Job 2: Physical Suffering

It is another day for Job. He has lost his children, his flocks, his herds, his servants. The emotional suffering that he went through was greater than most people can handle.

Job 2:3-7 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” (4) Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. (5) But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” (6) And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” (7) So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.

Here God is at it again. Satan is before Him and God says he still holds fast his integrity. Integrity here is innocence. Job still has not sinned against God. Satan points out how a man prizes his own life above everything else. Threaten to take away a man’s life and he will turn. This is usually true, but God knows Job will make it through. So, Satan tries to make God strike Job, but He doesn’t. Satan’s attempt to make God do it so Job will curse Him alludes that Satan is trying to get Job’s soul destroyed by blaspheming God. Instead He gives Satan the authority to afflict Job.

Job is struck with sores and boils. From the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. It is thought that this might be smallpox. Each boil would have been a separate painful inflammation which would caused Job to scratch to try and relieve some of the suffering.

Job 2:9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”

 Reassuring words from your wife. Curse is an interesting word. It is the word bârak. Here is what Strong’s says about it:

“a primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): – X abundantly, X altogether, X at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, X greatly, X indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute, X still, thank.”

Job 2:10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

I find it interesting that the word that Job’s wife used can be used as either a blessing or a curse. Either way, the act requires kneeling down and acknowledging God. Job rebuffed her and turned it to an issue of just taking what God brings as the circumstance you must endure. Job did not sin with his lips. What did he sin with? Really neat here as we sin is not just about actions or words, but includes thoughts. Job has still not spoken to God or addressed Him as to what is going on. Job is really good about being the good religious follower. Job knows that bad things happen to people and it is not just a sing that someone has sinned. Job is holding on to the fact that he is righteous and has not offended God with any of his actions.

Job 2:11-13 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. (12) And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. (13) And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.

Now Job’s three friends show up. Job’s appearance is so bad that they don’t even recognize him from a distance. That is pretty bad.

His friends were not ordinary friends. Eliphaz the Temanite is a son of Esau and the father of Teman. It is believed that he was the king of Thiamanites. Bildad the Shumite was the son of Abraham and Keturah. He was known as the tyrant of the Suchites. Zophar the Naamathite was the king of the Minaites. These are men of position and wealth who were friends of Job. It goes to show that Job was a man of wealth and power.

The process the men went through is in line with what happened when someone died. The men thought the situation was so grim that he was basically a dead man. Not a good place to be in. Yet he still hasn’t cried out to God.

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