Please open your Bibles to Job 2:7-13.
Vs. 7-8 – Satan unleashes his second sortie against Job afflicted Job with a terrible disease. From the various descriptions of Job’s condition in the book (Job 2:8; 7:4-5; 13:14; 13:28; 16:16; 16:8; 17:1; 19:20; 19:26; 30:17; 30:30), it has been strongly suggested that this was not “boils” as the Authorized Version renders it, but rather a case of Black Leprosy. The disease produces swelling in the limbs, itching, flaking of the skin, a change in color of the skin and intense pain. Those who have it are described as appearing like Elephants or Lions; hence another name for the disease is Elephantiasis or Leontiasis. We know that this disease changed Job’s physical appearance because his friends were not able to recognize him (Job 2:12). Not a single part of Job’s body was unaffected by this disease. The text says that he was infected from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Not a single part of him could find rest from this disease (Job 3:26; 30:17).
Job then took a piece of broken pottery (also acting as an instrument for scratching), to scrape away the epidermal remnants of the diseased and infected skin. Job 7:5 describes the condition as a continual cycle of the skins decay, hardening, and then breaking out once again. Sitting in ashes was a common method of mourning whether for others or for one’s self (see 2 Samuel 13:9; Ezekiel 27:30; Jonah 3:6).
Vs. 9-10 – Job’s wife enters the picture and does a little work for Satan. Instead of offering comforts to her husband as a good wife would do, she questions whether he ought to remain faithful and suggest that he simply “curse God and die” instead of enduring through such grief. This, of course, was exactly what Satan wanted Job to do (1:11) and we learn that even unwitting people are often tools of Satan’s evil.
Her question was in regard to Job’s integrity, particularly, the statement that Job had made in 1:21, “blessed be the name of the Lord.” Evidently Job’s wife doesn’t believe that after this second round of affliction that Job need hold fast to such a statement. Her conclusion was that Job should simply curse God and then die. Some have suggested that Job’s wife’s words were uttered in a fit of despair herself having recently lost her children as well as all that her husband had to provide for her comforts. While that was the case, such a loss never justifies blasphemy against God. Job, knowing this, was wise. Job’s wife on the other hand was foolish and so Job charges her as being such. Herein lies one of the great lessons of the book of Job, namely, that regardless what comes our way in life, God is always holy, righteous, and good and never merits curse from His creation but always blessing (Psalm 145:10, 21).
Job’s question regarding receiving “evil” from God doesn’t necessarily imply moral evil (Psalm 5:4), but rather, terrible calamities. Does God bring this kind of evil upon the sinful? Yes, he does; Lamentations 3:38, 39 so states. But while Job recognizes that he hasn’t sinned to the degree that this particular evil should befall him, he doesn’t recognize that this is not God’s doing, but Satan’s. Hence, Job will eventually desire an audience with God for God to hear Job’s plea and for God to take away Job’s afflictions.
Job’s confession here is something to think about. Ought we to expect God to rain down blessings upon us from the day of our birth to the end of our life with no opportunity to experience suffering, toil, anguish, pain, and misery of any kind? No. The world in which we live is not so made. But rather, it is designed to try us and purify us for the purpose of one day living within God’s presence (1 Peter 1:7).
Even with the temptation of Job’s wife coming upon him, Job continued in his integrity and did not sin, at least up to this point. The expression “with his lips” is simply another way of saying that God didn’t commit the sin of blasphemy. This he never does throughout his ordeal. However, the question of whether Job sinned later in his dialogues with his friends and his monologue with God is a question that we will take up later in our study. Suffice it to say that many commentators believe that Job did commit a sin, though not to the degree that Job’s friends sinned.
Vs. 11-13 – Job’s friends hear about his horrible situation and come to give him comfort. Eliphaz means “God is his strength.” Bildad means “son of contention.” Zophar may mean “leap” or “crown” or “rising early;” dictionaries disagree. While Bildad’s name certainly appears to be apropos, we need not suppose that these names have any special significance in relationship to the meaning of the text. Neither do the places from which Job’s friends come play a significant role in the text. They are mentioned in this context primarily to assert the historical nature of Job’s sufferings. Here was a real man who had real friends who came from real places. While the text says that they came to give Job sympathy and comfort, they were ill prepared for what they would find, both from the sight of Job and also for providing words that would soothe his sorrowing spirit. Job later refers to them as “physicians of no value” (13:4) and “miserable comforters” (16:2). Job then says that if he were in their shoes that he wouldn’t behave in the way that they did toward him (16:4,5).
Job’s friends don’t recognize him because of his disease (see comments on verse seven above). They too engage in behavior typical of the mourning Arab (see comments on 1:20). They then proceeded to simply sit with Job and not speak a word for a period of seven days and nights. This Job found to be more comforting than when they in fact did speak (see Job 6:14-30 and 13:5). The Proverbs state that even a fool appears wise when he doesn’t speak (Proverbs 17:28). It is good to value this lesson.