|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:8-22 How doleful are Job's complaints! What is the fire of hell but the wrath of God! Seared consciences will feel it hereafter, but do not fear it now: enlightened consciences fear it now, but shall not feel it hereafter. It is a very common mistake to think that those whom God afflicts he treats as his enemies. Every creature is that to us which God makes it to be; yet this does not excuse Job's relations and friends. How uncertain is the friendship of men! but if God be our Friend, he will not fail us in time of need. What little reason we have to indulge the body, which, after all our care, is consumed by diseases it has in itself. Job recommends himself to the compassion of his friends, and justly blames their harshness. It is very distressing to one who loves God, to be bereaved at once of outward comfort and of inward consolation; yet if this, and more, come upon a believer, it does not weaken the proof of his being a child of God and heir of glory.
Verse 20. - My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh. Here the third source of Job's misery is brought forward - his painful and incurable disease. This has brought him to such a pitch of emaciation that his bones seem to adhere to the tightened skin, and the scanty and shrunken muscles, that cover them (comp. Job 33:21 and Lamentations 4:8). Such emaciation of the general frame is quite compatible with the unsightly swelling of certain parts of the body which characterizes elephantiasis. And I am escaped with the skin of my teeth. The expression is, no doubt, proverbial, and signifies "barely escaped;" but its origin is obscure.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh,.... Or, "as to my flesh" (o), as Mr. Broughton and others render the words; as his bones used to stick to his flesh, and were covered with it, now his flesh being consumed and wasted away with his disease, they stuck to his skin, and were seen through it; he was reduced to skin and bone, and was a mere skeleton, what with the force of his bodily disorder, and the grief of his mind through the treatment he met with from God and men, see Lamentations 4:8;
and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth; meaning not, as some understand it, his lips, which covered his teeth; for those cannot be properly called the skin of them; rather the fine polish of the teeth, which fortifies them against the hurt and damage they would receive by what is ate and drank; though it seems best to interpret it of the skin of the gums, in which the teeth are set; and the sense is, that Job had escaped with his life, but not with a whole skin, his skin was broken all over him, with the sores and ulcers upon him, see Job 7:5; only the skin of his teeth was preserved, and so Mr. Broughton renders it, "I am whole only in the skin of my teeth"; everywhere else his skin was broken; so the Targum,
"I am left in the skin of my teeth.''
Some have thought that Satan, when he smote Job from head to feet with ulcers, spared his mouth, lips, and teeth, the instruments of speech, that he might therewith curse God, which was the thing he aimed at, and proposed to bring him to, by getting a grant from God to afflict him in the manner he did.
(o) "cuti meae ut carni meae", Tremellius, in one edition of his version.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. Extreme meagerness. The bone seemed to stick in the skin, being seen through it, owing to the flesh drying up and falling away from the bone. The Margin, "as to my flesh," makes this sense clearer. The English Version, however, expresses the same: "And to my flesh," namely, which has fallen away from the bone, instead of firmly covering it.
skin of my teeth—proverbial. I have escaped with bare life; I am whole only with the skin of my teeth; that is, my gums alone are whole, the rest of the skin of my body is broken with sores (Job 7:5; Ps 102:5). Satan left Job his speech, in hope that he might therewith curse God.
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