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Bible Commentaries
Job 2

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Four Different Voices

In Job 2:1 to Job 3:26, we realize four different voices.

The voice of the accuser (Job 2:1-8). Satan does not give up easily, for he returned to God’s throne to accuse Job again. As in the first meeting (Job 1:8), it is God who brings up the subject of His servant Job; and Satan accepts the challenge. We get the impression that God is confident His servant will not fail the test.

"Every man has his price," said Satan. "Job can raise another family and start another business because he still has health and strength. Let me touch his body and take away his health, and You will soon hear him curse You to Your face."

With God’s permission (1 Corinthians 10:13), Satan afflicted Job with a disease we cannot identify. Whatever it was, the symptoms were terrible: severe itching (Job 2:8), insomnia (v. 4), running sores and scabs (v. 5), nightmares (vv. 13-14), bad breath (19:17), weight loss (v. 20), chills and fever (21:6), diarrhea (30:27), and blackened skin (v. 30). When his three friends first saw Job, they did not recognize him! (2:12)

Not all physical affliction comes directly from the evil one, though Satan’s demons can cause (among other things) blindness (Matthew 12:22), dumbness (9:32-33), physical deformities (Luke 13:11-17), incessant pain (2 Corinthians 12:7), and insanity (Matthew 8:28-34). Sometimes physical affliction is the natural result of carelessness on our part, and we have nobody to blame but ourselves. But even then, Satan knows how to use our folly to further his cause.

So abhorrent was Job’s appearance that he fled society (Job 19:13-20) and went outside the city and sat on the ash heap. There the city garbage was deposited and burned, and there the city’s rejects lived, begging alms from whoever passed by. At the ash heap, dogs fought over something to eat, and the city’s dung was brought and burned. The city’s leading citizen was now living in abject poverty and shame.

The voice of the quitter (Job 2:9-10). If ever a believer in Old Testament days shared in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, it was Job. All that he humanly had left was his wife and his three friends, and even they turned against him. No wonder Job felt that God had deserted him!

"Curse God and die!" was exactly what Satan wanted Job to do, and Job’s wife put the temptation before her husband. Yes, Satan can work through people who are dear to us (Matthew 16:22-23; Acts 21:10-14); and the temptation is stronger because we love them so much. Adam listened to Eve (Genesis 3:6; Genesis 3:12), and Abraham listened to Sarah (Genesis 16); but Job did not listen to the advice of his wife.

She was wrong, of course; but in all fairness, we must consider her situation. She had lost ten children in one day, and that would be enough to devastate any mother. The family wealth was gone, and she was no longer the "leading lady" in the land. Her husband, once the greatest man in the East (Job 1:3), was now sitting at the city garbage dump, suffering from a terrible disease. What did she have left? Rather than watch her husband waste away in pain and shame, she would prefer that God strike him dead and get it over with immediately. Perhaps if Job cursed God, God would do it.

In times of severe testing, our first question must not be, "How can I get out of this?" but "What can I get out of this?" Job’s wife thought she had the problem solved; but if Job had followed her counsel, it would have only made things worse. Faith is living without scheming. It is obeying God in spite of feelings, circumstances, or consequences, knowing that He is working out His perfect plan in His way and in His time.

The two things Job would not give up were his faith in God and his integrity, and that’s what his wife wanted him to do. Even if God did permit evil to come into his life, Job would not rebel against God by taking matters into his own hands. Job had never read The Letters of Samuel Rutherford, but he was following the counsel of that godly Scottish pastor who suffered greatly: "It is faith’s work to claim and challenge lovingkindness out of all the roughest strokes of God." Job was going to trust God—and even argue with God!—and not waste his sufferings or his opportunity to receive what God had for him.

When life is difficult, it’s easy to give up; but giving up is the worst thing we can do. A professor of history said, "If Columbus had turned back, nobody would have blamed him—but nobody would have remembered him either." If you want to be memorable, sometimes you have to be miserable.

In the end, Job’s wife was reconciled to her husband and to the Lord, and God gave her another family (42:13). We don’t know how much she learned from her sufferings; but we can assume it was a growing experience for her.

The voice of the mourners (Job 2:11-13). The term "Job’s comforters" is a familiar phrase for describing people whose help only makes you feel worse. But these three men had some admirable qualities in spite of the way they persecuted Job.

For one thing, they cared enough for Job to travel a long distance to visit him. And when they commiserated with him, they didn’t sit in a comfortable home or hospital room: they sat with him on the ash heap, surrounded by refuse. Because their grief was so great, they couldn’t speak for seven days. (Of course, they made up for their silence afterward.) In fact, their expression of grief was like mourning for the death of a great person (Genesis 50:10).

The best way to help people who are hurting is just to be with them, saying little or nothing, and letting them know you care. Don’t try to explain everything; explanations never heal a broken heart. If his friends had listened to him, accepted his feelings, and not argued with him, they would have helped him greatly; but they chose to be prosecuting attorneys instead of witnesses. In the end, the Lord rebuked them; and they had to ask Job’s forgiveness (Job 42:7-10).

Job 2 Questions

1. What did the presenting of themselves before the LORD indicate?

2. Who were the sons of God in Job 2:1?

3. Who was listed separately that stood before the LORD?

4. What did the LORD ask Satan?

5. Quote 1 Peter 5:8.

6. Who is Satan accountable to?

7. What was the main statement we must remember in Job 2:3?

8. What had Job done, after the worst of attacks that Satan put on him?

9. Satan said all that a man hath will he give for _____ ______. 10. What did Satan tell God to do to Job, that Satan was sure would cause him to curse God?

11. What restriction did God put on what Satan could do to Job?

12. What was his next attack on Job?

13. Where did Job sit, while he was afflicted?

14. What is a "potsherd"?

15. What suggestion did his wife give him?

16. How did Job answer her?

17. Who were Job’s three friends?

18. Why did they come to see Job?

19. What does "Eliphaz" mean?

20. What does "Bildad" mean?

21. What does "Zophar" mean?

22. Where did they find Job?

23. Why did they not recognize him?

24. How long did they stay with Job?

25. What did they say to him?

Verses 1-6

Job 2:1-6

Job 2

HAVING FAILED IN HIS FIRST TRIAL OF JOB; SATAN TRIES AGAIN

GOD AGAIN GRANTED SATAN PERMISSION TO AFFLICT JOB

Job 2:1-6

"Again it came to pass on the day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah, that Satan came also among them to present himself before Jehovah. And Jehovah said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and from in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And Jehovah said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, for there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and turneth away from evil: and he still holdest fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thy hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will renounce thee to thy face. And Jehovah said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thy hand; only spare his life."

This paragraph is virtually identical with the first paragraph of Job 1; and our exegesis of that paragraph applies equally here. The sons of God are not "the angels." We believe that the Holy Spirit knew the word angels; and that if he had meant angels here he would thus have designated them. All that Christians do upon earth is done "before the Lord." The usual meaning of "sons of God" is simply, "men who worship God" (Romans 8:14).

"Skin for skin" (Job 2:4). "There is a riddle here. No one knows for sure the meaning of this cryptic proverb.” None of the scholarly guesses we have read is worth repeating. Whatever it means, Satan’s allegation is clear enough. He still believed that if Job’s body was tortured, he would renounce God. The bitter hatred of all men by Satan is starkly revealed.

"Put forth thy hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh" (Job 2:6). This was Satan’s request; and God had already stated that in the previous trial Satan had "Moved God against Job without cause" (Job 2:3), thus establishing the truth that whatever God allows, God does, in the Biblical sense. "And again it is Satan who is the agent; and God gave him authority to do as he pleased with Job, short of taking his life."

"Only spare his life" (Job 2:6). "If God did not chain up the roaring lion, how soon would he devour us!"[3]

E.M. Zerr:

Job 2:1-2. This meeting and conversation were like that in Job 1:6-7. The student is requested to read the comments at that place for explanation of this.

Job 2:3. The Lord again called attention to the character of Job. We should observe carefully the description of this righteous man, for it was said of very few other men, if it was said of any other. The outstanding characteristics were that he was perfect, upright, feareth God and escheweth (avoideth) evil. Strong defines the original for integrity, as "innocence." Without cause is an expression that comes from one Hebrew word, which is CHINNAM. Strong defines it, "gratis, i. e. devoid of cost, reason or advantage." The word has been translated in the Authorized Yession, as nought 6 times, as nothing 1, in vain 2, without wages 1, and others. The idea is that no reason had existed for afflicting Job before, neither would God reap any personal profit from it were he to afflict him now.

Job 2:4. The answer of Satan was practically the same in thought as the first one. Skin for skin is a figure of speech, using the word "skin" in two senses. That is, it is used in the first instance to represent his skin in the natural sense, and in the second to represent his life or existence. When we would say that a man would give his very hide (skin) for a certain thing, we mean he would give the last item he possessed for that thing. And so Satan meant that a man would give up his last bit of belonging if he could only retain his life. That Job would be willing to lose all of those possessions outside of his body, if by so doing he could retain his hold on the favor of God and still live.

Job 2:5. On the basis of the above reasoning, Satan challenged God to threaten the life or health of Job, and then Job would curse God to his face.

Job 2:6. In the first instance God gave Satan full power over the interests of Job outside of his body. This time he extended his power to the region of his body, but with the restriction that he must not cause his death.

Verses 7-10

Job 2:7-10

Job 2:7-10

SATAN TORTURES JOB’S BODY WITH A VILE DISEASE

"So Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself therewith; and he sat among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still hold fast thine integrity? renounce God, and die. 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."

"Satan smote Job ... with sore boils" (Job 2:7). "Modern medical opinion is not unanimous in the diagnosis of Job’s disease.” Driver and Gray, like many others, identified the disease as Elephantiasis, basing their conclusion upon many symptoms of the disease mentioned subsequently in the Book of Job, such as, his fetid breath (Job 19:17), maggots breeding in the sores (Job 7:5), the falling off of the skin (Job 30:30), feelings of terror (Job 3:25; 6:40), terrible dreams and horrible nightmares (Job 7:14), a sensation of strangulation (Job 7:15), and disfiguration of his appearance (Job 2:12). Whatever it was, it was as loathsome and pitiful a disease as can be imagined.

"Then said his wife, Dost thou still hold fast thine integrity? Renounce God, and die" (Job 2:9). As Chrysostom observed, we have here the reason why the devil did not kill Job’s wife during that first test. "It was because Satan thought she would be the best tool by which to scourge him more acutely than by any other means.” Some have attempted to defend Job’s wife; but it is evident that she was indeed, "A tool of the tempter," for she suggested here that Job should do the very thing that Satan had predicted that he would do, namely, "renounce God."

"Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh" (Job 2:10). In no other response does Job appear more restrained than in this one. In view of the diabolical action she had proposed for him to commit, it appears that Job’s response might have been vehement, derogatory, or angry; but, instead, he merely charged her with foolishness. She no longer believed that Job was righteous.

"What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil" (Job 2:10)? Job here stated the truth that God has the right to send (or allow) either good or evil to befall any person whomsoever. All that God allows is right, regardless of how it may appear to the imperfect perception of men.

"In all this did not Job sin with his lips" (Job 2:10). Some have hinted that his thoughts in this extremity were sinful, but there is no evidence of that. "There is certainly no veiled suggestion here that Job had cursed God in his heart. Job’s wisdom was sound.”

However, the same writer declared that, "Job truly served God for naught, but for God Himself"; and with that opinion, which we find frequently repeated by many scholars, we find it difficult to agree. We believe that Job’s serving God was also, at least, partially motivated by the hope of eternal reward after the sorrows of life were ended. Did he not speak of his Redeemer, and of the resurrection of the dead?

The commentators have overreached themselves when they teach that no hope of reward enters into the motivation for Christian living. Christ himself spoke of those who might be compelled to forsake, "Houses, and brethren, and sisters, and father, or mother, or children, or lands, for his name’s sake," promising them in the same breath that they should receive, "A hundredfold now in this time ... and in the world to come eternal life" (Mark 10:29). Admittedly, the hope of reward is not the highest motive; but we truly believe that God never asked any man to serve God "for naught." And whatever Job’s motives might have been, he certainly did not serve God for naught.

Job’s wife advised him to renounce God and die; but Job decided to go on living. "And he did so because of his faith in God, and because he was strong enough to endure all that Satan could heap upon him.”

Keil referred to Job’s rejection of his wife’s evil proposal as his repelling the sixth temptation. The first four were the satanic blows delivered by those four messengers, one after another, announcing the loss of all Job’s possessions and the death of his children. The fifth temptation came in the form of that horrible disease; and this sixth one was that wicked proposal of his wife to "Renounce God, and die." The seventh temptation would come in the words of those who came to comfort him, but who, instead, were guilty of dishonoring him with their false admonitions to confess his wickedness and repent of his sins. This might have been the strongest of all his temptations.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 2:7. It is the inspired writer who says that Satan smote Job. This proves that Satan can wield supernatural power when the Lord is willing for him to do so. The restriction placed upon him was that he do nothing that would cause Job’s death. We may be sure he would design to give him an affliction that would cause the most possible suffering short of death. For that purpose he smote him with sore boils. The second word is from SHECIYN and is defined, "from an unused root probably meaning to burn; inflammation, i. e. an ulcer."--Strong. So we are to think of Job as being afflicted with burning ulcers or running sores. Just one such spot on a man’s body is often enough to render him frantic with distress. But not one spot on Job’s body was exempt, for the sores started at the sole of his foot and covered .him to the top of his head. Reason would tell us that the filthy discharge from the ulcers would impose themselves upon his eyes and nearby tissues, and even encroach upon his lips and mouth.

Job 2:8. No friendly nurse was near to ease the misery with ministrations of soothing bath or other alleviating services. And there is no indication that he could have the services of a physician. In fact, since it was a diseased condition that was miraculously brought on (although the nature of the disease itself was not miraculous), it would not have availed him anything could he have been treated by a physician. The most that such a professional man could have done would be to use one of the crude surgical instruments of those times called "scrapers." In the absence of such services Job had only the use of a potsherd. That was a "broken piece of earthenware" according to Smith’s Bible Dictionary. With this sort of an instrument Job sat down in the ashes for shame and distress, and scraped off the accumulation of the discharge from the sores. Thus we see him; his property and children all gone, and that by violence, and his own body attacked by a loathsome disease. The entire surface is viciously irritated by burning ulcers, and the repulsive matter is trickling down and over him constantly.

Job 2:9. God intended that a man’s wife should be his greatest earthly helper. (Genesis 2:18-20.) When the storms of life threaten his feeble bark, and the trials and afflictions seem more than he can bear, he is often saved from complete dejection by the sympathy and love and encouraging words of her who is the sharer of his burdens and the keeper of his honor. How indescribably opposite of all this is the case if she fails even to cooperate with him. And how much worse, still, is the case, if she becomes outspoken in her opposition to his good purpose. Job’s wife treated with contempt his determination to retain his integrity or innocence. Curse God and die means to take a final fling at the Lord as being the cause of his misfortunes, then be sullenly resigned to his fate which would doubtless be a miserable death, after such a disgraceful apostasy from the true God.

Job 2:10. When Job lost his children and property he did not speak evil against God. When his health and comfort of body deserted him, he still maintained his respect for the Lord. Now when the greatest of all blows came, the desertion on the part of his wife, he still repelled all attempts to draw him away from his devotion to God. He told her that she spoke as one of the foolish women spoke. The original word has a more serious meaning according to the lexicon of Strong. Its definition is, "foolishness, i. e. (morally) wickedness; concretely a crime; by extension, punishment." Moffatt gives us, "You are talking like an impious fool." From these critical sources of information we can see how Job regarded his wife. He meant that her attitude was criminal and deserving of punishment. It implied also that she was a slacker in her obligations to God in that she was not willing to take her share of the unpleasant parts of life along with the pleasant. Then the writer adds the conclusion stated before that Job did not sin with his lips. See comments on Job 1:22 about sinning with the lips.

Verses 11-13

Job 2:11-13

Job 2:11-13

JOB’S THREE FRIENDS COME TO COMFORT HIM

"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; and they made an appointment together to come to bemoan him and to comfort him. 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 robe, and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great."

This paragraph reveals that Job’s fame was known throughout the East, that the disastrous reversal of his status in the eyes of men was widely known, that there were true friends who loved him, and who decided to come and comfort him. However, with friends like this, Job did not need any enemies! They considered the calamities which had befallen him as due to his sins; and, in the last analysis, their purpose was to persuade him to confess his wickedness and repent! Nothing could have brought any greater distress to Job than that. His friends were anchored in their false opinions by some very grave theological misconceptions. It was their view that, in this present life, righteous people were happy, healthy and prosperous, and that only the wicked were subjected to the type of disasters that had come to Job. How wrong they were!

"Eliphaz the Temanite" (Job 2:11). This man is supposed to have been an Edomite, a people praised by many in antiquity for their wisdom. Whatever wisdom he had was purely of a worldly nature; and his false theories were utterly useless in his conversations with Job. "He was the most important of the three friends, their leader and spokesman, as indicated by the fact that the speeches of the other two were largely echoes and reiterations of the speeches of Eliphaz.”

"Bildad the Shuhite" (Job 2:11). The name Shuhite is supposed to be derived from Shuah, one of the sons of Abraham and Keturah (Genesis 25:2). "The Assyrian area of Shuhu was located south of Haran near the middle of the Euphrates valley and might have been the land of Bildad.” This second friend of Job gave an absolutely horrible picture of a wicked man in his second speech, which he unmercifully applied to his "friend" Job!

"Zophar the Naamathite" (Job 2:11). "The name Zophar is unknown outside of Job; and neither a tribe nor a land of Naamah is mentioned anywhere else.”

"They lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not" (Job 2:12). Their being able to see Job at some distance has been received as evidence that Job’s place "among the ashes" (Job 2:8) was actually atop the garbage mound usually found adjacent to ancient cities, where rubbish and dried sewerage were burned. What a change had come upon Job. Once the wealthiest man in the East, he sat at the entrance to the city; but now he was an outcast, suffering miserably, despised and rejected by nearly everyone. No wonder his friends knew him not.

"They sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven" (Job 2:12). The experts at finding contradictions in the Bible think they have one here. "Some find a contradiction between putting dust on their heads and sprinkling it toward heaven.” It is easily explained by the understanding that they cast the dust toward heaven, letting it fall upon their heads. How would you sprinkle dust on your head? Any dust cast heavenward would fall, would it not?

"They sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights" (Job 2:13). This, in all probability, means that Job’s disease was not leprosy.

"And none spake a word unto him" (Job 2:13). Some of the scholars suppose that this means that they sat silently for seven days and seven nights; but it appears more probable that the seven days and seven nights was the time required for the entire speeches and exchanges of the whole Book of Job. Certainly the arrangement of our English text allows such an interpretation. These words therefore could mean that, "They spake not a word unto him," until Job opened the conversation.

Rawlinson wrote that, "The long silence may be accounted for by the fact that among the Jews, and among Orientals generally, it was a point of decorum, and one dictated by a fine and true feeling, not to speak to a person in deep affliction until he gave some intimation of a desire to be comforted.”

It is amazing how many "purposes" of the Book of Job are mentioned by commentators; and perhaps another one might also be considered. Job’s epic sorrows and sufferings might have been designed by the Lord for the purpose of convincing Satan that hardships and sufferings do not constitute the best means for weakening and destroying faith.

It is the opposite, namely, such things as popularity, wealth, power and worldly glory that are the most likely human conditions that lead to the loss of faith and rejection of God. This minister of God’s Word has witnessed many examples of Christians who were faithful as long as they were poor, but who, when they became wealthy, delivered themselves unto evil without reservation.

By this permission which God granted Satan to test Job with every possible mortal sorrow, Satan learned the futility of such methods of destroying faith. Then Satan shifted his evil campaign against the faithful away from the plan that failed against Job.

If this is allowed to be true, it justifies, absolutely, all of the sufferings that Job endured. All mankind have benefited from them ever since.

E.M. Zerr:

Job 2:11. Friends is from REYA and Strong defines it, "an associate (more or less close)." The word does not necessarily mean one who is as near as the term is generally used. These men were former companions of Job and friends in a general sense. No doubt they were genuinely interested in the welfare of their associate, and would wish to see him regain his health and enjoyment of life. It is the inspired writer who says they came to mourn with him and to comfort him, so we are sure that was their real purpose. If they manifest error in their course of reasoning, it will not be through lack of sincerity, but from lack of knowledge. The three friends were from different localities but in communication with each other, for they came by appointment to meet with Job. Eliphaz was a descendant of Esau through Teman. ((fen. 36 :11). descended from Abraham Bildad through Shuah. (Genesis 25:2.) Zophar was one of the people of a district in Judah called Naamah. (Joshua 15:41.)

Job 2:12. Knew him not. We are certain this was not meant literally, for they knew it was Job and not someone else. I shall quote the entire definition for NAKAR, the Hebrew word for knew: "a primitive root; properly to scrutinize, i. e. look intently at; hence (with recognition implied) to acknowledge, be acquainted with, care for, respect, revere, or (with suspicion implied), to disregard, reject, resign, dissimulate (as if ignorant or disowning)."--Strong. I hope the reader will take note of all the elements of this definition. Considering the different shades of meaning as seen in the definition, and the circumstances connected with the case, I would render the phrase, "saw no resemblance of Job as they had known him." Yet they knew that it was their very friend Job, but 0, what an awful condition he was in! They were forced to weep aloud for grief. They also rent their mantles and used dust in the manner of the times when profound sorrow was felt. Toward heaven means they put the dust on the tops of their heads, indicating that they were completely under the burden of woe.

Job 2:13. Grief is from a word that is translated also by pain and sorrow. No doubt that all of the elements of the word were present. We know that Job was in constant pain from his condition, and we are sure also that such a state surrounding him would produce profound grief. This terrible condition was so visible that it overcame the speech of the three friends. Even at a distance his condition had appeared so depressing to them that they were brought to audible weeping and the other indications of compassion described in the preceding verse. Now when they came into his immediate presence, and could realize the whole situation of Job, they were rendered speechless. The scene was so overwhelmingly sad that I have not the words to describe it fully. All parties were seated on the ground, In seeing and speaking distance of each other, but for one whole week not a word was spoken. Through the long period of 7 days and nights, abject silence was their mute acknowledgement of the unspeakably low estate of their friend.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Job 2". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/job-2.html.
 
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