Job 2:8

8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

Job 2:8 Meaning and Commentary

Job 2:8

And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal
His mouth was shut, his lips were silent, not one murmuring and repining word came from him, amidst all this anguish and misery he must be in; much less anything that looked like cursing God and blaspheming him, as some are said to do, because of their pains and their sores, ( Revelation 16:11 ) ; but Job bore his with the utmost patience; he took a piece of a broken pot, which perhaps lay in the ashes among which he sat, and scraped himself with it; either as some think to allay the itching, or rather to remove the purulent matter that ran from his boils; which he used instead of linen rags to wipe them with, having no surgeon to come near him, to mollify his ulcers with ointment, to supple them with oil, and lay healing plasters upon them; there were none to do any of these things for him; his maids and his servants, and even his wife, stood at some distance from him; the smell of him might be so nauseous, that it was intolerable, he was obliged to do what was done himself, which is here mentioned; though it seems something strange and unnatural, considering his case; Schmidt thinks that this scraping was done by him as a rite and ceremony used by mourners in those times and countries, and which Job would not omit though his body was full of sores:

and he sat down among the ashes;
which was often done in cases of mourning and humiliation, see ( Jonah 3:6 ) ( Matthew 11:21 ) ; and which Job did to humble himself under the mighty hand of God upon him; whether these ashes were outside or inside the house is not certain; some think they were outside, and that he had no house to dwell in, nor bed to lie on, nor couch to sit upon, and therefore was obliged to do as he did; but the contrary is evident from ( Job 7:13 ) ( 19:15 ) ; others say, that his disease being the leprosy, he was obliged to sit alone and outside; but it is not certain that that was his disease; and besides, the law concerning lepers did not as yet exist; and had it, it would not have been binding on Job, who was not of the Israelitish nation: the vulgar notion that Job sat upon a dunghill outside the city has no other foundation than the Septuagint version of this passage, which is a wrong one; for his sitting in ashes, there might be a reason in nature, and it might be chosen on account of his disease; for ashes are a drier, and an abstersive of ulcers, and Galen F6 says they are used in fresh wounds to stop the flow of the blood.


F6 De simpl. Med. ad Paternian. apud Schenchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 661.

Job 2:8 In-Context

6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
10 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.
The King James Version is in the public domain.