The Book of Job is believed to be one of the oldest books of the Bible. It is also probably one of the most misunderstood and least read books of the Bible. Within the book itself and throughout history, Job has been accused of many things for which there is no evidence. Often people ignore the simple truth of God’s words and accept the opinions of others; even when these opinions are counter to God’s stated word concerning Job.
I do not pretend to fully understand all that is occurring in the Book of Job, nor do I believe anyone else can lay hold of that claim. There is both a simplicity and complexity within the book of Job that demands careful study. It is a book that all faithful followers of God should take time to investigate. A careful examination of the Book of Job reveals that it encompasses concepts found throughout the Bible.
There are only eight speakers in the Book of Job: God, Satan, Job, Job’s wife, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu. With the exception of God, no one supports Job. Job’s wife is not a detractor, but she does tell Job to curse God. One has to wonder if she knew what she was saying or if she was a pawn in this matter. Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu show little compassion for Job and his situation. They have lots of answers, but none that help Job understand or deal with his situation.
The Book of Job starts off with a discussion between God and Satan. God enquires of Satan what has he been doing of late. Satan replies in typical Satan fashion. He has be going around looking for victims. God asks Satan if he has seen Job. Satan knows of Job, but he is not someone that Satan will go after. It seems that Satan is prevented from approaching Job, because there is a hedge of protection surrounding Job. This is when Satan challenges God regarding Job. From here, Job’s life will never be the same. God allows Satan to take whatever action against Job he desires, except Satan cannot touch Job. Satan will inflict suffering upon Job in an attempt to cause him to curse God. Initially, Job will lose all he had monetarily and his ten children. Yet rather than cursing God as Satan had declared, Job responds by worshiping God.
God and Satan have a second conversation. Again Satan challenges God. God allows Satan to move against Job physically; however, Satan is not allowed to kill Job. Satan afflicts Job with an unknown ailment that results in boils covering his entire body. Eventually, Job’s wife has had enough and tells Job to curse God and die. Job does not take the bait and corrects her.
Job’s three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar hear of Job’s predicament and travel to comfort him. They will spend seven days mourning with Job. That seems to be the extent of their compassion. For the better part of the book Job will converse with Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. Job’s friends will provide various reasons why he is suffering, none of which are much help. The conversation will go from somewhat friendly to brutally sarcastic. They will severely judge him to the point that he wearies of them. Overall, Job’s friends seem to be taking advantage of his situation. They provide little comfort and bring mostly accusations.
Eventually Elihu, a younger individual, will start to speak. He does not seem to have much use for Job’s three friends. Elihu will mount a fierce attack on Job. Often it seems as if Elihu is not speaking to Job, but to a crowd of people. Elihu will make great claims that are only supported by his own words. One must carefully read the words of Elihu, because he seems to have fooled many people including believers throughout history.
Just as Elihu is at the height of his castigating, God comes on the scene. He will speak for most of the final five chapters. Job will have a few speaking parts, but it is God who rectifies the situation. In the end, Job is restored to twice his former wealth with ten new children. Family and friends return to his side to comfort him.
Although the book of Job is possibly the oldest book of the Bible, it contains doctrine that encompasses the entire Bible. It foreshadows the necessity of Yeshua’s substitutionary sacrifice, walking with God and God’s overall plan for humanity. Subjects, we as believers today would benefit from knowing in detail.
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