|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:11-13 The friends of Job seem noted for their rank, as well as for wisdom and piety. Much of the comfort of this life lies in friendship with the prudent and virtuous. Coming to mourn with him, they vented grief which they really felt. Coming to comfort him, they sat down with him. It would appear that they suspected his unexampled troubles were judgments for some crimes, which he had vailed under his professions of godliness. Many look upon it only as a compliment to visit their friends in sorrow; we must look life. And if the example of Job's friends is not enough to lead us to pity the afflicted, let us seek the mind that was in Christ.
Verse 13. - So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights. Professor Lee supposes that this is not to be taken literally. "It means" he says, "that they sat with him a considerable length of time before they opened the question discussed in this book, not that they sat precisely seven days and seven nights, and said not so much as one word to him" ('The Book of the Patriarch Job; p. 194). But the period of" seven days" was appropriate to mournings (Genesis 1:10 2Samuel 31:13 Ezekiel 3:15), and if they could stay with him one day and one night without speaking, why not seven? Food would be brought them, and they might sleep rolled up in their begeds. The long silence may be accounted for by the fact that "among the Jews," and among Orientals generally, "it is a point of decorum, and one dictated by a fine and true feeling, not to speak to a person in deep affliction until he gives an intimation of a desire to be comforted" (Cook). So long as Job kept silence they had to keep silence, at least so far as he was concerned. They might speak to any attendants who drew near, and they might speak one to another. Note the words which follow: And none spake a word unto him None spake to him; but no etiquette imposed complete silence on them. For they saw that his grief was very great. So great that he could not as yet bear to be spoken to.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights,.... Which was the usual time of mourning, Genesis 50:10; not that they were in this posture all this time, without sleeping, eating, or drinking, and other necessaries of life; but they came and sat with him every day and night for seven days and nights running, and sat the far greater part of them with him, conforming themselves to him and sympathizing with him:
and none spake a word unto him; concerning his affliction and the cause of it, and what they thought about it; partly through the loss they were at concerning it, hesitating in their minds, and having some suspicion of evil in Job; and partly through the grief of their own hearts, and the vehemence of their passions, but chiefly because of the case and circumstances Job was in, as follows:
for they saw that his grief was very great; and they knew not well what comfort to administer, and were fearful lest they should add grief to grief; or they saw that his "grief increased exceedingly" (r); his boils, during these seven days, grew sorer and sorer, and his pain became more intolerable, that there was no speaking to him until he was a little at ease, and more composed and capable of attending to what might be said; they waited a proper opportunity, and which they quickly had, by what Job said in the following chapter: this account is given of his three friends in this place, because the greater part of the book that follows is taken up in giving an account of a dispute which passed between him and them, occasioned by what he delivered in the next chapter.
(r) "quod creverat dolor valde", Pagninus, Montanus; so Mercerus Schultens, Michaelis, and the Targum.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. seven days … nights—They did not remain in the same posture and without food, &c., all this time, but for most of this period daily and nightly. Sitting on the earth marked mourning (La 2:10). Seven days was the usual length of it (Ge 50:10; 1Sa 31:13). This silence may have been due to a rising suspicion of evil in Job; but chiefly because it is only ordinary griefs that find vent in language; extraordinary griefs are too great for utterance.
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