needed information. God has given us everything we need.

To focus on the question.
Since God has given us everything we need in Scripture (I am not saying that Scripture is the only way God gives us what we need. I am saying that Scripture is complete. It has everything God intends for it to have.) we know that more references to Satan are not needed. Satan is not the focus of Job. God is the focus of Job. Job himself is secondary to God. The point of Job is to teach us:

  1. God is in control
  2. God is righteous in all He does
  3. The righteous do suffer
  4. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord
  5. No matter what happens our love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength.

It is always best to focus on the message of the book - there is more than enough to challenge us all - rather than look to the nice to haves that were not included.

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  • Excellent answer. +1.
    – Dottard
    Mar 25, 2022 at 21:05
  • Agreed. I need 8 -
    – user36337
    Mar 26, 2022 at 18:38
  • I realise Job is an intimidating book since it relies heavily on a theme with details that not many are really familiar with or simply consider to be non-essential or nice to have. I can't believe this answer and that any would second it. I am not asking what colour eyes Job had but what happened to the person responsible for murdering his 10 children and causing so much other damage and loss. It may not be important to you three what happens to such a perpetrator but if God calls Himself a God of justice then why is He telling me a story that seems to end without a word of the wrongdoer?
    – user49416
    Mar 26, 2022 at 19:00
  • "if God calls Himself a God of justice then why is He telling me a story that seems to end without a word of the wrongdoer?" Because the conventional presumption of "God of justice" is misleading. The god is not so much into justice after all, but into power and self-assurance. The question in 4:17, being about righteousness (and, by implication, justice), was for the most part avoided. This avoidance is palpable also in Elohim's speech to Job by switching the focus to a comparison of how mightier the god is than Job. Mar 26, 2022 at 20:31
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    When Satan was contenting with Christ over ressurecting the body of Moses and taking him to heaven (where Satan was cast out on account of his sin), is but one such instance that weighs in upon this theme. Scripture is replete with this theme and yet so little is know/said about it. It concerns us heavily and yet we seem totally ignorant of it.
    – user49416
    Mar 28, 2022 at 5:55
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Why is Satan not mentioned again after Job 2:7?

At the outset, it is important to bear in mind that Ha-Satan (השטן) in Hebrew means the Accuser. The interjection of Satan is a narrative device that makes the prelude easier to grasp than if presented in the form of Elohim's monologue. The latter would certainly be more confusing, whence the author(s) of the Book of Job presumably sought to avoid obfuscating from this angle the intended teachings.

Satan's role of accuser is subsequently adopted by Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar as they [baselessly] impute to Job wrongdoing. That replacement preempts the need to involve Satan also in Job's dialogues, since such involvement would introduce unintended complications by conflating two spheres that are otherwise portrayed as largely disjoint or separate.

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  • What you are saying makes no sense to me. On the one hand you are saying interjecting Satan makes the prelude easier to understand and then you basically say Job's 3 friends take the place of Satan to avoid further confusion. Think about it logically. If it makes things easier to understand in the beginning by adding such a revealing interjection of Satan in the beginning, why not just keep such revealing interjections throughout the book until the end? That way, academics of the 21st century would not be so intimidated by this book as to call so much of it a 'nice to have'...
    – user49416
    Mar 26, 2022 at 19:11
  • "then you basically say Job's 3 friends take the place of Satan to avoid further confusion." That is not what I said. What I said "would certainly be more confusing" is the prelude "if presented in the form of Elohim's monologue". The structure of this biblical passage combined with features of Hebrew language are not amenable to developing a dilemma in a monologue. "why not just keep such revealing interjections throughout the book until the end?" Because a portrayal of Satan having a conversation with Job contravenes the doctrine that the two realms don't mix (see 2nd paragraph). Mar 26, 2022 at 19:51
  • I do not mean by 'revealing injections' that Satan should have had a conversation with Job but that it was revealing to see what was happening 'behind the scenes' in heaven and how it played out in Job's life as death and destruction. So what I am saying is that if what you are saying is true, why does the writer not just keep giving us such behind the scenes updates throughout the book all the way to the end so that we can see what is happening in the heavenly realm where the whole story started in the first place.
    – user49416
    Mar 26, 2022 at 20:01
  • @AndriesStander "why does the writer not just keep giving such behind the scenes updates". Because the interjections are merely an artifice to avoid employing the form of monologue. Keep in mind that avoiding the shape of monologue also helps dissimulate Elohim's palpable resentment and frustration about Job's moral superiority, a notion on which I elaborate in another answer. Mar 26, 2022 at 20:29
  • @Dave "don’t forget to ‘add’ his wife to that list." I was referring to them strictly in an accuser's capacity. From the standpoint of "wife tempted Job", even Elohim took part in the pattern of temptation by challenging Satan and by authorizing Satan to inflict increasing harm on Job. Mar 30, 2022 at 13:06
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Background
Job can be divided into seven primary sections:

1. Introduction (1:1-1:5)
2. Job's first test (1:6-1:22)
3. Job's second test (2:1-2:10)
4. Job, his friends, and Elihu (2:11-37:24)
5. YHVH's first answer (38:1-40:5)
6. YHVH's second answer (40:6-42:6)
7. Epilogue (42:7-42:17)

Both of Job's tests have three elements: (1) Heavenly scene (2) Earthly scene (3) Concluding statement from the narrator regarding Job and sin.1

The main section, consists of dialogue where each person offers opinions about Job, each other, man in general, and God. There is also mention of past events. For example, in Chapter 29 Job describes his life before the trials and gives details which agree with YHVH's statement about Job:

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (Job 1:8 NKJV)

From the discussions it is obvious none of the people, including Job and Elihu are aware of the heavenly component to Job's tests. In relation to the real-time narrative of the events, the two heavenly scenes are like a prequel to the narrative. In other words, the heavenly scenes are correctly placed in the chronology of events, but the information in these scenes was unknown to anyone at the time the events took place. In essence, the reader has a more complete understanding of what is happening, then the humans who are involved.

With respect to Satan (literally, Ha-Satan, the accuser), it is also clear none of the humans involved are aware there is a spiritual entity who challenges and defies YHVH. Everyone, Job included, sees the afflictions as coming directly from YHVH. Here too the reader knows otherwise:

6 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head (Job 2)

Essentially the book of Job is mankind's "introduction" to Ha-Satan. Without the benefit of the heavenly scenes, we would be unaware there is a spiritual entity who is actively opposing YHVH.

Answer
Quite simply, the reason Satan is not mentioned after 2:7, is none of the humans involved were aware of his existence, at the time in history. This lack of knowledge persists throughout YHVH's "answers" to Job. No where in what YHVH says does He mention Ha-Satan, the accusations made against Job, or Ha-Satan's role in afflicting Job. When YHVH finishes speaking, Job has no more direct knowledge of Ha-Satan than before. In addition, it is not just Job who is uninformed:

Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversity that the LORD had brought upon him... (Job 42:11)

Even after Job is restored to health, every one of Job's family members and acquaintances continues in the belief, YHVH brought about his afflictions. Everyone retains the conviction YHVH, not Ha-Satan was the direct cause of Job's afflictions.

In any war there are two types of battles, tactical and strategic. Strategic battles are essential to achieve the goal, but tactical battles may or may not contribute to the strategic success. Spiritual warfare is no different. Salvation by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus is the strategic outcome; Job describes a tactical conflict. Remove the Book of Job from the Bible and the strategy of salvation is unaffected; however, without Job, man lacks vital information about the nature, character, and abilities of Ha-Satan.

Therefore, YHVH allows Ha-Satan to "test" Job but limits his ability to take his life. YHVH knows eventually Job will make a request YHVH will answer bringing a tactical victory:

Who would grant me a hearer, that the Almighty may hear my desire; and that he himself that judgeth would write a book, (Job 31:35 DRA)

The reader learns of Ha-Satan because Job demanded the charges against him be written.

The key consideration is direct knowledge. Obviously Job has a change of heart after hearing YHVH's second answer, but this change corresponds to Job's response after his first test: in all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. After the second answer Job finally "gets it:" YHVH was not the one who afflicted him.

While Job understands he was "collateral damage" (it is really YHVH who is under attack), neither he or anyone else in the events know the identity of the one who is opposed to YHVH. That information is found in the written account Job demanded.


1. The chiastic structure "pairs" elements from the beginning with those in the ending: (1) Introduction/(7) Epilogue; (2) Job's first test/(6) YHVH's second answer; (3) Job's second test/ (5) YHVH's first answer. Because of the structure, it is possible there is an implied connection to Ha-Satan in YHVH's responses. However, the obvious parallels are with Job's responses to the tests and to the "answers" he receives. That is, (2) Job 1:22 to (6) 42:1-6 and (3) Job 2:10 to (5) 40:3-5. It is important to recognize YHVH, who obviously knew of Ha-Satan and the charges made, never addresses them with Job; in this regard, Job never receives a full explanation for what happened.

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  • You say: "Quite simply, the reason Satan is not mentioned after 2:7, is none of the humans involved were aware of his existence, at the time in history." This makes absolutely no sense to me at all for two reasons. Firstly, the writer of Job does know of Satan - enough to include such an astounding sneak peak into his wiles - why does he not then give us another sneak peak of heaven? So the writer was aware of Satan even though the characters in the story may not have been. Secondly, God is the only one who could and did give the writer of Job such a view of heaven, why not at the end too?
    – user49416
    Mar 30, 2022 at 14:13
  • @AndriesStander I have edited my answer to address your comments. On a side note, obviously the writer of the book knows of Ha-Satan's existence, but there is nothing in the account to suggest this information was contemporaneous with the events described. In fact, after Job is restored, all of Job's family and friends continue to believe YHVH afflicted Job. They remain ignorant of Ha-Satan and his role in what happened. Mar 30, 2022 at 15:59
  • Just a note on your side note. ;) I do not think it wise to conclude their ignorance of Satan's existence simply because the book makes it clear that they are ignorant of his agency in the terrible things that happened to Job. Yes, his friends and family did continue to believe God afflicted Job BUT I highly doubt that Job did because the big issue God has with Job's three friends is this very false notion about God afflicting Job because of some sin of his. God was, at the very least, using Job's experience to correct the false theology of the day.
    – user49416
    Mar 30, 2022 at 16:52
  • You say: Essentially YHVH tells Job he has not only allowed his ignorance of God to take over his mind, but he has crossed the line by believing God did something he knows God wouldn't do" what difference is there then between what Job's 3 friends believed about God and what Job believed? Remember, they got reproved by God to the point where Job was the only acceptable intercessor for their sin in His eyes.
    – user49416
    Mar 30, 2022 at 17:14
  • @AndriesStander Your question is why Satan is not mentioned after 2:7. Obviously 2:7 are from the narrator, not Job or any of the others. In addition, YHVH does not mention Satan in His answers to Job, or in His instructions after answering. Why does the narrator make direct reference for the reader but YHVH give Job only implications of His spiritual adversary? The answer is the Book of Job is where/how Satan is first made known to humans. Mar 31, 2022 at 16:38

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