Job 2

 

The second chapter chapter concludes the “Introductory section.”  It consists of three

parts:

 

·        firstly, the ground of his further trial  containing an account of Satan’s second

appearance in the courts of heaven, and of a second colloquy between him

and the Almighty.  (vs. 1-6);

 

·        secondly, the sequel to this colloquy, viz. Satan’s further affliction of Job, and

his conduct under it.  (vs. 7-10); and

 

·        thirdly, an account of the arrival of Job’s three special friends to mourn

with him and to comfort him; and of their behavior during the first seven

days after their arrival

 

The narrative is characterized by remarkable simplicity and directness. It has a decided

air of antiquity about it, and presents but few linguistic difficulties.

 

1 “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present

themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to

present himself before the LORD.”  There is no “again” in the original. The

words used are an exact repetition of those contained in ch. 1:6. But they mark, no

doubt, a second occasion on which the angelic host came to present themselves

before the throne of God, and Satan came with them. To present himself before the

Lord. These words are additional to those used in the former passage. We

may gather from them, that, whereas on the former occasion Satan came

only to observe, and with no intention of drawing God’s special attention

to himself, he now had such intention, and looked forward to a colloquy.

He anticipated, doubtless, that the circumstances of Job’s probation would

be referred to, and he had prepared himself to make answer.

 

2 “And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou?

And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the

earth, and from walking up and down in it.”   (see the comment on ch. 1:7,

of which this is an almost exact repetition).

 

3 “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant

Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an

upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he

holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him,

to destroy him without cause.”  And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast

thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth,

 a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Thus far is identical with ch.1:1 (quod vide). The rest of the verse is additional,

having reference to the conduct of Job under his earlier trials (Ibid. vs. 20-22).

And still he holdeth fast his integrity. This has been justly called “the

key-note of the whole book”. Satan had declared that Job’s

integrity rested on no solid basis, and would easily be overthrown and

disappear. God, confident in His servant’s faithfulness and truth, had

allowed him to assail it. What was the result? God declares it with His own

mouth. Job’s “integrity” had not been wrested from him; he still maintained

it (Ibid. vs.21-22), as he was about to do till the end (ch. 42:1-6).

Although thou movedst me against him (see ch.1:9-11), to destroy

him; literally, to swallow him up; i.e. to ruin him, overwhelm him with

calamities. Without cause; i.e. “when he had done nothing to deserve such

treatment.”

 

4 “And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all

that a man hath will he give for his life.” And Satan answered the Lord,

and said, Skin for skin. No doubt a proverbial expression, resembling “Eye for eye,

tooth for tooth; Tit for tat,” and the like; but not expressive of retaliation. Satan

means that, to keep his own “skin” intact, a man will sacrifice another’s “skin;”

even that of his nearest and dearest. Job, he insinuates, submitted to the loss of his

children without a murmur, because he feared that otherwise God would

stretch forth his hand against his person, and smite it or destroy it. He

cannot imagine any motive for submission and apparent resignation but a

selfish one (compare ch.1:9). Yea, all that a man hath will he give for

his life; i.e. “a man will submit to the loss, not only of all his possessions,

but even of those whom he loves best, to save his own life — he will do

anything for that.” So the “false accuser.” All the numerous acts of self-sacrifice

which human history presents, and has presented from the first, are ignored.

 

Life is very, very, valuable, much more than material possessions.  In origin, it is

of the breath of God’s Spirit!  (Genesis 2:7)  Physical life, tainted by sin, is

doomed to decay and dissolution, while spiritual life and the riches of the

soul ENDURES FOR EVER!  (Matthew 6:19-21)

 

5 “But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh;”

(i.e. “his person” — any part of his body)  and he will curse thee to

thy face.”  (See the comment on ch.1:11)

 

6 “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but

save his life.” And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold he is in thine hand;

i.e. “he is in thy power, to do with him as thou pleasest” — except in one

respect. Again it is strongly marked that Satan’s power is under God’s

control, and extends only so far as God allows. But save his life; rather,

only spare his life (Revised Version). The didactic purposes for which God

was allowing his faithful servant to be tried in the furnace of affliction

would have been frustrated by Job’s removal from the earth. Individually

he might equally well have been compensated in another world; but then

the lesson of his example to living men, and the lesson of his story to all

future generations of mankind, WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST!   Besides,

God but rarely, in the old world, gave a faithful servant, still in the full vigor of life

(ch. 42:16-17), “over unto death” (Psalm 118:18).

 

 

A Move for a New Trial (vs. 1-6)

 

·        THE OLD OCCASION RETURNED.

 

Ø      The gathering of the sons of God. The recurrence of this celestial scene

reminds us of:

 

o       the immutable sovereignty of Jehovah, who, on this second occasion

as on the first, still enthroned amidst the principalities and powers of

heaven — the devils also being subject to Him (I Peter. 3:22);

o       the permanence of moral obligation in the heavenly world and

amongst angels as well as on the earth, neither lapse of time nor change

of circumstances having the slightest effect in releasing God’s intelligent

creatures from the bonds of responsibility; and

o       the constancy and cheerfulness with which the inhabitants of the

upper world delight to do God’s holy will — an example of obedience

proposed for the study and imitation of believers (Matthew 6:10).

 

Ø      The reappearance of the adversary. (Job placed under double jeopardy –

CY – 2013).  If, on the former occasion, the entrance of Satan amongst God’s

celestial sons might permissibly be regarded as an impertinent intrusion, in

the present instance his return must be held as having taken place in

accordance with a tacit understanding that, in due course, he should appear

to report the result of his experiment with the patriarch, which, perhaps,

may explain the introduction of the words, to present himself before

 the Lord,” omitted from the account of the first assembly.

 

·        THE OLD CONTROVERSY RESUMED.

 

Ø      The patriarchs enemy interrogated. “From whence comest thou?”

Note:

 

o       God’s universal cognizance of things that transpire on earth

(ch. 28:10, 24; 34:22);

o       God’s perpetual surveillance of the devil in his movements; and

o       God’s constant watchfulness against his attacks (Revelation 3:10).

 

Ø      The patriarchs piety commended. Hast thou considered my servant

Job?” (see homiletics on ch.1:1, 8). Whether or not containing “a

covert sneer at the baffled adversary,” the question reminds us of:

 

o       God’s faithfulness towards His people. Notwithstanding all that had

occurred, Job was still God’s servant, and God as ready to own him for

His servant as when the patriarch was rejoicing in the fullness of

Prosperity (Isaiah 44:21; 54:10).

o       God’s judgment concerning His people. God can always distinguish

between a man and his surroundings. The Omniscient judges no one by

his material environment, but by the character of his heart (I Samuel 16:7;

II Samuel 7:20; Psalm 7:9).

o       God’s affection for His people. As Job’s afflictions had not destroyed

his piety, so neither had they alienated God’s love. Never in the day of

calamity does Jehovah renounce His saints, but rather, because of

tribulation, clings to them with fonder affection (I Samuel 12:22;

Psalm 91:15; Romans 11:2; II Timothy 2:19; Revelation 2:9).

 

Ø      The patriarchs sincerity attested.

 

o       The Divine satisfaction with the patriarch. “He still holdeth fast

his integrity.” Constancy in piety is a rare jewel in the saint’s casket,

lends a special luster to his other virtues, is ever highly prized by its

possessor, and never fails to elicit Heaven’s commendation. The Divine

approbation also, besides being an ample recompense for all the saint’s

trials (Romans 8:18), is the only sure test of genuine religion (II Corinthians

10:18), the greatest honor a saint can receive (Matthew 10:32), and

the final portion of those who hold fast their integrity to the end (Malachi

3:17; Revelation 3:5).

 

Ø      The Divine indignation against Satan. “Although thou movedst me to

destroy him.” See the widely differing estimates of trouble taken by God

and Satan. What the devil called a touch God calls a swallowing up:

 that marks the tenderness or God’s heart. Note the different relations in

which God and Satan stood to Job’s affliction — God acting, and the devil

tempting; marking God’s sovereignty, but Satan’s responsibility. “God’s

afflicting of His people is (so to say) a blowing of the bellows to kindle His

displeasure against wicked instruments (Isaiah 47:5-6; Zechariah 1:15).

 

Ø      The Divine sorrow about Himself. “Thou movedst me… without

cause.” Indicating the reluctance with which God in any case proceeds

against a saint (Lamentations 3:33), and the regret which He felt in this

case, since He knew so well there was no sufficient reason for entertaining

a suspicion against the patriarch’s piety. Let it teach us that though all

men have sins enough to be the meritorious cause, yet oftentimes sin is not

the moving cause of their afflictions.

 

·        THE OLD CALUMNY REVIVED. Job’s victory in the previous

conflict is by the devil:

 

Ø      Tacitly admitted. Satan finds it impossible to repel the statements

advanced by Jehovah concerning His servant. Saints should study to live

 so that their piety cannot be contradicted, however much it may be

aspersed by Satan and wicked men, and that God, when He speaks in

commendation of their integrity, may be justified.

 

Ø      Reasonably explained. On the ground that the trial was not severe

enough. “Skin for skin,” etc. — a proverb, which, however explained,

practically charges the patriarch with unnatural barbarity in disregarding

the loss of his children since his own skin was saved, as well as with intense

and revolting selfishness in making the supreme consideration, in all his

thoughts and calculations, the preservation of his own life.

 

Ø      Wholly undervalued. As in his (the devil’s) estimation, proving nothing

and contributing nothing to the solution of the grand problem in debate.

Hence he does not hesitate to suggest that the matter should a second

 time be submitted to the ordeal of trial.

 

·        THE OLD PROPOSITION REPEATED. “But put forth thine hand

now;” which demand was certainly:

 

Ø      Presumptuous; considering by whom it was made, Satan, and to whom

it was addressed, Jehovah; thus showing the illimitable pride of the devil

(Isaiah 14:12-14).

 

Ø      Unnecessary; remembering the person against whom it was directed, and

the issue of the preceding trial to which he had been subjected.

 

Ø      Cruel; seeing that Job had already been afflicted by the double stroke of

bankruptcy and bereavement, and this was a request that God would

aggravate his misery by laying His hand upon his person. But who would

ever look for humane and tender feelings in a devil?  (It is vain to

expect mercy from someone who will not do justice! – CY – 2013)

 

Ø      Malignant; when regard is had to its object and motive — the latter

being hostility to God and hatred of piety; the former the overthrow

of Job’s religion and the damnation of Job’s person.

 

·        THE OLD PERMISSION RENEWED. “Behold, he is in thine hand.”

The patriarch was again delivered up into the power of the adversary.

 

Ø      Sovereignly; God having a perfect right to dispose of the persons of His

people, no less than their properties.

 

Ø      Really; to be tried in whatever manner his Satanic ingenuity might

devise, always, of course, within the prescribed limits.

 

Ø      Immediately; from this time forward being rendered accessible to the

hostile assaults of the adversary. Yet:

 

Ø      Reservedly; with certain restrictions as to his life, which was not to be

taken from him. And also, one cannot help thinking:

 

Ø      Confidently; without the slightest apprehension of an unfavorable issue

to the trial, so high was the estimation in which God held His servant.

 

·        LEARN.

 

Ø      Concerning the devil. That he is seldom satisfied with only one attempt

against the virtue of a saint; that he is exceedingly unwilling to admit

himself defeated on the field of spiritual conflict; and that he ever plants his

fiercest batteries against the citadel of a saint’s integrity.

 

Ø      Concerning the saint. That he need hardly anticipate a long period of

exemption from either trials or temptations; that whatever calamities befall

him, he should labor to discern God’s providential hand in their

occurrence; and that he, may confidently trust God will not give him

over completely to the devil.

 

Ø      Concerning God. That though He may suffer His saints to be tried, He

does not cease to love them; that though He may lengthen Satan’s chain,

He doesn’t loosen it; and that, though He may sometimes listen to Satan’s

charges against the saints, He never believes them.

 

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.” So went Satan

forth from the presence of the Lord (compare ch.1:12, ad fin.). Satan, we may

be sure, is always anxious to quit the immediate presence of God; for “what

 communion hath light with darkness?” (II Corinthians 6:14). But now he had a

special motive for haste in his anxiety to put Job to the test.  (Again, note

the malice and malignity of Satan.  – CY – 2013).   Doubtless he was confident that

he would triumph. And smote Job with sore boils  (a malignant inflammation.

It has been generally concluded, from the scattered notices of his malady contained

in the Book of Job (especially ch.7:4-5; 17:1; 19:17-20; and 30:17-19), that the

disease with which Satan “smote Job’ was elephantiasis — sometimes called

Elephantiasis Arabum — a marked and strongly developed form of leprosy.

Elephantiasis is thus popularly described by Canon Cook, in the ‘Speaker’s

Commentary,’ vol. 4. p. 26; “An intense heat, a burning and ulcerous swelling,

or leprosy in its most terrific form, taking its name from the appearance of the

body, which is covered with a knotty, cancerous bark like the hide of an

 elephant; the whole frame is in a state of progressive dissolution, ending slowly but

surely in death.” A modern scientific work gives the following more exact,

but more technical, account of the disease: “A non-contagious disease

characterized by recurrence of febrile paroxysms, attended by

inflammation, and progressive hypertrophy of the integument and areolar

tissue, chiefly of the extremities and genital organs; and occasionally by

swelling of the lymphatic glands, enlargement and dilatation of the

lymphatics, and in some cases by the coexistence of chyluria, and the

presence in the blood of certain nematode haematozoa, together with

various symptoms of a morbid or depraved state of nutrition” (Quain’s

‘Dictionary of Medicine,’ vol. 1. p. 431). The disease is not now regarded

as incurable, though, without an entire change of scone and climate, it is

regarded as very seldom cured (ibid., p. 432). From the solo of his foot

unto his crown. Elephantiasis is generally local, attacking some part of the

body, as, especially, the extremities or the genital organs. But in the worst

forms, the entire body suffers.  (For a 21st century description and photographs,

I recommend surfing the net for “elephantasis” – CY – 2013)

 

8 “And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down

among the ashes.”  And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal.

“The surface of the integuments,” says Dr. Quain, “is often much inflamed, and

sometimes discharges a serous ichor, or chyle-like fluid, according to the

extent to which the lymphatics are engaged in the particular ease” (ibid., p.

432). This “serous or lymph-like fluid” is occasionally “acrid and

offensive.” Job seems to have used his potsherd to scrape it away.

And he sat down among the ashes. Not as a curative process, or even as an

alleviation of his pains, but simply as was the custom of mourners (compare

Isaiah 47:3; 58:5; Jeremiah 6:26; Ezekiel 27:30; Jonah 3:6).

 

9 “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity?

curse God, and die.” Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain

thine integrity? Job’s wife had said nothing when the other calamities had taken

place — then she had “refrained her tongue, and kept silence,” though

probably with some difficulty. Now she can endure no longer. To see her

husband so afflicted, and so patient under his afflictions, is more than she

can bear. Her mind is weak and ill regulated, and she suffers herself to

become Satan’s ally and her husband’s worst enemy. It is noticeable that

she urges her husband to do exactly that which Satan had suggested

that he would do (ch. 1:11; here –v.5), and had evidently wished him to do,

 thus fighting on his side, and increasing her husband’s difficulties The only

other mention of her (ch.19:17) implies that she was rather a hindrance than

a help to Job. Curse God, and die; i.e. “renounce God, put all regard for

him away from thee, even though he kill thee for so doing.” Job’s wife

implies that death is preferable to such a life as Job now leads and must

expect to lead henceforward.

 

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.

But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish

women speaketh; rather, as one of the vile (or impious) women speaketh.

Nabal, the term used, is expressive, not of mere natural folly, but of that

perversion of the intellect which comes on men WHEN THEIR

HEARTS AND UNDERSTANDINGS ARE CORRUPTED AND

DEGRADED!  (see II Samuel 13:13; Psalm 14:1; Isaiah 32:6) What?

shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?

Job remembers all the good which he has received of God during his past life,

all the blessings and prosperity bestowed on him (<180102>Job 1:2, 3), and asks —

Would it be fair or right to take all the good things as a matter of course,

 and then to murmur if evil things are sent? He accepts both prosperity and

affliction as coming from God, and expresses himself as willing to submit to

His will.  But he has, perhaps, scarcely attained to the conviction that whatever

God sends to his faithful servants is always that which is best for them — that

afflictions, in fact, are blessings in disguise, and ought to be received with

gratitude, not with murmuring (compare Hebrews 12:5-11). In all this

did not Job sin with his lips. Thus far, that is, Job “kept the door of his

mouth” strictly, righteously, piously. Later on he was not always so

entirely free from fault.

 

 

Job’s Second Trial (vs. 7-10)

 

·        THE TWOFOLD ASSAULT UPON THE PATRIARCH.

 

Ø      The infliction of a loathsome disease.

 

o       Its author. Satan. That diseases generally come through violation of

hygienic laws is matter of everyday observation and of special scientific

affirmation. But that Job’s malady had a diabolic origin, as had also

many of the physical ailments that prevailed in the East about the time of

Christ, must be accepted on the ground of revelation. And as in Christ’s

Day Beelzebub was permitted to wield a larger influence than usual over

men’s bodies, that THE POWER OF CHRIST  in destroying the

works of the devil might be the more conspicuously displayed, so

the exceptional ability of Satan to produce bodily malady in Job’s case

existed solely for a special purpose. (And it seems that this will be the

case in the last days before Christ’s Second Advent.  In our day, a

lot of satanic mileage is gotten from:

 

§         Drugs

§         Sexual immorality and DEVIANCY

§         Corrupt music and entertainment – CY – 2013)

 

o       Its nature. “Sore boils;” supposed, and with probability, to have been a

malignant form of elephantiasis, a disorder having many of the

characteristics of leprosy. From incidental allusions scattered throughout

the book, it appears to have been:

 

§         an exceedingly painful disease, accompanied in its early

stages by severe bodily itching (ch. 2:8; 9:17-18), and attended

in its progress with extreme debility, and utter prostration of mind

as well as body, leading to disturbed slumbers, terrifying dreams,

and even suicidal temptations (ch.6:4, 11,14; 7:4,13-14).

§         A quickly spreading disease, rapidly covering the body with

pustules, or boils, sometimes from head to foot (ch.2:7; 7:5).

§         A certainly corrupting disease, producing emaciation, and

causing rottenness in the flesh and bones (ch.13:28; 16:8; 33:21).

§         A truly loathsome disease, rendering the wretched sufferer

an object of disgust even to his nearest relatives and friends

 (ch.19:13-19) and ultimately, though not immediately,

§         a terminal disease (ch.16:22; 17:1; 30:23).

 

o       Its design. To try the patriarch:

 

§         by wearing out his strength, and so rendering him more

accessible to the entrance of diabolic temptations;

§         by making him an object of abhorrence to mankind, and so

in a manner cutting him off from human sympathy; and

§         by leading him to regard his malady as a special visitation from

Heaven, and so tempting him to entertain harsh thoughts of

Jehovah.

 

Ø      The injection of a vehement temptation.

 

o       The time when it was made. Not at the beginning of his malady, but

after it had somewhat developed, when his strength was impaired, his

nerves were unstrung, and his mind was depressed, and when, no longer

permitted to enter the dwellings of men, he sat himself down upon the

mezbele, or ash-heap, outside his dwelling — an object of loathing

 and disgust to passers-by.

o       The person through whom it was directed. Not the devil himself, since

then it would scarcely have acquired the force of a temptation; nor even a

friend like Eliphaz, Bildad, or Zophar — counselors who afterwards fared

rather badly at Job’s hands; but she who of all on earth was his nearest

 and dearest-his wife, the bride of his youth, the mother of his noble

 sons and fair girls now dead, the companion of his joys and sorrows.

 Beyond question, it was politic to attack the patriarch through his wife;

and probably for this reason she was spared — not because having her

was a greater trial to the good man than losing her would have been,

but because the devil wanted a tool against her husband (of. Adam’s

temptation through Eve).

o       The counsel which was offered. “Bless God” (sc. for the last time; i.e.

renounce Him”), “and die!” perhaps words of wifely sympathy wrung

from her loving bosom by the cruel sufferings which had been heaped

upon her husband; certainly words of passionate vehemence calculated

to wear down the opposition of a sufferer growing every day feebler

through incessant pain; and words of much plausibility, suggesting a

thought which seemingly had much in its favor, that his sufferings were

to be ascribed purely to his religion; but also WORDS OF

ESSENTIAL WICKEDNESS since not only was the thought they

suggested untrue, but THE ADVICE ITSELF WAS WRONG!.

 

  • THE TWOFOLD VICTORY OF THE PATRIARCH.

 

Ø      The inroad of physical disease he met with patient submission.

He took a potsherd and scraped himself withal.” Indulging in no

Complaints against Providence for afflicting him, and, when the

malady had so far developed that his presence became offensive to his

friends and neighbors, quietly retiring to the ash-heap.

 

o       Admirable meekness!

o       Exquisite patience!

o       Incomparable submission!

 

“In all this Job sinned not with his lips.”  (v. 10)

 

Ø      The entrance of wifely temptation he encountered with:

 

o       Deserved rebuke. Thou speakest as one of the foolish

women speaketh.” Language distinctly bearing that the

popular estimate of Job’s wife, which makes her to have

been a sort of Oriental shrew, is incorrect, implying as it does

that the patriarch was surprised to hear her talk so much out

of character, not like a saint and the wife of a saint as she was,

but like one of the foolish or ungodly women. Carried away by:

 the tumultuousness of her womanly feeling, in a moment of

passionate thoughtlessness she had:

 

§         lost her self-control, and

§         given utterance to desperate words,

 

 which were such as to call for censure; and the faithful

husband, much as he loved his wife, and laden as he was

himself with misery, did not shrink from administering the

needful admonition.

 

Ø      Lofty resignation. “Shall we receive good at the hand of the

Lord, and shall we not receive evil?”  (v. 10).  The voice, not of

stoical indifference, or of heartless despair, or of cold, callous,

 reluctant acquiescence in a fate which cannot be escaped,

 but of intelligent and cheerful submission to A PROVINDECE

 which he recognizes to be at once righteous and good. “In all

this Job sinned not with his lips.”  (Ibid).

 

  • LEARN.

 

Ø      That God’s saints in this world have sometimes to endure trial upon trial!

Ø      That periods of protracted suffering are spiritually more dangerous than

sharp and sudden strokes of greater severity.

Ø      That the fiercest trials often arise at unexpected moments, and from least

anticipated quarters.

Ø      That the most painful temptation a good man can experience is the

temptation to renounce his religion.

Ø      That Satan’s mercies (e.g. in sparing Job’s wife) have always

somewhat of cruelty in them.

Ø      That the greatest outward blessings may sometimes prove a snare —

Job’s wife, and Adam’s.

Ø      That it is perilous for good men or women to give way to passion.

Ø      That in times of violent emotion a strong guard should be set

upon the door of the lips.

Ø      That good people may sometimes give very bad advice.

Ø      That the devil’s prime aim in tempting men is to try to

make them renounce God, and die.

Ø      That God’s people should on no account let go their integrity.

Ø      That those who have been recipients of God’s mercies should not

repine when for their good He changes the dispensation.

 

 

A Comparison of Job and Adam (vs. 9-10; Genesis 3:1-6)

 

Both were tempted by Satan through their wives to renounce their allegiance to God.

Adam was tempted  when at the summit of felicity; Job when in the depth of misery.

Adam was assailed by the thought that God had unjustly deprived him of good; 

Job, by the suggestion that God had unrighteously afflicted him with evil.

Adam fell; Job stood. See in Adam the representative of all men; and in Job

the foreshadowing of  Jesus Christ, the God-Man

 

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; Eliphaz the

Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for

they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him

and to comfort him.” Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil

that was come upon him. It is not to be supposed that Job had no more than

three friends — indeed, Elihu the Buzzite appears later on as one of his

friends (ch.32:2-6) — but he had three contemporaries with whom he

was especially intimate, old men (Ibid. v.6), with whom he was

probably accustomed to confer from time to time, and who were in the

habit of giving him their advice. All three, apparently, lived at a distance;

and it seems to have been some weeks before the news of his misfortunes

reached them. When the news came they held communication one with

another, and agreed to pay him visits of condolence at a certain definite

time, which was determined upon between them. Some months — at least

two — seem to have elapsed between the date of Job’s latest affliction and

the time of their arrival (ch.7:3). They came every one from his own

place. They had separate homes, and probably lived at some considerable

distance from one another.

 

·        Eliphaz the Temanite. There was an Eliphaz, the son of Esau by his wife

Adah, who had a son Teman (Genesis 36:4; I Chronicles 1:35-36); but it is

not supposed that this can be the person here intended. The name Teman

did not become geographical until the descendants of this Eliphaz’s son had

multiplied into a tribe, when they gave name to the portion of Arabia which

they inhabited. This tract seems to have been either a part of Edom, or in its

immediate vicinity (Genesis 36:42-43; Jeremiah 49:7-8, 20; Ezekiel 25:13;

Obadiah 1:8-9), but cannot be located with accuracy. The Temanites

were celebrated for their wisdom, as we learn from Jeremiah, who says

(Jeremiah 49:7), “Concerning Edom, thus saith the Lord of hosts; Is

wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent?

 is their wisdom vanished?” Job’s friend was probably among their

wisest men at the time; and his discourses certainly show a considerable

knowledge of human nature. They do not, however, solve the riddle of

the universe. And

 

·        Bildad the Shuhite. Bildad is a name which does not occur elsewhere in

Scripture, neither is there any other mention of Shuhites. Conjecture has

identified the Shuhites with the Saccaei of Ptolemy (‘Geograph.,’ 5:15),

whom he places in the neighborhood of Batanaea and Trachonitis. But the

Saccaei are unheard of till Ptolemy’s time, and seem to be a tribe of very

small importance. Perhaps Bildad belonged to the people known to the

Assyrians as the Tsukhi, or Sukhi (‘Records of the Past,’ vol. 1. p. 14),

who dwelt on the Middle Euphrates from about Anah to Hit (‘Ancient

Monarchies,’ vol. 2. pp. 66, 67).  And

 

·        Zophar the Naamathite. Zophar, or rather Tsophar, is another unknown

name. There was a Naamah, a city, in south-western Judaea (Joshua 15:41),

to which Zophar may have belonged, though probably a region, rather than

a city, is here intended.

 

For they had made an appointment together; or, agreed together, by message

or letter probably. To come to mourn with him and to comfort him. A good

intention, at any rate, and one agreeable to the apostolic injunction to us to “weep

with them that weep” (Romans 12:15). That they failed to carry out their intention

(ch.16:2; 21:34) was owing to a want of judgment, and, perhaps, in part, to a want

of love.

 

12 “And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they

lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle,

and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.” And when they lifted

 up their eyes afar off, and knew him not. Job was seated on an ash-heap outside

his dwelling (v. 8). The three friends, who had probably met by agreement at some

point near his residence, and drew nigh together, saw the figure at some distance,

and looked to see who it was. But Job was so disfigured by the disease that

they failed to recognize him. They lifted up their voice, and wept. In the

clamorous manner of Orientals. And they rent every one his mantle

(see the comment on ch.1:20), and sprinkled dust upon their heads

toward heaven (compare Joshua 7:6; I Samuel 4:12; II Samuel 1:2; 13:19;

Nehemiah 9:1; Ezekiel 27:30; Lamentations 2:10).

 

13 “So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven

nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief

was very great.” So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days

and seven nights. The period of” seven days” was appropriate to mournings

(Genesis 1:10; II Samuel 31:13; Ezekiel 3:15).  Food would be brought them, and

they might sleep rolled up in their begeds. The long silence may be

accounted for by the fact that “among the Jews,” and among Orientals

generally, it is a point of decorum, and one dictated by a fine and true

feeling, not to speak to a person in deep affliction until he gives an

intimation of a desire to be comforted. So long as Job kept silence

they had to keep silence, at least so far as he was concerned. They might

speak to any attendants who drew near, and they might speak one to

another. Note the words which follow: And none spake a word unto him

None spake to him; but no etiquette imposed complete silence on them.

For they saw that his grief was very great. So great that he could not as

yet bear to be spoken to.

 

 

Job’s Third Trial with the Coming His Friends (vs. 11-13)

 

·        THE HONOURABLE NAMES THEY BORE.

 

Ø      Eliphaz the Temanite. Probably a descendant of Teman, the son of

Eliphaz, the son of Esau by his wife Adah (Genesis 36:10-11;  I Chronicles

1:35-36); belonging to the race of Teman, which extended over

a considerable portion of Arabia, about midway between Palestine

and the Euphrates; very likely the oldest of the three friends.

 

Ø      Bildad the Shuhite. Perhaps sprung from Shuah, the youngest son of

Abraham by Keturah (Genesis 25:2), and residing in a district of

Arabia, not far from the Temanite country; may be reasonably

supposed the second oldest of the friends.

 

Ø      Zophar the Naamathite. Otherwise unknown except through this

book; though, from his acquaintance with Bildad, Eliphaz, and Job,

it may be inferred he also was a person of distinction. Probably all

three were, like the patriarch in his prosperity, powerful Arabian sheiks.

 

·        THE EXCELLENT CHARACTERS THEY POSSESSED.

 

Ø      Points of agreement.

 

o       Intellectual ability. Without alleging that all three stood upon the same

platform in respect of mental calibrer (which they did not, Eliphaz holding

unmistakably the preeminence), it is apparent that they all were thinkers of

no mean capacity. It is a special ornament to men in high social position to

be possessed of corresponding mental faculties; besides immensely adding

to their personal enjoyment and public usefulness (Ecclesiastes 10:16).

 

o       Religious principle. Unquestionably good men, who not only revered

Jehovah, but practiced the Divine will so far as they understood it.

They were likewise sincerely desirous of promoting Job’s highest welfare,

while they unfeignedly sympathized with him in his appalling trouble. If we

cannot quite adopt their speculative and religious formulas, any more than

we can commend their wisdom or kindness in lecturing the patriarch as

they did; on the other hand, it is due to them not to estimate their

characters from the gall and wormwood outpoured on their devoted

heads by Job, when stung to madness through their reproaches.

 

o       Mistaken views. All three were equally astray in the fundamental

doctrine they propounded in the course of their debate with the

patriarch, viz. that suffering was so indissolubly associated with sin

that the one was the measure of the other — a theory which Job

strenuously combats throughout the poem; thus giving rise to what

we designate the second problem of the book, viz. as to the precise

relation subsisting between sin  and suffering as they appear on

 earth.

 

Ø      Points of difference.

 

o       Eliphaz, a man of erudition, a person given to profound spiritual

reflection, a seer who discerned spirits, dreamed dreams, and enjoyed

intercourse with the unseen world, may be held to represent the

 prophet of the period.

 

o       Bildad, of smaller build and narrower vision, a strong traditionalist in

religion, with a profound veneration for the ancients, who accepted his

theology from his ancestors without putting ugly questions as to its truth,

and was prepared, by quoting maxims and citing proverbs of hoary

antiquity, to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, was

probably designed to typify the sage of the time.

 

o       Zophar the Naamathite, an echo of his friends as to sentiment, as to

manner more boisterous and arrogant than either, full of commonplaces

and conventional dogmas, which he enunciated with imposing dignity and

tremendous authority, may be regarded as the good man of the day’ the

vulgar but sincere formalist, who says sharp and bitter things, and always

means what he says, as well as says what he means.

 

·        THE MELANCHOLY TIDINGS THEY RECEIVED. How they

learnt the news of Job’s evil fortunes is not related, but the fact that they

did reminds us of:

 

Ø      The rapidity with which evil tidings usually spread; since it was

obviously not long before the report of their friend’s calamities

reached their ears.

 

Ø      The organic unity of society; which renders it impossible for any one

to either suffer or rejoice alone (I Corinthians 12:26).

 

Ø      The special susceptibility of friendly hearts for learning of others’ woes.

 

·        THE MUTUAL APPOINTMENT THEY MADE. A token of:

 

Ø      Lively interest in the patriarchs welfare. Seeing they must have

communicated with each other concerning their neighbor’s evil hap,

thus showing they were not indifferent to what had occurred.

 

Ø      Loving sympathy with the patriarchs distress. For they meant to

mourn with him and to comfort him, not to treat him to a mere call of

ceremony.

 

Ø      High appreciation of the patriarchs worth. Since they planned

to go together to the scene of sorrow, which, if it did spring from a

due regard to their own dignity as princes, was perhaps also traceable

to their sense of what was owing to the rank and worth of their old

friend. It says much for the three neighbors that they did not neglect

Job now that he was a poor, diseased leper.

 

·        THE FERVENT EMOTION THEY DISPLAYED.

 

Ø      Tearful sympathy. Catching a sight of their former neighbor, whom

they had known and revered in his prosperity, now sitting on the

ash-heap, outside his house, and hardly recognizing, in the

emaciated features on which they gazed, the noble form of the

quondam prince whose glory outshone the radiance of all his

contemporaries, they lifted up their voices and wept. Orientals are

proverbially more emotional and lachrymose than phlegmatic

Westerners; but still it must have been an affecting spectacle to

behold the three great princes moved to tears by the patriarch’s

distress.

 

Ø      Genuine amazement. They rent every one his mantl.” (v.12).

A symbol of horror and astonishment, as in the case of Jacob

(Genesis 37:34), Joshua 7:6, Ezra 9:3, Caiaphas (Matthew 26:65).

 

Ø      Profound sorrow. “They sprinkled dust upon their heads towards

heaven;” ( i.e. threw handfuls of dust into the air, as the Arabs still do,

that it might fall upon their heads, in token that they were deeply moved

by the troubles and calamities that had fallen on their friend.

 

·        THE PECULIAR ATTITUDE THEY ASSUMED. It is unnecessary

to suppose that they were absolutely silent, but merely that they spake

nothing to him during all that period, certainly not in any way alluding to

the cause of his distress. And this silent attitude may have been expressive

of:

 

Ø      ceremonial propriety’ if this was the customary manner of Oriental

mourning, which is doubtful; but was more probably dictated by

 

Ø      delicate sensibility’ which forbade them to intrude upon the solitude

of a sorrow so overpowering as that which they beheld; and

 

Ø      reverential awe’ as seeing in the patriarch one upon whom the hand of

God was visibly laid (Genesis 34:5; Leviticus 10:3; Psalm 46:10;

Ezekiel 3:15); if it did not also spring from

 

Ø      rising suspicion’ the thought beginning to thrust itself into view, which

indeed, according to their philosophy, could not long be repressed, that

the agonized and wretched sufferer before them must have been,

notwithstanding his previous high reputation for piety, a hypocrite at

bottom, whose disguised insincerities and secret iniquities had at length

drawn down upon him the just judgment of a holy and incensed God.

 

·        LEARN

 

Ø      That good men may often misunderstand God’s truth, misconstrue

God’s providence, and misjudge God’s people.

 

Ø      That good men should always study to be distinguished for sympathy

towards the suffering and sorrowing.

 

Ø      That good men who aspire to be brothers of consolation should not

forget that silence is sometimes more soothing than speech.

 

Ø      That good men should never cherish secret suspicious of those whom

they seek to comfort.

 

 

Human Impotence in Presence of Great Sorrow (vs. 11-13)

 

The prompting of pure and faithful friendship leads Job’s friends to hurry

to his help. They “come to mourn with him and to comfort him.” When yet

afar off they lift up their eyes and behold their friend. But, alas! disease has

wrought so great a change in him that they know him not. Then “they lifted

up their voice, and wept.” In their wild, ungoverned passionate grief “they

rent every one his mantle,” and seizing the dust of the ground they cast it in

the air toward heaven, and let it fall on their heads in token of their grief.

Thus with signs of deep suffering in sympathy with their friend they cast

their cry with the sand upwards to heaven. Then, with great skill, the writer

indicates the helplessness of men in the presence of overwhelming Sorrow.

“They sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and

none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great”

(v. 13).  So the sorrow that extorted the wild cry of pity closed the lips of

consolation. We behold the men staggered by the bitterness of their

friend’s lot. He cannot help himself, and they cannot help him. How true

a picture of all deep sorrow! It is to be said by every severe sufferer as by

the typical One, “Of the people there was none with me” (Isaiah 63:3);

for even tender, loving sympathy cannot penetrate to the depths of another’s

sufferings. With these feelings we gaze on the sufferer, feeling how painful it is

to be unable to extend a helpful hand or to speak an effectual word. It is

humiliating to us. It is abasing to our pride.  (If we think this is bad, What

about Death? – CY – 2013)

 

·        THE CAUSES OF OUR IMPOTENCE IN PRESENCE OF SEVERE

SUFFERING ARE:

 

Ø      Our inability to descend to the depth of the sorrow of another. It is only

as we ourselves are sufferers that we can know what others feel. We

must have drunk of the same cup if we would know its bitterness.

 

Ø      But even though we have suffered as we see others suffer, no words,

even of the tenderest pity, can effectually relieve the mourner. Hollow

human words, words of merely pretended sympathy, only wound the

sufferer more deeply; while words of true friendship, cooling and cheering

as they may be, can take up no part of the burden. For a time they draw

off the mind of the sufferer from his sorrow, but it returns as a

flowing tide.

 

·        THE PAINFULNESS TO A TRUE FRIEND OF CONSCIOUS

INCOMPETENCE EFFECTUALLY TO AID THE SUFFERER.

Days or hours of silence are days or hours of keen suffering to the faithful

friend unable to stanch the wound, to abate the fever, to restore the lost

possession or the lost friend. By all we are driven to:

 

·        THE TRUE AND ONLY EFFECTUAL SYMPATHIZER, JESUS

CHRIST, GOD WHO BECAME MAN, who, having suffered, and

having power to descend to the lowest depths of the human heart,

 and having the Divine resources at command, the power to inspire

the word of consolation and supporting strength; and who, measuring

the need of the sufferer, can abate the severity of bodily pain or mental

anguish. To the sufferer the welcome of this honest sympathy opens the door

for the incoming of the true Healer and Comforter and Helper, who can

give strength to the feeble, and, above all, can sanctify sorrow and calamity

to higher ends, and make all things work together for good  (Romans

8:28).  He can brighten hope and sustain faith and strengthen patience,

and can soothe the fretted spirit, and give peace and joy and life.

 

 

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