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JOB 2

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
Job Loses His Health Satan Attacks Job's Health The Prologue
(1:1-2:13)
Satan Tests Job Again  
2:1-8 2:1-8 2:1-6 2:1-2b 2:1-7a
      2:2c  
      2:3  
      2:4-5  
      2:6  
    2:7-8 2:7-9 2:7b-10
2:9-10 2:9-10 2:9-10    
      2:10  
  Job's Three Friends   Job's Friends Come  
2:11-13 2:11-13 2:11-13 2:11-13 2:11-13

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. Job 2 is a literary mirror image of Job 1. Job 2:1-3 is almost identical to 1:6-8.

 

B. The test of Job's character turns from his possessions to himself personally.

 

C. Job 1 and 2 set the historical, theological, and literary stage for the cycles of poems which follow (Job 3-27).

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 2:1-8
 1Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. 2The Lord said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Then Satan answered the Lord and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it." 3The Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause." 4Satan answered the Lord and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face." 6So the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life." 7Then 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. 8And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.

2:2 Because of the modern theological movement called "Open Theism," this rhetorical question by God (a repeat from Job 1:7) must not be interpreted as YHWH seeking knowledge. In my opinion Open Theism is a theological extension of "Process Thought," which overemphasizes the human language used of Deity (see SPECIAL TOPIC: GOD DESCRIBED AS HUMAN (ANTHROPOMORPHISM)).

2:3 "And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause" Although Satan is the immediate cause of Job's trials, it is God who is the ultimate cause (cf. 1 Sam. 16:14; 1 Kgs. 22:20-22; Isa. 45:7).

John Walton, NIV Application Commentary, p. 109, asserts that "without cause" (BDB 236) is a key thought.

1. in Job 1:9 it is used by "the accuser," meaning "without cost" (cf. Num. 11:5)

2. in Job 2:3 it is used by God, meaning, "without reason/cause" (cf. Job 9:17; 22:6)

He says, "The characters concentrate on these, but the book will eventually contend that these are the wrong questions. But for now, they hold center stage and frame the coming discussions."

▣ "although you incited Me against him" This anthropomorphism must not be taken literally. One hopes and prays that evil cannot influence God. Also hopefully, faithful followers' prayers can influence God. See SPECIAL TOPIC: INTERCESSORY PRAYER.

It is verses such as this that make me

1. see Job as a sage at the Judean court taking an ancient story about an innocent sufferer and elaborating it into a drama to teach theological truth

2. think that the main issue of Job is the character of YHWH and the Mosaic covenant's emphasis on "the two ways" (cf. Deut. 30:15,19; Psalm 1); it almost seems that Job 1 and 2 were written to intensify the issue of YHWH's character!

 

NASB, NJB,
REB"to ruin"
NKJV,
NRSV,
JPSOA"to destroy"

This is literally "to swallow" (BDB 118, KB 134, Piel infinitive construct). This verb was used

1. in a literal sense – i.e., Exod. 7:12; Job 7:19

2. in a figurative sense of destruction – 2 Sam. 20:20; Job 8:18; 10:8; 37:20

3. in a way of referring to a personified Sheol swallowing people – Num. 16:30,32,34; Deut. 11:6

4. in a sense of defeat – i.e., 2 Sam. 17:16; Job 20:15,18

 

2:4 "Skin for skin" This is a proverb of uncertain meaning; however, the second line of this verse seems to explain it. The implication is that just taking a person's possessions is not the real test, for a person will give anything in place of his/her own life.

▣ "life" This is nephesh (BDB 659). See full note online at Gen. 35:18.

2:8 "And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes" This may relate to the type of disease that culturally required self-exile. The exact form of Job's physical problem is uncertain; some see leprosy, others see some other kind of infectious skin disease.

"Ashes" (BDB 68) is used in several senses.

1. literal – the LXX translates it as "dunghill," which would denote a dumping area outside of town/village (i.e., the place lepers lived)

2. figurative

a. worthlessness or insignificance – Job 13:12; 30:19; Gen. 18:27; Lam. 3:16; Ezek. 28:18

b. part of mourning rites (i.e., put on one's head) – 2 Sam. 13:19; Esther 4:1,3; Jer. 6:26; Ezek. 27:30

c. sign of mourning for sin – Job 42:6

In context #1 is best.

▣ "to scrape" This term (BDB 173, KB 202, Hithpael infinitive construct) is found only here in the OT, but the same root in other Semitic cognate languages denotes a "scraping" process.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 2:9-10
 9Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!" 10But 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.

2:9 "Then his wife said to him" The Septuagint has a much longer, more favorable statement. It is difficult to know when the MT or LXX should be followed. Both are ancient texts. In the Dead Sea Scrolls there are Hebrew manuscripts which reflect both textual traditions. This shows that neither is the original Hebrew text. It is a faith presupposition that the MT reflects the original. It is surely true that the scroll of Isaiah in the DSS reflects the MT family of manuscripts. The doctrine of "inspiration" (see SPECIAL TOPIC: INSPIRATION), as well as canonization, is a faith issue. However, this is not to imply that there is no empirical evidence for the trustworthiness of Scripture (see the four videos on the home page, first paragraph of www.freebiblecommentary.org). Believers have all the information they need to trust God and live for Him. For believers, the Bible is the only source for faith, doctrine, and practice.

There has been much discussion among commentators as to the motive of Job's wife. Most Christian commentators have held her in unfavorable light (i.e., Chrysostom, Augustine, Calvin).

2:10 "You speak. . ." This is an infinitive construct and an imperfect verb of the same root (BDB 180, KB 210), which was Semitic grammatical feature denoting intensification.

▣ "one of the foolish women" Job's response to his wife is not aggressive, but measured. She, too, has lost everything but her health. See Special Topic: Foolish People.

▣ "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity" Job's comment is an act of his faith/trust in YHWH. But behind it are several theological issues.

1. It ignores "the two ways" (i.e., obedience brings blessing, disobedience brings cursing).

2. It denotes a deterministic (i.e., Islamic) view of life—whatever happens is God's will. How does the doctrine of the sovereignty of God relate to human choices, or does it? (Calvinism, see SPECIAL TOPIC: ELECTION/PREDESTINATION AND THE NEED FOR A THEOLOGICAL BALANCE).

3. Does this saying simply recognize the reality of a fallen world (i.e., evil, suffering, war, unfairness, etc.; for a good book see J. W. Wenham, The Goodness of God.

 

▣ "In all this Job did not sin with his lips" The rabbis say he did not sin with his lips but with his heart. This is what Job feared his children may have done in Job 1:5.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 2:11-13
 11Now 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. 12When 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. 13Then 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.

2:11-12 Not being a native Hebrew speaker, it is difficult to know when an ancient author is using sound plays purposefully, In Job 2:11-12 there is a series of words that begin with "N."

1. sympathize, Job 2:11 – BDB 626, KB 678

2. comfort, Job 2:11 – BDB 636, KB 688

3. lifted, Job 2:12 – BDB 669, KB 724

4. recognize, Job 2:12 – BDB 647, KB 699

5. raised, Job 2:12 – same as #3

 

2:11 "Now when Job's three friends heard" The Septuagint has "kings" (from a Jewish legend).

▣ "to sympathize. . .comfort" These two words are common.

1. sympathize – BDB 626, KB 678, Qal infinitive construct, which denotes a moving back and forth (i.e., swaying) as an outward sign of identifying with one's grief, cf. Job 2:11; 42:11; Jer. 15:5; 16:5; 22:10

2. comfort – BDB 636, KB 688, Piel infinitive construct, which denotes an attempt to console someone's grief, cf. Gen. 37:35; 50:21; Job 2:11; 7:13; 21:34; 29:25; of God in Ps. 23:4; 71:21; 119:76,82

 

▣ "Eliphaz the Temanite" This man seems to be a descendant of Esau because the term "Teman" (BDB 412) equals "south" (cf. Gen. 36:4,11,15; 1 Chr. 1:35-36). The nation of Edom was famous for its wisdom (cf. Jer. 49:7).

▣ "Bildad the Shuhite" This seems to be a descendant of Abraham who moved to the East (i.e., "Shuah," BDB 1001, cf. Gen. 25:2,6; 1 Chr. 1:32).

▣ "Zophar the Naamathite" In the Septuagint he is mentioned in Gen. 36:11 and 1 Chr. 1:36. The Septuagint also calls him the "king of the Mineans," which is a Semitic tribe in South Arabia.

2:12-13 These three men seem to be very sincere and caring towards Job and his trials.

See SPECIAL TOPIC: GRIEVING RITES.

2:13 "for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him" Some see this as

1. a period of mourning for the dead (cf. Gen. 50:10; 1 Sam. 31:13)

2. relating to the Talmud's statement that no one can speak to a mourner until the mourner first speaks (cf. Job 3:1)

3. one more sign of mourning related to Lam. 2:10-11

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. What is the historical setting of the book of Job?

2. Was Satan one of the "sons of God"?

3. Why did God allow Job to suffer?

4. How is the OT understanding of evil different from that of the surrounding nations?

 

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