Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Job 2

Verses 1-13

Job 2:1. There was a day when the sons of God &c. As on the former chapter, Job 2:6.

Job 2:4. Skin for skin. Septuagint, “skin after skin.” Men’s riches in the first periods of society very much consisted in cattle and skins; and the honest man would sooner give up his skins to the Arabian robbers than his life. But as the Hebrew language labours under many difficulties from the bearing of its prepositions, those who follow the LXX, “skin after skin,” make the sense to be, that providence takes away our dearest comforts, as cattle and children, by a succession of strokes. This phrase being so antique, marks the antiquity of the book.

Job 2:9. Curse God and die. ברךְ barack, to bless, to curse, to devote, to blaspheme. The word is used by the witnesses against Naboth: “we heard him blaspheme God and the king.” The sense determines that the English reading is correct, and that the French reading, “Bless God and die,” is an erroneous acceptation of the word.

Job 2:11. Eliphaz the Temanite. The LXX read, king of the Thaimanites. See on Genesis 36:4.—Bildad the Shuhite. The LXX read, “tyrant,” which in a good sense, as used here, signifies governor of the Shuhites.— Zophar the Naamathite. The LXX call him also “king,” as Job was king in the host: Job 29:25. These four persons were all kings or chiefs in their respective cities.

Job 2:12. They rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads. So the ancients expressed their grief in the strongest characters. The poets abound with examples of this sort. When Nestor’s illustrious son told Achilles, that Patrocles lay among the slain; at once on the chief, a dark cloud of sorrow arose. He raised the ashes in both his hands; poured them profusely on his head, and disfigured his face. To his garments divine, the dark dust copiously adhered. He covered a wide space on the earth, and as he lay rolling, he tore his heavy locks with his hands.—Iliad 18:22. Macpherson.

Job 2:13. Seven days, the usual time of mourning for the dead. Not only Job’s children, but most of his servants were slain. These men, following custom, opened not their conversations till the time of decency was past. Genesis 50:10. 1 Samuel 31:13. Eschylus, in his description of parental sorrows, represents Niobè, as sitting three days together disconsolately upon the tomb of her children, and observing a profound silence.

REFLECTIONS.

We have here a view of the restless malice of our common foe, and constant accuser. He never ceases to tempt and vex a soul till it has reached the peaceful shores of eternity. In a second assembly, though vanquished in all his efforts, he yet persists in all his lies, and avers that Job was but partially tried; that his body remained untouched, and that a stroke at his flesh would make him abjure his God. Satan having obtained a power over his body, smote him with boils, painful as they were noisome. Thus good men, especially those who are signally honoured of providence, must expect affliction. One has his family trials, another his thorn in the flesh.

Satan having afflicted the body of Job with disease, thence took occasion to tempt his soul to sin. A thousand injections would be whispered in his ear, that God had used him ill, and laid upon him an unfair proportion of affliction. His wife, the only comfort left, was so managed, that she spake aloud what Satan had suggested, urging him to view his affliction in a wrong light, and abandon himself with execrations to entire despair and death. Thus on some occasions the common enemy makes a grand effort to destroy the soul.

From Job’s reply to his wife we learn, that when tempted to sin, we are not simply to refuse assent, as though the dire suggestion came from a mistaken friend; we should turn away from it with horror and detestation. Jesus said even to Peter, who thought to speak for his master’s good, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Job’s three friends, through a mistake, as we shall see at large, Satan managed to the same effect. Let us beware of entertaining hard thoughts of God. Why should we complain of afflictions, seeing we have deserved banishment from the Lord? Let faith aid us when reason fails: the Lord has some good design in view which the narrower limits of reason are unable to penetrate.

From the kind visits of Job’s three friends, who, foregoing their many cares at home, came unsolicited to share his affliction, we learn an important duty to afflicted friends. If we cannot restore the dead to life, or give ease in pain, we may lend an attentive ear, while the afflicted ease their hearts of grief; for grief, like streams of water, seems diminished by being divided. But we may do more; we may urge the promises of divine support, for the faith which alone supports in affliction is best nourished by truth, and most emboldened by heroic example. A full persuasion that, in one way or other, God will bring us well through, is to anticipate the victory, and rejoice in hope of the glory that shall follow.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Job 2". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/job-2.html. 1835.