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In Iyov 1:18-19 we read:

While this one was still talking, another one came and said, "Your sons and daughters were dining and drinking wine at the home of their firstborn brother, when, behold, a great wind came from the other side of the desert, and struck the four corners of the house; it fell upon the youths, who died, and only I alone escaped to tell you."

How do we understand this? Did Iyov do anything to deserve this? Did his children do anything to deserve this?

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  • About Iyov, isn't this dealt with right at the start?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    May 24, 2023 at 20:11
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    Did Iyov do anything to deserve this? That would seem to be the theme of the book :)
    – AKA
    May 24, 2023 at 21:43

2 Answers 2

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The Talmud says that Balaam, Jethro and Job were among Pharaoh’s counselors. Jethro argued against harming Israel and was later rewarded. Balaam advised that the male Israelite babies should be cast into the Nile, and was eventually killed. Job was silent, and for that he was punished. [Sanhedrin 106a]

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  • Thanks for your answer. What about his children? What did they do to deserve punishment?
    – James Read
    May 24, 2023 at 21:50
  • Naḥmanides, the Ramban, argues that Job’s new children are the same ones as before. They didn’t die. The messenger who reported the news of their fate to Job only saw his house being destroyed. In fact, Satan hid the children right before he destroyed the house! May 24, 2023 at 22:20
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The Malbim, in his commentary to Iyov 2:3 explains that he did not deserve it:

G-d rebukes Satan for having maligned Job without cause. Job had stood the test; his worship of G-d had indeed been out of love and without any expectation of reward, and so the calamities inflicted upon his possessions and children had been totally unwarranted.

The Gemara in Bava Basra actually speaks very positive about the fact that even all the trials he withstood, he did not deviate and curse G-d:

About this it says: “And the Lord said to the Satan: Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God and turns away from evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you moved Me against him, to destroy him without cause” (Job 2:3).

The Gemara goes on to explain:

It was taught in a baraita with regard to the methods of the Satan: He descends to this world and misleads a person into sinning. He then ascends to Heaven, levels accusations against that very sinner, and inflames G-d’s anger against him. He then receives permission to act and takes away the sinner’s soul as punishment.

As the Malbim says, this was without cause, but nevertheless, Iyjov stood the test and his worship of G-d was nothing but out of love. He hold fast to his integrity and did not deviated from the right path.

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  • Regarding Malbim's commentary to commentary to Iyov 2:3: In his commentary to Iyov 2:10, he say (in part): "... At first sight, this appears to be a noble reply and this is how most commentators interpret it. But closer examination shows that in his mind Job was already turning to heresy. This follows from his use of the word 'besides' (גם)..."
    – Tamir Evan
    May 25, 2023 at 3:36
  • "... Thus, Job reveals that in his mind he was already leaning towards the heresy that God's creation of man was to his detriment, for the bad outweighs the good in the world ... since at this point, even though this idea was already in his mind, he only hints at it by his use of the word 'besides', the book relates that despite everything, Job did not sin with his lips. For he had not yet actually uttered it. Hence, the Talmudic Sages said that though Job did not sin with his lips, he did sin in his heart " (emphasis mine).
    – Tamir Evan
    May 25, 2023 at 3:38

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