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Job 2:4-7

Context

2:4 But 1  Satan answered the Lord, “Skin for 2  skin! 3  Indeed, a man will give up 4  all that he has to save his life! 5  2:5 But extend your hand and strike his bone and his flesh, 6  and he will no doubt 7  curse you to your face!”

2:6 So the Lord said to Satan, “All right, 8  he is 9  in your power; 10  only preserve 11  his life.”

Job’s Integrity in Suffering

2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and he afflicted 12  Job with a malignant ulcer 13  from the sole of his feet to the top of his head. 14 

1 tn The form is the simply preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive. However, the speech of Satan is in contrast to what God said, even though in narrative sequence.

2 tn The preposition בְּעַד (bÿad) designates interest or advantage arising from the idea of protection for (“for the benefit of”); see IBHS 201-2 §11.2.7a.

3 sn The meaning of the expression is obscure. It may come from the idea of sacrificing an animal or another person in order to go free, suggesting the expression that one type of skin that was worth less was surrendered to save the more important life. Satan would then be saying that Job was willing for others to die for him to go free, but not himself. “Skin” would be a synecdoche of the part for the whole (like the idiomatic use of skin today for a person in a narrow escape). The second clause indicates that God has not even scratched the surface because Job has been protected. His “skin” might have been scratched, but not his flesh and bone! But if his life had been put in danger, he would have responded differently.

4 tc The LXX has “make full payment, pay a full price” (LSJ 522 s.v. ἐκτίνω).

5 tn Heb “Indeed, all that a man has he will give for his life.”

6 sn The “bones and flesh” are idiomatic for the whole person, his physical and his psychical/spiritual being (see further H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, 26-28).

7 sn This is the same oath formula found in 1:11; see the note there.

8 tn The particle הִנּוֹ (hinno) is literally, “here he is!” God presents Job to Satan, with the restriction on preserving Job’s life.

9 tn The LXX has “I deliver him up to you.”

10 tn Heb “hand.”

11 sn The irony of the passage comes through with this choice of words. The verb שָׁמַר (shamar) means “to keep; to guard; to preserve.” The exceptive clause casts Satan in the role of a savior – he cannot destroy this life but must protect it.

12 tn The verb is נָכָה (nakhah, “struck, smote”); it can be rendered in this context as “afflicted.”

13 sn The general consensus is that Job was afflicted with a leprosy known as elephantiasis, named because the rough skin and the swollen limbs are animal-like. The Hebrew word שְׁחִין (shÿkhin, “boil”) can indicate an ulcer as well. Leprosy begins with such, but so do other diseases. Leprosy normally begins in the limbs and spreads, but Job was afflicted everywhere at once. It may be some other disease also characterized by such a malignant ulcer. D. J. A. Clines has a thorough bibliography on all the possible diseases linked to this description (Job [WBC], 48). See also HALOT 1460 s.v. שְׁחִין.

14 tn Heb “crown.”



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