Job is not a sinner (Job 1:22-1:22)

“In all this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing.”

This is the great Job. He never sinned. He never charged God with any wrongdoing. He accepted what God had given and what God had taken away. This was not an angry man, nor a man upset at things in his life. We shall see as things go along what happens to him.

Job prays to Yahweh (Job 1:20-1:21)

“Then Job arose. He tore his robe. He shaved his head. He fell upon the ground. He worshiped. He said.

‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb.

Naked shall I return.

Yahweh gave.

Yahweh has taken away.

Blessed be the name of Yahweh.’”

Job tore his clothes and shaved his head, as these actions were the rituals of mourning.  He fell on the ground and prayed to Yahweh, even though he was not an Israelite. As an upright man in this story, he would have worshipped Yahweh, if he knew about him. Nevertheless, the author of this work has him refer to God as Yahweh. He came into the world naked and so he would leave this earth without anything. He seemed to make a parallel between his mother’s womb and mother earth, where he came from and where he is going. Thus the earth was both womb and tomb. Yahweh gave him wealth and now Yahweh has taken it away. Blessed be Yahweh, with or without wealth. This is the great wisdom thought, that wealth was not that important. However wisdom was important.

The problems of Job (Job 1:13-1:19)

“One day Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother’s house. A messenger came to Job and said.

‘The oxen were plowing.

The donkeys were feeding beside them.

The Sabeans fell upon them.

They carried them off.

They killed the servants with the edge of the sword.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said.

‘The fire of God fell from heaven.

It burned up the sheep and the servants.

It consumed them.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said.

‘The Chaldeans formed three columns.

They made a raid upon the camels.

They carried them off.

They killed the servants with the edge of the sword.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said.

‘Your sons and daughters were eating

And drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house.

Suddenly a great wind came across the desert.

It struck the four corners of the house.

It fell on the young people.

They are dead.

I alone have escaped to tell you.’”

Once again, we begin with the once upon a time concept of “one day” back here on earth. The 10 children of Job were eating and drinking wine together. In a very oral stylistic format, 4 messengers, one after another come to tell him the bad news about his estate and his family. The repetition of lines for each group indicates an oral tradition that made it easy to remember. First, the Sabeans, a southern Arab tribe or traders where present day Yemen is, stole his 500 oxen and 500 donkeys. They also killed all the servants except one. The queen of Sheba may have been from Sheba and part of the Semitic Sabeans, somehow a descendent of Shem, the son of Noah. Secondly, lightning from heaven, the fire of God, destroyed and burned the 7,000 sheep as well as the servants watching them, except for one. Thirdly, the Chaldeans, a predominant Semitic tribe near the Persian Gulf that was taken over by the Babylonians around 600 BCE, stole all his 3,000 camels. They killed all his servants watching them except one. Finally, all his 10 children died when their house fell on them during a great wind storm. The servants all died, except one. Disaster has hit Job on many fronts. Foreigners stole his livestock. Lightning and windstorms destroyed his family and sheep.

The dialogue of Yahweh and Satan (Job 1:6-1:12)

“One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before Yahweh. Satan also came among them. Yahweh said to Satan.

‘Where have you come from?’

Satan answered Yahweh.

‘From going to and fro on the earth,

I am walking up and down on it.’

Yahweh said to Satan.

‘Have you considered my servant Job?

There is no one like him on the earth.

He is a blameless and upright man.

He fears God.

He turns away from evil.’

Then Satan answered Yahweh.

‘Does Job fear God for nothing?

Have you not put a fence around him?

Have you not put a fence around his house and all that he has?

The fence is on every side.

You have blessed the work of his hands.

His possessions have increased in the land.

But stretch out your hand now.

Touch all that he has.

He will curse you to your face.’

Yahweh said to Satan.

‘Very well,

All that he has is in your power.

Only do not stretch out your hand against him!’

Satan then went out from the presence of Yahweh.”

Now we have a divine perspective with the 2 main protagonists of the story in a heavenly, other world since Job was not aware of this conversation. Yahweh was the Jewish Israelite God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Satan was the adversary or the powerful evil one, who later became the personification of evil or the devil, just like the serpent in Genesis, chapter 3. The assumption is that everyone knew who they were. Notice that Yahweh and Satan were on good speaking terms with each other. The heavenly beings, or sons of God, are some sort of council with God that is often referred to as the angels of God or some sort of lesser gods, subordinate to the main God. Satan seems to be one of these heavenly subordinate beings or angels. However, he seems more involved with earth. Yahweh started the conversation by asking Satan where he was from. He responded that he had been walking around earth. Yahweh then said that he must have seen his wonderful blameless and upright servant Job, who did no evil. Satan responded that Yahweh had put a fence or hedge all around him. He had blessed his work so that everything increased for him. Satan wanted Yahweh to stretch out his hand and see if he would curse Yahweh. Yahweh said that he would not do that, but he would allow Satan to do whatever he wanted to Job, except personally harm him. So the story begins.

The introduction to Job (Job 1:1-1:5)

“That man was blameless and upright. Job feared God. He had turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred donkeys, and very many servants. This man was the greatest of all the people of the east. His sons used to go and hold feasts in one another’s houses in turn. They would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When the feast days had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them. He would rise early in the morning. He would offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. Job said.

‘It may be that my children have sinned.

It may be that they cursed God in their hearts.’

This is what Job always did.”

Who is Job? This is not about getting a job. Job was blameless, an upright man. He was a pious man with a strong faith. He feared God and shunned evil. He was not an Israelite since there was no attempt to put him into a genealogy that would connect him with Abraham. He had 10 children, 7 sons and 3 daughters. He had a huge prosperous estate since he had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 donkeys, and many servants. He was a rich guy, the greatest man in the east, or east of the Jordan River, or at least in Edom. All the 10 children would gather for a feast every day at a different person’s house. This included the symbolic numbers of 3 sisters with 7 brothers. When the festival days were over, Job would always offer a burnt offering for each one of them, just in case any of them may have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. In other words, he had a sense of sin and a sense of a spiritual relationship to God. So Job was a righteous rich man with 10 children who offered his own burnt offerings for the possible sins of his children.   Thus we have a snapshot picture of a happy prosperous God fearing Job.

In the land of Uz (Job 1:1-1:1)

“There was once a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job.”

He was called Job, a man from Uz, not Oz, although that name may have come from here. It has a fairy tale tone with the once upon a time in a far away country tone in this opening sentence. Uz was probably in Edom, south of Israel. In Genesis, chapter 10, Uz was the first born son of Abram, whose father was Shem, who in turn had Noah as his father. Thus Uz was the great grandson of Noah. There also was a place in southern Syria with this name. Uz was the first born of Nahor and Milcah, the brother of Abraham in Genesis, chapter 22. Uz was also a son of Dishan, who was the son of Seir, the Horite, in Genesis, chapter 36, and also in 1 Chronicles, chapter 1. Thus this country of Uz could have been named after any of these people who were descended from Noah (Shem, Abram) as a great grandson, Abraham (Nahor) as a nephew, or from Seir (Dishan) as a grandson of a Horite. The closet connection to Israel would be as the nephew of Abraham. Definitely, this is not in Israel or a descendent of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, probably northern Arabia or southern Jordan.

Outline of the Book of Job

Outline of the Book of Job

 I. Prologue

In the land of Uz (Job 1:1-1:1)

The introduction to Job (Job 1:1-1:5)

The dialogue of Yahweh and Satan (Job 1:6-1:12)

The problems of Job (Job 1:13-1:19)

Job prays to Yahweh (Job 1:20-1:21)

Job is not a sinner (Job 1:22-1:22)

Yahweh and Satan meet again (Job 2:1-2:6)

Satan afflicts Job with skin sores (Job 2:7-2:8)

Job and his wife (Job 2:9-2:10)

The three friends of Job (Job 2:11-2:13)

 

II. Dialogues

 1. First cycle of discourses

Job curses the day he was born (Job 3:1-3:1)

Job curses the night he was conceived (Job 3:2-3:10)

Job would prefer the eternal rest in death (Job 3:11-3:19)

Job curses life itself (Job 3:20-3:23)

Job’s troubles give him no rest (Job 3:24-3:26)

Eliphaz speaks to Job (Job 4:1-4:6)

The innocent do not perish (Job 4:7-4:11)

The vision of Eliphaz (Job 4:12-4:21)

The troubles with being human (Job 5:1-5:7)

Eliphaz has confidence in an almighty God (Job 5:8-5:16)

Eliphaz explains who the happy man is (Job 5:17-5:27)

Job responds by complaining (Job 6:1-6:7)

Job realizes that he has no help (Job 6:8-6:13)

Job is not happy with his companions (Job 6:14-6:20)

Job says he has asked for nothing (Job 6:21-6:23)

Job wants them to explain themselves (Job 6:24-6:27)

Job challenges them to look at him (Job 6:28-6:30)

Job describes his difficult human life (Job 7:1-7:6)

Job turns to God directly in a prayer (Job 7:7-7:10)

Job bitterly complains (Job 7:11-7:21)

Bildad the Shuhite chimes in (Job 8:1-8:7)

Bildad wants Job to consider his ancestors (Job 8:8-8:10)

Water and vegetation (Job 8:11-8:19)

God never rejects the blameless person (Job 8:20-8:22)

Job responds that God is powerful (Job 9:1-9:12)

Job maintains that he is innocent (Job 9:13-9:24)

Job’s days are numbered (Job 9:25-9:35)

Job complains to God (Job 10:1-10:7)

Job recalls his creation by God (Job 10:8-10:17)

Job wants to know why he was ever born (Job 10:18-10:22)

Zophar chimes in (Job 11:1-11:6)

Mystery of God (Job 11:7-11:12)

Divine justice is correct (Job 11:13-11:20)

Job responds with sarcasm (Job 12:1-12:6)

Learn from the world around you (Job 12:7-12:10)

Where is wisdom? (Job 12:11-12:12)

The power of the wise God (Job 12:13-12:25)

Job attacks his friends (Job 13:1-13:12)

Job wants to plead his case before God (Job 13:13-13:16)

Job wants God to listen to him (Job 13:17-13:28)

Job explains the mortal human condition (Job 14:1-14:6)

Man is not a tree (Job 14:7-14:12)

Job speaks about Sheol (Job 14:13-14:17)

Job knows that death awaits him (Job 14:18-14:22)

 

 2. Second cycle of discourses

Job is condemned by his own language (Job 15:1-15:6)

Eliphaz ridicules Job (Job 15:7-15:16)

Eliphaz wants to explain things to Job (Job 15:17-15:19)

Eliphaz instructs Job about the wicked ones (Job 15:20-15:27)

The punishment of the wicked ones (Job 15:28-15:35)

Job responds to his accusers (Job 16:1-16:5)

Job is mad at God (Job 16:6-16:11)

Job says that God is punishing him (Job 16:12-16:17)

Job cries out to earth (Job 16:18-16:22)

Job prepares for his death (Job 17:1-17:2)

Job wants assurances from God (Job 17:3-17:5)

Job proclaims his terrible situation (Job 17:6-17:10)

Job considers death (Job 17:11-17:16)

Bildad responded to Job (Job 18:1-18:4)

Bildad describes the life of the wicked (Job 18:5-18:21)

Job responded that God has put him in this situation (Job 19:1-19:12)

The ostracism of Job (Job 19:13-19:22)

Job wants his story and words remembered (Job 19:23-19:24)

The redeemer (Job 19:25-19:27)

The judgment of the sword (Job 19:28-19:29)

Zophar responded about the wicked ones (Job 20:1-20:11)

The fate of the wicked (Job 20:12-20:19)

God punishes the wicked (Job 20:20-20:29)

Job angrily responds (Job 21:1-21:6)

Job maintains that the wicked do not get punished (Job 21:7-21:13)

The wicked see no profit in God (Job 21:14-21:16)

Do the wicked really suffer? (Job 21:17-21:26)

Job calls out his friends for lying (Job 21:27-21:34)

 

 3. Third cycle of discourses

Eliphaz accuses Job of wrong doing (Job 22:1-22:7)

Eliphaz claims that Job had much and did not share it (Job 22:8-22:11)

Eliphaz describes God (Job 22:12-22:20)

Eliphaz wants Job to reconcile with God (Job 22:21-22:30)

Job wants to meet God (Job 23:1-23:7)

Job cannot find God (Job 23:8-23:17)

Job thought that God was too busy for the poor (Job 24:1-24:8)

The plight of the poor (Job 24:9-24:12)

The wicked are against the light (Job 24:13-24:17)

The ways of the wicked (Job 24:18-24:21)

The fate of the wicked (Job 24:22-24:25)

Bildad praises God (Job 25:1-25:6)

The ironic response of Job (Job 26:1-26:4)

The hymn to the all powerful God (Job 26:5-26:14)

Job proclaims his innocence (Job 27:1-27:6)

A description of the wicked enemies (Job 27:7-27:12)

The fate of the wicked (Job 27:13-27:23)

 

4. The hymn to wisdom

An ode to miners (Job 28:1-28:12)

The hidden place of wisdom (Job 28:7-28:8)

The adventurers cannot find wisdom (Job 28:9-28:11)

Where can you find wisdom? (Job 28:12-28:19)

Where does this wisdom come from? (Job 28:20-28:22)

Only God has wisdom (Job 28:23-28:28)

 

 5. Conclusion of the dialogue

 Job remembers the good old days (Job 29:1-29:6)

People honored Job in the old days (Job 29:7-29:10)

The good works of Job (Job 29:11-29:17)

Job thought that he was on top of the world (Job 29:18-29:20)

Everyone listened to Job (Job 29:21-29:25)

The present distress of Job (Job 30:1-30:8)

These outcasts now look down on Job (Job 30:9-30:15)

Job turns to his own afflictions (Job 30:16-30:19)

Job’s plea to God (Job 30:20-30:23)

Job’s lament (Job 30:24-30:31)

The apologia of Job (Job 31:1-31:4)

Job maintains that he has not been fraudulent (Job 31:5-31:8)

Job maintains that he has not committed adultery (Job 31:9-31:12)

Job never mistreated his slaves (Job 31:13-31:15)

Job was kind to the needy (Job 31:16-31:23)

Job was not greedy (Job 31:24-31:25)

Job did not follow false religious heavenly cults (Job 31:26-31:28)

Job never gloated over others (Job 31:29-31:34)

God would listen to Job (Job 31:35-31:37)

Job provided for the land (Job 31:38-31:40)

 

III.      The discourse of Elihu

The intervention of the angry Elihu (Job 32:1-32:5)

Elihu was afraid to speak because of his young age (Job 32:6-32:10)

Elihu points out the failure of the three wise comforters (Job 32:11-32:14)

Elihu is eager to give his opinion (Job 32:15-32:22)

Elihu attacks the presumptions of Job (Job 33:1-33:7)

Elihu reviews Job’s defense (Job 33:8-33:11)

God is greater than any mortal man (Job 33:12-33:22)

God’s mediator is an angel (Job 33:23-33:28)

All the things that God does (Job 33:29-33:33)

Elihu turns on the three wise men (Job 34:1-34:9)

Elihu explains that God is always just (Job 34:10-34:15)

God controls human life (Job 34:16-34:20)

God enacts his justice (Job 34:21-34:26)

The role of the godless ones (Job 34:27-34:30)

The sin of Job is rebellion (Job 34:31-34:37)

Elihu explained the advantage of being a sinner (Job 35:1-35:4)

What effect does Job have on God? (Job 35:5-35:8)

Elihu maintains that Job speaks out of ignorance (Job 35:9-35:16)

Elihu continues to speaks for God (Job 36:1-36:4)

The true sense of God’s justice (Job 36:5-36:12)

The godless ones (Job 36:13-36:16)

The purpose of Job’s suffering (Job 36:17-36:21)

The power of God (Job 36:22-36:23)

The hymn to the divine power over the climate (Job 36:24-36:37)

God controls thunder, lightning, and rain (Job 37:1-37:13)

Elihu addresses Job (37:14-37:20)

God is powerful like the sun (Job 37:21-37:24)

 

 IV. The discourse of Yahweh

1. First discourse

Yahweh confronts Job directly (Job 38:1-38:3)

Yahweh questions Job about creation (Job 38:4-38:7)

Yahweh questions Job about the seas (Job 38:8-38:11)

Yahweh questions Job about the dawn (Job 38:12-38:15)

Yahweh questions Job about darkness (Job 38:16-38:18)

Yahweh questions Job about light and darkness (Job 38:19-38:21)

Yahweh questions Job about the weather (Job 38:22-38:24)

Yahweh questions Job about rain (Job 38:25-38:27)

Yahweh questions Job about frost (Job 38:28-38:30)

Yahweh questions Job about the stellar constellations (Job 38:31-38:33)

Yahweh questions Job about the clouds (Job 38:34-38:38)

Yahweh questions Job about the animals (Job 38:39-38:41)

Yahweh questions Job about mountain goats (Job 39:1-39:4)

Yahweh questions Job about wild asses (Job 39:5-39:8)

Yahweh questions Job about wild oxen (Job 39:9-39:12)

Yahweh questions Job about ostriches (Job 39:13-39:18)

Yahweh questions Job about cavalry horses (Job 39:19-39:25)

Yahweh questions Job about hawks (Job 39:26-39:30)

Yahweh asks Job about his arguments (Job 40:1-40:2)

Job responds (Job 40:3-40:5)

 

2. Second discourse

Yahweh responds to Job (Job 40:6-40:9)

The power of Yahweh over the proud and wicked (Job 40:10-40:14)

A description of Behemoth (Job 40:15-40:18)

The life of the Behemoth (Job 40:19-40:24)

Leviathan (Job 41:1-41:2)

How to handle the Leviathan (Job 41:3-40:11)

A description of Leviathan (Job 41:12-41:24)

It is hard to kill the Leviathan (Job 41:25-41:29)

The power of Leviathan (Job 41:30-41:34)

The last response of Job (Job 42:1-42:6)

 

 V. The epilogue

Yahweh blames the three wise men (Job 42:7-42:9)

Yahweh restores the fortune of Job (Job 42:10-42:15)

Job dies as an old man (Job 42:16-42:17)