Satan obtains leave to try Job. (1-6) Job's sufferings. (7-10) His friends come to comfort him. (11-13)
1-6. How well is it for us, that neither men nor devils are to be our judges! but all our judgment comes from the Lord, who never errs. Job holds fast his integrity still, as his weapon. God speaks with pleasure of the power of his own grace. Self-love and self-preservation are powerful in the hearts of men. But Satan accuses Job, representing him as wholly selfish, and minding nothing but his own ease and safety. Thus are the ways and people of God often falsely blamed by the devil and his agents. Permission is granted to Satan to make trial, but with a limit. If God did not chain up the roaring lion, how soon would he devour us! Job, thus slandered by Satan, was a type of Christ, the first prophecy of whom was, that Satan should bruise his heel, and be foiled.
Verses 7-10 The devil tempts his own children, and draws them to sin, and afterwards torments, when he has brought them to ruin; but this child of God he tormented with affliction, and then tempted to make a bad use of his affliction. He provoked Job to curse God. The disease was very grievous. If at any time we are tried with sore and grievous distempers, let us not think ourselves dealt with otherwise than as God sometimes deals with the best of his saints and servants. Job humbled himself under the mighty hand of God, and brought his mind to his condition. His wife was spared to him, to be a troubler and tempter to him. Satan still endeavours to draw men from God, as he did our first parents, by suggesting hard thoughts of Him, than which nothing is more false. But Job resisted and overcame the temptation. Shall we, guilty, polluted, worthless creatures, receive so many unmerited blessings from a just and holy God, and shall we refuse to accept the punishment of our sins, when we suffer so much less than we deserve? Let murmuring, as well as boasting, be for ever done away. Thus far Job stood the trial, and appeared brightest in the furnace of affliction. There might be risings of corruption in his heart, but grace had the upper hand.
Verses 11-13 The friends of Job seem noted for their rank, as well as for wisdom and piety. Much of the comfort of this life lies in friendship with the prudent and virtuous. Coming to mourn with him, they vented grief which they really felt. Coming to comfort him, they sat down with him. It would appear that they suspected his unexampled troubles were judgments for some crimes, which he had vailed under his professions of godliness. Many look upon it only as a compliment to visit their friends in sorrow; we must look life. And if the example of Job's friends is not enough to lead us to pity the afflicted, let us seek the mind that was in Christ.
Job 2:1-8 . SATAN FURTHER TEMPTS JOB.
1. a day--appointed for the angels giving an account of their ministry to God. The words "to present himself before the Lord" occur here, though not in Job 1:6 , as Satan has now a special report to make as to Job.
3. integrity--literally, "completeness"; so "perfect," another form of the same Hebrew word, Job 11:7 .
movedst . . . against--So 1 Samuel 26:19 ; compare 1 Chronicles 21:1 with 2 Samuel 24:1 .
4. Skin for skin--a proverb. Supply, "He will give." The "skin" is figurative for any outward good. Nothing outward is so dear that a man will not exchange it for some other outward good; "but" (not "yea") "life," the inward good, cannot be replaced; a man will sacrifice everything else for its sake. Satan sneers bitterly at man's egotism and says that Job bears the loss of property and children because these are mere outward and exchangeable goods, but he will give up all things, even his religion, in order to save his life, if you touch his bones and flesh. "Skin" and "life" are in antithesis [UMBREIT]. The martyrs prove Satan's sneer false. ROSENMULLER explains it not so well. A man willingly gives up another's skin (life) for his own skin (life). So Job might bear the loss of his children, &c., with equanimity, so long as he remained unhurt himself; but when touched in his own person, he would renounce God. Thus the first "skin" means the other's skin, that is, body; the second "skin," one's own, as in Exodus 21:28 .
6. but save--rather, "only spare his life." Satan shows his ingenuity in inflicting pain, and also his knowledge of what man's body can bear without vital injury.
7. sore boils--malignant boils; rather, as it is singular in the Hebrew, a "burning sore." Job was covered with one universal inflammation. The use of the potsherd ( Job 2:8 ) agrees with this view. It was that form of leprosy called black (to distinguish it from the white), or elephantiasis, because the feet swell like those of the elephant. The Arabic judham ( Deuteronomy 28:35 ), where "sore botch" is rather the black burning boil ( Isaiah 1:6 ).
8. a potsherd--not a piece of a broken earthen vessel, but an instrument made for scratching (the root of the Hebrew word is "scratch"); the sore was too disgusting to touch. "To sit in the ashes" marks the deepest mourning ( Jonah 3:6 ); also humility, as if the mourner were nothing but dust and ashes; so Abraham ( Genesis 18:27 ).
Job 2:9-13 . JOB REPROVES HIS WIFE.
9. curse God--rather, "renounce" God. [UMBREIT]. However, it was usual among the heathens, when disappointed in their prayers accompanied with offerings to their gods, to reproach and curse them.
and die--that is, take thy farewell of God and so die. For no good is to be got out of religion, either here or hereafter; or, at least, not in this life [GILL]; Nothing makes the ungodly so angry as to see the godly under trial not angry.
10. the foolish women--Sin and folly are allied in Scripture ( 1 Samuel 25:25 , 2 Samuel 13:13 , Psalms 14:1 ).
receive evil--bear willingly ( Lamentations 3:39 ).
11. Eliphaz--The view of RAWLINSON that "the names of Job's three friends represent the Chaldean times, about 700 B.C.," cannot be accepted. Eliphaz is an Idumean name, Esau's oldest son ( Genesis 36:4 ); and Teman, son of Eliphaz ( Genesis 36:15 ), called "duke." EUSEBIUS places Teman in Arabia-Petræa (but "at the right hand"; and then the south, namely, part of Idumea; capital of Edom ( Amos 1:12 ). Hebrew geographers faced the east, not the north as we do; hence with them "the right hand" was the south. Temanites were famed for wisdom ( Jeremiah 49:7 ). BARUCH mentions them as "authors of fables" (namely, proverbs embodying the results of observation), and "searchers out of understanding."
Bildad the Shuhite--Shuah ("a pit"), son of Abraham and Keturah ( Genesis 25:2 ). PTOLEMY mentions the region Syccea, in Arabia-Deserta, east of Batanea.
Zophar the Naamathite--not of the Naamans in Judah ( Joshua 15:41 ), which was too distant; but some region in Arabia-Deserta. FRETELIUS says there was a Naamath in Uz.
12. toward heaven--They threw ashes violently upwards, that they might fall on their heads and cover them--the deepest mourning ( Joshua 7:6 , Acts 22:23 ).
13. seven days . . . nights--They did not remain in the same posture and without food, &c., all this time, but for most of this period daily and nightly. Sitting on the earth marked mourning ( Lamentations 2:10 ). Seven days was the usual length of it ( Genesis 50:10 , 1 Samuel 31:13 ). This silence may have been due to a rising suspicion of evil in Job; but chiefly because it is only ordinary griefs that find vent in language; extraordinary griefs are too great for utterance.