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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2007 September 15; 335(7619): 528.
PMCID: PMC1976486
Job for Life

Satan what done it

Paul E Plsek, consultant

Launer does a great service in describing the Book of Job as the most enduring handbook for any of us who have to deal professionally with tragedy, loss, or despair.1 The opening paragraph, however, contains a serious error that should be corrected.

Launer says that the book's prologue tells of the catastrophes inflicted by God on the hero. In fact, a more careful reading of the prologue will reveal, importantly, that it was Satan, not God, who inflicted the catastrophes. God's role was permissive in that he removed the protective “hedge” that He had placed around Job and allowed Satan access to “everything he has” (see Job 1:9-12; quotes from the New International Version). That it is Satan who inflicts the catastrophes is made crystal clear in the second half of the prologue where we read: “So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head” (Job 2:7; New International Version).


Competing interests: None declared.


1. Launer J. The Book of Job. BMJ 2007;335:453 (1 September.) doi:10.1136/bmj.39314.452292.4E

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