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Sunday, July 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Job 2

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

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.

A day - appointed for the angels giving an account of their ministry to God. The words to present himself before the Lord occur here, though not in Job 1:6, since Satan now has a special report to make regarding Job.

Verse 2

And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Integrity - literally, completeness [ tumaatow (H8538)], so 'perfect,' another form of the same Hebrew word (Job 1:1).

Movedst ... against - (so 1 Samuel 26:19; cf. 1 Chronicles 21:1 with 2 Samuel 24:1).

Destroy, [ baala` (H1104)] - 'to swallow up,' to ruin him in respect to his earthly possessions (cf. Proverbs 1:12).

Verse 4

And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.

Skin for skin - a proverb. Supply "He will give". The skin is figurative for any outward good. Nothing outward is so dear that a man will not exchange it for some other outward good; but (not yea) life, the inward good, cannot be replaced-a man will sacrifice everything else for its sake. Satan sneers bitterly at man's egotism, and says, Job is willing to part with property and children, because these are mere outward and exchangeable goods, but he will give up all things, even his religion, in order to save his life, if you touch his hones and flesh. Skin and life are in antithesis (Umbreit). The martyrs prove Satan's sneer false.

Rosenmuller explains it not so well, A man willingly gives up another's skin (life) for his own skin (life). So Job might bear the loss of his children, etc., with equanimity so long as he remained unhurt himself; but when touched in his own person he would he would renounce God. Thus, the first "skin" means, the other's skin, i:e., body; the second "skin," one's own, as in Exodus 21:23.

Maurer explains as English version, "skin for skin" - i:e., proverbially, equivalent for equivalent, "And all that a man hath will he give for his life" - i:e., And accordingly, Job, inasmuch as regarding his life still unimpaired to be an equivalent for all things else which he hath lost, may easily take his losses patiently. I prefer this.

Verse 5

But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 6

And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

But save - rather, only spare. Satan shows his ingenuity in inflicting pain, and also his knowledge of what man's body can bear without vital injury.

Verse 7

So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

Sore boils - malignant boils. Rather, as it is singular in the Hebrew, a burning sore, Job was covered with one universal inflammation. It was of the potsherd agrees with this view. It was that form of leprosy called black (to distinguish it from the white) or Elephantiasis, because the feet swell like those of the elephant. The Arabic judham: The Hebrew is the same in Deuteronomy 28:35, where sore botch is rather the black burning boil (Isaiah 1:6): [ bishchiyn (H7822) ra` (H7451)], called in Deuteronomy 28:27, "the botch of Egypt:" (cf. Psalms 38:4-8.)

Verse 8

And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

A potsherd - not a piece of a broken earthen vessel, but an instrument made for scratching (the root of the Hebrew word is scratch); the sore was too disgusting to touch. 'To sit in the ashes' marks the deepest mourning (Jonah 3:6); also humility, as if the mourner were nothing but dust and ashes; so Abraham (Genesis 18:27).

Verse 9

Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

Curse God - rather, renounce God. See the notes at Job 1:1-22; Job 5:1-27, (Umbreit.) Gesenius translates. 'Bless God' (as Job had done, Job 1:21, "Blessed be the name of the Lord") 'and die' - i:e., Bless God however much you may, you must die. She ironically tells him, "Go on blessing God, and all you get for it is dying!" So, often, two or more imperatives are joined, the last expressing the result (cf. Isaiah 8:9, Hebrew). However, it was usual among the pagans, when disappointed in their prayers accompanied with offerings to their gods, to reproach and curse them.

And die - i:e., 'take thy farewell of God and so die.' For no good is to be gotten out of religion, either here or hereafter; or, at least, not in this life (Gill). Nothing makes the ungodly so angry as to see the godly under trial NOT angry!

Verse 10

But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

The foolish women. Sin and folly are allied in Scripture (1 Samuel 25:25; 2 Samuel 13:13; Psalms 14:1).

Receive evil - bear willingly (Lamentations 3:39).

In all this - Hebrew here and in Job 1:22, 'in all these things:' i:e., notwithstanding all these so many and grievous In all this - Hebrew here and in Job 1:22, 'in all these things:' i:e., notwithstanding all these so many and grievous calamities. "For all this" (Isaiah 5:25; Isaiah 9:12; Psalms 78:32).

Verse 11

Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

Eliphaz. The view of Rawlinson, that the names of Job's three friends represent the Chaldean times, about 700 BC, cannot be accepted. Eliphaz is an Idumean name, Esau's oldest son (Genesis 36:4); and Teman, son of Eliphaz

(15), called "duke." Eusebius places Teman in Arabia Petrea (but see on Job 6:19). Teman means at the right hand; and then the south, namely, part of Idumea; capital of Edom (Amos 1:12.) Hebrew geographers faced the east, not the north, as we do; hence, with them the right hand was the south. Temanites were famed for wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7). Baruch mentions them as 'authors of fables, namely, proverbs embodying the results of observation, and searchers out of understanding.'

Bildad the Shuhite - from the Hebrew [ shuwach (H7743)], a pit: or else Shuah (H7744), son of Abraham and Keturah (Genesis 25:2). Ptolemy (Job 2:15 ) mentions the region Syccea (Greek: Sakkaia, in Arabia Deserta, east of Batanea: perhaps the same as the country of the Shuhites (Gesenius).

Zophar the Naamathite - not of the Naamans in Judah (Joshua 15:41), which was too distant; but some region in Arabia Deserta. Fretelius says there was a Naamath in Uz.

Verse 12

And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.

Toward heaven. They threw violent ashes upwards, that they might fall on their heads and cover them. Indication of the deepest mourning (Joshua 7:6; Acts 22:23).

Verse 13

So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

Seven days ... nights. They did not remain in the one posture and without food, etc., all this time, but for the most of this period daily and nightly. Sitting on the earth marked mourning (Lamentations 2:10). Seven days was the usual length of it (Genesis 50:10; 1 Samuel 31:13). This silence may have been due to a rising suspicion of evil in Job; but chiefly because it is only ordinary griefs that find vent in language; extraordinary griefs are too great for utterance.


(1) When the angels presented themselves before God, there was Satan among them; when the Twelve were with Christ, there was a Judas among them: we must therefore not expect to be free Satan's presence and assaults in the holiest seasons, places, occupations, and companies. But he can only accuse and afflict, not condemn or destroy, the children of God. (Romans 8:33-39). Satan's accusations shall recoil on himself, and angels see God overruling the evil, permitted for a time, to final and everlasting good.

(2) Carnal sense, like Job's wife is prone to impatient and false judgments of God when He afflicts; true faith, like Job's, justifies God in all His dealings; and amidst present trials remembers past counterbalancing mercies. Sin is not only vile, but also foolish: it offends against our own true interests, as well as against God's honour. Words betray this sinful folly as clearly as deeds; and, on the other hand, heavenly wisdom especially shows itself in not offending with the tongue when tested by sore trials (Psalms 39:1).

(3) Times of adversity are times which prove who are and who are not our real friends. How precious is sympathy and good counsel at such times! But, like Job's comforters, how imperfectly does our dearest earthly friend understand us! Our wisdom is to unbosom our grief to the Friend who loveth at all times, who is born for adversity, and sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 18:24). Had Job done so, he would not have been, as he was, betrayed into impatient self-justification.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Job 2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/job-2.html. 1871-8.
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