About this book
Job was a very rich man, and although he did not belong to the people of Israel, he worshipped the Lord and was a truly good person. But Satan talked to God and accused Job of serving God only because God was blessing him. God agreed to let Satan take away Job's wealth, his children, and finally, his health, to see whether Job would stay faithful to God. Job did remain faithful.
Then three of Job's friends came to comfort him. They believed that health and prosperity were signs of God's blessing. And because Job had lost both his health and his prosperity, the three friends insisted that God must be punishing Job for some sin. Job answered that he was innocent, and this meant that they were wrong. Job and the friends argued back and forth, with neither side really proving the other wrong, although at the end of the argument, the friends gave up.
Job was suffering deeply, and several times during the argument he asked God to appear and explain the reason for his suffering. Then, after the friends stopped speaking, Job decided that human beings cannot find the kind of wisdom that gives answers to the deep questions of life. Only God has that wisdom. Job ended his speeches by swearing that he was innocent of doing wrong.
At this point, a young bystander named Elihu began talking. He repeated some of what had already been said, but he also criticized both sides of the argument. Elihu finished with a poem praising God's care for nature.
God finally did appear to Job, but he did not explain Job's suffering. Instead, God showed that the many things he does cannot be understood by humans; humans cannot do what God does. God criticized Job for talking so much when he knew so little, but he also said that Job had remained his faithful servant. And so, at the very end, the book tells how God blessed Job and made him twice as wealthy as he had been before.
Job never did understand why he had suffered; he felt bitter, but he never rejected God or turned away from him. Job was convinced that some day, God would rescue him:
I know that my Saviour lives,
and at the end
he will stand on this earth.
My flesh may be destroyed,
yet from this body
I will see God.
Yes, I will see him for myself,
and I long for that moment.
A quick look at this book
1. Job loses his wealth, family, and health (1.1—2.13)
2. Job curses the day of his birth (3.1–26)
3. The first round of the debate (4.1—14.22)
4. The second round of the debate (15.1—21.34)
5. The third round of the debate (22.1—26.14)
6. Job's closing statements (27.1—30.31)
7. Job swears that he is innocent (31.1–40)
8. Elihu's speeches (32.1—37.24)
9. God's first speech (38.1—39.30)
10. God's second speech and Job's responses (40.1—42.6)
11. The Lord again blesses Job with health, wealth, and family (42.7–17)