Survey of Job

Book Type: Book of Wisdom; the eighteenth book of the Old Testament; the eighteenth book of the Bible.

Author: The author is technically unknown. Some have suggested King Solomon, since the book closely reflects other writings attributed to Solomon. If so, Solomon wrote about the events concerning Job long after they historically occurred. Others have suggested Job himself recorded his story, or that Moses wrote it.

Audience: Conclusions regarding the audience are tentative since we are uncertain of the original author and original date of the book of Job. However, it was clearly written for the Jewish people to illustrate the importance of perseverance. The New Testament (James 5:11) refers to Job as a real account illustrating the steadfastness of Job as well as the Lord's compassion and mercy.

Date: Uncertain, since the original author is technically unknown. If the book of Job was written by Solomon, the date would be approximately 950 BC.

Overview: A large book, Job consists of 42 chapters focused on three major themes. The first theme includes chapters 1—2 where Job is introduced as a godly man (Job 1:1¬–5). However, God permits Satan to take everything from him. Satan first tests Job through taking his property and children (Job 1:13–22). When Job does not sin in response, Satan requests to attack Job again. Satan then assaults Job's health, leaving him in pain, with even his own wife telling him to curse God and die. Job still refuses to sin. His friends arrive in shock at his condition, yet proceed to accuse Job of wrongdoing as the source of his problems.

The second major section covers chapters 3 through 37. Job's three friends take turns debating Job regarding his suffering. This section includes five distinct cycles: chapters 3—14, chapters 15¬-—21, chapters 22—26, Job's final defense in chapters 27—231 and Elihu's speeches in chapters 32—37. These passages are primarily a debate between Job and his friends, who insist that his suffering must be his own fault. While Job vehemently denies this, he also struggles with his condition, and wonders why God would allow it to occur.

The third major section includes God's deliverance, and covers chapters 38—42. After all of the debate and discussion, God finally speaks to Job (Job 38:1—40:2), Job answers (Job 40:3–5), and God provides a second response (Job 40:6—41:34). Job then judges himself, while God rebukes his three friends (Job 42:1–9). The book ends with God restoring Job's family, wealth, and long life, including double the blessings he had before his time of suffering (Job 42:10–17).

Key Verses (ESV):

Job 1:1: "There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil."

Job 1:21: "And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.'"

Job 38:12: "Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 'Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?'"

Job 42:56: "I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."