Is it OK that Job sacrificed on behalf of his children?
Job 1:4 and 5 tell us that Job sacrificed for his children, just in case they sinned against God:
KJV Job 1:4 [And/Now] his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
KJV Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and [sanctified/consecrated] them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered 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 did Job continually.
Job’s Children Liked Each Other
So, apparently Job’s sons would have all of their siblings over to eat. And this was a regular pattern. Each of the seven sons would have the nine other siblings over. I’m not sure if this was happening every day of every week or if it was spread out throughout a month – but the point is that they would be eating at each other’s houses. They liked each other! They had a good family relationship.
Job Was Concerned for His Children’s Spiritual Wellbeing
But the even bigger point is that Job was concerned for them. Yes – they had a really good relationship with one another. But you know what Job was more concerned for? That they had a good relationship with God.
Job Was a Family Priest
He would sacrifice for them – just in case they sinned. He was acting as a priest for them – which reinforces the idea that they were outside of Israel and before the Mosaic Law. If they lived in Israel under the Mosaic Law, then the law prescribed priests in a Tabernacle or Temple. Job here is just sacrificing to the true God – but he’s doing it by himself outside any Temple. He’s a priest for his family.
He could be happy enough with his riches and his family. But he’s most concerned about the spiritual aspects of life.
Some Say Job Went Too Far
This man is commendable to all of us. Now, I read a commentary that said that Job was basically a little overwrought in his spiritual activities. Like, basically, Job is showing an unhealthy level of concern for his family’s spiritual state. Perhaps Job – said this commentator – is showing that his view of God is deficient. Like, Job is driven into an almost slave-like mentality where he’s basically operating under fear of God’s reprisal for the least pretense of sin.
Job Was Right to Sacrifice for His Children
But I just don’t think that’s the right way to interpret Job’s actions. That’s surely not the way that the narrator wants us to view Job’s activities. I mean – we’ve already been told that Job is pure and upright. He fears God. He turns from evil. I just don’t think that the way we’ve been introduced to Job allows us to think of his activity as superstition or driven by an unwholesome fear.