JOB 2:7-13

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The following material reflects the understanding that Satan's attacks involved more than the boils.  His attack was a four pronged attack just like the first attack in chapter 1.

1.    Verse 7: Satanic Attack #1 - Disease.

a.    When Satan attacks on this day he does not wait because in this case there is no better time in the present.  My hunch is that if he would have waited Job would have been further into the healing process of the former disaster and so Satan could not wait.

b.    The severity of the disease is described by hyperbole and in the worst possible terms.  Opposites are used idiomatically in Hebrew to mean totally or completely, therefore Job was completely covered with boils.

c.    There are two explanations as to the cause of the boils(!yxiv., burning).

i.    Smallpox (this is usually not a fatal disease)
ii.   An aggravated case of ordinary gregarious furuncles (caused by streptococcus pyogenes).
d.    The only other righteous man to be struck in with boils was Hezekiah  (2 Kings 20).  It is of interest that both he and Job survived.

e.    Read the following texts and make a composite description of Job's condition.  Job 2:8, 2:12, 3:24, 3:26, 6:4, 7:5, 19:17

f.    In the Near East boils are called "oriental sore," "Bagdad boil," "Biskra batton,"

2.    Verse 8: Satanic Attack #2 - Popular Medicine.
a.    The problem here is determining the nature and effectiveness of the cure.

b.    There were two stages to the process:

1) Scraping with the potsherd: This would effectively open the sore to relieve the pressure and allow the 'core of the boil to come out.

2) Covering the opened boil with ashes:  The problem here is that there were two different interpretations of what was happening here.  The first is that he was applying wood ash to the boil in order to dry it out, but the second, as seen in the Greek translation (LXX) has him seated in a garbage/manure pile.  This latter one is similar to Appalachian folk medicine in which maggots are introduced into an infected area to eat the core of the boil and the dead flesh.  Obviously though the sanitary conditions would not be conducive to healing.

3.    Verses 9-10: Satanic Attack #3 - Job's Wife
a.    On a human level her words were understandable, because she had lost all things that gave her life meaning: children, servants, property, and even her husband.  By the nature of the calamities it was obvious to her that Job was to blame.

b.    To make her despair more complete the LXX has her saying,

"How long wilt thou hold out, saying, 'Behold, I wait yet a little while, expecting the hope of my deliverance?'  for, behold, thy memorial is abolished from the earth, even thy sons and daughters, the pangs and pains of my womb which I bore in vain with sorrows; and thou thyself sittest down to spend the nights 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 of the sun, that I may rest from my labours and my pangs which now beset me: but say some word against the Lord, and die."
b.    Job's wife is usually interpreted as the Devil's unwitting assistant.  The reason for this is that she proposes verbally to Job the Devil's option for deliverance: "Curse God and Die!"  If this is the case then it of interest that she also seems to unknowingly mock God's evaluation of Job.  God said (2:3) that Job "still holds fast his integrity" and Job's wife convert's this statement into the following question: "Do you still hold fast your integrity."  Muslims sometimes call Satan "the one who whispers in the ear."   This description seems to fit very well here for Job's wife is clearly mirroring God's discussion with Satan.

c.    Job's rebuke of his wife is in general obvious as to its meaning, but the editorial comment is somewhat subtly stated:  Job did not sin with his lips/words.  Does this imply that the inward man has changed?  In chapter 1 it says, "Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God."

4.    Verses 11-13: Satanic Attack #4 - Job's Friends
a.    The places of origin: See Marvin Pope, Job, Anchor Bible for a discussion of the following possible identifications.  If these identifications are correct then the function of each friend is to show the universal character of the problem of suffering and the general ignorance of man in answering the question.
Relative Direction

b.    What was the stated intention of the friends?  How did they enter into his suffering?

c.    Are there any time indicators in the text?  Yes, the distance each man had to travel would indicate a long period of time. News had to reach each friend, each friend had to send out a messenger to set up a meeting place, the friends had to go to the meeting place, and the friends had to go to Job!  That is a lot of time and travel.  It also indicates the amount of suffering that has taken place before the dialogue begins.

d.    Contrast the friends with Job's wife.  She speaks her mind before he speaks, but they wait for Job to talk first.  They want Job restored, but she proposes the way of blasphemy and death.  They stay, but she vanishes from the story.  The friends appear to have more compassion than the wife. Some suggest a milder view of her that she was the one caring for his basic needs such as food, but there is little in the text to commend this position to us.  Some would also point out that she was just obeying her husband and remained quiet.  It is of interest that there is no punishment, either proposed or actualized, by God of the wife, but the friends at the end of the book are warned that if they do not make sacrifice and have Job pray for them then they will face the wrath of God.  Principle: God ignores the foolish and blasphemous talk of people who are speaking out of their pain.

e.    Some believe that these men were all relative of Abraham and of one another because men of the same names as some mentioned are found in genealogies.


Strong's Numbers
New American
Standard Version
New Jerusalem Bible
 7 So went <03318> <00> Satan <07854> forth <03318> (08799) from the presence <06440> of the LORD <03068>, and smote <05221> (08686) Job <0347> with sore <07451> boils <07822> from the sole <03709> of his foot <07272> unto his crown <06936>.  7 Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 7 So Satan left the presence of Yahweh. He struck Job down with malignant ulcers from the sole of his foot to the top of his head.
8 And he took <03947> (08799) him a potsherd <02789> to scrape <01623> (08692) himself withal; and he sat down <03427> (08802) among <08432> the ashes <0665>. 8 And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes. 8 Job took a piece of pot to scrape himself, and went and sat among the ashes.
9 Then said <0559> (08799) his wife <0802> unto him, Dost thou still retain <02388> (08688) thine integrity <08538>? curse <01288> (08761) God <0430>, and die <04191> (08798). 9 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!"  9 Then his wife said to him, 'Why persist in this integrity of yours? Curse God and die.'
10 But he said <0559> (08799) unto her, Thou speakest <01696> (08762) as one <0259> of the foolish women <05036> speaketh <01696> (08763). What <01571>? shall we receive <06901> (08762) good <02896> at the hand of God <0430>, and shall we not receive <06901> (08762) evil <07451>? In all this did not Job <0347> sin <02398> (08804) with his lips <08193>. 10 But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.  10 'That is how a fool of a woman talks,' Job replied. 'If we take happiness from God's hand, must we not take sorrow too?' And in all this misfortune Job uttered no sinful word.
11 Now when Job's <0347> three <07969> friends <07453> heard <08085> (08799) of all this evil <07451> that was come <0935> (08802) upon him, they came <0935> (08799) every one <0376> from his own place <04725>; Eliphaz <0464> the Temanite <08489>, and Bildad <01085> the Shuhite <07747>, and Zophar <06691> the Naamathite <05284>: for they had made an appointment <03259> (08735) together <03162> to come <0935> (08800) to mourn <05110> (08800) with him and to comfort <05162> (08763) him. 11 Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, they came each one from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite; and they made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and comfort him.  11 The news of all the disasters that had fallen on Job came to the ears of three of his friends. Each of them set out from home -- Eliphaz of Teman, Bildad of Shuah and Zophar of Naamath -- and by common consent they decided to go and offer him sympathy and consolation.
12 And when they lifted up <05375> (08799) their eyes <05869> afar off <07350>, and knew <05234> (08689) him not, they lifted up <05375> (08799) their voice <06963>, and wept <01058> (08799); and they rent <07167> (08799) every one <0376> his mantle <04598>, and sprinkled <02236> (08799) dust <06083> upon their heads <07218> toward heaven <08064>. 12 When they lifted up their eyes at a distance and did not recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. And each of them tore his robe and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky. 12 Looking at him from a distance, they could not recognize him; they wept aloud and tore their robes and threw dust over their heads.
13 So they sat down <03427> (08799) with him upon the ground <0776> seven <07651> days <03117> and seven <07651> nights <03915>, and none spake <01696> (08802) a word <01697> unto him: for they saw <07200> (08804) that his grief <03511> was very <03966> great <01431> (08804). 13 Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great. 13 They sat there on the ground beside him for seven days and seven nights. To Job they spoke never a word, for they saw how much he was suffering.