2:1 Again the day came when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also arrived among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 2:2 And the Lord said to Satan, “Where do you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, 3 “From roving about on the earth, and from walking back and forth across it.” 4 2:3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil. And he still holds firmly 5 to his integrity, 6 so that 7 you stirred me up to destroy him 8 without reason.” 9
2:4 But 10 Satan answered the Lord, “Skin for 11 skin! 12 Indeed, a man will give up 13 all that he has to save his life! 14 2:5 But extend your hand and strike his bone and his flesh, 15 and he will no doubt 16 curse you to your face!”
2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and he afflicted 21 Job with a malignant ulcer 22 from the sole of his feet to the top of his head. 23 2:8 Job took a shard of broken pottery to scrape 24 himself 25 with while he was sitting 26 among the ashes. 27
2:9 Then 28 his wife said to him, “Are you still holding firmly to your integrity? 29 Curse 30 God, and die!” 31 2:10 But he replied, 32 “You’re talking like one of the godless 33 women would do! Should we receive 34 what is good from God, and not also 35 receive 36 what is evil?” 37 In all this Job did not sin by what he said. 38
2:11 When Job’s three friends heard about all this calamity that had happened to him, each of them came from his own country 40 – Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. 41 They met together 42 to come to show sympathy 43 for him and to console 44 him. 2:12 But when they gazed intently 45 from a distance but did not recognize 46 him, they began to weep loudly. Each of them tore his robes, and they threw dust into the air over their heads. 47 2:13 Then they sat down with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights, yet no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his pain 48 was very great. 49
[2:3] 5 tn The form is the Hiphil participle, “make strong, seize, hold fast.” It is the verbal use here; joined with עֹדֶנּוּ (’odennu, “yet he”) it emphasizes that “he is still holding firmly.” The testing has simply strengthened Job in his integrity.
[2:3] 7 tn The vav (ו) with the preterite is used here to express the logical conclusion or consequence of what was stated previously. God is saying that Job has maintained his integrity, so that now it is clear that Satan moved against him groundlessly (GKC 328 §111.l).
[2:3] 8 tn The verb literally means “to swallow”; it forms an implied comparison in the line, indicating the desire of Satan to ruin him completely. See A Guillaume, “A Note on the Root bala`,” JTS 13 (1962): 320-23; and N. M. Sarna, “Epic Substratum in the Prose of Job,”JBL 76 (1957): 13-25, for a discussion of the Ugaritic deity Mot swallowing up the enemy.
[2:3] 9 sn Once again the adverb חִנָּם (khinnam, “gratis”) is used. It means “graciously, gratis, free, without cause, for no reason.” Here the sense has to be gratuitously, for no reason.” The point of the verb חָנַן (khanan, “to be gracious”) and its derivatives is that the action is undeserved. In fact, they would deserve the opposite. Sinners seeking grace deserve punishment. Here, Job deserves reward, not suffering.
[2:4] 12 sn The meaning of the expression is obscure. It may come from the idea of sacrificing an animal or another person in order to go free, suggesting the expression that one type of skin that was worth less was surrendered to save the more important life. Satan would then be saying that Job was willing for others to die for him to go free, but not himself. “Skin” would be a synecdoche of the part for the whole (like the idiomatic use of skin today for a person in a narrow escape). The second clause indicates that God has not even scratched the surface because Job has been protected. His “skin” might have been scratched, but not his flesh and bone! But if his life had been put in danger, he would have responded differently.
[2:6] 20 sn The irony of the passage comes through with this choice of words. The verb שָׁמַר (shamar) means “to keep; to guard; to preserve.” The exceptive clause casts Satan in the role of a savior – he cannot destroy this life but must protect it.
[2:7] 22 sn The general consensus is that Job was afflicted with a leprosy known as elephantiasis, named because the rough skin and the swollen limbs are animal-like. The Hebrew word שְׁחִין (shÿkhin, “boil”) can indicate an ulcer as well. Leprosy begins with such, but so do other diseases. Leprosy normally begins in the limbs and spreads, but Job was afflicted everywhere at once. It may be some other disease also characterized by such a malignant ulcer. D. J. A. Clines has a thorough bibliography on all the possible diseases linked to this description (Job [WBC], 48). See also HALOT 1460 s.v. שְׁחִין.
[2:8] 24 tn The verb גָּרַד (garad) is a hapax legomenon (only occurring here). Modern Hebrew has retained a meaning “to scrape,” which is what the cognate Syriac and Arabic indicate. In the Hitpael it would mean “scrape himself.”
[2:8] 25 sn The disease required constant attention. The infection and pus had to be scraped away with a piece of broken pottery in order to prevent the spread of the infection. The skin was so disfigured that even his friends did not recognize him (2:12). The book will add that the disease afflicted him inwardly, giving him a foul breath and a loathsome smell (19:17, 20). The sores bred worms; they opened and ran, and closed and tightened (16:8). He was tormented with dreams (7:14). He felt like he was choking (7:14). His bones were racked with burning pain (30:30). And he was not able to rise from his place (19:18). The disease was incurable; but it would last for years, leaving the patient longing for death.
[2:8] 26 tn The construction uses the disjunctive vav (ו) with the independent pronoun with the active participle. The construction connects this clause with what has just been said, making this a circumstantial clause.
[2:8] 27 sn Among the ashes. It is likely that the “ashes” refers to the place outside the city where the rubbish was collected and burnt, i.e., the ash-heap (cf. CEV). This is the understanding of the LXX, which reads “dung-hill outside the city.”
[2:9] 28 tn The versions have some information here that is interesting, albeit fanciful. The Targum calls her “Dinah.” The LXX has “when a long time had passed.” But the whole rendering of the LXX is paraphrastic: “How long will you hold out, saying, ‘Behold, I wait yet a little while, expecting the hope of my deliverance?’ for behold, your memorial is abolished from the earth, even your sons and daughters, the pangs and pains of my womb which I bore in vain with sorrows, and you yourself sit down to spend the night in the open air among the corruption of worms, and I am a wanderer and a servant from place to place and house to house, waiting for the setting sun, that I may rest from my labors and pains that now beset me, but say some word against the Lord and die.”
[2:9] 29 sn See R. D. Moore, “The Integrity of Job,” CBQ 45 (1983): 17-31. The reference of Job’s wife to his “integrity” could be a precursor of the conclusion reached by Elihu in 32:2 where he charged Job with justifying himself rather than God.
[2:9] 30 tn The verb is literally בָּרַךְ, (barakh, “bless”). As in the earlier uses, the meaning probably has more to do with renouncing God than of speaking a curse. The actual word may be taken as a theological euphemism for the verb קִלֵּל (qillel, “curse”). If Job’s wife had meant that he was trying to justify himself rather than God, “bless God” might be translated “speak well of God,” the resolution accepted by God in 42:7-8 following Job’s double confession of having spoken wrongly of God (40:3-5; 42:1-6).
[2:9] sn The church fathers were quick to see here again the role of the wife in the temptation – she acts as the intermediary between Satan and Job, pressing the cause for him. However, Job’s wife has been demonized falsely. Job did not say that she was a foolish woman, only that she was speaking like one of them (2:10). Also, Job did not exclude her from sharing in his suffering (“should we receive”). He evidently recognized that her words were the result of her personal loss and pain as well as the desire to see her husband’s suffering ended. When God gave instructions for the restoration of Job’s friends because of their foolish words (42:7-9), no mention is made of any need for Job’s wife to be restored.
[2:10] 33 tn The word “foolish” (נָבָל, naval) has to do with godlessness more than silliness (Ps 14:1). To be foolish in this sense is to deny the nature and the work of God in life its proper place. See A. Phillips, “NEBALA – A Term for Serious Disorderly Unruly Conduct,” VT 25 (1975): 237-41; and W. M. W. Roth, “NBL,” VT 10 (1960): 394-409.
[2:10] 35 tn The adverb גָּם (gam, “also, even”) is placed here before the first clause, but belongs with the second. It intensifies the idea (see GKC 483 §153). See also C. J. Labuschagne, “The Emphasizing Particle GAM and Its Connotations,” Studia Biblica et Semitica, 193-203.
[2:10] sn The Hebrew words טוֹב (tov, “good”) and רַע (ra’, “evil”) have to do with what affects life. That which is good benefits people because it produces, promotes and protects life; that which is evil brings calamity and disaster, it harms, pains, or destroys life.
[2:11] 41 sn Commentators have tried to analyze the meanings of the names of the friends and their locations. Not only has this proven to be difficult (Teman is the only place that is known), it is not necessary for the study of the book. The names are probably not symbolic of the things they say.
[2:11] 43 tn The verb “to show grief” is נוּד (nud), and literally signifies “to shake the head.” It may be that his friends came to show the proper sympathy and express the appropriate feelings. They were not ready for what they found.
[2:12] 45 tn Heb “they lifted up their eyes.” The idiom “to lift up the eyes” (or “to lift up the voice”) is intended to show a special intensity in the effort. Here it would indicate that they were trying to see Job from a great distance away.
[2:12] 46 tn The Hiphil perfect here should take the nuance of potential perfect – they were not able to recognize him. In other words, this does not mean that they did not know it was Job, only that he did not look anything like the Job they knew.
[2:13] 49 sn The three friends went into a more severe form of mourning, one that is usually reserved for a death. E. Dhorme says it is a display of grief in its most intense form (Job, 23); for one of them to speak before the sufferer spoke would have been wrong.