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Job 19:20 – Job Escapes by the Skin of His Teeth

Summary

Job has been summarizing his awful condition of rejection by God and all his friends and family. It is a wonder that he is still alive. He has escaped "by the skin of my teeth."

Analysis

Most people have heard or used the expression "by the skin of my teeth," meaning that surviving a dangerous experience was a very close call. Probably, very few people know that the phrase originated from the book of Job.

It is hard to know the origin of this phrase. Teeth do not have skin, though a thin film that covers the teeth when one wakes in the morning could perhaps be considered as "skin on the teeth." And it certainly would be thin skin. Maybe Job is referring to his emaciated condition where his bones stick out through his skin as in pictures of starving children in Africa or holocaust survivors.

Job 19:20


20 My bones cling to my skin and to my flesh,
   and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

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10 February 2011

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