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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Job 2

 

 

Verse 7

JOB’S TWO FOES AND THREE FRIENDS

‘Satan … his wife … Job’s three friends.’

Job 2:7; Job 2:9; Job 2:11

The outward calamities from which Job first suffered are narrated in chapter 1. Affliction, affecting Job’s property and even family, failed to destroy his religious integrity.

Then Satan says that the test has not been a complete and a sufficient one. You do not really try a man by touching his outward circumstances, only by touching his body and putting in peril his life. God even permits the trial to go this length. Let disease in its most shameful and suffering forms afflict My servant, and see by that whether he is heart sincere. This form of the trial is given in chapter 2., and the points may be taken in the following order:—

I. God’s inquiry shows that while Satan wrought the mischief in Job’s circumstances, God was matching Job; and notice what He was watching, even to see how Job’s character stood the test of trial. That is what God watches still.

God asks whether what he saw in Job others too had seen, so that the example of his trustfulness and integrity might have its influence.

II. Satan’s proverb.—Dr. Mason Good explains the proverb thus: ‘The skins or spoils of beasts, in the rude and early ages of man, were the most valuable property he could acquire, and that for which he most frequently combatted. Skins hence became the chief representation of property, and in many parts of the world continue so to the present hour.’ The idea is, that a man would be willing to lose all, even his religion, rather than his life. ‘Satan can recognise no principle of action but selfishness, and finds in it alone the secret of Job’s firmness.’

III. Job’s sufferings.—The Speaker’s Commentary gives the following explanation of Job’s disease: ‘The original word means an intense heat, hence a burning and ulcerous swelling, or leprosy in its most terrible form, taking its name from the appearance of the body, which is covered with a knotty, cancerous bark, like the hide of an elephant; the whole frame is in a state of progressive dissolution, ending slowly but surely in death.’ The foulness, loathsomeness, irritation, and intense pain make Job’s sufferings to be extreme, and the worst that Satan could devise.

Compare the extreme sufferings by which the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ was tested. (See Psalms 22)

IV. His wife’s foolishness.—Note two things: (1) part of Job’s trial came out of this failure of faith in the partner who ought to have comforted and helped him. And (2) that we may often find it a more testing trial to look upon the sufferings of others than to bear suffering ourselves. This wife spoke hastily and, therefore, foolishly; she could not see the ‘end of the Lord.’

V. His friends’ sympathy.—However they turned out, they began well. See the signs of their sincere and brotherly sympathy. Their silence did very much more for Job than their speech.

The question to press home in closing is this: What will our personal piety and godly principle stand? For we, too, must be buffeted in life, even as Job was; and that not only by calamity, but by suffering also, and temptation, and even by the failure and misunderstanding of those about us, who ought to help us. Only if our godly principle is well settled and centred, can we hope to ‘hold fast our integrity in the evil day.’

Illustration

‘However ye might err in after-speech,

The mute expression of that voiceless woe

Whereby ye sought your sympathy to show

With him of Uz, doth eloquently preach,—

Teaching a lesson it were well to teach

Some comforters, of utterance less slow,

Prone to believe that they more promptly know

Grief’s mighty depths, and by their words can reach.

Seven days and nights, in stillness as profound

As that of chaos, patiently ye sate

By the heart-stricken and the desolate.

And though your sympathy might fail to sound

The fathomless depth of his dark spirit’s wound,

Not less your silence was sublimely great.’

F. Quarles.


Verse 9

JOB’S TWO FOES AND THREE FRIENDS

‘Satan … his wife … Job’s three friends.’

Job 2:7; Job 2:9; Job 2:11

The outward calamities from which Job first suffered are narrated in chapter 1. Affliction, affecting Job’s property and even family, failed to destroy his religious integrity.

Then Satan says that the test has not been a complete and a sufficient one. You do not really try a man by touching his outward circumstances, only by touching his body and putting in peril his life. God even permits the trial to go this length. Let disease in its most shameful and suffering forms afflict My servant, and see by that whether he is heart sincere. This form of the trial is given in chapter 2., and the points may be taken in the following order:—

I. God’s inquiry shows that while Satan wrought the mischief in Job’s circumstances, God was matching Job; and notice what He was watching, even to see how Job’s character stood the test of trial. That is what God watches still.

God asks whether what he saw in Job others too had seen, so that the example of his trustfulness and integrity might have its influence.

II. Satan’s proverb.—Dr. Mason Good explains the proverb thus: ‘The skins or spoils of beasts, in the rude and early ages of man, were the most valuable property he could acquire, and that for which he most frequently combatted. Skins hence became the chief representation of property, and in many parts of the world continue so to the present hour.’ The idea is, that a man would be willing to lose all, even his religion, rather than his life. ‘Satan can recognise no principle of action but selfishness, and finds in it alone the secret of Job’s firmness.’

III. Job’s sufferings.—The Speaker’s Commentary gives the following explanation of Job’s disease: ‘The original word means an intense heat, hence a burning and ulcerous swelling, or leprosy in its most terrible form, taking its name from the appearance of the body, which is covered with a knotty, cancerous bark, like the hide of an elephant; the whole frame is in a state of progressive dissolution, ending slowly but surely in death.’ The foulness, loathsomeness, irritation, and intense pain make Job’s sufferings to be extreme, and the worst that Satan could devise.

Compare the extreme sufferings by which the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ was tested. (See Psalms 22)

IV. His wife’s foolishness.—Note two things: (1) part of Job’s trial came out of this failure of faith in the partner who ought to have comforted and helped him. And (2) that we may often find it a more testing trial to look upon the sufferings of others than to bear suffering ourselves. This wife spoke hastily and, therefore, foolishly; she could not see the ‘end of the Lord.’

V. His friends’ sympathy.—However they turned out, they began well. See the signs of their sincere and brotherly sympathy. Their silence did very much more for Job than their speech.

The question to press home in closing is this: What will our personal piety and godly principle stand? For we, too, must be buffeted in life, even as Job was; and that not only by calamity, but by suffering also, and temptation, and even by the failure and misunderstanding of those about us, who ought to help us. Only if our godly principle is well settled and centred, can we hope to ‘hold fast our integrity in the evil day.’

Illustration

‘However ye might err in after-speech,

The mute expression of that voiceless woe

Whereby ye sought your sympathy to show

With him of Uz, doth eloquently preach,—

Teaching a lesson it were well to teach

Some comforters, of utterance less slow,

Prone to believe that they more promptly know

Grief’s mighty depths, and by their words can reach.

Seven days and nights, in stillness as profound

As that of chaos, patiently ye sate

By the heart-stricken and the desolate.

And though your sympathy might fail to sound

The fathomless depth of his dark spirit’s wound,

Not less your silence was sublimely great.’

F. Quarles.


Verse 11

JOB’S TWO FOES AND THREE FRIENDS

‘Satan … his wife … Job’s three friends.’

Job 2:7; Job 2:9; Job 2:11

The outward calamities from which Job first suffered are narrated in chapter 1. Affliction, affecting Job’s property and even family, failed to destroy his religious integrity.

Then Satan says that the test has not been a complete and a sufficient one. You do not really try a man by touching his outward circumstances, only by touching his body and putting in peril his life. God even permits the trial to go this length. Let disease in its most shameful and suffering forms afflict My servant, and see by that whether he is heart sincere. This form of the trial is given in chapter 2., and the points may be taken in the following order:—

I. God’s inquiry shows that while Satan wrought the mischief in Job’s circumstances, God was matching Job; and notice what He was watching, even to see how Job’s character stood the test of trial. That is what God watches still.

God asks whether what he saw in Job others too had seen, so that the example of his trustfulness and integrity might have its influence.

II. Satan’s proverb.—Dr. Mason Good explains the proverb thus: ‘The skins or spoils of beasts, in the rude and early ages of man, were the most valuable property he could acquire, and that for which he most frequently combatted. Skins hence became the chief representation of property, and in many parts of the world continue so to the present hour.’ The idea is, that a man would be willing to lose all, even his religion, rather than his life. ‘Satan can recognise no principle of action but selfishness, and finds in it alone the secret of Job’s firmness.’

III. Job’s sufferings.—The Speaker’s Commentary gives the following explanation of Job’s disease: ‘The original word means an intense heat, hence a burning and ulcerous swelling, or leprosy in its most terrible form, taking its name from the appearance of the body, which is covered with a knotty, cancerous bark, like the hide of an elephant; the whole frame is in a state of progressive dissolution, ending slowly but surely in death.’ The foulness, loathsomeness, irritation, and intense pain make Job’s sufferings to be extreme, and the worst that Satan could devise.

Compare the extreme sufferings by which the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ was tested. (See Psalms 22)

IV. His wife’s foolishness.—Note two things: (1) part of Job’s trial came out of this failure of faith in the partner who ought to have comforted and helped him. And (2) that we may often find it a more testing trial to look upon the sufferings of others than to bear suffering ourselves. This wife spoke hastily and, therefore, foolishly; she could not see the ‘end of the Lord.’

V. His friends’ sympathy.—However they turned out, they began well. See the signs of their sincere and brotherly sympathy. Their silence did very much more for Job than their speech.

The question to press home in closing is this: What will our personal piety and godly principle stand? For we, too, must be buffeted in life, even as Job was; and that not only by calamity, but by suffering also, and temptation, and even by the failure and misunderstanding of those about us, who ought to help us. Only if our godly principle is well settled and centred, can we hope to ‘hold fast our integrity in the evil day.’

Illustration

‘However ye might err in after-speech,

The mute expression of that voiceless woe

Whereby ye sought your sympathy to show

With him of Uz, doth eloquently preach,—

Teaching a lesson it were well to teach

Some comforters, of utterance less slow,

Prone to believe that they more promptly know

Grief’s mighty depths, and by their words can reach.

Seven days and nights, in stillness as profound

As that of chaos, patiently ye sate

By the heart-stricken and the desolate.

And though your sympathy might fail to sound

The fathomless depth of his dark spirit’s wound,

Not less your silence was sublimely great.’

F. Quarles.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Job 2:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/job-2.html. 1876.

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