Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Day. Job had been under trial for some time, perhaps a year. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. Through it. Seeking whom he might devour, 1 Peter v. 8. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Simple. Plain-dealing, mild, and without guile. (St. Gregory) (Worthington) — Without cause. This may form a new sentence. (Haydock) — Thy proposal and attempts are vain. (Calmet) — Job has not deserved this treatment. (St. Chrysostom, &c.)
Ver. 4. Skin: a proverbial expression, denoting that a man will part with any thing sooner than his life, (Calmet) or health. (Haydock) — Satan hints, that if those inestimable blessings should be endangered, (Calmet) Job would shew his real sentiments. (Haydock) — Skin was formerly used instead of money, at Sparta. (Senec. Ben. v. 14., &c.) Yet perhaps not in the time of Job.
Ver. 6. Life. Afflict him with any species of illness; but do not kill him, (Calmet) nor inspire him directly with wicked thoughts. (Grotius)
Ver. 7. Ulcer; the leprosy: and even with that species which is called the venereal disease, which may be contracted without any crime. Job was afflicted with a complication of the most painful and disgraceful disorders. (Pineda) (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Potsherd. His nails were worn, and poverty had left him nothing else. — Dunghill. Hebrew, “ashes.” (Haydock) — St. Chrysostom represents this place as visited by pilgrims, instructive and more brilliant than any throne. (Hom. 5. ad Pop. Ant.) — Septuagint add, “upon the dung, without the city: and after a long time had elapsed, his wife also said to him, How long wilt thou wait, saying: Lo, I will still tarry a little while, expecting the hope of my salvation? For behold thy memory is perished from the land, thy sons and daughters, the pains and labours of my womb, whom I brought forth in labour and sorrow, to no purpose. But thou sittest in the open air, the night long, amid the corruption of worms, while I wander like a slave, seeking for one place and house after another, in expectation of the sun setting, that my labours may cease, and the sorrows which now surround and hold me fast. But speak thou some word to (or against) the Lord, and die.” (Haydock) — This addition has been omitted in the Complutensian edition, to make it like the Vulgate, (Calmet) though it is found in all the Greek copies (Nobilius) and fathers, and also in several Latin Bibles. It seems, however, to be only a gloss of some transcriber. The devil had not destroyed this wife, as she would prove one of his most powerful auxiliaries. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Bless. She speaks with cruel irony. (Calmet) — Curse God, that he may take away (St. Basil) thy miserable life; or, after taking this revenge on such unjust treatment, put an end to thy own existence. Beza and Amama excuse this woman, though condemned by Job. They pretend that she only meant to insinuate, like the rest of his friends, that he must be guilty of some grievous crime, which she urges him to confess, giving glory to God, before it be too late. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Foolish. The same word often means impious, (chap. i. 22.) and ignorant, (Haydock) or “delirous.” (Aquila) (Psalm xiii. 1.) — Lips. The Jews assert, without reason, that he was guilty in his heart. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Heaven. This denoted mourning or indignation, Josue vii. 6., and Acts xxii. 23.
Ver. 13. Seven days, &c. They sat with him for a good part of the day, and of the night, during seven days: and spoke nothing all that time that could give him any uneasiness. (Challoner) (Menochius) (Olympiad.) — They mourned for him as if he had been dead. Their mutual grief was too great for utterance. But the text seems to intimate that they remained with Job, all this time. (Scultet.) (Calmet) — Their design in coming was really to afford him consolation; but being under a mistake, respecting the conduct of Providence towards mankind, (Calmet) they erred involuntarily, (Tirinus) and by attempting to prove their assertions, as if none but criminals could be so grievously afflicted, they eventually insulted the holy man, Tobias ii. 15. — They argued on the principle, “that under a just God no one is miserable, unless he have deserved it;” not reflecting that God sometimes puts his best servants to the trial, that their merit and glory may increase. Notwithstanding their piety and learning, they became therefore the devil’s most powerful agents unawares: (Calmet) and though they were not properly heretics, as they acquiesced when better informed, they were a figure of them, by drawing from many undeniable truths false inferences, and by a parade of learning, and of new things. (St. Gregory, Mor. iii. 24., and v. 18.) — They also judged rashly of Job’s secret behaviour. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Satan, by God’s permission, striketh Job with ulcers from head to foot: his patience is still invincible.
1 And it came to pass, when on a certain day the sons of God came, and stood before the Lord, and satan came amongst them, and stood in his sight,
2 That the Lord said to satan: Whence comest thou? And he answered, and said: I have gone round about the earth, and walked through it.
3 And the Lord said to satan: Hast thou considered my servant, Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a man simple and upright, and fearing God, and avoiding evil, and still keeping his innocence? But thou hast moved me against him, that I should afflict him without cause.
4 And satan answered, and said: Skin for skin; and all that a man hath, he will give for his life:
5 But put forth thy hand, and touch his bone and his flesh, and then thou shalt see that he will bless thee to thy face.
6 And the Lord said to satan: Behold, he is in thy hand, but yet save his life.
7 So satan went forth from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with a very grievous ulcer, from the sole of the foot even to the top of his head:
8 And he took a potsherd and scraped the corrupt matter, sitting on a dunghill.
9 And his wife said to him: Dost thou still continue in thy simplicity? bless God and die.
10 And he said to her: Thou hast spoken like one of the foolish women: If we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil? In all these things Job did not sin with his lips.
11 Now when Job’s three friends heard all the evil that had befallen him, they came every one from his own place, Eliphaz, the Themanite, and Baldad, the Suhite, and Sophar, the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment to come together and visit him, and comfort him.
12 And when they had lifted up their eyes afar off, they knew him not, and crying out, they wept, and rending their garments, they sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
13 And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no man spoke to him a word: for they saw that his grief was very great.