And Satan answered the Lord, and said
Satan would not as yet own that Job was the man the Lord had described; but still would suggest, that he was a selfish and mercenary man, and that what had been done to him was not a sufficient trial of his integrity; the thing had not been pushed far and close enough to discover him; he had lost indeed his substance, and most of his servants, and all his children, but still he had not only his own life, but his health and ease; and so long as he enjoyed these he would serve God, though only for the sake of them: and therefore, says he, as it is usually and proverbially said,
skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life;
the Targum is,
``member for member;''which the Jewish commentators, many of them, explain thus, that if a man's head or his eyes are in danger, he will lift up his hand or his arm, and expose that in order to save the other; but the word is generally used of the skin, and so it may in this sense; and mean the skin of his hand, as a shield for the skin of his head or eye, as Gussetius observes F18: some understand it of the skins of others for his own skin, which he will part with, that he may keep that; nay, he will give all that he is possessed of for the preservation of his life, so dear is that unto him; meaning either the skins of beasts, in whom the principal substance of men consisted in those times and countries, and whose skins slain for food, and in sacrifice, might be of worth and value, and used in traffic; or, as others think, money cut out of leather made of skins is meant, which a man would part with, even all such money he had in the world, and even his "suppellex", or all the goods of his house, for to save his life: or the sense is, that Job would not only give the skins of his beasts, even of all that he had, for his own skin, but the skins of his servants, nay, of his own children, provided he could but keep his own skin; and hereby Satan suggests, that Job did not regard the loss his cattle, nor of his servants, nor even of his children, so long as he had his own life and health; and thus represents him as a lover of himself, and as cruel and hardhearted, and without natural affections to his children; the contrary to which is very manifest from ( Job 1:5 ) ; or rather this designs his own skin, and may be rendered, "skin upon skin", or "skin even unto skin", or "skin within skin" F19; for man has two skins, an inward and an outward one, called the "cutis" and "cuticula", "derma" and "epidermis"; the latter is of a whitish colour, and is properly the covering of the skin, is very thin, and void of sensation F20, which may be raised up by a blister, and taken off without pain; but the other is reddish, and very sensible of pain, and cannot be taken off without putting a man to the most exquisite misery; and yet a man will part with both skins, and if he had ever so many, or he willing to be put to the greatest torment, rather than part with his life: and to this one point all the above senses, and others given by interpreters, tend, namely, to observe how precious the life of man is to him; and if this was all that Satan meant, it is very trite; but he seems to insinuate something more, and that is, that any man, and so Job though reckoned a good man, would not only part with all the skins he had, and the substance he was possessed of, to save his life, but he would part with his God, and his religion, and the profession of it, for the sake of it, which is false; for there is something more valuable than life to good men; they reckon the loving kindness of God better than life, and would sooner lose their lives than risk the danger of losing their interest in it; and are willing to part with their lives for the sake of God and true religion, for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, and for his cause and interest, as many have done.
F18 Ebr. Comment. p. 582.
F19 (rwe deb rwe) "cutim super cute", Schultens.
F20 Vid Bartholin. Anatomia Reform. l. 1. c. 1. & 9.