Sunday, October 27, 2013

CXCVII - Job Chapter 2 - Job Further Afflicted

In the last post we saw what a righteous man Job was.  He was very wealthy and had a loving family.  His reputation among men was impeccable.  God acknowledged Job as a Godly man.  Satan enters the scene and says that Job would curse God if all of those blessings were taken from him, so God allows Satan to deal with Job as he saw fit, but he was not allowed to take Job’s life.  Satan simply wanted Job to curse or insult God.  Satan would have gotten much pleasure and a sense of victory from that.  After Job had lost all of his possessions, including his family (except his wife) he still praised God.  This brings us to chapter 2.  {The book of Job contains forty-two chapters.  The last post covered only one chapter and this one will cover only one also.  But then the study of this book will speed up considerably, as there is much conversation among Job and friends.}

Chapter 2

This chapter’s first three verses are identical to those in the first chapter.  God is holding council with His angels and Satan interrupts.  God inquires once again about Job.  Satan responds “Skin for skin!”  I’ve never quite understood that phrase, although I can picture him saying it in a snide and disrespectful tone.   He went on to say to God that Job wasn’t put to a real test by merely taking his possessions away, but if his health was threatened, he would surely “curse You to Your face”.  God responds in verse 6, telling Satan that he could go ahead and afflict Job physically but he could not kill him.  {It is my contention that Satan would still have been displeased with this limitation placed on him.  Satan is cruel.  He wants people to forsake God and His goodness.  If he cannot persuade people to forsake God, he wants to kill them, taking their influence away from others around them.  That is Satan’s purpose for roaming the earth.  He wants God’s greatest creation to be a failure.  Satan is alive and well, powerful and determined.  He is a formidable enemy.  One of the things that makes him most dangerous is the fact that he is desperate.  He is desperate because he knows his fate, which is defeat.  He has read the Holy Scripture and knows it better we do.  He realizes that Jesus will personally and permanently defeat him, but Satan will go down swinging, causing as much grief and destruction as he can up to the very moment he is destroyed.}

Verse 7 suggests that Satan wastes no time.  He afflicts Job with painful sores from head to toe.  {I think this is the last mentioning of Satan in the entire book of Job.}  In various verses in the remainder of the book it suggests that this physical affliction is much like an extreme case of leprosy.  It indicates that his body and even his breath had an unpleasant odor.  His sores were painful and itched constantly, making him suffer every minute and preventing any comfortable sleep.  There were no medicines that could cure or relieve the painful symptoms of this disease.  Job was in a pitiful state.  Verse 8 tells us that Job removed himself from society when it says he sat among the ashes.  Research tells us that this could have been a quarantined area where lepers went.  Or perhaps it was outside the city in a trash dump that they burned.  (The trash dump reference makes more sense because his friends would not have been allowed in a quarantined area.)  He took a broken piece of pottery and scraped his skin.  This tells me that he itched so badly that it took something like this to scratch his skin enough to relieve the itch.  Others suggest that this was a further sign of mourning.  Perhaps also, Job may have placed himself in the trash dump as a sign that he accepts the status of garbage to be discarded.  {Although he is mistaken in his thoughts about himself, he is sinking into a state of self-loathing.}

In verse 9 his wife approaches him.  She tells him to curse God and die.  {Let’s not be too hard on her.  She has lost all of her riches.  All of her children and grandchildren are dead.  She is poor, full of grief, and confused as to why this has happened to her and her husband.}  His response to her was one that could only come from a Godly man like Job.  He said, “Should we accept the good from God and not the bad?”  He did not call her a wicked woman, but rather a foolish one, indicating one who is without understanding.  In verse 10 it says Job never once said anything disrespectful to or about God.

Verses 11-13  -  Job’s Friends Arrive

Verse 11 starts with the arrival of Job’s friends.  The timing is not given but it is reasonable to assume that there has probably been weeks passed since Job’s physical affliction.  Back in those times news traveled slowly and physical travel itself even more slowly.  His friends are Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.  Research tells us that these three friends are from far away.  Most scholars identify Eliphaz as being from Edom in the southwest of Job’s home.  Bildad was considered to have come from the far-east.  Zophar was from northwestern Arabia.  {It is safe to assume that these three men were men of prominence, on the same socio-economic level that Job had been before Satan attacked him so severely.}   These three had heard about what had happened to Job.  They met together and decided to go to Job and sympathize and try to comfort their friend.  They are to be commended for such a show of friendship.  Verse 12 tells us that when they saw Job from a distance they could hardly recognize him.  As they got closer and saw his pain and affliction, they wept for him.  They tore their clothes and poured dirt on their heads as an outward show of grief in Job’s behalf.  Then in verse 13 (I am soooo impressed with these three men.)  They sat down with their friend and didn’t say a word for seven days.  They sat in silence out of respect for their friend’s suffering.  {Picture this if you can.  We can learn some lessons here.  Only the very luckiest of us could be blessed with friends like these.}

Next post  -  Job Breaks His Silence

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