Paul goes on to do some boasting of his own, and once again he collocates Satan with an Angel of some kind. After telling of the spiritual favors he has received, he says, “To keep me from being too puffed up, a thorn was given to my flesh, an angel of Satan, to batter me, to keep me from being too puffed up” (2 Cor. 12.7). He goes on to say that he prayed to the Lord three times “about it”—or “about him”—beseeching that it (or “he”) would leave him; but the Lord answered that His grace was sufficient for him (12.8-9).
This angel, or messenger, of Satan is “given” to Paul, but it is not said by whom, or whose idea it is, God’s or Satan’s. The purpose is a good one; it is not a question of punishment for sin, but rather it is a preventive measure, to keep Paul from sinful pride. In admitting this, Paul must recognize that Satan, at least in this instance, is interested in preventing sin as well as tempting persons to sin. However, to judge by Paul’s urgent efforts to rid himself of Satan’s visitation, and to judge also by the Lord’s reply to him, we can readily imagine that he felt himself tempted to another kind of sin, some act of desperation or
exasperation. To put it another way, Paul was asking the Lord (Christ or God) to revoke His permission for Satan to inflict this trial upon him. He may have been thinking of the permission that Yahweh gave to the satan in the Book of Job to try Job’s patience and fidelity.