A classic example of human suffering that concludes people understand only what God chooses to reveal to them <28:20-28> (from Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts).
AUTHOR AND DATE
This is impossible to determine. Bible scholars believe that the book was written during the reign of King Solomon while Job lived during the age of the patriarchs (from Unger’s Bible Dictionary). He is regarded as a historical character <cf Ezek.14:14; Jas.5:11> and facts that he lived in the days succeeding the flood are: the length of his life (140 years) which was characteristic of the days before and after Noah; and he is portrayed as a priest for his family which was typical of the patriarchal period; there is a noted lack of reference to the Mosaic Law and prophetic accounts in any of the discussions.
OBJECTIVE OF THE BOOK
The issue of the suffering of people who are righteous addressing the age-old question “If God is sovereign and loving, why does He allow the righteous to experience dreadful, and apparently needless, suffering”. The answer to Job, and all the righteous, is the absolute sovereignty of God in the lessons learned from suffering.
God testifies to the fact that Job was a righteous individual <1:1, 8>, and pointed this out to Satan. Satan, however, states that Job only served God because it was profitable for him <1:9-10> and if God would remove His protection that Job would no longer serve God, so God gives Satan permission to test Job <1:9-12; 2:7>. We see from the text that in all of Job’s testing he did not curse God <2:9-10>.
The rest of the text is centered on the dialogue between Job and his three friends who declare that if Job is faithful to God then he will be blessed, or if he is unfaithful then he will be punished. In the final analysis as God speaks to Job, we see the real answer to the question of suffering, as Job’s repentance is due to his recognition of God’s infinite greatness and his own finite understanding. This is due to the limitation of the human understanding of God’s true character and His power over His creation. Job finally understands that while God’s ways are beyond our understanding He can always be trusted.
- PROLOGUE <1:1 – 2:13>
(1). Job’s Status <1:1-5>
“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” <Job 1:1 (NIV)>.
“In the land of Uz”(firmness) : a region at the south of Edom and west of the great Arabian Desert which extends into Chaldea <see Jer.25:20; Lam.4:21> (source; The Book of Life – Historical Digest). “The land where Job lived”…. Two possible locations are Hauran, south of Damascus, and the area between Edom and northern Arabia. The exact location of the land of Uz is unknown, but it was probably east of the Jordan River in the Syrian or Arabian Desert.” (From Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
The record states that Job was “blameless and upright”; meaning that he was spiritually and morally honourable, but does not suggest that he was sinless <see 6:24; 7:21> as he searches for an answer to his suffering. This would be an excellent portrayal for all believers in Christ considering the earnest advice or encouragement we have from the scriptures <see Hab.1:13; 1 Pet.1:15-16>. As noted in the introduction to this study, Job lived during the age of the patriarchs, and as such he acted as priest for his household since the Mosaic Law had not been introduced <cf Gen.15:9-10>. So here we see Job doing the duties of a priest as he purifies his sons and daughters: “When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.” <Job 1:5 (NIV)>: again this “regular custom” of Job should be the same for all parents today as we should regularly intercede for our children before God’s throne of grace.