Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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.
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.
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.
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.
3. integrity—literally, "completeness"; so "perfect," another form of the same Hebrew word, Job 11:7.
movedst … against—So 1Sa 26:19; compare 1Ch 21:1 with 2Sa 24:1.
And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
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 Ex 21:28.
But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
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.
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.
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 (De 28:35), where "sore botch" is rather the black burning boil (Isa 1:6).
And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
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 (Jon 3:6); also humility, as if the mourner were nothing but dust and ashes; so Abraham (Ge 18:27).
Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
Job 2:9-13. Job Reproves His Wife.
9. curse God—rather, "renounce" God. (See on Job 1:5) [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.
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.
10. the foolish women—Sin and folly are allied in Scripture (1Sa 25:25; 2Sa 13:13; Ps 14:1).
receive evil—bear willingly (La 3:39).
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.
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 (Ge 36:4); and Teman, son of Eliphaz (Ge 36:15), called "duke." Eusebius places Teman in Arabia-Petræa (but see on Job 6:19). Teman means "at the right hand"; and then the south, namely, part of Idumea; capital of Edom (Am 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 (Jer 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 (Ge 25:2). Ptolemy mentions the region Syccea, in Arabia-Deserta, east of Batanea.
Zophar the Naamathite—not of the Naamans in Judah (Jos 15:41), which was too distant; but some region in Arabia-Deserta. Fretelius says there was a Naamath in Uz.
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.
12. toward heaven—They threw ashes violently upwards, that they might fall on their heads and cover them—the deepest mourning (Jos 7:6; Ac 22:23).
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.
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 (La 2:10). Seven days was the usual length of it (Ge 50:10; 1Sa 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.