Chapter 2.

IN the former chapter Job's trial began, in this it goes on, and there are three steps added to the former, which are the parts of the chapter. The 1st part is that whereby his body is stricken with boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of the head; the devil getting leave to smite his body, chooses this as the most loathsome disease and violent pain; and we have this step of the trial, with the cause and effect to Job 2:9. The 2d step or part is, that betwixt job and his wife: when the devil has gotten job thus low, loathsome, and in pain, he is angry that he will not speak as he would have had him, therefore he brings in his wife, and gets her to take his part, and by her instigation, seeks to obtain his point; but Job refutes her calmly, and stops her mouth from Job 2:9-11. The 3d part is from that to the end; Job's three friends came to him, and instead of comforting, they sit down beside him, and are dumb for seven days, and (as we will hear) they become a vexation to him, worse than any he had yet met with.

In the first part we have four things, 

1. The causes instrumental in Job's trial, or the occasion and rise of it to Job 2:6.

2. The commission that Satan gets, Job 2:6. 

3. Satan's executing the commission, Job 2:7, 

4. Job's carriage under it, Job 2:8. This appearing of the sons of God or angels, and Satan before God, is not to be taken literally, as is there were any day more special nor another, or a coming into or going forth from God, but it is a figurative speech or resemblance, to show and set out the Lord's sovereignty over all creatures, and the sovereignty he hath over, and immediate hand he hath in all the afflictions of his people; the particular steps of it is to set out the thing as we are able to take it up. Angels wait for his commands, and run his errands, devils must wait for orders from him ere they can execute their malice; therefore ere Satan go forth he must have a commission, and God questions Satan, and he makes answer to tell he must give account to God.

In Job 1:3; we have God's taking special notice of Job's shameing the devil for all that is done to him, Behold he is not the man thou called him, notwithstanding thou movedst me against him; not that God is moved to any thing which is not decreed of him: But, 

1. To tell that what is aforetime decreed is in time execute.

2. That though God only execute his purpose in afflicting his people by Satan and wicked men, yet he can and will charge them with their affliction, as if he had not a hand in it. 

3. To let us see the difference betwixt God's hand and theirs in his people's affliction. It is not out of hatred and malice, but from love, holy wisdom, goodness, and kindness, that God afflicts, not always out of respect to sin, but to vindicate his own grace in them, and to make it shine as here in Job: but Satan and wicked men afflict out of hatred and malice and to drive them off their feet, and blacken God's work in them.

In Job 1:4 Satan's answer, Skin for skin, &. This answer is set down to let us see the nature of Satan, that he is shamelessly impudent, so that grace will never be that palpable, but he will contradict it and traduce it, therefore here he cries down God's testimony the second time. The word – which he uses seems to be a proverb used in these times. The meaning is, A man will bear other burdens better as long as his skin is keeped heal; intimating, The more personal that afflictions be, the trial is the sharper, and the worse to be born.

In the Job 2:6, we have the commission Satan gets. God gives Satan a new fey13 of Job, and liberty to execute his purpose, yet limits him.

In the Job 2:7, Satan executes his commission in doing what he defined, which his going out imports, and he smites Job in all the parts of his body with boils.

In the Job 2:8, we have Job's carriage under all this, He took him a potsherd, &c. It is like his wife and servants loathed him, and would not come near him, as Job 19:15-17; his breath being stinking and corrupt, and when scarce any can know a nail on him, he sits down among the ashes, and takes a piece of an old broken potsherd to scrape himself withal: And though he has poverty without, and pain both without and within, yet he is silent, and will not open his mouth to fret and repine against God.

Question:  What can be the reason that Satan gets leave to add this affliction, and yet God says it is not a chastisement for sin?

Answer. These reasons vindicate the justice and wisdom of God in it. 

1. God's sovereignty and absolute dominion over the creature. It is enough that he do it, Who can say, What dost thou? the potter hath power over the clay, Romans 9:21. It is enough that God thinks good to inflict it.

2. That he may leave the patern14 of patience compleat to all posterity. 

3. He will show how low he can bring these he loves dearly. 

4. To let us see that a gracious heart will not cast out with God for crosses, or judge the worst of his love for all that; therefore he will have Job come to the height of the trial, and yet tell, it is not out of respect to sin. 

5. That God may get glory in a real proof and demonstration of his own grace that is often traduced, as here it was in Job. 

6. It is also for the advantage of his people to vindicate them from the aspersions, reproaches, and calumnies of wicked men. 

7. That the mouths of the wicked may be stopped, that said, They would go the wrong way, if they were tried, and they were all but hypocrites. But how is it that the devil gets power over Job's body ? For Satan to get power over the bodies of God's dearest children, to inflict sickness on them, or to pull down the house on them and smoor15 them, it is no argument of hatred, but may well consist with God's Jove. It is all one to him whether their sickness or death be wakened up by any humour in their body, and they die in their bed, or suffer a more violent death by Satan and wicked men; as when wicked Cain slays just Abel, and in the Jews crucifying of Christ: The covenant stands sure, and God has a care of the soul even when Satan gets power over the body; the devil but executes God's purpose.

The second step of the trial and part of the chapter is Job 2:9. and his carriage under it, Job 2:10. When for all this Job will not blaspheme God, the devil is angry, and yokes his wife to him, the words may he rendered, Dost thou still retain thine integrity, blessing God and dying? The Hebrews abhoring to speak the phrase according to the meaning, express it by the contrary, or otherwise, that is, blessing God for cursing. Should then the words be read as they are here? No question Job's wife sinned in this expression, for Job's reproof speaks that much; therefore it is the less matter which of the ways they be read: But the words may be as well read, Bless God, and die: and the meaning is in a scorning way, casting up his religion to him; she says, Will thou ever bless God? Will ye go to your grave that that way? See if your blessing of God, and all your prayers be of much worth now, when he has given you such a loathsome skin; better leave off that way, and confess your hypocrisy; and the reason why we think this to be the meaning is, 

1. Because it is not like that she would tempt Job to so gross an action, as flately in even-down terms to curse God.

2. Because Satan and Job's friends shot is to bear in on Job, and make him take with it, that he was a Hypocrite, and that he would take all that is come upon him as a fruit of God's wrath therefore, and so be discouraged and fret; and this being the drift of the dispute afterward, it is like Satan begins it here, and by his wife bears it on him, that it were better he should take with his hypocrisy in time; but both expositions prove it was a tentation to sin, and to prove Job is not sound by the hard things he had met with, and Job's answer (Job 2:10.) confirms it, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women, and not as one that has lived in my family, as Psalm 73:22. So foolish was I and ignorant, &c. speaking of his giving way to the like tentation (this folly is in men naturally, counting that way most approven os God, which is in outward things most countenanced; and that way or person loved of God, which in outward things is crossed, Psalm 73:22. which way of reasoning Job rejects in his answer, as afterward in his friends, as an argument proceeding from ignorance and unacquaintedness with God’s way) Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil, as having indignation at her words? Shall we limit God to one way of dealing? Shall not we that have had a long life of honour, riches, an ease, be content to take a little contempt, poverty, and pain too? It were better reasoning, that after long prosperity we should contentedly bear a cross. And then the Spirit of God gives Job a second testimony of the victory, That whatever wrestling was within his heart, yet, as burst not out, he sinned not with his lips, as afterwards. 

3. The third step and part of the trial is from his friends. What they were we will not dispute, though they were good men, yet they mistook Job; therefore God accepts a sacrifice for them in the last chapter, after he reproves them. They come to visit Job in his affliction as friends should do, and when they see Job they lift up their voice and weep; and, according to the custom of these times, rent their cloaths, and put ashes on their heads, and sit down silent for seven days and seven nights. (Question. What should be the reason they sat so long silent? Answer 1. God having a mind to compleat Job's trial, he will let him get comfort from none; yea, they shall be rather matter of stumbling to him. Answer 2. They could not conceive his sorrow half so great ere they came; and the good thoughts they had of Job before, as if a holy man, wearies out upon the beholding of his stroke, and they know not what to say to him; yea, in as far as they let the tentation work in begetting a prejudice at him, they are wrong and prove hurtful to him.

From God's sovereignty observe, 

1. Observe: The holy Ghost would have God eyed in all men's trials and afflictions, and therefore is the sovereignty of God prefixed to the second trial, to teach us, That it is not devils nor men that guide the world, but it is God who sits on his throne, and gives them commission, limits them, and calls them to account; a thing the people of God would have much in their eye, and behold God now as immediately governing affairs, as if he were on a throne, and all opposers were called before his bench or court.

2. Observe: There is no part of a man's religion pleases God better, and honours God more nor uprightness under a trial, and then to keep still his integrity: This is it God boasts (to speak with reverence) Revelation 2:13 and Revelation 3:10; because God's credit is more engaged in folks carriage under a trial, for it is whether grace be true in such a body or not, and a right carriage then is (so to speak) a saving of the Lord's credit, which cannot in the least be in hazard; yet, before men it honours him, whose name might otherwise be blasphemed: this is it that God puts us now to, and we would so much the more take notice of it.

3. Observe: One foil will not put away the devil, but after he is foiled he will set on again, he is like a roaring lion, walking about seeking whom he may devour, 1Peter 5:8. and when he gets not the soul destroyed, he is not his end, and is not at rest, therefore he still rages the more he be resisted. There is one part of our trial by, but be not secure, for our strait is but beginning, and if God prevent not, and keep us not watchful, we will go down the wind.

4. Observe: God sometimes for his own glory and the good of his people will bring under trial, when it is causeless in respect of sin, as here in Job; and to apply it, There has been a great reproach lying on the people of God in Scotland, as favourers of sectaries, and its like he may put them to a trial to wipe away that reproach, to evidence his grace in them, and to give a malignant and profane temporizing generation the lie, and this will be worth all that we can suffer.

On the second part observe, 

1. Observe: That oftimes the sharpest trials comes from such as are nearest friends, and these that are in nearest natural relations are often greatest tentations; therefore Satan leaves Job's wife behind the former, for a sorer affliction and tentation, and most able to prevail.

2. Observe: Its a hard matter when folks in near relations lives peaceably together till affliction come, and then to be instruments of one another's grief, and serve the devil's turn by irritating and provoking expressions. Therefore wives, and all in a near relation take warning from Job's wife's example, to beware of such a carriage. 

3. Observe: From Job's answer, to her observe, That long-sparing mercy and forbearance may well abide a whiles trial; they that have had much good, may well bear a whiles ill; we that have had long peace, have reason to take in good part a time of trouble.

4. Observe: The Spirit of God puts a new mark of the victory on Job, He sinned not with his lips. Observe, Where sin is keeped in, and comes not out to a height and open out-breaking in his people, God often counts it no sin, but that they are victorious when they set honestly against sin.

From the last part of the chapter observe, 

1. That often that which folks expects comfort from; it proves comfortless, we hear not a word of Job's wife, her being a comfort to him in all the story, his friends, who intended to comfort him, turns his greatest cross; for Job's trial must be complete, therefore a word of comfort is spoken by none to him.

2. It is good to have friends and Christian fellowship but we would die to them, and learn to make up our consolation in God. If we depend on the creature, it will go dry when we have most ado with it; when Job's friends cast him off, he had fallen in the mire if he had not had a sure ground to lean on for his comfort.

 CHAPTER 3.

We heard how wonderfully Job has born through his former trials, when his wife and friends and all had forsaken him; now that which has been for many days keeped in, breaks out, Job after long silence in the bitterness of his spirit expresseth himself in a sad complaint and expostulation, and the scope of the chapter is to show, how out of the misery and anguish he was under, he expostulates these four ways.

First, to the Job 3:13, wishing he had never been born, or if born, that lie had been taken away without suck, thir16 expressions of cursing are not needful to be insisted on, being ordinary in scripture, as Jeremiah 14.; wherein the saints in anguish show the greatness and excessiveness of their grief, and therefore turns to curse all the means of their help, the womb, the knees, the breasts, &. in a rhetorical way, expressing how vehemently they desired that they had never been. Therefore, Job to show the excessiveness of his grief, thro' the misery that was on him, would have the day of his birth marked as a cursed day, and scraped out from among the number of days, and all that cursed any day cursing it, especially, the mourning women that used to curse sad accidents, he would have them turning about and cursing that day; words of passion long keeped up, now overflowing and keeping no bounds.

Secondly, from Job 3:13-20. he gives reasons of his wish in the same way; all the good he had gotten before and the principle he had laid down are forgotten, and he prefers his being dead to his present being, and says had he died when newly born, great men and he had been all alike, for there is no disparity in death, he had been as great as any of them, whereas now he is under much misery and reproach. There the wicked cease from troubling, there is no robbers such as the Sabeans and Chaldeans in death, and there the weary have rest, the servant and the master is alike there; and so goes on in the same, rhetorical way, to tell how he preferred a never being, or a soon dying, to his being.

Thirdly, from Job 3:20-23. he is angry that ever the benefit of life was allowed to him, as if he said, The thing I would fainest17 have is death, and it is my misery that I cannot get it; a man would never have had a golden mineral fainer18, nor I would have death, why would such a one live.

Fourthly, From Job 3:23. to the end, he crowns all with a sad expostulation, that God is against him, which Jeremiah, Lamentations 3.; looks on as a sad evidence of anger, and having expostulate this, he proves it by three instances, 

1. Because no mean of consolation do him good; he is not the better of meat and drink, it has no relish to him, and his roaring flows out like a stream from a fountain that has no drying up.

2. Had he wailed a sad condition, that which he feared is come; he feared a condition of extremity, and it is carved out to him. 

3. That notwithstanding he was not secure but watchful and worshipping God, yet God had broken through all his prayers and sacrifices, and in my duty has lighted on me, says he; and this most affected him, that God was contending and he saw no cause; he knew not wherefore. This is the saddest word and the greatest part of his sin, and seems to be the rise of  the debate that follows.

That we may know the better how to look on this scripture, I shall shortly answer some questions.

Question: How shall we judge of Job's carriage here, and how shall we take up his sin in it?

Answer: Thir19 are expressions of sinful infirmity without doubt, and the Lord's reproving Job clears it fully; as for the sins here they may he drawn to three heads, First, There is his limiting the wisdom and sovereignty of God; his finding fault with God's government, as if God had done him wrong that he was born, or had given him a being and life, and Job 40:2. he is reproved by the Lord for this; do ye think Job that ye should instruct me when ye should be born, or taken off the world; in this ye have been foolish. Secondly, Though, he defend a just thesis against his friends, to wit, that a just man such as he was might be hardly afflicted yet in this he sinned. In his fretting that he in particular should be so dealt with, especially he being in his duty. His failing here was in application of the general thesis to himself, therefore, Job 40:8. the Lord says to him, Wilt thou condemn me, that thou may'st be righteous? or as the first word of the verse is, Wilt thou disannul my judgement? as if he had said, is there no way to justify thy own innocency, but by finding fault with me? Thirdly, There is a rashness in his expressions, though in maintaining a good cause. In his expressions rubbing on20 the majesty of God, and not ridding marches well21 for vindicating the Lord; therefore it is the first of God's challenge, Job 38:2. Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge, and he leaves not Job till he take with this, Job 42:3. and acknowledges that he has spoken words which he understood not. In the heat of his passion, he was led to expressions that his friends takes advantage of; therefore Elihu on this ground pleads that he failed in his expressions, especially in application to himself, as Job 33:11-12.

Question:  Seeing thir are great sins, and corruption venting itself strikes at the root of God's sovereignty, got not Satan here his purpose? and if so how can God absolve Job?  

I. Answer in these three, 

1st, Consider Job's infirmities, and look on them as having grace going along with them; the great debate betwixt God and Satan was not, Whether Job had sin in him, but whether he was a hypocrite, and whether he had grace or not? and though many things break out, yet he keeps the main ground of his interest in God clear, and will not cast out with him; maintaining a just cause, and keeping clear his interest; the shining of grace in him justifies God, and makes Satan a liar. 

2dly, Consider the case he was in, the great tentation he was under, all sorts of hardship, trysting on him from without, and terror within. It is no great marvel, that under such a heat his pot cast a scum: Put the best in Job's case, they would have other expressions; and the Lord comparing his expressions with his case, thinks it a victory he has gotten. 

3dly, Consider Job in thir infirmities in a kind of roving as it were one in the height of a fever, whereas in other parts of this book we will find far sounder divinity in Job, laying his hand on his mouth and submitting to God; and God never justifies a man's grace by fits, but by the tract of his way, and the event of his business, and therefore we may both let Job be faulty wherein his corruption kyths22, and yet keep up what God has spoken of his perfection.

Question: III. But might not God have keeped Job from their infirmities? and would it not have been more for God's. honour?

Answer: 

1. God works his end in Job's trial more by letting his infirmities kyth. Because the more Job's infirmities kyth, and that like a spait or flood of waters, the more does his grace in Job that is not drowned with it. 2Corinthians 12:7. The messenger of Satan is sent to buffet Paul, and his weakness must kyth, that God's grace may be made perfect in weakness; the victory of grace over passion is more than if his passion had not broken out.

2. The Lord gains his end better, because as he had one end before him, to stop Satan's mouth, so he had this end, to let Job and all his children know what they hold of him, and how he will have them in his reverence. Therefore the best of the saints with Jacob have a halt, that they may know the strength whereby they stand, and to whom they are obliged for the victory. 

3. God's end was not only that Job may have the victory being tried, but that he might be a pattern to these that should come after, and therefore he will have his infirmities to kyth, and yet do them away, and give him the victory: bring him to the brink of despair, and yet uphold him, and give him an outgate, that other saints may not be discouraged nor despair though their condition should be like his; and often Job's infirmities kything, has proven as comfortable to the people of God as his patience and other graces.

 OBSERVATIONS.

First, From the general drift of the chapter, observe, I. That the greatest measure of grace when it is put to a trial, will be found to have much corruption going along with it; under strongest faith there will unbelief be found lurking; under the strongest zeal, luke-warmness; under meekness, passion. This heart brings out much dross, which none would have thought had been in Job, and it is ordinary for God to discover corruption under the graces that are most eminent in his children. Patience is eminent in Job, yet here impatience kyths. In Abraham faith is eminent, yet Genesis 20.; a fit of unbelief takes hold of him. The Lord will blot out all faces, that all may be watchful, and none may despair. What if many of us were put to the half of that which Job was tried with, what fretting and cursing in another kind would there be; therefore be very humble, and not conceity23 nor vain, because of any little bit of grace ye have gotten, when so much lurks at the root of the height of grace that Job had.

Secondly, Observe, When God reckons the grace of his children, he reckons it with a large allowance, therefore this man is highly commended of God for all his infirmity, and James verse  set out for a pattern of patience. The best gold has need of allowance, and so has grace, and gets it here.  David had many foul slips, yet he is called man after God's own heart, and was perfect without turning aside either to the right hand or the left, except in the matter of Uriah, all his other faults are past over of the Holy Ghost. So also Asa he persecutes the prophet, oppresses the people, seeks to the physicians, &c. yet his heart was perfect with the Lord all his days, compare 1Kings 15.; with 2Chronicles 16:10; and this is a notable consolation when we reckon our own condition, to know how God reckons it. 2. It were also a good direction to us in reckoning the condition of others, not to follow any or our own, but count as God counts here.

Thirdly, Observe, That if believers get their own will under their trials, they would never do well, Job would do nothing but die, if he had gotten his will; but God is wiser then we. We often meddle with things too wonderful for us: O what impatience and fretting and rubbing on the sovereignty of God does often kyth in our fits of passion.

Fourthly, Whenever folks rubbs on the majesty of God, it is to their own prejudice, therefore Job is reproved for this. Give God his will, and justify him, and stoop before him.

Fifthly, Job under both the former trials and this, had peace with God and a good conscience, but now he finds God to look angry like, and dow not endure that, Observe, There's nothing so terrible as the wrath of God, when it looks a soul in the face, this made David roar; and if God be so terrible to his children in the way of trial, how terrible will he be to the wicked, when he shall not only hound out one devil, but all the devils in hell, and that without any limitation upon them, and they shall have no peace, nor no good conscience as Job had? When the little thing that Job felt is so terrible, what will it be when the wrath of the great and living God, and an unreconciled sinner meets? Fear to meet God, and have the cup of his wrath to drink. When a small drop of the brim is so bitter, what will the dregs be; when they shall be wrung out, and all the wicked of the earth shall be made to drink them, and they shall cry out for hills and mountains to cover them, and shall not get them, and though they would give all the world for one tear that fell from Job to wet their tongue, it shall not be granted them. Confider that word, Psalm 90:11. Who knows the power of thy wrath? For according to thy fear, so is thy wrath; and therefore pray, So teach us to number our days, as we may apply our hearts to wisdom.