Job Chapter 2: Satan Afflicts Job, Three Comforters Come

Jan 8th, 2010 | By | Category: Job, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Job Chapter 2: Satan Afflicts Job, Three Comforters Come

Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.

Another allegory was necessary to give meaning and relevancy to the later counsel of the three comforters, as well as that of Elihu. People frequently use allegories, or storytelling, to create a picture. The literal part of the Book of Job resumes after verse 6.

Certainly Satan did not actually present himself before Jehovah, but this allegory is very helpful to show that Satan was the character behind all of the calamities described in the first chapter, plus those to subsequently occur.

Job 2:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Again in allegory, God asked Satan, “From whence comest thou?” And again Satan replied, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” Since Satan is in tartaroo, he could not literally be walking in the earth and traveling back and forth.

Q: Even though this is an allegory, is this verse a proof text that Satan left his first estate? If he had not disobeyed, he would still be walking up and down among the “stones of fire” in the heavens (Ezek. 28:14).

A: Yes, this was a previous characteristic of Satan.

Comment: Satan has the ability to get into people’s minds without actually being there.

Reply: He has a network for observing what is happening throughout the earth. We are told to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Satan’s motivation is to prosper his own empire and also to curb Jesus’ influence in the earth.

Q: In regard to Satan’s ability to influence people, is he personally confined in precisely the same manner as the fallen angels, or is he afforded more liberty? Or is he able to exert more influence than the other fallen angels simply because he is the strongest?

A: In tartaroo, Satan and the fallen angels are under house arrest, as it were. They are bound in chains not in the sense of restriction of movement but in the sense of being confined to a territory in earth’s atmosphere. Later, during the Kingdom Age, Satan will be put into solitary confinement, which is quite a different circumstance from his condition at present. He has more liberty now in tartaroo than he will have in the Kingdom Age, when he is bound.

Q: Does the fact that individuals can be possessed also imply the fallen angels have quite a lot of license to be mobile?

A: An Egyptian Pharaoh had pictures of himself with the sun and strings coming down from the sun. At the end of each string were hands that could make connections with people. From another standpoint, Enoch “walked with God” (Gen. 5:22), but in what way was this done?

God communicated with Enoch as if they had a telephone connection. No man can see God and live, but Enoch had a rapport and close communication. The situation is somewhat the same when fallen angels possess a person. A fallen angel’s reply, “My name is Legion,” indicated that a legion of fallen angels possessed one individual (Mark 5:9). The fallen angels can electronically insert chips into a person’s brain. Preceding this possession, however, the subject has to manifest an interest and a willingness to create a vacuum state in his own mind—he must have a receptive attitude—for the fallen beings. Once the individual complies in that manner, he finds he cannot extricate himself from the possession.

An incident is recorded in the Reprints of a brother who had regular Bible studies with fallen angels. He thought he could be of benefit to them because they had indicated they were very much interested in the truth. After a while, there was a little laughter, and untoward comments were made. In time, the situation became anarchy. The brother then communicated with the Pastor, asking advice on how to get extricated from what he had at first thought to be a desirable situation.

In the current age of computer technology and expertise, the federal government would like to put chips in television sets to keep tabs on all citizenry. Today fantastic things are being done that people could not even dream about previously. With the communication in the atmosphere, pictures can even be taken from the air. The spirit realm is very advanced, for they had such capabilities long, long before mankind down here. Only in the last century, and especially in the last decade, did man have such capabilities.

Q: Is the thought, then, that the evil spirits do not have to literally enter a body to possess it?

A: Yes, because they are up in tartaroo. For example, thoughts can be injected into the mind of a person who is under hypnosis. Those thoughts come in through the atmosphere, as it were.

The technique, which is very real, is like remote control.

Comment: In a crude sense, man has remote-control vehicles with no wires attached.

Q: Does a person have to be willingly receptive to come under such control?

A: Yes. The freewill moral agency in a person’s brain is naturally shielded from demon control.

Therefore, the Adversary has to be clever in getting individuals into a receptive mood. Usually the control is obtained in gradual steps. For instance, an initial step could be something seemingly harmless like playing games.

Comment: The fact that the fallen angels had to request permission from Jesus to enter into the herd of swine indicates they are not able, except perhaps in rare circumstances, to openly control animals (Mark 5:12). Otherwise, they could really turn the animal kingdom against us.

Reply: That is correct.

Comment: The Apostle Paul wrote that on one occasion, he would have gone to a particular church, but Satan prevented him. Somehow Satan must have influenced those around Paul so that he could not freely leave the area where he was.

Reply: Of course the Lord can intervene anytime He chooses, but He allows certain things to happen at times for reasons unknown to us. God does not disclose all the details of His plan. Therefore, for reasons known only to the Heavenly Father, Satan was allowed to thwart Paul’s ministry on that occasion. Another time Satan’s control was temporarily permitted was the occurrence of the angry waves on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus was in the boat with the apostles. Jesus rebuked the wind, and a great calm followed. Satan, the prince of the power of the air, had wanted to capsize the boat.

Job 2:3 And 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? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Satan did not get his desired response out of Job with the earlier calamities. Now he would try again. This second allegory, which is similar to the first, revealed Satan’s motivation. Without actual communication with God, he was permitted to go ahead with his own desires. However, this time the temptation would pertain to Job personally, whereas earlier temptations had more to do with his possessions.

Job 2:4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.

Job 2:5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Job 2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

What is the thought of “skin for skin”? In The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare put in the mouth of Shylock the words “a pound of flesh,” which are more understandable to our frame of thinking today. Shylock was speaking of a worldly axiom that shows what a person will do with regard to his own being.

Satan wanted to put forth his hand and touch the bone and flesh of Job, thinking that Job would curse God as a result. God permitted the test to occur. Stated another way, Job experienced the divine permission of evil.

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.

Job 2:8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

Now we come to the main part of the Book of Job. Satan caused Job to be smitten with “sore boils” from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. A little time elapsed—a few days at least—between this test and the subsequent arrival of the three visitors.

An amendment is needed for the expression “sore boils,” for when someone has boils, the last thing he wants to do is to scratch or scrape them. Therefore, the “sore boils” were probably an eruption comparable to an extreme case of poison oak, which is a combined feeling of pain, itching, and burning. Accordingly, Job used a small part of a fractured clay pot to scrape himself and relieve the itching and torment.

Incidentally, a potsherd was also mentioned in a text that helps us to understand the smiting of the image (Dan. 2:33,34). “Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters’ vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit” (Isa. 30:12-14). Just as with natural Israel, so figuratively speaking, when the image is smitten, there will not be enough left of the smashed pot (the nations) to pick up a live coal.

Comment: The scraping with the potsherd helped to cause disfigurement, thus adding to Job’s pathetic appearance when the three comforters arrived.

Reply: Yes, temporarily there was a disfigurement with scabs, blood, and other types of excretion. Of course in time, nature usually repairs the damage done to ruptured skin.

Q: Would this calamity have been regarded as a natural affliction?

A: Yes, it was subtle. Certainly Job did not know that God had given Satan permission to take away his goods and his sons and daughters. The temptation to Job was to think that God Himself was authoring the calamities. We should appreciate his confusion of mind without an understanding of the philosophy of the permission of evil. When evil was permitted in the past, before the philosophy of discipline and character development was understood, anything that came of an evil nature, or calamity, was viewed as punishment or retribution for something that had occurred in the individual’s life or for some sin that was passed down from a prior generation. It was not understood that God permits these things to happen in order to develop and perfect the individual’s faith. That was true of both Old and New Testament times, although the levels of treatment are different.

Q: The thought of Satan’s smiting Job with lesions of some sort reminds us of when Adam sinned. The sentence on Adam was death but not specifically disease. Would the fact that Satan could cause boils show that his power to inflict disease was an addition to the sentence on man?

A: God created the human organism with all kinds of antibodies to offset any intrusion of disease. The body of a perfect man had such a healing capacity that death was not an enemy in any sense. However, Adam had that experience for only a very short time before the death sentence was pronounced. When the genetic disorder occurred with the sentence of death, “dying thou shalt die,” it left open the doors for all sorts of other things to happen—not only bacterial and chemical, but also spiritual or Satanic. Thus there could be this intrusion by Satan.

Certainly in this case, Satan produced the “boils” because he had requested permission (in allegory) to smite Job to try to get him to curse God.

Comment: Verse 7 reads as follows in the Expanded Biblical Comments: “If disease and death are to a considerable extent under Satan’s control, why might he not reverse the method and do some healing of disease?” In other words, if Satan could cause Job to have boils, he could also reverse the method and heal diseases. The door is thus opened for at least some faith healing to be an act of Satan.

Reply: Yes, that is true. Of course the Lord also does miracles of healing when it so pleases Him, and certainly His healing is superior to and can override anything Satan might try to do.

Job 2:9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

In this case, Job’s own wife was the instrument used to make the suggestion to end his pitiful condition. “Why don’t you curse God and die?” she suggested. If Job cursed God, the natural expectation was that he would die and thus be relieved of his suffering.

Notice that Job’s wife was spared the afflictions that he suffered. Similarly, each time a plague came on Job in chapter 1, Satan spared one messenger, one servant, to tell about the calamity.

Now Job was personally afflicted by Satan but not his wife. Satan was allowed to take away all of Job’s possessions, but he purposely did not touch Job’s wife, who was also a possession. He used Job’s wife something like he used Eve in the Garden of Eden. Both times Satan used the weaker vessel, and the Pastor wrote considerably on why that technique was used.

Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Job’s character was phenomenal. No wonder he was singled out with Daniel and Noah in the Book of Ezekiel as being a very unusual person! When we think of our character development compared to that of Job, we wonder how we would have reacted in his place. We do not know to what extent our character development has progressed or what we are capable of. Thank God for the promise that He will not allow us to be tested above what we are able (1 Cor. 10:13)—and that He knows the point of no return, where it would be to our utter disadvantage as new creatures to be tested further.

Although Job was tempted—although he realized that death would end his agony and his troubled spirit—he restrained himself and did not sin with his lips. The goodness that remained in his character was sufficient to suppress the wrong thoughts which must have coursed through his mind so that he did not allow them utterance.

Comment: This Scripture shows how important our words are, and it is similar to Matthew 12:37, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

Reply: Yes, putting sinful thoughts into words is sort of like sinning the sin. Once the words come out of the mouth, they are in the public domain, and the individual is much more culpable.

Comment: Job asked, “Shall we not receive evil?” Since God does not cause moral evil, the word should be “calamity” or “distress.” The Lord permitted this calamity to come upon Job.

Reply: For God to permit a calamity or an experience of outward judgment is one thing, such as an accident or the collapse of a building that is allowed to happen for disciplinary purposes, but moral evil is another matter altogether. God does not tempt anyone with moral evil.

Job 2:11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

The initial response of the three comforters was favorable. When they heard in their respective localities of all the evil that had come upon Job, they made an appointment to meet and then travel together to comfort him. As friends of Job, the three individuals probably knew quite a bit about him, and having a regard and a concern for him, they wanted to visit him and look into the truth of the matter.

Eliphaz came from Teman, which was noted for wisdom. “Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?” (Jer. 49:7).

Bildad descended from Shuah, the last of Abraham’s six sons by Keturah. A “Shuhite” is a Shiite in today’s vocabulary (Gen. 25:2). This background information is helpful in showing the generation or age factor of the three comforters. Certainly not youngsters, they were relatively aged. The Scriptures do not give specific information about the ages of the three comforters or Job, but later portions of the Book of Job enable us to draw certain conclusions.

For now, we will just say that the three were contemporaries of Job. Their being called a “Temanite” and a “Shuhite” gives some idea of their ages. The word “Naamathite,” however, is abstruse in the sense that little is known about the lineage of Zophar. At any rate, the three intended to mourn with and comfort Job, so they had good intentions to start with.

Job 2:12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.

Job 2:13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

When the three saw Job afar off, they “knew [or recognized] him not.” Being covered from head to foot with disease, Job would have appeared a wreck. What the three saw was enough to make them feel utterly distraught.

Whatever we may say with regard to the three comforters later, certainly at this juncture, they were commiserate with Job’s situation. In fact, they empathized so much that they rent their garments, covered their heads with ashes, sat down, and were quiet for seven days and seven nights. How remarkable! No mention is made of meals, so they probably fasted too, showing how deep their concern was for Job. Also, their reaction inferentially indicates how noble and great Job was previously, when he was in his prime, had all of his goods and properties, and held the office of judge. They had respected him so much that seeing him now in this deplorable situation, they humbled themselves and sat down in quietness for an entire week.

If the seven days and seven nights represent the seven stages of the Gospel Age, then they are a separate all-inclusive picture with the concentration on Job as a representation of the true Church. Otherwise, the symbolism would not fit because the three comforters spoke after the expiration of the seven days and nights.

The seven-day waiting period came about in a natural fashion before the Mosaic Law was ever given. To some degree, and without details, it was known before Moses that there were seven Creative Days. When Moses came along and compiled the Book of Genesis, the Lord gave him the information with clarity. “Seven” is taught in nature as well as in the Law. Thus, to some extent, “seven” was followed before the Law because the seven days were evidently premeditated; that is, when the three rent their mantles, put ashes on their heads, and sat down with Job, the four had apparently agreed, or had an understanding, to remain silent for seven days. The silence could be broken only after the seven days.

Q: When did Elihu appear on the scene?

A: He probably did not show up until after the seven days of silence, although the account does not provide this detail. We have to extrapolate such information from things that happened later. For instance, Elihu said that he heard the arguments of all three, so he certainly was on hand when Eliphaz gave his dissertation starting in chapter 4 (Job 32:3-5).

Elihu represents the Great Company class, who, as individuals, have existed during all seven antitypical days of mourning and fasting. Whom do the three comforters represent?

Subsequently they turned very negative with regard to Job. In just a tiny amount of time, they changed from a condition of close friendship to one of criticism, from compassionately reasoning with Job to being critical. The three comforters represent those in the nominal Church who have some religiosity. We will make discriminations, or distinctions, after listening to their arguments. At present, we will just say that they ostensibly represent peoples of God, that is, nominal Christians. One of the comforters pictures Judaizing Christians, another represents Roman Catholics, and the third pictures Protestants.

(2001-2003 Study)

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