Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, June 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Job 2

Layman's Bible CommentaryLayman's Bible Commentary

Verses 1-6

The Second Scene in Heaven (2:1-6)

But Job is to be yet more severely tried. The Satan explains his failure on the basis of the fact that Job’s own body has not yet been touched. In a declaration which in countless lives has been proved to be a lie the Satan makes man out to be incurably selfish, "Skin for skin" has come to be a proverbial expression, and such it must have been at the time the story was current. It is not clear now just what the imagery is, although a good guess is that it refers to an ancient system of bartering hides, so that the meaning may be that a man will pile up all his possessions (and even his family) on one side to save his own life from harm.

Again the Satan is allowed to go forth against Job and "touch his bone and his flesh," but again it is within certain limits ("only spare his life").

Verses 7-13

The Third Scene on Earth (2:7-13)

When we turn from the presence of the Lord to Job, this time we see the blameless and righteous man stricken with a fatal and loathsome disease, the honored chieftain turned into an outcast and forced to live on the heap of dung ashes. The description of his disease here and elsewhere (see Job 7:5; Job 30:30) and especially the fact that he is reduced to the life of an outcast point to the possibility that Job is smitten with leprosy. Certainly some serious skin disorder is meant, although the popular notion that he had boils is far from the mark.

The part that Job’s wife plays has always been a matter of conjecture. Is she his true sympathizer, who because she cannot bear the sight of his suffering counsels him to take the quick way out? Or is she, as one of the early interpreters said, "the last instrument of the devil," in that she urges Job to give up his now apparently discredited and useless faith? The most that can be said with certainty is that she, who was spared to Job in the otherwise complete tragedy that befell his family, is still no real help. His alienation from all mankind is becoming complete, symbolized especially in this misunderstanding on the part of the one closest to him.

In verses 11-13 the stage is finally set for the discussion. Three friends who, like Job, were honored wise men come to comfort him. They are represented as coining from lands of the East (Teman is in Edom, and both "Shuhite" and "Naamathite" point to nomadic tribes on the borders of Palestine). Although the tragedy Job has suffered has so completely changed him that at first the men cannot recognize their friend, they join in true and sympathetic mourning.

Once again as the scene closes we are faced with the ultimate in human suffering and despair, and yet also with the ultimate in trust and faithfulness. Job still did not sin with his lips. Against this remarkable background there now opens an even more remarkable scene, where in place of mourning there comes wild rebellion, and in place of the silence of Job there sounds the most extreme shout of protest.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 2". "Layman's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lbc/job-2.html.
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