New English Translation
Satan’s Additional Charge
2 Again the day came when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also arrived among them to present himself before the Lord.[a] 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord,[b] “From roving about on the earth, and from walking back and forth across it.”[c] 3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a pure and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil. And he still holds firmly[d] to his integrity,[e] so that[f] you stirred me up to destroy him[g] without reason.”[h]
4 But[i] Satan answered the Lord, “Skin for[j] skin![k] Indeed, a man will give up[l] all that he has to save his life.[m] 5 But extend your hand and strike his bone and his flesh,[n] and he will no doubt[o] curse you to your face!”
Job’s Integrity in Suffering
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and he afflicted[t] Job with a malignant ulcer[u] from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.[v] 8 Job took a shard of broken pottery to scrape[w] himself[x] with while he was sitting[y] among the ashes.[z]
9 Then[aa] his wife said to him, “Are you still holding firmly to your integrity?[ab] Curse[ac] God, and die!”[ad] 10 But he replied,[ae] “You’re talking like one of the godless women[af] would do! Should we receive[ag] what is good from God, and not also[ah] receive[ai] what is evil?”[aj] In all this Job did not sin by what he said.[ak]
The Visit of Job’s Friends[al]
11 When Job’s three friends heard about all this calamity that had happened to him, each of them came from his own country[am]—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite.[an] They met together[ao] to come to show sympathy[ap] for him and to console[aq] him. 12 But when they gazed intently[ar] from a distance but did not recognize[as] him, they began to weep loudly. Each of them tore his robes, and they threw dust into the air over their heads.[at] 13 Then they sat down with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights, yet no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his pain[au] was very great.[av]
- Job 2:1 tc This last purpose clause has been omitted in some Greek versions.
- Job 2:2 tn Heb “answered the Lord and said” (also in v. 4). The words “and said” here and in v. 9 have not been included in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Job 2:2 tn See the note on this phrase in 1:7.
- Job 2:3 tn The form is the Hiphil participle, “make strong, seize, hold fast.” It is the verbal use here; joined with עֹדֶנּוּ (ʿodennu, “yet he”) it emphasizes that “he still holds firmly.” The testing has simply strengthened Job in his integrity.
- Job 2:3 tn This is the same word used to describe Job as “blameless, pure.” Here it carries the idea of “integrity”; Job remained blameless, perfect.
- Job 2:3 tn The vav (ו) with the preterite is used here to express the logical conclusion or consequence of what was stated previously. God is saying that Job has maintained his integrity, so that now it is clear that Satan moved against him groundlessly (GKC 328 §111.l).
- Job 2:3 tn The verb literally means “to swallow”; it forms an implied comparison in the line, indicating the desire of Satan to ruin him completely. See A Guillaume, “A Note on the Root bala`,” JTS 13 (1962): 320-23; and N. M. Sarna, “Epic Substratum in the Prose of Job,”JBL 76 (1957): 13-25, for a discussion of the Ugaritic deity Mot swallowing up the enemy.
- Job 2:3 sn Once again the adverb חִנָּם (khinnam, “gratis”) is used. It means “graciously, gratis, free, without cause, for no reason.” Here the sense has to be gratuitously, for no reason.” The point of the verb חָנַן (khanan, “to be gracious”) and its derivatives is that the action is undeserved. In fact, they would deserve the opposite. Sinners seeking grace deserve punishment. Here, Job deserves reward, not suffering.
- Job 2:4 tn The form is the simple preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive. However, the speech of Satan is in contrast to what God said, even though in narrative sequence.
- Job 2:4 tn The preposition בְּעַד (beʿad) designates interest or advantage arising from the idea of protection for (“for the benefit of”); see IBHS 201-2 §11.2.7a.
- Job 2:4 sn The meaning of the expression is obscure. It may come from the idea of sacrificing an animal or another person in order to go free, suggesting the expression that one type of skin that was worth less was surrendered to save the more important life. Satan would then be saying that Job was willing for others to die for him to go free, but not himself. “Skin” would be a synecdoche of the part for the whole (like the idiomatic use of skin today for a person in a narrow escape). The second clause indicates that God has not even scratched the surface because Job has been protected. His “skin” might have been scratched, but not his flesh and bone! But if his life had been put in danger, he would have responded differently.
- Job 2:4 tc The LXX has “make full payment, pay a full price” (LSJ 522 s.v. ἐκτίνω).
- Job 2:4 tn Heb “Indeed, all that a man has he will give for his life.”
- Job 2:5 sn The “bones and flesh” are idiomatic for the whole person, his physical and his psychical/spiritual being (see further H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, 26-28).
- Job 2:5 sn This is the same oath formula found in 1:11; see the note there.
- Job 2:6 tn The particle הִנּוֹ (hinno) is literally, “here he is!” God presents Job to Satan, with the restriction on preserving Job’s life.
- Job 2:6 tn The LXX has “I deliver him up to you.”
- Job 2:6 tn Heb “hand.”
- Job 2:6 sn The irony of the passage comes through with this choice of words. The verb שָׁמַר (shamar) means “to keep; to guard; to preserve.” The exceptive clause casts Satan in the role of a savior—he cannot destroy this life but must protect it.
- Job 2:7 tn The verb is נָכָה (nakhah, “struck, smote”); it can be rendered in this context as “afflicted.”
- Job 2:7 sn The general consensus is that Job was afflicted with a leprosy known as elephantiasis, named because the rough skin and the swollen limbs are animal-like. The Hebrew word שְׁחִין (shekhin, “boil”) can indicate an ulcer as well. Leprosy begins with such, but so do other diseases. Leprosy normally begins in the limbs and spreads, but Job was afflicted everywhere at once. It may be some other disease also characterized by such a malignant ulcer. D. J. A. Clines has a thorough bibliography on all the possible diseases linked to this description (Job [WBC], 48). See also HALOT 1460 s.v. שְׁחִין.
- Job 2:7 tn Heb “crown.”
- Job 2:8 tn The verb גָּרַד (garad) is a hapax legomenon (only occurring here). Modern Hebrew has retained a meaning “to scrape,” which is what the cognate Syriac and Arabic indicate. In the Hitpael it would mean “scrape himself.”
- Job 2:8 sn The disease required constant attention. The infection and pus had to be scraped away with a piece of broken pottery in order to prevent the spread of the infection. The skin was so disfigured that even his friends did not recognize him (2:12). The book will add that the disease afflicted him inwardly, giving him a foul breath and a loathsome smell (19:17, 20). The sores bred worms; they opened and ran, and closed and tightened (16:8). He was tormented with dreams (7:14). He felt like he was choking (7:14). His bones were racked with burning pain (30:30). And he was not able to rise from his place (19:18). The disease was incurable, but it would last for years, leaving the patient longing for death.
- Job 2:8 tn The construction uses the disjunctive vav (ו) with the independent pronoun with the active participle. The construction connects this clause with what has just been said, making this a circumstantial clause.
- Job 2:8 sn Among the ashes. It is likely that the “ashes” refers to the place outside the city where the rubbish was collected and burnt, i.e., the ash-heap (cf. CEV). This is the understanding of the LXX, which reads “dung-hill outside the city.”
- Job 2:9 tn The versions have some information here that is interesting, albeit fanciful. The Targum calls her “Dinah.” The LXX has “when a long time had passed.” But the whole rendering of the LXX is paraphrastic: “How long will you hold out, saying, ‘Behold, I wait yet a little while, expecting the hope of my deliverance?’ for behold, your memorial is abolished from the earth, even your sons and daughters, the pangs and pains of my womb which I bore in vain with sorrows, and you yourself sit down to spend the night 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 sun, that I may rest from my labors and pains that now beset me, but say some word against the Lord and die.”
- Job 2:9 sn See R. D. Moore, “The Integrity of Job,” CBQ 45 (1983): 17-31. The reference of Job’s wife to his “integrity” could be a precursor of the conclusion reached by Elihu in 32:2 where he charged Job with justifying himself rather than God.
- Job 2:9 tn The verb is literally בָּרַךְ, (barakh, “bless”). As in the earlier uses, the meaning probably has more to do with renouncing God than of speaking a curse. The actual word may be taken as a theological euphemism for the verb קִלֵּל (qillel, “curse”). If Job’s wife had meant that he was trying to justify himself rather than God, “bless God” might be translated “speak well of God,” the resolution accepted by God in 42:7-8 following Job’s double confession of having spoken wrongly of God (40:3-5; 42:1-6). sn The church fathers were quick to see here again the role of the wife in the temptation—she acts as the intermediary between Satan and Job, pressing the cause for him. However, Job’s wife has been demonized falsely. Job did not say that she was a foolish woman, only that she was speaking like one of them (2:10). Also, Job did not exclude her from sharing in his suffering (“should we receive”). He evidently recognized that her words were the result of her personal loss and pain as well as the desire to see her husband’s suffering ended. When God gave instructions for the restoration of Job’s friends because of their foolish words (42:7-9), no mention is made of any need for Job’s wife to be restored.
- Job 2:9 tn The imperative with the conjunction in this expression serves to express the certainty that will follow as the result or consequence of the previous imperative (GKC 324-25 §110.f).
- Job 2:10 tn Heb “he said to her.”
- Job 2:10 tn The word “foolish” (נָבָל, naval) has to do with godlessness more than silliness (Ps 14:1). To be foolish in this sense is to deny the nature and the work of God in life its proper place. See A. Phillips, “NEBALA—A Term for Serious Disorderly Unruly Conduct,” VT 25 (1975): 237-41; and W. M. W. Roth, “NBL,” VT 10 (1960): 394-409.
- Job 2:10 tn The verb קִבֵּל (qibbel) means “to accept, receive.” It is attested in the Amarna letters with the meaning “receive meekly, patiently.”
- Job 2:10 tn The adverb גָּם (gam, “also, even”) is placed here before the first clause, but belongs with the second. It intensifies the idea (see GKC 483 §153). See also C. J. Labuschagne, “The Emphasizing Particle GAM and Its Connotations,” Studia Biblica et Semitica, 193-203.
- Job 2:10 tn The two verbs in this sentence, Piel imperfects, are deliberative imperfects; they express the reasoning or deliberating in the interrogative sentences.
- Job 2:10 tn A question need not be introduced by an interrogative particle or adverb. The natural emphasis on the words is enough to indicate it is a question (GKC 473 §150.a).sn The Hebrew words טוֹב (tov, “good”) and רַע (raʿ, “evil”) have to do with what affects life. That which is good benefits people because it produces, promotes and protects life; that which is evil brings calamity and disaster, it harms, pains, or destroys life.
- Job 2:10 tn Heb “sin with his lips,” an idiom meaning he did not sin by what he said.
- Job 2:11 sn See N. C. Habel, “‘Only the Jackal is My Friend,’ On Friends and Redeemers in Job,” Int 31 (1977): 227-36.
- Job 2:11 tn Heb “a man from his place”; this is the distributive use, meaning “each man came from his place.”
- Job 2:11 sn Commentators have tried to analyze the meanings of the names of the friends and their locations. Not only has this proven to be difficult (Teman is the only place that is known), it is not necessary for the study of the book. The names are probably not symbolic of the things they say.
- Job 2:11 tn The verb can mean that they “agreed together,” but it also (and more likely) means that they came together at a meeting point to go visit Job together.
- Job 2:11 tn The verb “to show grief” is נוּד (nud), and literally signifies “to shake the head.” It may be that his friends came to show the proper sympathy and express the appropriate feelings. They were not ready for what they found.
- Job 2:11 tn The second infinitive is from נָחָם (nakham, “to comfort, console” in the Piel). This word may be derived from a word with a meaning of sighing deeply.
- Job 2:12 tn Heb “they lifted up their eyes.” The idiom “to lift up the eyes” (or “to lift up the voice”) is intended to show a special intensity in the effort. Here it would indicate that they were trying to see Job from a great distance away.
- Job 2:12 tn The Hiphil perfect here should take the nuance of potential perfect—they were not able to recognize him. In other words, this does not mean that they did not know it was Job, only that he did not look anything like the Job they knew.
- Job 2:12 tn Heb “they tossed dust skyward over their heads.”
- Job 2:13 tn The word כְּאֵב (keʾev) means “pain”—both mental and physical pain. The translation of “grief” captures only part of its emphasis.
- Job 2:13 sn The three friends went into a more severe form of mourning, one that is usually reserved for a death. E. Dhorme says it is a display of grief in its most intense form (Job, 23); for one of them to speak before the sufferer spoke would have been wrong.