Book of Job


Summary of the Book of Job

The book of Job is Narrative History.  It is possible that Job is the oldest of any book of the Bible. 

Scholars are divided on the location of the Land of Uz.  Some have suggested it was near Damascus; others, based on Lamentations 4:21, have placed it in the Land of Edom.  

Jeremiah wrote, “Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, you who dwell in the Land of Uz!”

The Edom location makes geographical sense in light of the Biblical statement of Jeremiah and the flora, fauna and material culture mentioned in the book. 

The ancient territory of Edom is located to the east and west of the Aravah, the Jordan Rift Valley that goes from the Dead Sa to the Red Sea, also known as the Gulf of Akaba or Eilat. 

On the west side of the Aravah, in Israel today, it goes from the Wilderness of Zin in the north to Eilat in the south. 

On the east side of the Aravah, in Jordan today, it goes from the Wadi Hasa (Brook Zered) in the north to Eilat in the south.

The land of Uz was perhaps made most famous by Job, a very righteous man, as described by God Himself (Job 1:8), who lost everything – his family, his health and his great wealth – in a severe test that God allowed Satan to inflict upon him.

After it was over, God restored it all, and much more, back to him.

The precise location of the land of Uz is uncertain, although The Bible record does provide some clues:

* The land may have originally been named after Uz, who was the son of Aram, and grandson of Shem (Gen 10:23, 1 Chr 1:17).

* One of Job’s friends, Eliphaz, came from Teman (Job 4:1), which is in Idumea.

* Uz was subject to attacks from Sabeans and Chaldeans (Job 1:15,17).

* It had to have fertile pastures, since Job had many thousands of animals.

* It had at least one major city, since Job sat at the city gate.

The two most likely locations for the land of Uz is in Arabia, east of Petra (today, northwestern Saudi Arabia), or more likely, in Bashan, east of The Sea Of Galilee and south of Damascus (today, western Jordan or southern Syria).

The Flora, Fauna and
Material Culture of the Land of Uz 

The flora, fauna and material culture of the book of Job fits the Aravah/Wilderness.  In his discourse on wisdom (Job 28), Job describes the mining operations in the Aravah region. 

Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place where gold is refined.  Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore.  Man puts an end to darkness, and searches every recess for ore in the darkness and the shadow of death.  He breaks open a shaft away from people; in places forgotten by feet.  They hang far away from men, they swing to and fro (28:1-4).  

While scholars debate the precise archaeological period of Job, the Timnah Copper mines just north of Eilat, did have small-scale mining activities during the Chalcolithic period (Rothenberg 1972: 24-64). 

It is interesting that the rock engravings from Chalcolithic Site 191 have ostriches on them, an animal mentioned several times in the book of Job (30:29; 39:13-18). 

Authorship 

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?
The Book of Job does not specifically name its author. The most likely candidates are Job, Elihu, Moses and Solomon.

The book opens with a scene in heaven where Satan comes to accuse Job before God.

He insists Job only serves God because God protects him and seeks God’s permission to test Job’s faith and loyalty.

God grants His permission, only within certain boundaries.

Why do the righteous suffer?

This is the question raised after Job loses his family, his wealth, and his health.

While there is no solid evidence as to the authorship of the book, three theories predominate. 

(1)   That Job himself wrote the book after the restoration of his possessions. He expresses the desire that such a book be written:

Oh that my words were now written!  Oh that they were printed in a book!  That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rocks forever! (Job 19:23-24). 

(2)   That Moses was the author. He would have lived in the same time period and probably been familiar with many of the details. He may have added the prologue (chapters 2 and 3) to give the setting; and the epilogue (chapter 42) to record the final outcome. Against this thought is that the events take place far from where Moses lived and the style is poetic, far different than that of the Pentateuch. 

(3)   That it was an unknown author of the time of the return from Babylonian captivity. This theory holds that the account was passed down from generation to generation by oral tradition and put into the written record centuries after the event.

Both the vocabulary used and the allegorized prologue are typical of writings of this time period. 

Chapters 

In Job, we see a man who is directly attacked by Satan, which illustrates God’s sovereignty and faithfulness during a time of great suffering.

Chapters 1-3 – God tests Job’s faithfulness through allowing Satan to attack him. God told Satan,

Behold, all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand (1:12). 

When you read the Bible as it happened chronologically, you quickly run into Job, a man who lived at the time of the Patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

And when you run into Job, you run into a bunch of theological questions that have perplexed mankind ever since.

Questions like, “why do the righteous suffer?”

Or, “how could a good God allow such evil?”

Or, “what in the world is God doing playing a chess match with Satan using Job as a pawn?”

Unfortunately, in a sense, Job wasn’t the only human being who bore the brunt of such inexplicable and devastating hardship.

Rather, he has become the emotional father of a long line of human beings whose lives have been brutally interrupted by pain, loss and inconsolable grief.

But fortunately, in a sense, since we all suffer, Job has also become the spiritual father for righteously and obediently trudging the path of grief to find at its end a God who is, through it all, loving and good, and who unfailingly works out his purposes for his own glory and for our good.

If you can’t understand the Book of Job it doesn’t mean you cannot have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a joyful life here on earth and later with Him.

When you have a personal relationship with Jesus you will still have problems, but if you cling to Him you will not be sad.

Frustrated, but not sad, only joy because you know Him.

If you follow Job’s footsteps you will have that personal relationship with Jesus, or in other words…

Through Job’s trials his wife tells him to curse God and commit suicide, but he remains strong and faithful,

In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (1:22). 

Chapters 4-37 – Job’s friends give him plenty of bad advice. They mistakenly blame his sufferings on his personal sins rather than God testing and growing Job.  One of them was half-correct in that God wanted to humble him, but this was only a part of God’s test.

Chapters 38-42 – God knows that Job had received incorrect guidance from his friends and He speaks directly to Job, saying, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” God fittingly declares that humans do not know everything.  

Conclusion 

In reality, the Lord Jesus Christ is the answer to Job’s problems.  It was the death of the Lord Jesus on Calvary’s cross that put an end to sin, defeated Satan and conquered the grave so there could be a resurrection.  

Just as Job trusted the Lord through his difficult situation, so each and every individual needs to trust the Lord Jesus for his or her salvation.  A person’s salvation is not dependent upon his or her good works, church membership or baptism.  It is dependent solely upon faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone as the one who died and paid for all sins and rose again from the dead.

When it comes to trials and testings in our lives, Dr. Henry Morris summarizes the message of the book of Job in this way: 

God’s central message to Job, and to us, is not an explanation of why the righteous suffer, but rather a call to sound belief in creation and an emphasis on our stewardship over creation, under God.  Afflictions that come our way can then be placed in proper context.  We belong to Him, both by creation and by redemption, and He has the right to do with us whatever He will.  We can trust Him, no matter what comes our way in this life, knowing that in the balances of eternity the Judge of all the earth will do right (Morris 1988: 108, 109). 

James, the son of Zebedee, sets forth Job as an example of patience.  He writes, 

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.  …My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.  Indeed we count them blessed who endure.  You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful (5:7a, 10, 11).

The Book of Job is very important to try and understand, tells so much about the love of God.

It is difficult to understand, but through my research (not theological knowledge because that type of knowledge I am without) I will do my best to help you understand it.  

As you read this story try and put yourself in Job’s shoes: his difficulties are yours; his friends are yours; his spouse is yours; and most of all realize that his God truly is your God. 

What happened to Job God did not only allow, but He promoted it for his own purpose.  It seems to be unfair and cruel, but God has His reasons for all that He does.  And of course, His reasons are always justified and He is “never wrong.” 

This story is mostly a conversation between Job, his three friends, and God.  Therefore, pictures will be few and far.