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The Prologue (continued)
Job’s second trial. He refuses to renounce God when afflicted with an excruciating disease. Three friends come to comfort him.
3. Although thou movedst, etc.] or, ’so that it was in vain thou movedst me against him to destroy him.’
4, 5. Skin for skin, etc.] The precise meaning of the proverb is uncertain, but the general meaning seems to be that as long as a man does not suffer in his own person he will gladly bear the sacrifice of everything else (’skin for skin’). But it is a different matter when his life is endangered. Let Job suffer this last and greatest trial, then his integrity will fail him (so the Adversary insinuates) and he will renounce God. His life the Satan is not permitted to touch, short of that he has full liberty, and uses it.
7. Sore boils] lit. ’an evil inflammation.’ The disease with which Job was afflicted is commonly taken to be elephantiasis, a terrible form of leprosy. It has also been identified with the ’Oriental sore,’ also with ecthyma, for which a plausible case has been made out.
8. A potsherd] A piece of earthenware to remove the scurf skin. He sat down among the ashes] Perhaps those of his camp fires. This was a sign of mourning. Tradition places him on a dunghill, like the ’Mizbeleh’ or mound of refuse found outside an Eastern town or village where lepers and other outcasts sit, and men sometimes meet to talk.
9. Job’s wife would have had him act as the Adversary expected him to do. ’You may as well renounce God’s service since you benefit so little by it, and meet your fate at once instead of lingering in intolerable pain.’
10. Both good and evil are from God’s hand, and must be taken in the same spirit. The words of Job are in notable contrast to those of his wife. With his lips] The reader must not be misled into thinking that the author means to suggest that Job nursed in his heart a rebellion he would not utter with his lips.
11. The three friends of Job now come upon the scene. They are represented as persons of importance like himself. Temanite] connected with Edom (Jeremiah 49:7). Shuhite] Shuah was a son of Abraham by Keturah, who was sent ’to the East’ (Genesis 25:2, Genesis 25:6). Naamathite] unknown. The friends, like Job, were probably descendants of Abraham, but not of Israel (Jacob).
12. Knew him not] so disfigured was he by his sickness and misery.
Sprinkled dust upon their heads] This was generally done when lying prostrate on the ground (cp. Lamentations 2:10), but the words ’toward heaven’ suggest that they were standing. They throw dust in the air, which falls on their heads.
13. Seven days] the time of mourning for the dead: cp. 1 Samuel 31:13; Ezekiel 3:15.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Job 2". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29