Job 2:7
So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
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(7) Sore boils.—Supposed to be Elephantiasis, an extreme form of leprosy, in which the skin becomes clotted and hard like an elephant’s, with painful cracks and sores underneath.

Job 2:7. Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord — Or, from the Lord, απο του Κυριου, as the LXX. render it. Compare Acts 5:41, They departed, απο προσωπου του συνεδριου, from the presence of the council that is, from the council. And smote Job with sore biles Ελκει πονηρω, with a foul ulcer, or evil inflammation, say the Seventy; breaking out and spreading itself over all his body. The biles, it seems, were like those inflicted upon the Egyptians, which are expressed by the same word, and threatened to the apostate Israelites, (Deuteronomy 28:27,) whereby he was made loathsome to himself and to his nearest relations, and filled with consuming pains in his body, and no less torments and anguish in his mind. From the sole of his foot unto his crown — In all the outward parts of his body. “His tongue,” says Poole, “he spared, that it might be capable of uttering those blasphemies against God which Satan desired and expected him to utter.” One boil, when it is gathering, is very distressing, and gives a man abundance of pain and uneasiness. What a condition was Job then in, who had biles all over his body, no part being free, and those as much inflamed, and of as raging a heat, as Satan could make them! If at any time we be exercised with sore and grievous distempers, let us not think ourselves more hardly dealt with than God has sometimes dealt with the best of his saints and servants. We know not how far Satan may have a hand, by God’s permission, in the diseases with which mankind, especially the children of God, are afflicted; or what infections that prince of the air may spread, what inflammations may come from that fiery serpent. We read of one whom he had bound for many years, Luke 13:10. And should God suffer him to have his will against us, he would soon make the best and bravest of us very miserable. It is a judicious remark of Dr. Mede here, that it is not Job himself or his friends, but the author of the book, who attributes his calamities to Satan; for this writer’s intention seems to have been to show, by a striking example, that the world is governed by the providence of God; and as the holy angels, whose ministry God makes use of in distributing his bountiful gifts, punctually execute all his commands; so Satan himself, with his agents, are under the power of God, and cannot inflict any evils on mankind without the divine permission.

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.So went Satan forth - Job 1:12.

And smote Job with sore boils - The English word boil denotes the well-known turnout upon the flesh, accompanied with severe inflammation; a sore angry swelling. "Webster." The Hebrew word, however, is in the singular number שׁחין shechı̂yn, and should have been so rendered in our translation. Dr. Good renders it "a burning ulceration." The Vulgate translates it, "ulcere pessimo." The Septuagint, ἕλκει πονηρῶ helkei ponērō - "with a foul ulcer." The Hebrew word שׁחין shechı̂yn means a burning sore; an inflamed ulcer, a bile. "Gesenius." It is derived from שׁכן shâkan, an obsolete root, retained in Arabic, and meaning to be hot or inflamed. It is translated "bile" or "boil," in Exodus 9:9-11; Leviticus 13:18; 2 Kings 20:7;: Isaiah 28:21, (see the notes on that place), Leviticus 13:19-20; Job 2:7; and "botch," Deuteronomy 28:27, Deuteronomy 28:35. The word does not occur elsewhere in the Scriptures. In Deuteronomy 28:27, it means "the botch of Egypt," some species of leprosy, undoubtedly, which prevailed there.

In regard to the disease of Job, we may learn some of its characteristics, not only from the usual meaning of the word, but from the circumstances mentioned in the book itself. It was such that he took a potsherd to scrape himself with, Job 2:8; such as to make his nights restless, and full of tossings to and fro and to clothe his flesh with clods of dust, and with worms, and to break his flesh, or to constitute a running sore or ulcer, Job 7:4-5; such as to make him bite his flesh for pain, Job 13:14, and to make him like a rotten thing, or a garment that is moth eaten, Job 13:28; such that his face was foul with weeping, Job 16:16, and such as to fill him with wrinkles, and to make his flesh lean, Job 16:8; such as to make his breath corrupt, Job 17:1, and his bones cleave to his skin, Job 19:20, Job 19:26; such as to pierce his bones with pain in the night, Job 30:17, and to make his skin black, and to burn up his bones with heat, Job 30:30.

It has been commonly supposed that the disease of Job was a species of black leprosy commonly called "elephantiasis," which prevails much in Egypt. This disease received its name from ἐλέφας elefas, "an elephant," from the swelling produced by it, causing a resemblance to that animal in the limbs; or because it rendered the skin like that of the elephant, scabtons and dark colored. It is called by the Arabs judhām (Dr. Good), and is said to produce in the countenance a grim, distorted, and "lion-like" set of features, and hence has been called by some "Leontiasis." It is known as the black leprosy, to distinguish it from a more common disorder called "white leprosy" - an affection which the Greeks call "Leuce," or "whiteness." The disease of Job seems to have been a universal ulcer; producing an eruption over his entire person, and attended with violent pain, and constant restlessness. A universal bile or groups of biles ever the body would accord with the account of the disease in the various parts of the book. In the elephantiasis the skin is covered with incrustations like those of an elephant. It is a chronic and contagious disease, marked by a thickening of the legs, with a loss of hair and feeling, a swelling of the face, and a hoarse nasal voice. It affects the whole body; the bones as well as the skin are covered with spots and tumors, at first red, but afterward black. "Coxe, Ency. Webster." It should be added that the leprosy in all its forms was regarded as contagious, and of course involved the necessity of a separation from society; and all the circumstances attending this calamity were such as deeply to humble a man of the former rank and dignity of Job.

7. sore boils—malignant boils; rather, as it is singular in the Hebrew, a "burning sore." Job was covered with one universal inflammation. The use of the potsherd [Job 2:8] agrees with this view. It was that form of leprosy called black (to distinguish it from the white), or elephantiasis, because the feet swell like those of the elephant. The Arabic judham (De 28:35), where "sore botch" is rather the black burning boil (Isa 1:6). Like those inflicted upon the Egyptians, which are expressed by the same word, and threatened to apostate Israelites, Deu 28:27, whereby he was made loathsome to himself and to his nearest relations, Deu 19:13,19, and a visible monument of Divine displeasure, and filled with tiring and consuming pains in his body, and no less torment and anguish in his mind.

From the sole of his foot unto his crown; in all the outward parts of his body. His tongue he spared, that it might be capable of venting those blasphemies against God which he expected and desired.

So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord,.... With leave and license, with power and authority, as the Targum; having got his commission enlarged, on a fresh grant, to do more mischief to Job, he departed directly and immediately, being eager to put in execution what he had a permission to do; See Gill on Job 1:12,

and smote Job with sore boils, from the sole of his foot unto his crown: with hot and burning ulcers, such as were inflicted on the Egyptians in the plague of the boils and blains, called the botch of Egypt, see Exodus 9:10; it is in the original text "with a bad boil", or "the worst" (a); it was as it were but one boil; they stood so thick and close together, that they were as one, reaching from head to foot, and spreading all over his body, so that there was no part free; he was full of sores; as Lazarus, and to him may be applied what is said in a figurative sense of the Jews, Isaiah 1:6; and this boil or boils were of the worst sort, and most hot and angry, and gave the most exquisite pain, and what Job was "smitten" with at once; they did not rise up in pimples and pustules at the first, and gradually gathered and came to an head, but he was at once covered with burning ulcers at their height, and with running sores; this was done by Satan, through divine permission; who, when he has leave, can inflict diseases on the bodies of men, as he did in the days of Christ on earth, see Matthew 17:15; some Jewish writers, as R. Simeon, say, that the devil heated the air, and thereby caused inflammation in Job's blood, which broke out in boils; but then this would have affected others besides him: many are the conjectures of learned men (b) about this disease of Job's, some taking it to be the leprosy (c), others the scurvy, others an erysipelas, &c. Bolducius reckons up no less than fourteen diseases that are attributed to him, collected from his own words, Job 7:5; a late learned writer (d) thinks it was the smallpox.

(a) "nicere malo", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Schmidt; "maligno", Cocceius, Michaelis, "pessimo", Junius & Tremellius, Schultens. (b) Vid. Reiskii dissert. de Morbo Jobi, in Thesaur. Dissert. Philolog. par. 1. p. 556. (c) Origen contr. Cels. l. 6. p. 305. So Michaelis in Lowth. Praelect. de Sacr. Poes. Heb. p. 182, 201, 202. (d) Delaney's Life of King David, vol. 2. p. 147.

So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore {h} boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

(h) This sore was most vehement, with which God also plagued the Egyptians, Ex 9:9 and threatened to punish rebellious people, De 28:27 so that this temptation was most grievous: for if Job had measured God's favour by the vehemency of his disease, he might have thought that God had cast him off.

7. with sore boils] It is generally agreed that the disease of Job was the leprosy called Elephantiasis, so named because the swollen limbs and the black and corrugated skin of those afflicted by it resemble those of the elephant. It is said by ancient authors, as Pliny, to be peculiar to Egypt, but it is found in other hot countries such as the Hijâz, and even in northern climates as Norway. It is said to attack the limbs first, breaking out below the knees and gradually spreading over the whole body. We are probably to consider, however, that Job was smitten “from the sole of his foot unto his crown” all at once. Full details of its appearance and the sensations of those affected may be gathered from the Book, though, being poetically coloured, they will hardly bear to be read like a page from a handbook of Pathology. The ulcers were accompanied by an itching so intolerable that a piece of potsherd was taken to scrape the sores and remove the feculent discharge, Job 2:8. The form and countenance were so disfigured by the disease that the sufferer’s friends could not recognise him, Job 2:12. The ulcers seized the whole body both without and inwardly, Job 19:20, making the breath fetid, and emitting a loathsome smell that drove every one from the sufferer’s presence, Job 19:17, and made him seek refuge outside the village upon the heap of ashes, Job 2:8. The sores, which bred worms, Job 7:5, alternately closed, having the appearance of clods of earth, and opened and ran, so that the body was alternately swollen and emaciated, Job 16:8. The patient was haunted with horrible dreams, Job 7:14, and unearthly terrors, Job 3:25, and harassed by a sensation of choking, Job 7:15, which made his nights restless and frightful, Job 7:4, as his incessant pains made his days weary, Job 7:1-4. His bones were filled with gnawing pains, as if a fire burned in them, Job 30:30, or as if his limbs were tortured in the stocks, Job 13:27, or wrenched off, Job 30:17. He was helpless, and his futile attempts to rise from the ground provoked the merriment of the children who played about the heap where he lay, Job 19:18. The disease was held incurable, though the patient might linger many years, and his hopelessness of recovery made him long for death, Job 3:20 and often. Delitzsch and Dillmann refer to various treatises on the subject, in particular, to one published at the cost of the Norwegian Government, Danielsen et Boeck, Traité de la Spédalskhed ou Éléphantiasis des Grecs (with coloured plates), Paris, 1848.

Verse 7.- So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord (comp. Job 1:12, ad fin.). Satan, we may be sure, is always anxious to quit the immediate presence oJob 2:7The Working Out of the Commission:

7, 8 Then Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah, and smote Job with sore boils, from the sole of his foot to his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself with, and sat in the midst of ashes.

The description of this disease calls to mind Deuteronomy 28:35 with Deuteronomy 28:27, and is, according to the symptoms mentioned further on in the book, elephantiasis so called because the limbs become jointless lumps like elephants' legs), Arab. jḏâm, ‛gudhâm, Lat. lepra nodosa, the most fearful form of lepra, which sometimes seizes persons even of the higher ranks. Artapan (C. Mller, Fragm. iii. 222) says, that an Egyptian king was the first man who died of elephantiasis. Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, was afflicted with it in a very dangerous form.

(Note: Vid., the history in Heer, De elephantiasi Graecorum et Arabum, Breslay, 1842, and coloured plates in Trait de la Spdalskhed ou Elephantiasis des Grecs par Danielssen et Boeck, Paris, 1848, translated from the Norwegian; and in Hecker, Elephantiasis oder Lepra Arabica, Lahr, 1858 (with lithographs). "The means of cure," says Aretus the Cappadocian (vid., his writings translated by Mann, 1858, S. 221), "must be more powerful than the disease, if it is to be removed. But what cure can be successfully applied to the fearful evil of elephantiasis? It is not confined to one part, either internally or externally, but takes possession of the entire system. It is terrible and hideous to behold, for it gives a man the appearance of an animal. Every one dreads to live, and have any intercourse, with such invalids; they flee from them as from the plague, for infection is easily communicated by the breath. Where, in the whole range of pharmacy, can such a powerful remedy be found?")

The disease begins with the rising of tubercular boils, and at length resembles a cancer spreading itself over the whole body, by which the body is so affected, that some of the limbs fall completely away. Scraping with a potsherd will not only relieve the intolerable itching of the skin, but also remove the matter. Sitting among ashes is on account of the deep sorrow (comp. Jonah 3:6) into which Job is brought by his heavy losses, especially the loss of his children. The lxx adds that he sat on a dunghill outside the city: the dunghill is taken from the passage Psalm 113:7, and the "outside the city" from the law of the מצרע. In addition to the four losses, a fifth temptation, in the form of a disease incurable in the eye of man, is now come upon Job: a natural disease, but brought on by Satan, permitted, and therefore decreed, by God. Satan does not appear again throughout the whole book. Evil has not only a personal existence in the invisible world, but also its agents and instruments in this; and by these it is henceforth manifested.

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