on Job 2 :7
Sore boils - בשחין רע bischin ra, "with an evil inflammation." What this diabolical disorder was, interpreters are not agreed. Some think it was the leprosy, and this is the reason why he dwelt by himself, and had his habitation in an unclean place, without the city, (Septuagint, εξω της πωλεως), or in the open air: and the reason why his friends beheld him afar off, Job 2:12, was because they knew that the disorder was infectious.
His scraping himself with a potsherd indicates a disease accompanied with intolerable itching, one of the characteristics of the smallpox. Query, Was it not this disorder? And in order to save his life (for that he had in especial command) did not Satan himself direct him to the cool regimen, without which, humanly speaking, the disease must have proved fatal? In the elephantiasis and leprosy there is, properly speaking, no boil or detached inflammation, or swelling, but one uniform disordered state of the whole surface, so that the whole body is covered with loathsome scales, and the skin appears like that of the elephant, thick and wrinkled, from which appearance the disorder has its name. In the smallpox it is different; each pock or pustule is a separate inflammation, tending to suppuration; and during this process, the fever is in general very high, and the anguish and distress of the patient intolerable. When the suppuration is pretty far advanced, the itching is extreme; and the hands are often obliged to be confined to prevent the patient from literally tearing his own flesh.
on Job 2 :7
So went Satan forth - Job 1:12.
And smote Job with sore boils - The English word boil denotes the well-known turnout upon the flesh, accompanied with severe inflammation; a sore angry swelling. "Webster." The Hebrew word, however, is in the singular number שׁחין shechı̂yn, and should have been so rendered in our translation. Dr. Good renders it "a burning ulceration." The Vulgate translates it, "ulcere pessimo." The Septuagint, ἕλκει πονηρῶ helkei ponērō - "with a foul ulcer." The Hebrew word שׁחין shechı̂yn means a burning sore; an inflamed ulcer, a bile. "Gesenius." It is derived from שׁכן shâkan, an obsolete root, retained in Arabic, and meaning to be hot or inflamed. It is translated "bile" or "boil," in Exodus 9:9-11; Leviticus 13:18; 2 Kings 20:7;: Isaiah 28:21, (see the notes on that place), Leviticus 13:19-20; Job 2:7; and "botch," Deuteronomy 28:27, Deuteronomy 28:35. The word does not occur elsewhere in the Scriptures. In Deuteronomy 28:27, it means "the botch of Egypt," some species of leprosy, undoubtedly, which prevailed there.
In regard to the disease of Job, we may learn some of its characteristics, not only from the usual meaning of the word, but from the circumstances mentioned in the book itself. It was such that he took a potsherd to scrape himself with, Job 2:8; such as to make his nights restless, and full of tossings to and fro and to clothe his flesh with clods of dust, and with worms, and to break his flesh, or to constitute a running sore or ulcer, Job 7:4-5; such as to make him bite his flesh for pain, Job 13:14, and to make him like a rotten thing, or a garment that is moth eaten, Job 13:28; such that his face was foul with weeping, Job 16:16, and such as to fill him with wrinkles, and to make his flesh lean, Job 16:8; such as to make his breath corrupt, Job 17:1, and his bones cleave to his skin, Job 19:20, Job 19:26; such as to pierce his bones with pain in the night, Job 30:17, and to make his skin black, and to burn up his bones with heat, Job 30:30.
It has been commonly supposed that the disease of Job was a species of black leprosy commonly called "elephantiasis," which prevails much in Egypt. This disease received its name from ἐλέφας elefas, "an elephant," from the swelling produced by it, causing a resemblance to that animal in the limbs; or because it rendered the skin like that of the elephant, scabtons and dark colored. It is called by the Arabs judhām (Dr. Good), and is said to produce in the countenance a grim, distorted, and "lion-like" set of features, and hence has been called by some "Leontiasis." It is known as the black leprosy, to distinguish it from a more common disorder called "white leprosy" - an affection which the Greeks call "Leuce," or "whiteness." The disease of Job seems to have been a universal ulcer; producing an eruption over his entire person, and attended with violent pain, and constant restlessness. A universal bile or groups of biles ever the body would accord with the account of the disease in the various parts of the book. In the elephantiasis the skin is covered with incrustations like those of an elephant. It is a chronic and contagious disease, marked by a thickening of the legs, with a loss of hair and feeling, a swelling of the face, and a hoarse nasal voice. It affects the whole body; the bones as well as the skin are covered with spots and tumors, at first red, but afterward black. "Coxe, Ency. Webster." It should be added that the leprosy in all its forms was regarded as contagious, and of course involved the necessity of a separation from society; and all the circumstances attending this calamity were such as deeply to humble a man of the former rank and dignity of Job.
on Job 2 :7
2:7 Boils - Like those inflicted upon the Egyptians, which are expressed by the same word, and threatened to apostate Israelites, Deut 28:27, whereby he was made loathsome to himself, and to his nearest relations, and filled with consuming pains in his body, and no less torments and anguish in his mind.