“sons of God.” The “sons of God” are the created beings of God, including the angels, cherubim, seraphim, and “living creatures” (Rev. 4:8), and we can assume there are other beings God has created as well as those categories. The Hebrew is bene ha-elohim (בְּנֵ֣י הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים), literally the “sons of God.” Adam is called a “Son of God” in Luke 3:38, and Jesus Christ is also called “the Son of God,” and both of them came into being by way of a direct creation of God.
Versions such as the NIV try to make Job 1:6 and 2:1 easy to understand by translating bene ha-elohim (sons of God), as “angels,” but while that may help the beginner Bible student, it works against a correct understanding of the Bible because the great assembly of spirit beings in Job would have included more types of spirit beings than just angels. It helps us to understand the Bible when we understand that when God created the spirit world, He did not just create angels; He created other types of spirit beings as well, although we do not know as much about them. Ephesians 3:15 mentions “every family in heaven,” and that is a reference to all the different families of spirit beings, who all descend from the one Heavenly Father.
Here in Job 1:6, God presides over a large assembly of spirit beings. God also had an inner divine council of spirit beings with whom He worked in overseeing and administering His creation, and that inner council would have been present at the large general assemblies. [For more on that inner divine council of God, see commentary on Genesis 1:26]. Another example of a large assembly of spirit beings is 1 Kings 22:19, when Micaiah had a vision of God sitting on a throne with the whole army of heaven standing before Him.
Psalm 82:1 mentions God taking His place in the edah-el (#05712; #0410 עֵדָה־אֵ֑ל), a Hebrew phrase that means “assembly of gods,” “assembly of the mighty,” or “great assembly.” As in Job and Kings, this appears to refer to a larger assembly than God’s intimate council, as we can see from the context. Psalm 82 is important and gives us a unique view into what goes on in the heavenly realm because it shows God reproving these “gods” for their unrighteousness. All of the spirit beings were created by God, but not all of them turned out to be loving and obedient, and God calls these gods to account and confronts them for their actions. Thus, the meeting mentioned in Psalm 82 is somewhat similar to Job 1:6; both records describe a large assembly of gods, and each includes some of the gods who are adversarial to the true God. It is possible that the “great assembly” in Psalm 82 not only includes spirit beings but human rulers as well, because in John 10:34, Jesus quoted Psalm 82:6 in a way that seems clearly to refer to humans.
God rules over spirit beings of various ranks and powers who are sometimes called “gods.” Indeed, there are many “gods” (1 Cor. 8:5). That is why in both the Old and New Testaments, God is called the “Most High” God. He is far greater than all the other gods. In fact, God is called the “Most High” God more than 50 times in the Old Testament, and nine times in the New Testament.
Some commentators say that “the Adversary” in this verse is a reference to a spirit being who was in God’s court who was appointed by God to try to find faults and weaknesses with God’s plans, and so the Adversary was actually working for God. That is not correct, but is an attempt to try to show that God is in charge of, and responsible for, everything that happens on earth. Those commentators are typically Calvinist, and believe that God is in absolute control of all that happens in the universe, including choosing who will be saved and who will not be.
In Job, “Satan,” the Adversary, is an enemy of God. Scripture teaches that people choose whether to be saved or not, and also that there is a battle between Good and Evil. God is love, and if He was in charge of what happened to Job and his family and servants then His is not loving. The Devil is an evil being, and he does not obey God, he sins and has been sinning from the beginning (1 John 3:8). If the Devil was doing the will of God, then what he did would not be sin.
[For more on the war between God and the Devil, see commentary on Luke 4:6. For more on God’s divine council, see commentary on Genesis 1:26. For more on the Devil being the god of this age, see commentary on 2 Cor. 4:4. For more on the names of the Devil that describe his characteristics, see Appendix 14, “Names of the Devil.” For more on the warfare between God and His enemies, see commentary on 1 Sam. 1:3. For more on the future Kingdom of Christ on earth that will not have the Devil present, see Appendix 3, “Christ’s Future Kingdom on Earth.” For more on the future restored earth being called “Paradise,” see commentary on Luke 23:43. For more on Calvinism not being correct, see Appendix 8, “On Calvinism and Predestination”].
A great biblical truth, but one not well-known by the Church, is that God has an inner divine council of spirit beings with whom He works to administer the universe. There is good biblical evidence for this, and it also makes perfect sense when we think of the way God works with His creation: when God created mankind, He gave them dominion over the animals; when our numbers increased, He asked us to appoint rulers and judges who would administer a godly society; and when He raised Jesus from the dead, He gave him all authority and made him ruler of His creation, just to give a few examples. Similarly, before mankind existed, God had a council of ruling spirits to help Him administer His creation. In this teaching, John Schoenheit goes over many of the verses of Scripture that reveal this divine council, and shows that they have been active in the past in helping God, and will continue in that role in the future as well.