Job 2:5
But put forth your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.
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Job 2:5. But touch his bone and his flesh — That is, smite him, not slightly, but to the quick, to the bones and marrow, so that he may feel pain and anguish indeed: and he will curse thee to thy face — Will openly and daringly blaspheme thy perfections, and reproach the dispensations of thy providence, and so will let go his integrity. Satan knew, and we find by experience, that nothing has a greater tendency to ruffle the mind, and put its passions into disorder, than acute pain and distemper of body.2:1-6. How well is it for us, that neither men nor devils are to be our judges! but all our judgment comes from the Lord, who never errs. Job holds fast his integrity still, as his weapon. God speaks with pleasure of the power of his own grace. Self-love and self-preservation are powerful in the hearts of men. But Satan accuses Job, representing him as wholly selfish, and minding nothing but his own ease and safety. Thus are the ways and people of God often falsely blamed by the devil and his agents. Permission is granted to Satan to make trial, but with a limit. If God did not chain up the roaring lion, how soon would he devour us! Job, thus slandered by Satan, was a type of Christ, the first prophecy of whom was, that Satan should bruise his heel, and be foiled.But put forth thine hand now - Satan felt that he had no power to afflict Job without permission. Malignant as he was, he knew that God only could subject the holy man to this trial - another proof that Satan is under the control of the Almighty, and acts only as he is "permitted" to act in tempting and trying the good.

And touch his bone - See the note at Job 1:11. Afflict his body so as to endanger his life. The words "bone" and "flesh" denote the whole body. The idea was, that the whole body should be subjected to severe pain.

And he will curse thee to thy face - Notes at Job 1:11.

4. Skin for skin—a proverb. Supply, "He will give." The "skin" is figurative for any outward good. Nothing outward is so dear that a man will not exchange it for some other outward good; "but" (not "yea") "life," the inward good, cannot be replaced; a man will sacrifice everything else for its sake. Satan sneers bitterly at man's egotism and says that Job bears the loss of property and children because these are mere outward and exchangeable goods, but he will give up all things, even his religion, in order to save his life, if you touch his bones and flesh. "Skin" and "life" are in antithesis [Umbreit]. The martyrs prove Satan's sneer false. Rosenmuller explains it not so well. A man willingly gives up another's skin (life) for his own skin (life). So Job might bear the loss of his children, &c., with equanimity, so long as he remained unhurt himself; but when touched in his own person, he would renounce God. Thus the first "skin" means the other's skin, that is, body; the second "skin," one's own, as in Ex 21:28. Touch, i.e. smite him, not slightly, but to the quick, and to the bones and marrow, so as he may feel pain and anguish indeed, which is oft expressed by reaching to the bones, as Psalm 6:2 32:3 51:8. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh,.... That is, his body, which consisted of flesh and bones; these are the constituent parts of the body, and which distinguish it from spirit, Luke 24:39; this is the motion made by Satan for a second trial of Job's integrity; he moves that God would take off his hand of providence over him, which secured his health unto him, and stretch his hand of power upon him, and fill his flesh with diseases, and his bones with rottenness; or break them, and touch him to the quick, to the marrow, which gives exquisite pain; or by his bone may be meant him himself (u):

and he will curse thee to thy face; he will fly in thy face, arraign thy providence, and call in question thy wisdom, justice, truth, and faithfulness: or he will "bless thee" (w), and take his farewell of thee (x), and have nothing more to do with thee or religion; if he does not do this, for something is to be understood, the words being an imprecation, let me be in a worse condition than I am at present; let me not have the liberty of ranging about in the earth, to do the mischief I delight in; let me bound, and cast into the bottomless pit before my time, or be thrown into the lake burning with fire and brimstone, where I know I must be forever.

(u) So Gussetius and Genevenses, in ib. p. 630. (w) "benedicet tibi", Piscator, Cocceius, Schmidt. (x) "Te valere jubebit", Schultens.

But put forth thine hand now, and touch his {f} bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

(f) Meaning, his own person.

Verse 5. - But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; i.e. "his person" - any part of his body. And he will curse thee to thy face (see the comment on Job 11:11). The Conduct of Job:

20, 21 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah hath taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.

The first three messengers Job has heard, sitting, and in silence; but at the news of the death of his children, brought by the fourth, he can no longer overcome his grief. The intensity of his feeling is indicated by rising up (cf. Jonah 3:6); his torn heart, by the rending of his mantle; the conscious loss of his dearest ones, by cutting off the hair of his head. He does not, however, act like one in despair, but, humbling himself under the mighty hand of God, falls to the ground and prostrates himself, i.e., worshipping God, so that his face touches the earth. השׁתּחוה, se prosternere, this is the gesture of adoration, προσκήνησις.

(Note: Vid., Hlemann's Abh. ber die biblische Gestaltung der Anbetung, in his Bibelstudien, Abth. 1((1859).)

יצתי is defectively written, as Numbers 11:11; cf. infra, Job 32:18. The occurrence of שׁמּה here is remarkable, and may have given rise to the question of Nicodemus, John 3:4 : μὴ δύναται ἄνθρωπος εἰς τῆν κοιλίαν τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ δεύτερον εἰσελθεῖν. The writer of Ecclesiastes (Ecclesiastes 5:14) has left out this difficult שׁמה. It means either being put back into a state of unconsciousness and seclusion from the light and turmoil of this world, similar to his former state in his mother's womb, which Hupfeld, in his Commentatio in quosdam Iobeidos locos, 1853, favours; or, since the idea of אמּי בּטן may be extended, return to the bosom of mother earth (Ew., Hirz., Schlottm., et al.), so that שׁמה is not so much retrospective as rather prospective with reference to the grave (Bttch.), which we prefer; for as the mother's bosom can be compared to the bosom of the earth (Psalm 139:15), because it is of the earth, and recalls the original forming of man from the earth, so the bosom of the earth is compared to the mother's, Sir. 40:1: ἀφ ̓ ἡμέρας ἐξόδου ἐκ γαστρὸς μητρὸς ἕως ἡμέρας ἐπιταφῆς εἰς μητέρα πάντων. The writer here intentionally makes Job call God יהוה. In the dialogue portion, the name יהוה occurs only once in the mouth of Job (Job 12:9); most frequently the speakers use אלוה and שׁדי. This use of the names of God corresponds to the early use of the same in the Pentateuch, according to which שׁדי is the proper name of God in the patriarchal days, and יהוה in the later days, to which they were preparatory. The traditional view, that Elohim describes God according to the attribute of justice, Jehovah according to the attribute of mercy, is only in part correct; for even when the advent of God to judgment is announced, He is in general named Jehovah. Rather, אלהים (plur. of אלוהּ, fear), the Revered One, describes God as object; יהוה or יהוה, on the other hand, as subject. אלהים describes Him in the fulness of His glorious majesty, including also the spirits, which are round about Him; יהוה as the Absolute One. Accordingly, Job, when he says יהוה, thinks of God not only as the absolute cause of his fate, but as the Being ordering his life according to His own counsel, who is ever worthy of praise, whether in His infinite wisdom He gives or takes away. Job was not driven from God, but praised Him in the midst of suffering, even when, to human understanding and feeling, there was only occasion for anguish: he destroyed the suspicion of Satan, that he only feared God for the sake of His gifts, not for His own sake; and remained, in the midst of a fourfold temptation, the conqueror.

(Note: In Oliver Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield (vid., Jul. Hamberger, Gott und seine Offenbarung, S. 71), there is much that reminds one of the book of Job, especially the repeated misfortunes which befall the worthy clergyman, his submission under all, and the issue which counterbalances his misfortune. But what is copied from the book of Job appears to be only superficial, not to come from the depth of the spiritual life.)

Throughout the whole book he does not go so far as to deny God (אלהים בּרך), and thus far he does not fall into any unworthy utterances concerning His rule.

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