The Book of Job is close to Ecclesiastes in its format of reasoning about the higher questions of life. Why does a loving God allow suffering? Why does God allow the righteous to suffer and many wicked to prosper? Since both the wicked and the righteous die: Is this physical existence and universal physical death, all there is to life?
In the broader picture, Job is an example of the patient loyalty to God of a righteous man, during intense trials. Job knows that God could deliver him and remains loyal and faithful to God throughout his testing; absolutely loyal to God in spite of his personal sufferings. But Job does has an unnoticed problem; he continually defends his own integrity, justifying himself.
The book of Job is also filled with messages about humility before God, the transitory nature of physical things and the Greatness and Glory of God.
The name Job (pron.: /ˈdʒoʊb/; Hebrew: אִיוֹב ʾ iyobh), commonly referred to in English as Job. The English is from ‘Iyowb, or ē·yōve’ and in Arabic Ayyub, and more properly pronounced in English as “ee-yob”, the letter “J” being a relatively modern invention should not properly be applied to this ancient word.
Job means “hated”
Like most Old Testament books, Job was originally written in Hebrew. And like the Psalms, Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and large portions of the prophetic books, Job is poetry.
Most people today think of poetry in terms of rhythm and rhyme.
Hebrew verse, however, consists of a balance of thoughts more than of words and sounds. Such balance is called parallelism. This means that one line in Hebrew poetry parallels the next. The second part of a verse echoes the idea of the first, contrasts with it, or expands on it. The following are some illustrations of parallelism in Job.
Here Job wishes he had never been born:
Part One: “May the day of my birth perish,”
Part Two echoes back with: “and the night it was said, A boy is born!” (Job 3:3)
Part One: “Is not your wickedness great?”
Part Two: “Are not your sins endless?” (Job 22:5)
The point of Ecclesiastes and Job is that God is far greater than man, and God works according to his own purposes and not man’s, for the purpose of the ultimate good of his creation. And that sometimes even good men must suffer for the greater good, as they and others are molded into what God has ordained for each one; and that there is indeed far more to life than mere physical life ending with the grave, as the concepts of salvation from death and the eternal life are introduced.
Job lived about 2,000 BC, just after the days of Abraham. Job is described as living in the land of Buz which later became a part of Edom just south of the Dead Sea and was a friend of the immediate children of Esau who were famous for their wisdom at that time. This puts Job as living during the time of Jacob.
Bildad, son of Shuach [Also called Shuach, was the sixth and last of Keturah’s sons [by Abraham] has a name meaning wealth (Strong: SHD 7744). He was the progenitor of the Shuhites, the most notable of whom was Bildad, son of Shuach, and one of Job’s ‘comforters’ (Job 2:11).
The biblical account of Job records another interesting proof of Job.
Another of Job’s friends is mentioned in Job 2:11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite
This Eliphaz was the duke Timnah, Gen 36:40]: —This Eliphaz [Timnah] is the first son of Esau! Eliphaz [Timnah] dwelled in a village of Mount Seir and named his land and his son Temen after himself.
Genesis 36:8 Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom. 36:9 And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir: 36:10 These are the names of Esau’s sons; Eliphaz [also called Timnah Gen 36:40] the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau.
Eliphaz [Timnah] was the firstborn son of Esau; and Shuach, the sixth and last of Keturah’s sons by Abraham was the father of Bildad. Both of Job’s friends being son’s of Esau would date Job to the era of the sons of Esau.
Mount Seir was named for Seir, the Horite, whose offspring had inhabited the area (Genesis 14:6, 36:20) until the children of Esau (the Edomites) moved into the area and gradually absorbed or assimilated the Horites and took possession of the city (Deuteronomy 2:4-5, 12, 22).
From that time Mount Seir has become synonymous with Esau who took possession of Seir and the Horites living there. (Genesis 32:3; 33:14, 16; 36:8; Joshua 24:4).
Job is described in a Syriac text as living in the land of Ausis, on the borders of Idumea and Arabia: and his name before was Jobab; and having taken an Arabian wife, he begot a son whose name was Ennon. And he himself was the son of his father Zare, one of the sons of Esau, and of his mother Bosorrha.
It appears that Job was a ruler or great man in the area of Mount Seir and that his three friends were his close advisers, all of whom were the son’s of Esau
Noah, Daniel, and Job are presented in scripture as some of the most righteous and wisest men who have even lived.
God calls Job “perfect” before him, just as God said that Noah was “perfect” during the generations in which he lived. God inspired Ezekiel to write of the now soon coming great tribulation like this.
Ezekiel 14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
This is a third person account of the testing of Job.
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
1:2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 1:3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
1:4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day [they took turns partying EVERY DAY; this has NOTHING to do with birthdays] ; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
When his children were feasting, Job feared that in a drunken state they might do some evil deed; and so Job prayed for and made offerings for his children. Job’s offerings were continual which means the feasting was probably continual.
1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
The sons of God here were angels and were sons by virtue of having been created by God. This refers to spirit angelic beings, since flesh cannot cross the expanse between the earth and God’s throne.
1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
God asks the Adversary where he has been and what he has been doing and Satan is evasive.
1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
God then asks Satan about Job, clearly intending to bring Job to Satan’s attention for God’s own purpose. What follows is not only a lesson for Job, it is a lesson for all who read this story and it was a lesson for Satan himself.
1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
Satan responds to God’s praise of Job with the accusation that Job is faithful to God only for a reward. This accusation by Satan is very true of very many religions people today, who are merely going through the motions of what they think is necessary to gain a reward from God.
One of the many lessons of Job is that we as the espoused bride are to be faithful in BOTH good times and bad; while being blessed and when we are suffering.
Job is a lesson that God the Almighty is sovereign and does as He wills, which is for the good of His people. Often there is a greater good in experiencing various things, than there is in some immediate blessing.
Trials teach us; patience, faith, perseverance, humility, wisdom as we learn, empathy for others and help us to understand the transitory nature and weakness of the flesh, and our need for God’s deliverance.
Job is also an allegory of the converted life; those who endure all things in this life to obey and please God shall have their reward in the future.
All the things that we lose or give up for zeal to God; will be replaced and far more at the appointed time.
Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 1:10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
Satan then challenges God to prove Job’s faithfulness by taking away his blessings right down to his health.
It is VERY important to understand that when we are zealous and faithful for God and his commandments; we WILL be persecuted by Satan. This account demonstrates that Satan can do NOTHING unless God permits it, and God permits only what he knows is for our ultimate good.
God allows trials to test and build stronger character in his people. A lack of physical blessings does not mean that God is not working with us. See Hebrews 11.
1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
God gives Satan permission to test Job and Satan removes all of Job’s wealth and blessings including his ten children.
Consider this man’s love for his children that he made sacrifice and gave his substance just in case they MIGHT have possibly sinned. Consider the agony of spirit that must have fallen on Job who did not know about the heavenly conversation and that this came as a complete surprise and overwhelming shock.
As a parent, I weep for Job in these sufferings; yet God allowed a righteous man to suffer so that he might be further perfected.
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Job 1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
1:13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: 1:14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: 1:15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
1:16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
1:17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
1:18While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: 1:19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
Who among us has this attitude of Job?
1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
In his hour of trial, Job mourned and sought out the Eternal and was absolutely faithful.
1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Now The angels and Satan appeared before God to give an account of their activities, and God inquires of Satan, only to have Satan evade the question.
Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
2:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
God then asks Satan about Job’s loyalty to God in spite of his trials. Here God admits that this trial of Job was without cause as Job would have understood the situation, yet there was a godly purpose which Satan did not comprehend.
2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
Satan responds, saying that Job is loyal for fear of his life. Let me ask this also: How many of the brethren are loyal to a corporate church organization out of FEAR; that leaving their group will cut them off from God and eternal life?
The exact opposite is the truth; exalting an organization of men and their traditions; cuts one off from God: and only by NOT idolizing men and traditions, only by being absolutely faithful and zealous for our God and his commandments will we be and remain reconciled to God!
2:4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
2:5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
God then gives Satan full authority to strike Job with plagues.
2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
Satan then strikes Job with painful boils over his entire body. A boil is a large swelling puss filled very painful eruption; and Job takes a potsherd to scrape away the puss and to try and ease his pain by applying pressure.
2:7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. 2:8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
In his great distress his wife advises him to blame God for his suffering and seek death. After all it does seem that God was being unjust and trying Job for no reason apparent to the couple.
The lesson here is that when we are in trials we must not blame God for supposedly bringing a trial without a reason. We must patiently ask God to reveal to us the reasons for the trial and to teach us the things that God wants us to learn from the situation.
2:9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
Yet Job remained faithful and zealous for God and rebuked his wife, insisting that man must submit to God in good and bad times.
2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
Now the three friends of Job met with him to comfort him and to try and help him.
2:11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.
For seven days and nights they mourned with Job, speechless at his affliction; thinking perhaps about the possible reasons for so great a suffering, so as to advise and help their good friend.
2:12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. 2:13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.
A complex discussion now begins which contains many truths and errors by the various participants.
Job speaks out in his agony and curses his life for all its sorrows and suffering; saying that is would be better to never have lived than to experience such sufferings. He asks the question; Why live at all, if it holds such agonies?
Job 3:1 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.
3:2 And Job spake, and said, 3:3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. 3:4 Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. 3:5 Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.
3:6 As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. 3:7 Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.
3:8 Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.
3:9 Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day: 3:10 Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.
Job laments in his suffering that it would have been far better to not have even been born.
3:11 Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? 3:12Why did the knees [not hold back from giving birth] prevent me? or why [were] the breasts [full of milk] that I should suck? 3:13 For now should I have lain still and been quiet [in death], I should have slept: then had I been at rest [from all this suffering of body and spirit],
Job wanted to be dead, which is the end of all flesh, from the greatest to the least; so that his suffering would also end.
3:14 With kings and counsellors of the earth, which build desolate places [graves] for themselves; 3:15 Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver: 3:16 Or as an hidden untimely birth [so that] I had not been; as infants which never saw light.
3:17 There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest. 3:18 There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. 3:19 The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.
Job asks; Why live only to suffer?
3:20 Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul; 3:21 Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig [seek death] for it more than for hid treasures; 3:22 Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave? 3:23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in? 3:24 For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.
Job had feared for his children and safety; and trusted in his wealth.
3:25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. 3:26 I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.