Categories: Men in the Old Testament
- The word "Job" is an ancient Semitic
word with two meanings: "Where is my father?"
and "to hate." Both contribute to
our understanding of Job as presented in the
book. Job is both searching for God and feeling
hated by God.
- Job was a man of extraordinary goodness.
- Job lived in the land of Uz (east of Palestine
and beyond the land of promise).
- Job had seven sons and three daughters.
- He owned seven thousand sheep and three thousand
camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred
asses, plus many slaves.
- Job was the greatest man in all the East.
- Job took his parental duties to heart, offering
sacrifices just in case his sons had sinned
- Job pledged his allegiance to God with a solemn
- The wager between Satan and God was to give
Job an opportunity to honor God to whom he had
just pledged his loyalty.
- Satan's position was that Job only honored
God because he was prosperous, that his allegiance
was basically hypocritical. Satan maintained
that if Job were less fortunate, he would curse
- Satan was given permission to afflict Job.
- At the very time Job was offering sacrifices
for his children, they were all killed.
- Four messengers came with news of one catastrophe
after another. By the end of the day, Job had
lost his children, his animals, his crops, and
- Tearing his clothes and shaving his head were
signs of deep mourning.
- Job did not charge God with wrongdoing.
- Satan upped the wager, wanting to attack Job's
body. Satan is out to discredit God.
- He was given permission to "strike his
flesh and bones" but had to "spare
- Job was afflicted with painful sores from
his head to his toes.
- Job went outside the city walls and sat on
the town's ash heap - the place for outcasts.
- He used a potsherd to scrape himself, probably
to relieve the horrible itching.
- Job's wife implored him to "curse God
and die." (Obviously, she believed that
if he lashed out at God, God would strike him
dead, and he would be out of his misery.)
- Job rebuked his wife. He "did not sin
with his lips."
- Job's three friends arrived and sat with him
on the ash heap in silence for seven days.
- Seven days was the standard period of mourning
for an important person.
- They came to "comfort and console"
Job, to share his grief, and to ease his pain.
- Job's pain was visibly excruciating.
- Job broke the silence with his first lament,
indicating a state of despondency and spiritual
- He did not curse God, but he cursed the day
he was born.
- He wished that day had never occurred, that
it could be removed from time itself. But Job
never considered taking his own life. That would
be to admit there was no possibility of hope.
- Job's friends were so stunned by his misfortune
that they tried to convince him he must have
done something to deserve it.
- Job rejected their counsel and began his search
for some way to restore his relationship with
- Job believed in God with all his heart. He
believed God was the reason for his misery and
he wanted to know why.
- He accused his friends of not being helpful
and for not caring enough about him to support
him. He challenged them to prove him wrong.
- The more his friends argued against him, the
more adamant Job became that he needed to find
some way to be acquitted by God.
- After Bildad's first speech, Job began to
blame God for his misery - perhaps as a motivation
for his friends to help him take up his cause
- It didn't work, for when Zophar spoke, he
insinuated Job was getting less than he really
- Job begged to differ with them, said he was
not being treated justly.
- Trying to scare him into repenting, his friends
waxed long and often about the fate awaiting
those who are wicked (clearly Job in their eyes).
- Job recognized that God had closed their minds
and they could only rebuke him.
- Job felt abandoned by God, yet he expressed
great faith that ultimately God would vindicate
- Job warned his friends of the dangers of speaking
wrongfully about God.
- Job actually listened to his friends and often
quoted their words in his arguments against
- Through it all, Job maintained God's sovereignty.
- In the middle of the book, Job's statements
on Wisdom suggested man could never really understand
secrets known only to God. The answers lie with
God, but Job was not about to give up trying
to bring his case directly to God.
- He continued to protest his innocence and
lament the changed relationship between him
and God (note, Job never laments the loss of
- He put it very starkly: God either has to
vindicate him or show him to be a liar.
- He recalled his righteous behavior, listing
14 sins he did not commit. (This is not an example
of self-righteousness, but a reason for his
call for vindication.)
- He used the format of a legal argument and
ended his summation with an oath signed by his
- At this point, Elihu entered the fray.
- He accused the comforters of not making their
case. They could not prove Job was wrong in
his assertions about being blameless; therefore
their theology unwittingly condemned God.
- But Job was wrong, too. His demands to talk
to God were presumptuous since God is always
communicating to man - through dreams, angel
- Job had either refused to hear them, or rejected
them because he didn't like what they revealed.
- Elihu gave serious consideration to the disciplinary
aspect of suffering, and also argued that God
always does that which is right.
- Elihu asked, "If Job was so convinced
that God was unjust, why did he insist upon
being vindicated by Him?" That Job did
insist was an indication that Job really believed
God was just.
- Elihu was overwhelmed by the greatness of
- Then God spoke to Job out of the tempest.
- God did not address the issue of Job's innocence.
Innocent suffering may not have an intellectual
- The purpose of the theophany was to instruct
Job. God took Job on a walk through creation,
showing him the world in all its complexities.
Job had wanted answers; God gave him more questions.
But in his questions, Job came to understand
that God does know what he's doing.
- Job learned that God is trustworthy, faithful,
and merciful. His demand to bring his case before
God simply evaporated.
- He could only admit, "I am humbled."
"I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know."
- Job was vindicated through his faith in God's
goodness, which God has the power to maintain.
- Job had lamented that his relationship with
God had been severed; God demonstrated that
he had never abandoned Job.
- With Job satisfied, God rebuked his three
friends. They had "not spoken of him what
was right." They were able to make great
statements about God, but had no understanding
of them, repeatedly telling Job he was being
punished for his sins.
- God ordered them to go back to Job to make
atonement for their sins.
- After Job had offered his prayers for his
friends, God restored to him double of all that
he had had.
- All his relatives who had kept their distance
during his ordeal, now came to comfort and console
him, giving him gold and silver.
- Job had seven more sons and three daughters,
who were proclaimed to be the most beautiful
in the land. And Job gave them an inheritance
along with their brothers.
- Though we don't know how old Job was at the
beginning of his illness, he lived until the
age of 140.
- He died "old and full of years."
Alter, Robert and Frank Kermode. The Literary Guide to the Bible. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1987.
Anderson, Francis. "Job." Tyndale Old Testament Commentary. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Gibson, John. "Job." The Daily Study Bible Series. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1985.
Hartley, John. "The Book of Job." The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B Eerdmans,1988.
Janzen, J. Gerald. "Job." Interpretation. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1985.
Mills, Watson and Richard Wilson. Mercer Commentary on the Bible. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1995.
Smick, Elmer. "Job." The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. Gaebelein, Frank, Ed., 1988.