Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Job 2:11

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Job's three friends - The first was Eliphaz the Temanite; or, as the Septuagint has it, Ελιφαζ ὁ Θαιμανων βασιλευς, Eliphaz the king on the Thaimanites. Eliphaz was one of the sons of Esau; and Teman, of Eliphaz, Genesis 36:10, Genesis 36:11. Teman was a city of Edom, Jeremiah 49:7-20; Ezekiel 25:13; Amos 1:11, Amos 1:12.

Bildad the Shuhite - Or, as the Septuagint, Βαλδαδ ὁ Συχεων τυραννος, Baldad, tyrant of the Suchites. Shuah was the son of Abraham by Keturah: and his posterity is reckoned among the Easterns. It is supposed he should be placed with his brother Midian, and his brother's sons Sheba and Dedan. See Genesis 25:2, Genesis 25:3. Dedan was a city of Edom, see Jeremiah 49:8, and seems to have been situated in its southern boundary, as Teman was in its western. Ezekiel 25:13.

Zophar the Naamathite - Or, according to the Septuagint, Σωφαρ Μιναιων Βασιλευς, Sophar king of the Minaites. He most probably came from that Naamah, which was bordering upon the Edomites to the south and fell by lot to the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:21-41. These circumstances, which have already been mentioned in the introduction, prove that Job must have dwelt in the land of Edom, and that all his friends dwelt in Arabia Petraea, or in the countries immediately adjacent. That some of those Eastern people were highly cultivated, we have at least indirect proof in the case of the Temanites, Jeremiah 49:7; : Concerning Edom thus saith the Lord of hosts, Is wisdom no more in Teman? Is counsel perished from the prudent? Is their wisdom vanished? They are celebrated also in Baruch 3:22, 23. Speaking of wisdom he says: It hath not been heard of in Chanaan; neither hath it been seen in Theman. The Agarenes that seek wisdom upon earth, the merchants of Meran and of Theman, the expounders of fables, and searchers out of understanding, none of these have known the way of wisdom. It is evident enough from these quotations that the inhabitants of those districts were celebrated for their knowledge; and the sayings of Job's three friends are proofs that their reputation for wisdom stood on a very solid foundation.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Now when Job‘s three friends heard - It would seem from this that these men were his particular friends.

They came every one from his own place - His residence. This was the result of agreement or appointment thus to meet together.

Eliphaz the Temanite - This was the most prominent of his friends. In the ensuing discussion he regularly takes the lead, advances the most important and impressive considerations, and is followed and sustained by the others. The Septuagint renders this Ελιφὰζ ὁ Θαιμαινῶν βασιλεὺς Elifaz ho Thaimainōn basileus - Eliphaz, the king of the Themanites. The Hebrew does not intimate that he held any office or rank. The word rendered “Temanite” תימני têymânı̂y is a patronymic from תמן têmân meaning properly “at the right hand,” and then “the South.” The Hebrew geographers are always represented as looking to the East, and not toward the North, as we do; and hence, with them, the right hand denotes the South. Teman or Theman was a son of Eliphaz, and grandson of Esau; see Genesis 36:15, where he is spoken of as “duke” or prince אלוּף 'alûph a head of a family or tribe, a chieftain.

He is supposed to have lived on the east of Idumea. Eusebius places Thaeman in Arabia Petrara, five miles from Petra (see the notes at Isaiah 16:1), and says that there was a Roman garrison there. The Temanites were cclebrated for wisdom. “Is wisdom no more in Teman?” Jeremiah 49:7. The country was distinguished also for producing men of strength: “And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed;” Obadiah 1:9. That this country was a part of Idumea is apparent, not only from the fact that Teman was a descendant of Esau, who settled there, but from several places in the Scriptures. Thus, in Ezekiel 25:13, it is said, “I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and I will make it desolate from Toman, and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword.” In Amos 1:12, Teman is mentioned as in the vicinity of Bozrah, at one time the capital of Idumea: “But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah;” see the notes at Isaiah 21:14. The inhabitants of this country were distinguished in early times for wisdom, and particularly for that kind of wisdom which is expressed in close observation of men and manners, and the course of events, and which was expressed in proverbs. Thus, they are mentioned in the book of Baruch, 3:23: “The merchants of Meran and of Theman, the authors of fables, and searchers out of understanding,” οἱ μυθολόγοι καὶ οἱ ἐκζητηταὶ τῆς συνέσεως hoi muthologoi kai hoi ekzētētai tēs suneseōs And Bildad the Shuhite - The second speaker uniformly in the following argument. The Septuagint renders this, “Bildad the sovereign of the Saucheans,” Σαυχέων τύραννος Saucheōn turannos Shuah שׁוּח shûach (meaning a pit) was the name of a son of Abraham, by Keturah, and also of an Arabian tribe, descended from him, Genesis 25:2. “The country of the Shuhites,” says Gesenius, “was not improbably the same with the Σακκαία Sakkaia of Ptolemy, v. 15, eastward of Batanea.” But the exact situation of the Shubites is unknown. It is difficult to determine the geography of the tribes of Arabia, as many of them are migratory and unsettled. It would seem that Bildad did not reside very far from Eliphaz, for they made an “agreement” to go and visit Job.

And Zophar the Naamathite - An inhabitant of Naamah, whose situation is unknown. The Septuagint renders this, “Zophar, king of the Minaians - Μιναίων βασιλεύς Minaiōn basileus A place by the name of Naamah is mentioned in Joshua 15:41, as in the limits of the tribe of Judah. But this was a considerable distance from the residence of Job, and it is not probable that Zophar was far from that region. Conjecture is useless as to the place where he lived. The Editor of the Pictorial Bible, however, supposes that Zophar was from the town in Judah mentioned in Joshua 15:41. He observes that this town is “mentioned in a list of the uttermost cities of Judah‘s lot, ‹toward the coast of Edom southward; ‹ it is further among that portion of those towns that lay ‹in the valley‘ Joshua 15:33, wbich valley is the same that contained Joktheel Joshua 15:38, which is supposed to have been Petra. Naamah was probably, therefore, in or near the Ghor or valley which extends from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Akaba. - These considerations,” he adds, “seem to establish the conclusion that the scene of this book is laid in the land of Edom.” In the first part of this verse, a remarkable addition occurs in the Chaldee paraphrase. - It is as follows: “And the three friends of Job heard of all the evil which had come upon him, and when they saw the trees of his gardens (Chaldean, “Paradise” פרדסיהון ) that they were dried up, and the bread of his support that it was turned into living flesh (לבסרא אתהפך סעודתחון ולחם חיא ), and the wine of his drink turned into blood (אתהפך משתיחון וחמר לדמא ).”

Here is evidently the doctrine of “transubstantiation,” the change of bread into flesh, and of wine into blood, and bears the marks of having been interpolated by some friend of the papacy. But when or by whom it was done is unknown. It is a most stupid forgery. The evident intention of it was to sustain the doctrine of transubstantiation, by the plea that it was found far back in the times of Job, and that it could not be regarded, therefore, as an absurdity. To what extent it has ever been used by the advocates of that doctrine, I have no means of ascertaining. Its interpolation here is a pretty sure proof of the conviction of the author of it that the doctrine is not found in any fair interpretation of the Bible.

For they had made an appointment together - They had agreed to go together, and they evidently set out on the journey together. The Chaldee - or someone who has interpolated a passage in the Chaldee - has introduced a circumstance in regard to the design of their coming, which savors also of the Papacy. It is as follows: “They came each one from his place, and for the merit of this they were freed from the place destined to them in Gehenna,” a passage evidently intended to defend the doctrine of “purgatory,” by the authority of the ancient Chaldee Paraphrase.

To come to mourn with him, and to comfort him - To show the appropriate sympathy of friends in a time of special calamity. They did not come with an intention to reproach him, or to charge him with being a hypocrite.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The friends of Job seem noted for their rank, as well as for wisdom and piety. Much of the comfort of this life lies in friendship with the prudent and virtuous. Coming to mourn with him, they vented grief which they really felt. Coming to comfort him, they sat down with him. It would appear that they suspected his unexampled troubles were judgments for some crimes, which he had vailed under his professions of godliness. Many look upon it only as a compliment to visit their friends in sorrow; we must look life. And if the example of Job's friends is not enough to lead us to pity the afflicted, let us seek the mind that was in Christ.
Ellen G. White
Education, 155

Very early in the history of the world is given the life record of one over whom this controversy of Satan's was waged. Ed 155.1

Of Job, the patriarch of Uz, the testimony of the Searcher of hearts was, “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil.” Ed 155.2

Against this man, Satan brought scornful charge: “Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast Thou not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? ... Put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath;” “touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.” Ed 155.3

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Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 198

About this time I was shown that my husband must not labor in preaching, or with his hands. That a little over exercise then would place him in a hopeless condition. At this he wept and groaned. Said he, “Must I then become a church pauper?” Again I was shown that God designed to raise him up gradually. That we must exercise strong faith, for in every effort we should be fiercely buffeted by Satan. That we must look away from outward appearance, and believe. Three times a day we went alone before God, and engaged in earnest prayer for the recovery of his health. This was the whole burden of our petitions, and frequently one of us would be prostrated by the power of God. The Lord graciously heard our earnest cries, and my husband began to recover. For many months our prayers ascended to heaven three times a day for health to do the will of God. These seasons of prayer were very precious. We were brought into a sacred nearness to God, and had sweet communion with him. 2SG 198.1

I cannot better state my feelings at this time than they are expressed in the following extracts from a letter I wrote to Sr. Howland: 2SG 199.1

“I feel thankful that I can now have my children with me, under my own watchcare, and can better train them in the right way. For weeks I have felt a hungering and thirsting for salvation, and we have enjoyed almost uninterrupted communion with God. Why do we stay away from the fountain when we can come and drink? Why do we die for bread when there is a storehouse full? It is rich and free. O my soul, feast upon it, and daily drink in heavenly joys. I will not hold my peace. The praise of God is in my heart, and upon my lips. We can rejoice in the fullness of our Saviour's love. We can feast upon his excellent glory. My soul testifies to this. My gloom has been dispersed by this precious light, and I can never forget it. Lord help me to keep it in lively remembrance. Awake, all the energies of my soul! Awake, and adore thy Redeemer for his wondrous love. 2SG 199.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 350

I am urged by the Spirit of God to say to you who have a connection with the Lord's work, Never forget that you are wholly dependent upon God; and if you pass one hour or one moment without relying upon His grace, without keeping the heart open to receive the wisdom that is not earthborn, being sure that without Christ ye can do nothing, you will be unable to distinguish between the common and the sacred fire. Words of a very forbidden character will flash from your lips to destroy hope and courage and faith. Thus it is written in the books of heaven: Your words were not inspired of God, but of the enemy that wounded and bruised Christ in the person of His purchased possession. Souls of infinite value were treated indifferently, turned from, left to struggle under temptation, and forced on Satan's battleground. TM 350.1

Job's professed friends were miserable comforters, making his case more bitter and unbearable, and Job was not guilty as they supposed. Those who are under the pain and distress of their own wrongdoing, while Satan is seeking to drive them to despair, are the very ones who need help the most. The intense agony of the soul that has been overcome by Satan and is feeling worsted and helpless—how little is it comprehended by those who should meet the erring one with tender compassion! TM 350.2

Most pitiable is the condition of one who is suffering under remorse; he is as one stunned, staggering, sinking into the dust. And many who suppose themselves to be righteous, become exasperating comforters; they deal harshly with these souls. In manifesting this hardness of heart in offending and oppressing, they are doing the very same work which Satan delights in doing. The tried, tempted soul cannot see anything clearly. The mind is confused; he knows not just what steps to take. Oh, then, let no word be spoken to cause deeper pain! TM 350.3

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