Job 2:8
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.

King James Bible
And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

Darby Bible Translation
And he took a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat among the ashes.

World English Bible
He took for himself a potsherd to scrape himself with, and he sat among the ashes.

Young's Literal Translation
And he taketh to him a potsherd to scrape himself with it, and he is sitting in the midst of the ashes.

Job 2:8 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

And he took him a potsherd - The word used here חרשׁ chârâsh means a fragment of a broken vessel; see the notes at Isaiah 45:9. The Septuagint renders it ὄστρακον ostrakon - "a shell." One object of taking this was to remove from his body the filth accumulated by the universal ulcer, compare Job 7:4-5; and another design probably was, to "indicate" the greatness of his calamity and sorrow. The ancients were accustomed to show their grief by significant external actions (compare the notes at Job 1:20), and nothing could more strongly denote the greatness of the calamity, than for a man of wealth, honor, and distinction, to sit down in the ashes, to take a piece of broken earthen-ware, and begin to scrape his body covered over with undressed and most painful sores. It does not appear that anything was done to heal him, or any kindness shown in taking care of his disease. It would seem that he was at once separated from his home, as a man whom none would venture to approach, and was doomed to endure his suffering without sympathy from others.

To scrape himself withal - The word used here גרד gârad has the sense of grating, scraping, sawing; or to scrape or rasp with an edged tool. The same word identically, as to letters, is used at present among the Arabs; meaning to rasp or scrape with any kind of tool. The idea here seems to be, that Job took the pieces of broken pottery that he found among the ashes to scrape himself with.

And he sat down among the ashes - On the expressions of grief among the ancients, see the notes at Job 1:20. The general ideas of mourning among the nations of antiquity seem to have been, to strip off all their ornaments; to put on the coarsest apparel, and to place themselves in the most humiliating positions. To sit on the ground (see the note at Isaiah 3:26), or on a heap of ashes, or a pile of cinders, was a common mode of expressing sorrow; see the note at Isaiah 58:5. To wear sackcloth to shave their heads and their beards and to abstain from pleasant food and from all cheerful society, and to utter loud and long exclamations or shrieks, was also a common mode of indicating grief. The Vulgate renders this "sedates in sterquilinio," "sitting on a dunghill." The Septuagint, "and he took a shell to scrape off the ichor (ἰχῶρα ichōra) the "sanies," or filth produced by a running ulcer, and sat upon the ashes "out of the city,"" implying that his grief was so excessive that he left the city and his friends, and went out to weep alone.

Job 2:8 Parallel Commentaries

Library
It is Indeed a Greater Fight of Patience...
9. It is indeed a greater fight of patience, when it is not a visible enemy that by persecution and rage would urge us into crime which enemy may openly and in broad day be by not consenting overcome; but the devil himself, (he who doth likewise by means of the children of infidelity, as by his vessels, persecute the children of light) doth by himself hiddenly attack us, by his rage putting us on to do or say something against God. As such had holy Job experience of him, by both temptations vexed,
St. Augustine—On Patience

Illness and Patience of the Saint. The Story of a Priest whom She Rescued from a Life of Sin.
1. I forgot to say how, in the year of my novitiate, I suffered much uneasiness about things in themselves of no importance; but I was found fault with very often when I was blameless. I bore it painfully and with imperfection; however, I went through it all, because of the joy I had in being a nun. When they saw me seeking to be alone, and even weeping over my sins at times, they thought I was discontented, and said so. 2. All religious observances had an attraction for me, but I could not endure
Teresa of Avila—The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus

Cross References
Job 2:9
Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!"

Job 42:6
Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes."

Jeremiah 6:26
O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth And roll in ashes; Mourn as for an only son, A lamentation most bitter. For suddenly the destroyer Will come upon us.

Ezekiel 27:30
And they will make their voice heard over you And will cry bitterly. They will cast dust on their heads, They will wallow in ashes.

Jonah 3:6
When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.

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