Job 2:12

12 And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they 1tore their robes and sprinkled 2dust on their heads toward heaven.

Job 2:12 Meaning and Commentary

Job 2:12

And when they lifted up their eyes afar off
Either when at some distance from Job's house, and he being without in the open air, as some think; or as they entered his house, he being at the further part of the room, or in another further on, which they could see into:

and knew him not;
at first sight; until they came nearer to him, his garments being rent, and his head shaved, and his body covered all over with boils; so that he was so deformed and disfigured that they could not know him at first, and could scarcely believe him to be the same person:

they lifted up their voice and wept:
they wept and cried aloud, being greatly affected with the sight of him, and their hearts sympathizing with him under his afflictions, being his cordial friends, and of that disposition, to weep with those that weep:

and they rent everyone his mantle,
or "cloak"; in token of mourning, as Job had done before, (See Gill on Job 1:20);

and sprinkled dust upon their heads towards heaven;
that is, they took up handfuls of dust from off the ground, and threw it up in the air over their heads, which fell upon them and covered them; which was another rite or ceremony used by mourners, as Jarchi observes, and showed the vehemence of their affections and passions, and the confusion they were in at seeing their friend in such a miserable condition; see ( Joshua 7:6 ) ( Ezekiel 27:30 ) ( Lamentations 2:10 ) .

Job 2:12 In-Context

10 But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?"In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
11 Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him.
12 And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven.
13 And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.

Cross References 2

  • 1. See Genesis 37:29
  • 2. See Joshua 7:6; Nehemiah 9:1; Lamentations 2:10; Ezekiel 27:30