The opening of the second chapter of Job is exactly as written in Job 1:6-8. These encounters between God and Satan, especially when one interjects the “sons of God,” are the subject of lots of varying interpretations among commentators; and trying to sort through those may well overwhelm you as much as it does this blogger. Some see these “sons of God” as angels, and some see them as worshipers. It is pointed out that in no part of the scriptures does it say that these events take place in heaven. The righteous are said to come before the Lord every time we worship him. It is also true that Jesus said that the angels see the face of God every day (Matthew 18:10), so they would hardly need to “present” themselves before Him.
Matthew Poole saw these encounters between God and Satan as parabolic, and it is also possible that he could be partially right about that. But the question in the end is – Does it really matter? Okay so here, admittedly, is one more opinion. <Insert disclaimer here> The discourse between God and Satan is told in the word of God by His inspired writer, just as a prophet would tell us in a book that is both history and poetry.
The conversations between God and Satan in Job have three purposes in my view. First, they tell us that Satan is a real adversary. (“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8). Secondly, they serve to demonstrate that although God does not cause us to suffer, it is not His will to prevent evil from be-falling us at all times. Third, they assure us that Satan’s power is not unlimited. God does have dominion over him.
So Satan struck Job with “loathsome sores” (some versions say “boils”) literally from head to toe. Attempts have been made to assign a medical condition using the description of the breath and other symptoms in other chapters. But again, does it matter? The point is that he was in so much agony that he was using broken pottery to “scrape” himself (verse 8). And he was so disfigured that his three friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, who we will get to know better) did not even recognize him, cried when they saw how bad he really was, and sat with him for a week without anyone even speaking.
The question of why Satan did not take the life of Job’s wife is answered in verse nine, as she tries to persuade Job to curse God, to give up, and to take his own life.
We will resume Job’s story next Thursday. I think I need me some Psalms and Proverbs before then.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.