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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Job 2

 

 

Verses 1-10

CHAPTER 2:1-10

1. Jehovah’s second challenge and Satan’s answer (Job 2:1-6)

2. Job stricken (Job 2:7-8)

3. Job’s wife, Job’s answer and victory (Job 2:9-10)

Job 2:1-6. Once more the sons of God, and Satan among them, present themselves before the Lord. It must have been immediately after Job’s afflictions had come upon him. Probably the Lord called the assembly. The victory is on the Lord’s side. Satan is defeated and his defeat is known to the heavenly hosts, who undoubtedly watched the tragedies which had been enacted on earth and who, with joy, had listened to Job’s marvellous words. Triumphantly the Lord said to Satan, “And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Then comes Satan’s sneer. He has not given up hope. “Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth Thine hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will renounce thee to thy face.” This is bold and horrible language; it shows Satan’s knowledge of human nature. And God tells Satan, “Behold, he is in thine hands.” What an evidence that Satan can do nothing against the saints of God without His permission. What a comfort this is! Satan is absolutely under the control of God. And if God permits him to do his evil work, he judiciously designs, God’s own love and power are on the side of His afflicted people; His own gracious faithfulness will be demonstrated in the trial. The suffering saints still learn the lesson which Job had to learn, his own nothingness, and that God is all in all. But there is a gracious restriction. The Lord said, “Only spare his life.” Satan might sift Job; his life he could not touch, for the lives of God’s people are in the hand of the Lord.

Job 2:6-8. Satan does not delay long. He carries out his commission and useth his power to the utmost. “He smote him with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.” What was the disease? It may have been the disease known as Elephantiasis, a disease of a horrible nature. Other diseases are mentioned also which correspond with the symptoms given in the brief description. “The symptoms given agree better with those of the Biskra sores, an oriental disease, endemic along the southern shores of the Mediterranean and in Mesopotamia. It begins in the form of papular spots, which ulcerate and become covered with crusts, which are itchy and burning sores” (Professor Macalister). It must have been the most loathsome disease Satan could think of.

“And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself; and he sat among the ashes.” What a sad transformation! The great eastern emir, who erstwhile was so rich and influential, stripped of all his possessions, reduced to the most abject poverty, afflicted with a vile and extremely painful disease, takes his place upon the dunghill, amidst the ashes of the burnt refuse. He considers himself an outcast, unfit for a human dwelling.

Job 2:9-10. Then his wife makes her only appearing in this drama. She is seen but once and only once she speaks. She must have followed him with weeping and wailing outside to the ash-heap. And now she speaks, but not of herself. Satan uses her as his instrument. He speaks through her. “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Renounce God and die.” That is exactly what Satan had spoken in God’s presence, that Job would do this very thing. And now he uses the woman to suggest suicide to Job.

But noble is the answer of the afflicted saint of God. He detects in her language impiety--”thou speaketh as one of the impious (this is the meaning of foolish) women speaketh.” Only those who do not know God can speak as you have spoken, is the meaning of his rebuke. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? The power of God it was which produced such wonderful submission. His grace enabled him to pass through it all without sinning. What a record! “in all this did not Job sin with his lips!” Satan’s defeat is complete. His mouth is stopped. If he appears again before Jehovah he must stand in silence; the last word does not belong to him, but to God. And so is coming the day when Satan’s defeat is complete, when he will be completely bruised under the feet of God’s people.


Verses 11-13

III. THE CONTROVERSY BETWEEN JOB AND HIS FRIENDS

1. First Series of Controversies

CHAPTER 2:11-13 The Friends’ Arrival

Job 2:11-13. We now enter upon the main section of the book. The dark shadow of the accuser of the brethren has disappeared and in his place Job’s three friends appear upon the scene. The news of the awful misfortunes had reached them; they made an appointment together to mourn with him and to comfort him. As they are now taking a prominent part in this drama we must examine their names and get some knowledge as to their personality. The first friend is Eliphaz the Temanite. Teman is in Idumea. He may have been the son of Esau (Genesis 36:10-11). His name means “my God is fine gold.” Teman was noted for its wisdom. “is wisdom no more in Teman?” (Jeremiah 49:7). The second is Bildad the Shuhite. His name means “son of contention,” which expresses the character he reveals in his speeches. His name can also be identified with the patriarchal age. Shuah was the sixth son of Abraham by Keturah (Genesis 25:1-34). He is also mentioned in connection with Esau, Edom and Teman. Shuah means “depression or prostration.” The third friend is Zophar the Naamathite. Of his origin we know nothing. His name means “to twitter” like a bird chirps and twitters. And his addresses, consisting in violent utterances, reveal the senseless and harmless twittering of a bird.

There can be no question that all three were, like Job, God-fearing men. They formed with Job in the patriarchal age a kind of intellectual and religious aristocracy, in the midst of the surrounding idolators. How long their journey took after the news of Job’s condition had reached them we do not know. It must have been months later after Job was first stricken, that they came to visit him. During that time the disease of Job developed fully; his misery did not become less. At last the friends arrived. And as they saw the ash-heap and the miserable figure upon it, they knew him not. He was so disfigured and distorted by the suffering and the disease that they failed to recognize him. They had known him in the days of his great prosperity, when young men were held by his personality in awe, when old men arose to do him honor, when princes refrained from talking and nobles held their peace (29:7-10). What a sad spectacle to see him in this deplorable condition. Their sympathy is expressed by weeping, the rending of their garments and the sprinkling of dust upon their heads toward heaven. What pain it must have given them when they saw that his grief and suffering were so great! Then follows an impressive silence of seven days and seven nights. They are stricken dumb and find no words to utter. But while their lips did not speak their minds were deeply engaged with the problem which ere long they would take up in controversy with the afflicted one. And the question uppermost must have been, “How can God, a righteous God, permit this good man to be in this condition?”--”Why is he stripped of all and in this horrible condition?”

 


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Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Job 2:4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/job-2.html. 1913-1922.

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