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Job 2:7-8

Context
Job’s Integrity in Suffering

2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and he afflicted 1  Job with a malignant ulcer 2  from the sole of his feet to the top of his head. 3  2:8 Job took a shard of broken pottery to scrape 4  himself 5  with while he was sitting 6  among the ashes. 7 

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

2 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.

3 tn Heb “crown.”

4 tn The verb גָּרַד (garad) is a hapax legomenon (only occurring here). Modern Hebrew has retained a meaning “to scrape,” which is what the cognate Syriac and Arabic indicate. In the Hitpael it would mean “scrape himself.”

5 sn The disease required constant attention. The infection and pus had to be scraped away with a piece of broken pottery in order to prevent the spread of the infection. The skin was so disfigured that even his friends did not recognize him (2:12). The book will add that the disease afflicted him inwardly, giving him a foul breath and a loathsome smell (19:17, 20). The sores bred worms; they opened and ran, and closed and tightened (16:8). He was tormented with dreams (7:14). He felt like he was choking (7:14). His bones were racked with burning pain (30:30). And he was not able to rise from his place (19:18). The disease was incurable; but it would last for years, leaving the patient longing for death.

6 tn The construction uses the disjunctive vav (ו) with the independent pronoun with the active participle. The construction connects this clause with what has just been said, making this a circumstantial clause.

7 sn Among the ashes. It is likely that the “ashes” refers to the place outside the city where the rubbish was collected and burnt, i.e., the ash-heap (cf. CEV). This is the understanding of the LXX, which reads “dung-hill outside the city.”



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