|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:7-10 The devil tempts his own children, and draws them to sin, and afterwards torments, when he has brought them to ruin; but this child of God he tormented with affliction, and then tempted to make a bad use of his affliction. He provoked Job to curse God. The disease was very grievous. If at any time we are tried with sore and grievous distempers, let us not think ourselves dealt with otherwise than as God sometimes deals with the best of his saints and servants. Job humbled himself under the mighty hand of God, and brought his mind to his condition. His wife was spared to him, to be a troubler and tempter to him. Satan still endeavours to draw men from God, as he did our first parents, by suggesting hard thoughts of Him, than which nothing is more false. But Job resisted and overcame the temptation. Shall we, guilty, polluted, worthless creatures, receive so many unmerited blessings from a just and holy God, and shall we refuse to accept the punishment of our sins, when we suffer so much less than we deserve? Let murmuring, as well as boasting, be for ever done away. Thus far Job stood the trial, and appeared brightest in the furnace of affliction. There might be risings of corruption in his heart, but grace had the upper hand.
Verse 8. - And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal. "The surface of the integuments," says Dr. Quain, "is often much inflamed, and sometimes discharges a serous ichor, or chyle-like fluid, according to the extent to which the lymphatics are engaged in the particular ease" (ibid., p. 432). This "serous or lymph-like fluid" is occasionally "acrid and offensive." Job seems to have used his potsherd to scrape it away. And he sat down among the ashes. Not as a curative process, or even as an alleviation of his pains, but simply as was the custom of mourners (comp. Isaiah 47:3; Isaiah 58:5; Jeremiah 6:26; Ezekiel 27:30; Jonah 3:6). The LXX. renders, "on the dung-heap;" but this meaning, if a possible one, is highly improbable.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal,.... His mouth was shut, his lips were silent, not one murmuring and repining word came from him, amidst all this anguish and misery he must be in; much less anything that looked like cursing God and blaspheming him, as some are said to do, because of their pains and their sores, Revelation 16:11; but Job bore his with the utmost patience; he took a piece of a broken pot, which perhaps lay in the ashes among which he sat, and scraped himself with it; either as some think to allay the itching, or rather to remove the purulent matter that ran from his boils; which he used instead of linen rags to wipe them with, having no surgeon to come near him, to mollify his ulcers with ointment, to supple them with oil, and lay healing plasters upon them; there were none to do any of these things for him; his maids and his servants, and even his wife, stood at some distance from him; the smell of him might be so nauseous, that it was intolerable, he was obliged to do what was done himself, which is here mentioned; though it seems something strange and unnatural, considering his case; Schmidt thinks that this scraping was done by him as a rite and ceremony used by mourners in those times and countries, and which Job would not omit though his body was full of sores:
and he sat down among the ashes; which was often done in cases of mourning and humiliation, see Jonah 3:6; and which Job did to humble himself under the mighty hand of God upon him; whether these ashes were outside or inside the house is not certain; some think they were outside, and that he had no house to dwell in, nor bed to lie on, nor couch to sit upon, and therefore was obliged to do as he did; but the contrary is evident from Job 7:13; others say, that his disease being the leprosy, he was obliged to sit alone and outside; but it is not certain that that was his disease; and besides, the law concerning lepers did not as yet exist; and had it, it would not have been binding on Job, who was not of the Israelitish nation: the vulgar notion that Job sat upon a dunghill outside the city has no other foundation than the Septuagint version of this passage, which is a wrong one; for his sitting in ashes, there might be a reason in nature, and it might be chosen on account of his disease; for ashes are a drier, and an abstersive of ulcers, and Galen (f) says they are used in fresh wounds to stop the flow of the blood.
(f) De simpl. Med. ad Paternian. apud Schenchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 661.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. a potsherd—not a piece of a broken earthen vessel, but an instrument made for scratching (the root of the Hebrew word is "scratch"); the sore was too disgusting to touch. "To sit in the ashes" marks the deepest mourning (Jon 3:6); also humility, as if the mourner were nothing but dust and ashes; so Abraham (Ge 18:27).
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