Job 2:7-13

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.

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Job 2:1-6

Satan’s Second Strike

Vs. 1 – 3 – The first two verses of this chapter are virtually identical to chapter one verse six, seven, and eight (see comments on those verses). The point of this repetition is to make it clear, once again, that Satan was responsible for Job’s malady. The only difference in these verses and the verses in chapter one is that this time God points out to Satan that Job maintained his integrity under the first sortie of temptation that Satan launched at him. Satan had been proved wrong; God had been proved righteous.

God comments that Satan had “movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” We need not suppose that God himself moved directly against Job due to this statement. Rather, since God’s permission was required for Satan to so act against Job, God recognizes that he indeed had a role in allowing Job’s undoing. Again, God remains blameless because He is not the personal agent of these temptations (James 1:13).

Was Job being destroyed “without cause?” That is, for no purpose whatsoever? No. There was a great purpose to this whole exercise, namely, to prove to Satan that some will worship and serve God despite temptations and persecutions that come upon them proving God true and Satan a liar. However, what is meant by “without cause” is that Job had not sinned to the degree that he so merited such physical punishment and torment. This doesn’t mean that Job was sinless, only that his sins were minuscule in relationship to the amount of suffering he was undergoing.

Vs. 4-6 – Satan wastes no time in coming up with a second temptation. He recognizes his defeat in the first sortie, but makes nothing of it. He quickly moves on to the next temptation where he believes he has his best effort at undoing Job. This is a great lesson for us. Satan doesn’t waste time tempting us in areas where we aren’t going to respond to his lures. He will change bait until he finds the one that will cause us to react so he can set his hook. Here is all the more reason why we don’t need to be ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).

This time Satan’s desire is to afflict Job’s flesh. Here Satan believes Job to be the weakest. This, Satan reasons, is surely the area in which Job will fail. Physical afflictions are often areas in which many succumb to temptation. Men will often endure aches and pains in order to earn a living, but at the slightest headache will forsake the assembly of the saints (Hebrews 10:25,26). How much better is it to worship God with his saints than to endure the pain of eternal hell? Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). We would do better to lose some of our physical features than to so be tempted by them that our soul is lost (Matthew 5:29,30, 18:8,9, 19:12).

God places one restriction upon Satan’s torments of Job. Satan is not allowed to take Job’s life. Why such a restriction? I can think of three possible reasons. 1) Diseases that harm the body are not as severe as diseases that destroy life. Hence, God, in this requirement may have mitigated some of Job’s suffering. We should not misunderstand this point, however. Job suffered greatly and Satan chose a method of suffering that is as close to death as one could possibly come and still live, but had Satan been allowed to take Job’s life he likely could have made Job’s suffering worse. 2) God didn’t want to lose Job’s influence in the world. God has precious few servants as it is. If he allowed Satan to take one of His greatest examples and influences out of the world, that would have resulted in the loss of other souls. Instead, God spares Job’s life and gains the souls of his friends. 3) God knew that Job was going to sin during the course of this temptation and did not want Job to be lost eternally to Satan’s clutches. Jesus once intervened for Peter in a similar manner. Luke 22:32 records, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat: but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, establish thy brethren.” Satan desired to sift Job so that he could ultimately bring him to hell. God, however, does not allow Satan such opportunities to so conveniently snag Job’s soul as the moment of his sin. In this regard, God, though removing the “hedges” that surrounded Job, continued to protect Job’s most valuable possession, namely, Job’s soul.

Does God so protect us today? Peter tells us that God’s saints “?by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). How is it that God works today to so protect us? Not through the impossibility of apostasy, as some teach, but by providing us opportunity after opportunity to repent of our sins through obedience to His word (2 Peter 3:9).

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Job 1:13-22

Satan’s Strike; Job’s Justification

Vs. 13 – We shift from the heavenly scene of Satan’s treachery to an earthly one in which there was joy and rejoicing. We know from verse 4 that this was likely one of these occasions at which Job’s children had gathered in celebration of one of their days. It is mentioned that they were eating and drinking wine so as to indicate to us that they were, in fact, joyful regarding their situation and surroundings. It tells us that this calamity was completely and totally unexpected on their part. Not only was the calamity itself part of Satan’s temptation, but the suddenness with which it happened as well. One might very well endure calamity if one is expecting it to come, but when calamity arrives unexpected it seems doubly calamitous.

Vs. 14 – We shift then to the scene of Job’s house where the first messenger arrives with the terrible news. The mention of the oxen and donkey’s activities serve to illustrate that it was, up to the point of the tragedy, a completely uneventful day in which everything seemed to be going well, at least, to that point. We then learn what happened to these animals.

Vs. 15 – Perhaps the Sebeans were descendents of one of Cush’s sons, Seba (Genesis 10:7). Perhaps they were of the Sheba by Jokta (Genesis 10:28) or perhaps children of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 25:3). It is unknown for certain though some commentators lean toward Abraham’s offspring. Regardless of their origin most tend to agree that they were wandering Arabs who often took such actions against others to increase their own personal wealth (by comparison see Genesis 14 and the events there). These then took Job’s animals and killed his servants, save the one, a messenger left alive by Satan in order that Job may know of the calamity.

Vs. 16 – Almost as if that one announcement were not enough a second servant rushes in to tell Job of an additional loss. This time it’s the sheep and the servants that attend them that are lost. Instead of using an agent (as in the previous case), Satan personally attends to this calamity with fire from heaven. The verse says “the fire of God fell from heaven.” We know, of course, that God was not behind this, but the servant doesn’t know this and any such remarkable display of power is naturally attributed to God, for who else could command such a display? It tells us that Satan, at least at times, had command of remarkable powers. That it fell from “heaven” doesn’t necessarily mean it came from that spiritual place, but rather, from the sky as the word is used to describe it on occasion (Genesis 1:1 etc.). Again, one is left alive to communicate the report.

Vs. 17 – Instead of the Sabeans, this time it was the Chaldeans. Instead of the oxen and donkeys, in this verse it is the camels. The Chaldeans were ancient inhabitants of Babylon. It is unknown why they formed into three bands. Perhaps to manage the 3000 camels? One band for each 1000 camels? We don’t know. It was the best way for Satan to accomplish his nefarious goals. Once again all of the servants are killed but one so that Job may be informed.

Vs. 18-19 – Now it is Job’s children that are directly affected by Satan. The servant briefly mentions what we’ve already come to know from verse 13. That we begun with the situation with Job’s children and now have ended with it in this section signifies the completeness of Satan’s ruin of Job. We’ve now come the proverbial “full circle.”

There is no indication in the text as to what this great wind was. Some have suggested a tornado; others a straight wind. It’s pointless to speculate. Whatever kind of wind it was, it was sufficient to destroy the place in which Job’s children were dwelling and that accomplished Satan’s task. Again, we see Satan having control over elements which God would normally be in control. We ought not to think that control over these elements is Satan’s modus operandi. For the time, God has placed Job’s things in Satan’s hands and so also the means by which Satan may so afflict Job. Given the special circumstances, we should not assume from these passages that Satan has control of these elements on a consistent basis.

The report concerning the death of Job’s children is saved by Satan until the end so as to bring the most painful and difficult blow upon Job after all other things have been known to be lost. One might very well endure the loss of all of his earthly possessions with an ordinary measure of faith, but to endure the loss of all of one’s family in addition to those items required extraordinary faith on Job’s part.

Vs. 20 – The renting of one’s clothes and the shaving of one’s head was an ancient oriental custom observed on many occasions of great sorrow (compare: Genesis 37:29, Joshua 7:6, Jeremiah 41:5, Ezra 9:3).

There is no doubt that Job felt great woe at these calamities. However, he doesn’t allow his anguish to overtake him into self-pity. Remarkably, the text says that Job “worshipped.” Instead of turning to himself and engaging in self-destructive behavior, he turns to God in worship. What a great lesson for us today if we will follow it. Regardless the desperate nature of our situation, we should always turn to God first and acknowledge His ways. When we so do, we are guaranteed to be guided in the right path (Proverbs 3:5,6).

Vs. 21 – To what is it that Job is returning? One may think that the ellipsis here implies that Job is going back to the womb, but such is not the case. He more likely has in mind his state prior to the womb, namely, the naked soul.

Job’s statement is a remarkable. Many a rich man has bemoaned his riches when said riches have been lost. We know from historical accounts of the stock crash of 1929 that many committed suicide at the loss of their wealth. But such is not Job’s attitude here. Instead he turns to God in humility and awe and prostrates himself in praise.

Job first acknowledges the truth of birth and death. When we are born, we come only in our “birthday suit,” that is, with nothing and while we may dress up a corpse with fancy clothes and surround it with a costly crypt, the dead know no ownership of possessions. Job then rightly acknowledges the fact that no man has ever taken his fortunes with him after death. Paul told Timothy, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7).

It appears as if God’s power has been used to afflict Job so, and so Job comments, assuming that is the case. The reader, of course, knows otherwise. God has not been directly responsible for Job’s maladies. While it was true that the Lord gave, it wasn’t technically true that in this case the Lord took away. Even so, Job’s assuming such to be the case isn’t necessarily wrong provided that his attitude toward God remains holy. It may very well be the case that the Lord does take some things away from us in this life for one reason or another. When such occurs we would be wise to mimic Job’s attitude and behavior here. Regardless what happens to us in this life, the Lord’s name is ALWAYS to be blessed! Compare Psalm 41:13, 72:19, 113:2, Daniel 2:20, and 1 Peter 1:3.

Vs. 22 – Job remains innocent of the Devil’s charge, namely, that if God were to remove the hedge then Job would curse God to His face. Job proved God true and Satan a liar.

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