Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
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
as Satan has now a special report to make as to Job.
3. integrity--literally, "completeness"; so "perfect," another
form of the same Hebrew word,
movedst . . . against--So
with 2Sa 24:1.
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
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
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.
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
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
where "sore botch" is rather the black burning boil
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
also humility, as if the mourner were nothing but dust and ashes; so
9. curse God--rather, "renounce" God.
[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.
10. the foolish women--Sin and folly are allied in Scripture
receive evil--bear willingly
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
and Teman, son of Eliphaz
called "duke." EUSEBIUS places Teman in
Arabia-Petræa (but see on
Teman means "at the right hand"; and then the south, namely, part of
Idumea; capital of Edom
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
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
PTOLEMY mentions the region Syccea, in
Arabia-Deserta, east of Batanea.
Zophar the Naamathite--not of the Naamans in Judah
which was too distant; but some region in Arabia-Deserta. FRETELIUS says there was a Naamath in Uz.
12. toward heaven--They threw ashes violently upwards, that they
might fall on their heads and cover them--the deepest mourning
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
Seven days was the usual length of it
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.