Soon after his cameo appearance in Job 1, Satan returns to accuse Job yet again in Job 2:1-10: “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” 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? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” 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. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
Many of the details in this second encounter are the same as the first. Again, we see Satan and God conversing at the time appointed for all angels (even rebellious ones) to present themselves before God, and again God sets up Satan by bringing the case of Job before Satan’s attention. Satan seems to have learned nothing nor been at all chagrined by having been mistaken in his previous assertions that Job’s obedience to God had been mercenarial. Instead he claims that someone will curse God to save their skins, and God lets Satan have Job “in his hand,” which is a place no one wants to be, but makes sure his life is preserved. From this point, Satan disappears and never again re-appears in the direct action or dialogue of the book of Job. We may, of course, ponder what if any influence he had on what Job’s friends said. But as far as Satan’s accusations are concerned, by the end of this passage, when Job has refused to take the advice of his wife to curse God and die, Job had won his case insofar as it dealt with Satan. He proved his integrity and accepted both bad and good from God even if he never understood what was going on.
It is telling that Job is never told in this book the circumstances behind his suffering. He is never told that God set Satan up to accuse a blameless man twice and that even before his friends opened their mouth to give him bad advice and false accusations that he had already been vindicated even if he didn’t know it yet. Who knows if the same sort of thing has been experienced by other believers, who have suffered with dignity without knowing that they have been the subject of cosmic dares. Perhaps it is better not to know in this life, and that is why God never explained to Job why it was that he suffered without a cause, even if we as readers are able to recognize that this was the case. And ultimately Satan is irrelevant except as the instigator of Job’s suffering, since ultimately what Job gained in insight and understanding was worth far more than the possessions that he temporarily lost or the anguish that he felt while suffering unjustly. Let it be so with us as well.