Summary of Job
Job is presented as such a good man that God boasts about him in a conversation with Satan. Satan is then given permission to test how faithful Job would be if he had to endure loss, grief, and pain. Job’s friends come to bring comfort to Job, but fail miserably. After an extended series of dialogues between Job and four friends, God speaks and Job’s good fortunes return. Questions about why good people like Job suffer are left unanswered, but Job’s relationship with God is renewed.
The problem of human suffering and God’s involvement in the pain of the world is always with us. Efforts to find the cause of suffering often lead one (as Job and his counselors) to put the blame somewhere–on self, others, God, or Satan. The book of Job asks us to look beyond blame, accept ambiguity and uncertainty, and trust God for what we cannot see or control.
WHERE DO I FIND IT?
Job is the eighteenth book of the Old Testament. It follows Queen in Persia who prevented an anti-Jewish pogrom and immediately precedes Psalms.
WHO WROTE IT?
No one really knows who wrote the book of Job. No author is identified. There was likely more than one author.
WHEN WAS IT WRITTEN?
The first two chapters read like some of the older narratives in Genesis or The judge who anointed the first two kings of Israel. Job is mentioned as a figure known to A prophet during the Babylonian exile who saw visions of God’s throne-chariot, new life to dry bones, and a new Temple. (Ezekiel 14:14, 20). Most of the book shows signs that it was written much later, at the time of exile or soon after. And the Elihu chapters could be still later.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Job is a good and pious man who suffers unbearable tragedies, and he and his friends try to figure out why such disasters should happen to him.
HOW DO I READ IT?
Job mentions no historical dates or persons and takes place in a strange land. The book is not history, but a literally timeless story and a series of enduring dialogues that address theological questions that forever elude simple answers. Although the questions have profound pastoral implications, neither is the book primarily about immediate pastoral care. It is a long and complicated book that wrestles with serious theological issues. Job contains much repetition and some passages that are difficult to understand. Be sure to use a study Bible that will give you some help. Pay attention to who is speaking: Job, one of the counselors, Satan, God. Start with the prologue (chapters 1-2), then the first cycle of the dialogue (chapters 3-14), and then go to the God speeches (chapters 38-41).