The external layer of the body of a human or an animal. The skin is classified as an organ of the body, and indeed it performs many functions for the body’s well-being, including protection, regulation of body temperature, and removal of certain waste materials.
According to the Law, skins of animals used for certain sin offerings were burned outside the camp of Israel, or outside the gate of Jerusalem. (Ex 29:14; Le 4:11, 12; 8:17; 9:11; 16:27; Heb 13:11) The priest received the skin of an animal presented by an Israelite for a burnt offering.—Le 7:8.
Jehovah provided skin garments for Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness, after they had sinned. (Ge 3:21) Undressed skins were used for garments by some, notably some of the prophets (2Ki 1:8), including some false prophets. (Zec 13:4) Animal skins also served for sandals (Eze 16:3, 10); to make bags (1Sa 17:40) and skin bottles for water, milk, and wine (Ge 21:14; Jos 9:13; Jg 4:19; Mt 9:17); as drumheads; and possibly as a sounding base for the neʹvel or “stringed instrument.” (Isa 5:12) Skins were used as coverings for the tabernacle.—Ex 25:2, 5; 26:14; 35:7, 23; 36:19.
Skin of sheep, goats, or calves was also employed as a writing material.—See PARCHMENT.
Figurative Use. Concerning Job, Satan said to Jehovah: “Skin in behalf of skin, and everything that a man has he will give in behalf of his soul.” (Job 2:4) The Devil thereby challenged man’s integrity, claiming that Job would curse God if his own physical well-being was impaired.
Job himself said: “I escape with the skin of my teeth.” (Job 19:20) Other readings of the above scripture have been proposed by translators, but these require adjustments in the Hebrew text. It does not seem to be necessary to endeavor to explain Job’s statement in the light of discoveries that scientists have made in recent times with the aid of microscopes. It seems that Job was simply saying that he had escaped with nothing or with next to nothing. He had escaped with the skin of his teeth, that is, with the “skin” of what apparently has no skin.