Exposition of the Old and New Testament, by John Gill, [1746-63], at sacred-texts.com
job 2:0INTRODUCTION TO JOB 2
This chapter gives an account of a second trial of Job's constancy and integrity, the time and occasion of it, Job 2:1; the motion made for it by Satan, which being granted, he smote him from head to foot with sore boils, which he endured very patiently, Job 2:4; during which sad affliction he is urged by his wife to give up his integrity, which he bravely resisted, Job 2:9; and the chapter is concluded with an account of a visit of three of Job's friends, and of their conduct and behaviour towards him, Job 2:11.
job 2:1Again, there was a day, when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord,.... When good men, professors of religion, met together by agreement to worship the Lord; the Targum calls them companies of angels, interpreting the words of them, and of their standing before the Lord, as most interpreters do; how long this time of their meeting was from the former cannot be said, probably but a few days, a week or fortnight at most; the Targum says, it was on the day of the great judgment, and which, as in Job 1:6; was at the beginning of the year; so that according to this, and other Jewish writers, there was a whole year between this and the former meeting, and so between the first and second trial of Job; but this is not likely, since Satan would never give him so much breathing time; nor can it be thought that Job's friends should stay so long before they paid him a visit, which was not till after this day:
and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord; being either obliged to it upon a summons to appear before God, and give an account of what he had been doing on the earth, and especially to Job; or rather he came willingly, seeking an opportunity to continue his charge against Job, and to accuse him afresh, and get his commission enlarged to do him more mischief, which he could not do without a fresh grant.
job 2:2And the Lord said unto Satan, whence camest thou?.... The same question is put to him, and the same answer is returned by him; See Gill on Job 1:7.
job 2:3And the Lord said unto Satan, hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?.... The same with this is also before put unto Satan, and the same character given of Job, which is here continued and confirmed, with an addition to it; for Job was no loser, but a gainer in his character by his afflictions and trials:
and still he holdeth fast his integrity. The first man Adam was made upright, but by sinning he lost his integrity, and since the fall there is none in man naturally; it is only to be found in regenerate and renewed persons, who have right spirits renewed in them; by which principle of grace wrought in them they become upright in heart, and walk uprightly. The word used signifies "perfection" (o), which Job had not in himself, but in Christ; though it may denote the truth and sincerity of his grace, and the uprightness of his walk, and the simplicity of his conversation, the bias of his mind, and the tenor of his conduct and behaviour towards God and men; this principle he retained, this frame and disposition of soul continued with him, and he acted up to it in all things; he held fast his faith and confidence in the Lord his God, and he professed his cordial love and sincere affection for God, and his filial fear and reverence of him; and this he did still, notwithstanding all the assaults and temptations of Satan, and all the sore afflictions and trials he met with; an instance this of persevering grace, and of the truth of what Job after expresses, Job 17:9; and this he did, even says the Lord to Satan:
although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause; not that Satan could work upon God as he does upon men, both good and bad, especially the latter; nor could he so work upon him as to cause him to change his mind and will, who is unchangeable in his nature and purposes; but the sense is, he made a motion to him, he proposed it, requested and entreated, and did not barely propose it, but urged it with importunity, was very solicitous to have it done; and he prevailed and succeeded according to God's own determinate counsel and will, though only in part; for he moved him to "destroy him", himself, his body, if not his soul; for this roaring lion seeks to devour men, even the sheep and lambs of Christ's flock: or "to swallow him up" (p), as the word signifies; that he might be delivered to him, who would make but one morsel of him, swallow him up alive, as a lion any creature, or any other beast of prey. Mr. Broughton renders it, "to undo him"; and we say of a man, when he has lost his substance, that he is undone; and in this sense Job was destroyed or undone, for he had lost his all: and this motion was made "without cause", there was no just reason for it; what Satan suggested, and the calumny he cast upon Job, was not supported by him, he could give no proof nor evidence of it; and it was in the issue and event "in vain", as the word (q) may be rendered; for he did not appear, notwithstanding all that was done to him, to be the man Satan said he was, nor to do the things, or say the words, Satan said he would.
(o) , Polychronius in Drusius; "perfectionem suam", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus. (p) "ad deglutiendum eum", Montanus; "ad illum absorbendum", Schultens; "ut absorberem eum", Michaelis. (q) Sept. "frustra", V. L. Junius & Tremellius,
job 2:4And Satan answered the Lord, and said,.... Satan would not as yet own that Job was the man the Lord had described; but still would suggest, that he was a selfish and mercenary man, and that what had been done to him was not a sufficient trial of his integrity; the thing had not been pushed far and close enough to discover him; he had lost indeed his substance, and most of his servants, and all his children, but still he had not only his own life, but his health and ease; and so long as he enjoyed these he would serve God, though only for the sake of them: and therefore, says he, as it is usually and proverbially said:
skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life; the Targum is,"member for member;''which the Jewish commentators, many of them, explain thus, that if a man's head or his eyes are in danger, he will lift up his hand or his arm, and expose that in order to save the other; but the word is generally used of the skin, and so it may in this sense; and mean the skin of his hand, as a shield for the skin of his head or eye, as Gussetius observes (r): some understand it of the skins of others for his own skin, which he will part with, that he may keep that; nay, he will give all that he is possessed of for the preservation of his life, so dear is that unto him; meaning either the skins of beasts, in whom the principal substance of men consisted in those times and countries, and whose skins slain for food, and in sacrifice, might be of worth and value, and used in traffic; or, as others think, money cut out of leather made of skins is meant, which a man would part with, even all such money he had in the world, and even his "suppellex", or all the goods of his house, for to save his life: or the sense is, that Job would not only give the skins of his beasts, even of all that he had, for his own skin, but the skins of his servants, nay, of his own children, provided he could but keep his own skin; and hereby Satan suggests, that Job did not regard the loss his cattle, nor of his servants, nor even of his children, so long as he had his own life and health; and thus represents him as a lover of himself, and as cruel and hardhearted, and without natural affections to his children; the contrary to which is very manifest from Job 1:5; or rather this designs his own skin, and may be rendered, "skin upon skin", or "skin even unto skin", or "skin within skin" (s); for man has two skins, an inward and an outward one, called the "cutis" and "cuticula", "derma" and "epidermis"; the latter is of a whitish colour, and is properly the covering of the skin, is very thin, and void of sensation (t), which may be raised up by a blister, and taken off without pain; but the other is reddish, and very sensible of pain, and cannot be taken off without putting a man to the most exquisite misery; and yet a man will part with both skins, and if he had ever so many, or he willing to be put to the greatest torment, rather than part with his life: and to this one point all the above senses, and others given by interpreters, tend, namely, to observe how precious the life of man is to him; and if this was all that Satan meant, it is very trite; but he seems to insinuate something more, and that is, that any man, and so Job though reckoned a good man, would not only part with all the skins he had, and the substance he was possessed of, to save his life, but he would part with his God, and his religion, and the profession of it, for the sake of it, which is false; for there is something more valuable than life to good men; they reckon the loving kindness of God better than life, and would sooner lose their lives than risk the danger of losing their interest in it; and are willing to part with their lives for the sake of God and true religion, for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, and for his cause and interest, as many have done.
(r) Ebr. Comment. p. 582. (s) "cutim super cute", Schultens. (t) Vid Bartholin. Anatomia Reform. l. 1. c. 1. & 9.
job 2:5But 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, Luk 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.
job 2:6And the Lord said unto Satan, behold, he is in thine hand,.... Well may a behold be prefixed to this, it being matter of wonder and astonishment that a saint and servant of God should be permitted to be in the hand of Satan; which yet must not be so understood; as if he was off of, and no more upon the heart of God; or as if he was out of the hands of God, and out of the hands of Christ; or as if he was become Satan's property, and a child of his; for neither of these can be true of a good man: nothing can separate him from the love of God; not Satan and all his principalities and powers; nor can men or devils pluck them out of his hands, nor out of the hands of his son; nor can those who are the children of God be any more the servants of sin, or the vassals of Satan; or in other words, nor can any of them be a child of God one day, and a child of the devil the next, which is the divinity of some men: nor is the sense of this passage, that Satan had leave to do with Job as he pleased, for then he would have utterly destroyed him; but the power granted him was a limited one, as follows:
but save his life: or "soul" (y); which some understand of his rational soul, that which remains after death, and which, Maimonides (z) observes, Satan has no power over; and according to some the meaning is, do not disturb his mind to distraction, so as to deprive him of his senses, and of the exercise of his rational powers, which through the influence of Satan men have sometimes lost; see Mar 5:4; this is barred against in the permission granted; for otherwise it would not have been a proper trial of Job's integrity; for, should he have been deprived of his reason, and uttered ever such bad things, it would have been no proof of his insincerity; as may be observed in good men in a delirium, they will utter bad words, and do or attempt to do bad things, which is not to be ascribed to their want of grace, but to their want of reason: but rather "life" is meant; not Job's spiritual life, for that was in no danger of being lost; all the devils in hell cannot deprive a truly good man of his spiritual life; grace in him is a well of living water, springing: up to eternal life; he can never die the second death; his life is hid with Christ in God, and is bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord his God, who so is out of the reach of Satan; but corporeal life, which the devil by permission may take away, and is said to have the power of death, which by leave he exercised over men, but here he is restrained from it: Job's life must be spared, that it might fully appear he got the victory over Satan, and stood in his integrity; and that he might still glorify God in a course of afflictions he was yet to endure, in the exercise of his faith, hope, love, patience, humility, submission, and resignation of his will to God; and besides, his appointed time was not come, he had many more days, months, and years, the number of which were with God, to live in the world, as he accordingly did.
(y) "animum ejus", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocccius, Schmidt, Schultens. (z) Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 22. p. 398.
job 2:7So 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 Exo 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, Isa 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 Mat 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.
job 2:8And 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, Rev 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 Jon 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.
job 2:9Then said his wife to him,.... The Jews (g), who affect to know everything, say, that Job's wife was Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, as the Targum, but this is not very likely; however, we may observe that polygamy had not obtained in these early times; Job had but one wife, and very probably she is the same that after all this bore him ten children more; since we never read of her death, nor of his having any other wife, and might be a good woman for anything that appears to the contrary; and Job himself seems to intimate the same, though she was in the dark about this providence, and under a sore temptation on that account; and therefore says to her husband:
dost thou still retain thine integrity? not as blaming him for insisting and leaning on his integrity, and justifying, and not humbling himself before God, when he should rather confess his sins and prepare for death; for this is contrary to the sense of the phrase used, Job 2:3; where Job is applauded by the Lord himself for holding fast his integrity; nor will Job's answer comport with this sense of her words; nor did she speak as wondering that he should still retain it among so many sore temptations and afflictions; though indeed persevering grace is a marvellous thing; but then he would never have blamed her for such an expression: nor said she this as upbraiding and reproaching him for his religion and continuance in it, and mocking at him, and despising him on that account, as Michal did David; but as suggesting to him there was nothing in religion, and advising him to throw up the profession of it; for he might easily see, by his own case and circumstances, that God had no more regard to good men than to bad men, and therefore it was in vain to serve him; the temptation she laboured under was the same with that good man's, Asaph, Psa 73:11,
curse God, and die: which is usually interpreted, curse God and then destroy thyself; or utter some such blasphemous words, as will either provoke him to destroy thee, or will make thee liable to be taken notice of by the civil magistrate and put to death for it; or do this in revenge for his hand upon thee, and then die; or, though thou diest; but these are all too harsh and wicked to be said by one that had been trained up in a religious manner, and had been so many years the consort of so holy and good a man: the words may be rendered, "bless God and die" (h); and may be understood either sarcastically, go on blessing God till thou diest; if thou hast not had enough of it, take thy fill of it, and see what will be the issue of it; nothing but death; wilt thou still continue "blessing God and dying?" so some (i) render the words, referring to what he had said in Job 1:21; or else really and sincerely, as advising him to humble himself before God, confess his sins, and "pray" (k) unto him that he would take him out of this world, and free him from all his pains and sorrow; or rather the sense is, "bless God": take thy farewell of him (l); bid adieu to him and all religion, and so die; for there is no good to be hoped for on the score of that, here or hereafter; or at least not in this life: and so it amounts to much the same as before; and this sense is confirmed by Job's answer, which follows.
(g) T. Hieros. Sotah, fol. 20. 3. (h) "benedic Deo", Montanus, Piscator, Schmidt, Michaelis. (i) "Benedicendo et moriendo", Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius, Broughton. (k) "Supplica Deo", Tigurine version; so some in Munster. (l) "Valere jubeas numen et morere", Schultens; "valedic Deo", so some in Mercer.
job 2:10But he said unto her, thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh,.... The wicked and profane women of that age; he does not say she was one of them, but spake like them; which intimates that she was a good woman, and had always been thought to be so; but now spake not like herself, and one of her profession, but like carnal persons: Sanctius thinks Job refers to the Idumean women, who, like other Heathens, when their god did not please them, or they could not obtain of them what they desired, would reproach them, and cast them away from there, throw them into the fire, or into the water, as the Persians are said to do; and so Job's wife, because of the present afflictive providence, was for casting off God and all religion; in this she spake and acted like those wicked people later observed, Job 21:14; and like those carnal professors among the Jews in later times, Mal 3:14; this was talking foolishly, and Job's wife spake after this foolish manner, which he resented:
what? this he said as being angry with her, and having indignation at what she said; and therefore, in this quick, short, and abrupt manner, reproves her for her folly:
shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? as all good things temporal and spiritual, the blessings of Providence; and all natural, though not moral evil things, even all afflictions which seem, or are thought to be evil, come from the mouth of God, and are according to his purpose, counsel, and will; so they are all dispensed by the hand of God, and should be kindly, cheerfully, readily, and willingly received, the one as well as the other; see Lam 3:38. Job suggests that he and his wife had received many good things from the Lord, many temporal good things, as appears from Job 1:2; they had their beings in him, and from him; they had been preserved in them by him; they had had an habitation to dwell in, and still had; God had given them food and raiment, wherewith it became them to be content; they had had a comfortable family of children until this time, and much health of body, Job till now, and his wife still, for ought appears; of their former happy circumstances, see Job 29:1; and besides these outward mercies, they had received God as their covenant God, their portion, shield, and exceeding great reward; they had received Christ as their living Redeemer; they had received the Spirit, and his grace, the root of the matter was in them; they had received justifying, pardoning, and adopting: grace, and a right unto and meetness for eternal life, which all good men receive of God; and therefore such must expect to receive evil things, or to partake of afflictions, since God has appointed these for them, and has told them of them, that they shall befall them; and beside they are for their profit and advantage; and the consideration of the good things that have been received, and are now enjoyed, as well as what they have reason to believe they shall enjoy in heaven to all eternity, should make them ready and willing to bear evil things quietly and patiently; see Heb 11:26; so Achilles in Homer (m) represents Jove as having two vessels full of gifts, one of good things, the other of evil, and sometimes he takes and gives the one, and sometimes the other:
in all this did not Job sin with his lips; not in what he said to his wife, it was all right and good; nor under the whole of his affliction hitherto, he had not uttered one impatient, murmuring, and repining word at the hand of God; the tongue, though an unruly member, and under such providences apt to speak unadvisedly, was bridled and restrained by Job from uttering anything indecent and unbecoming: the Targum, and many of the Jewish writers, observe that he sinned in his heart, but not with his lips; but this is not to be concluded from what is here said; though it is possible there might be some risings of corruptions in his heart, which, by the grace of God that prevailed in him, were kept under and restrained from breaking out.
(m) Iliad 24. ver. 527-530.
job 2:11Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him,.... Of the loss of his substance, servants, and children, and of his own health; the news of which soon spread in the adjacent countries, Job being a person of great note, and his calamity so very extraordinary and uncommon: who these three friends were is after observed; they living at some distance from him, held a correspondence with him, and he with them, being good men; and now act the friendly part in paying him a visit under such circumstances; Pro 17:17;
they came everyone from his own place; from the country, city, town, or habitations where they lived; whether they walked or rode is not said, their names are as follow:
Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite; the first of these, Eliphaz, was either from Teman, a city in Edom, on the borders of Arabia Deserta, as the Targum; or a descendant of Teman, a grandson of Esau; not Eliphaz the son of Esau, Gen 36:11 as the Targum on that place says; for he was the father of Teman, from whom this Eliphaz sprang: the second, Bildad, was a descendant from Shuah, a son of Abraham, by Keturah, Gen 25:2; whose posterity with geographers are called Sauchites, Sauchaeans, Sacceans, and settled in Arabia Deserta, from whence Bildad came: the third, Zophar the Naamathite, who he was, and why so called, is not certain; there is nothing but conjectures concerning him; it is most probable that he lived in Arabia Deserta, or on the borders of it, near to Job's country and that of his other two friends (n); there was a Naamath in the land of Uz, which was Job's country according to Fretelius (o): the Septuagint version calls Eliphaz the king of the Temanites, and Bildad the tyrannus, or governor, of the Sauchaens, and Zophar king of the Minaeans (p):
for they had made an appointment together; upon hearing of Job's trouble, they got together, and fixed upon a time and place to meet together and proceed on in their journey to Job's house:
to come to mourn with him, and to comfort him; the first word signifies to "move to him" (q) not as Sephorno explains it, to go with him from place to place, that he might not lay hands on himself; but rather, as the Latin interpreter of the Targum, to move their heads at him; as persons, to show their concern for, and sympathy with, the afflicted, shake their heads at them: the meaning is, that they came to condole his misfortunes, and to speak a word of comfort to him under them; and no doubt but they came with a real and sincere intent to do this, though they proved miserable comforters of him; Job 16:2.
(n) Vid. Spanhem. Hist. Jobi, c. 11. sect. 3. &c. (o) Apud Adrichom. Theatrum. T. S. p. 21. (p) So Aristeas, Philo and Polyhistor apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 25. p. 431. (q) "verbum" "migrare, et sese movere significat", Mercerus, so Ben Melech.
job 2:12And when they lifted up their eyes afar off,.... Either when at some distance from Job's house, and he being without in the open air, as some think; or as they entered his house, he being at the further part of the room, or in another further on, which they could see into:
and knew him not; at first sight; until they came nearer to him, his garments being rent, and his head shaved, and his body covered all over with boils; so that he was so deformed and disfigured that they could not know him at first, and could scarcely believe him to be the same person:
they lifted up their voice and wept: they wept and cried aloud, being greatly affected with the sight of him, and their hearts sympathizing with him under his afflictions, being his cordial friends, and of that disposition, to weep with those that weep:
and they rent everyone his mantle, or "cloak"; in token of mourning, as Job had done before; see Gill on Job 1:20,
and sprinkled dust upon their heads towards heaven; that is, they took up handfuls of dust from off the ground, and threw it up in the air over their heads, which fell upon them and covered them; which was another rite or ceremony used by mourners, as Jarchi observes, and showed the vehemence of their affections and passions, and the confusion they were in at seeing their friend in such a miserable condition; see Jos 7:6.
job 2:13So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights,.... Which was the usual time of mourning, Gen 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.