JOB CHAPTER 2
The Severer Trial and the Visit of Job’s Friends.
JOB STRICKEN WITH A SEVERE DISEASE. — V. 1. Again there was a day, some time after Satan had exhausted his efforts to shake the piety of Job by the destruction of his property and the slaughter of his children, when the sons of God, the angels, as ministers of Jehovah, came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord, as on the previous occasion, chap. 1, 13. V. 2. And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord and said, just as he had done before, From going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it, in his restless, ceaseless endeavor to harm the works of the Lord and to lead men into sin. V. 3. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, namely, by concentrating his attention upon him, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil? Cp. chap. 1, 1. And still, in spite of the severe affliction which had come upon him, he holdeth fast his integrity, to his piety and to the perfection of his righteousness before men, although thou movedst Me against him to destroy him without cause, namely, by giving Satan permission to send such great misfortunes upon him, part of which included the use of the forces of nature, which God; in a manner of speaking, placed at his disposal. Note the divine irony in the language of Jehovah, especially as contrasted with the baffled sneering of Satan. V. 4. And Satan answered the Lord and said, in the rage due to his failure, Skin for skin; yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. The meaning of this proverbial saying is that nothing outward is so dear to a man but that he will gladly give it for something similar; the life of a man, however, cannot be replaced, and therefore a man will sacrifice everything else for the sake of his life. V. 5. But put forth Thine hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, striking at him even from a distance in making a pass for his life, and he will curse, renounce and reject, Thee to Thy face. V. 6. And the Lord, willing to permit even this test of Job’s integrity, of the sincerity of his righteousness and piety, said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand, namely, to afflict with severe diseases; but save his life, the latter could be imperiled in the proposed test, but he must not be deprived of it. V. 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, the disease being the worst form of leprosy, with horrible ulcers or boils and a swollen condition of the joints, which rendered the afflicted person almost helpless. V. 8. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal, evidently to relieve the intolerable itching of the festering sores; and he sat down among the ashes, to indicate that he was submerged in grief and mourning. The few words paint a picture of such utter degradation and misery after the great happiness which Job had enjoyed, that the contrast is extremely shocking. It is but seldom that a believer is so severely tried as was Job, and therefore his example serves to encourage and inspire the children of God for all times.
JOB REBUKES HIS WIFE. — V. 9. Then said his wife, whose trust in God was evidently not as strongly founded as that of the sufferer, unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? He was clinging to a virtue which, as she supposed, availed him nothing at this time. The astonishment shown by Job’s wife is that found in all unbelievers and false Christians when they cannot explain to their own satisfaction every act of God and every misfortune which befalls them. Curse God and die. She wanted him to renounce God, all his trust in Jehovah, and then give up the struggle for life or suffer the penalty of blasphemy. V. 10. But he, sharply reproving her for her lack of trust in the goodness of Jehovah, said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh, in a godless and impious manner, which he, as his words imply, would not have expected from her. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive, accept and willingly bear, evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. If there was a temptation to murmur in the heart of Job, he had so far fought it down. V. 11. Now, when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place: E1iphaz, the Temanite, probably from Idumea, and Bildad, the Shuhite, in the desert east of the Dead Sea, and Zophar, the Naamathite, that is, from a region in Lower Arabia; for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him, they met together by appointment and traveled to Job’s home to bring him some form of consolation, if that were possible. V. 12. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off and knew him not, did not recognize their friend in this formless mass of diseased flesh, they lifted up their voice and wept, in sympathy over their friend’s suffering; and they rent everyone his mantle and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven, that is, they threw up handfuls of dust as high as possible to signify that the misery of Job cried to heaven, and then let it fall back on their heads to show the depth of their grief. V. 13. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him, their sympathetic sorrow being too great for utterance; for they saw that his grief was very great, that the affliction of his pain was unbearable. It is altogether commendable for friends to sympathize with a sufferer, mingling their own tears with his and showing that they truly feel for him, Rom. 12, 15.