LESSON 19 THE BOOK OF JOB
A. The seventeen Books we have covered are all historical. The five books that we take up now are poetical. They
are; Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Songs of Solomon. These five are experimental. The past seventeen deal with the Hebrew race - these five deal with the human heart. In conclusion, these next five books of study are considered as "Poetry".
B. Job is perhaps one of the earliest book of the Bible. Set in the period of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph) it tells the story of a man who loses everything, his wealth, his family, his health, and wrestles with the question, "Why".
C. The book begins with a heavenly debate between God and Satan, moves through three cycles of earthly debates
between Job and his friends, and concludes with a dramatic "Divine diagnosis" of Job's problem. In the end, Job acknowledges the sovereignty of God in his life and receives back more than he had before his trials.
D. The author of Job is unknown, and there are no textual hints as to his identity.
E. It is important to distinguish the date of the events in Job from the date of its writing. Accurate dating of the
events is difficult because there are no references to contemporary historical occurrences. However, a number of facts indicate a patriarchal date for Job, perhaps between Genesis 11 and 12 or not long after the time of
1.Job lived 140 years after the events in the book, his life span must have been close to 200 years. This fits the patriarchal period (Abraham lived 175 years Gen. 24:7).
2.Job's wealth is measured in terms of livestock rather than gold and silver.
3.Like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Job is the priest of his family and offers sacrifices.
4.There is no reference of Israel, the Exodus, the Mosaic law, or the tabernacle.
5.Job uses the characteristic patriarchal name for God, Shaddai (The Almighty), 31 times.
F. Some have suggested that this book is fiction. The Scriptures state that it is factual. See Ezekiel 14:14
G. Job acknowledges a Redeemer (See 19:25-27) and cries out for a Mediator (9:33, 25:4, 33:23). Christ is the
believer's Life, Redeemer, Mediator and Advocate.
H. The key word is SOVEREIGNTY. The basic question of the book is; Why do the righteous suffer if God is loving and all-powerful? Suffering itself is not the theme, the focus is on what Job learns from his suffering; the
Sovereignty of God over all creation. The debate in Chapters 3-37 regards whether God would allow this suffering to happen to a person who is innocent. The oversimplified solution offered by Job's three friends are simply inadequate. Elihu's claim that God can use suffering to purify the righteous is closer to the mark. The conclusion at the whirlwind is that God is sovereign and worthy of worship in whatever He chooses to do. Job must learn to trust in the goodness and power of God in adversity by enlarging his concept of God. Even this perfect man (1:1) needs to repent when he becomes proud and self-righteous. He has to come to the end of his own resources, humbles himself, and acknowledges the greatness and majesty of the Lord. Job teaches that God is Lord (Phil. 2:10). He is omniscient, omnipotent, and good. As such, His ways are sometimes incomprehensible to men and women, but He can always be trusted. Without the divine perspective in Chapters 1-2 and 38-43, Chapters 3-37 are a mystery. Job does not have access to Chapter 1-2, but he is responsible to trust God when all appearances are contrary. Suffering is not always associated with sin. God often sovereignly uses it to test and teach.
SURVEY OF JOB
The Book of Job concerns the transforming crisis in the life of a great man who lived perhaps four thousand years ago. Job's trust in God (1-2) changes to complaining and growing self-righteous (3-31), but his repentance leads to his restoration. The trials bring about an important transformation; The man after the process is different from the man before the process. The Book of Job divides into three parts:
THE DILEMMA OF JOB 1 - 2
THE DEBATES OF JOB 3 - 37
THE DELIVERANCE OF JOB 38 - 42
PART 1 - THE DILEMMA OF JOB: Job is not a logical candidate for disaster. His moral integrity and his selfless service to God heighten the dilemma. Behind the scene, Satan (accuser) charges that no one loves God from pure motives, but only for material blessing.
After Satan's series of assaults, Job, in his sorrow laments the day that he was born.
PART 2 THE DEBATE OF JOB: The main body of the book is in dramatic form in three successive cycles. There are six speakers, Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, Elihu and God.
Introduction: Although Job's "comforters" reach the wrong conclusion, they are his friends. Of all who knew Job, they are the only ones who come. They mourn with him in seven days of silent sympathy. They comfort Job without talking behind his back. However, after Job breaks the silence, a three round debate follows, in which his friends say that Job must be suffering because of sin.
The First Cycle of Debate
Eliphaz vs. Job Chapters 4 - 7
Bildad vs. Job Chapters 8 - 10
Zophar vs. Job Chapters 11 - 14
The Second Cycle of Debate
Eliphaz vs. Job Chapters 15 - 17
Bildad vs. Job Chapters 18 - 19
Zophar vs. Job Chapters 20 - 21
The Third Cycle of Debate
Eliphaz vs. Job Chapters 22 - 24
Bildad vs. Job Chapters 25 - 31
Elihu Speaks Chapters 32 - 37
GOD: Closing Intervention Chapters 38 - 41
1.ELIPHAZ - The first to come from afar to console Job. He delivers three speeches and he is the oldest and wisest. He bases his argument on "Experience". Notice: Chapter 22:5-9 that Job must be suffering because of sin.
2.BILDAD - This friend is more sever than Eliphaz. He bases his argument on "Tradition". Chapter 8:8 and 18:5-20. His theory is focused in Chapter 8:20; "God will not cast away a perfect man; neither will he uphold evil doers." In Chapter 8:6 he infers that Job is a hypocrite.
3.ZOPHAR - He speaks only twice in the debate. In the third cycle he is replaced by Elihu. He bases his theory and argument on "Assumption". He just assumes and pronounces as a dogmatist - and his opinion is in 20:5, "The triumphing of the wicked is short." His theory is found in Chapter 11:6, "Know that God exacteth of the less than thine iniquity deserveth."
4.JOB'S RESPONSE - Job refutes the theory of the three in the first round, that God always prospers the upright and punishes the sinner. Job is upright, yet he is afflicted. (6:22-28; 12:3; 13:2-5, 15-16)
In the second cycle all three insist that the wicked always suffer and ONLY the wicked. Job's response declares his innocence of being wicked. He declares that the wicked often prosper in this world. (24:6) Job was broken 16:12-14 Job was melted 23:10 Job was softened 19:21 & 23:16
5.ELIHU - The approach is different and he must become humble and teachable and more patient. He says Job is
sinning because of suffering and not vise versa - Chapter 33:8-11 and 35:15-16. But Job needed more than
a human voice and it came!!!!!
PART 3 The Deliverance of Job
6.GOD - The Voice of the Whirlwind!!! In Chapters 38 through 41 God speaks. The Lord God speaks to Job about the power of God in comparison to the littleness of man:
In relation to the earth 38:1-18
In relation to the heavens 38:19-38
In relation to living beings 38:39 - 39
In relation to Dinosaurs 40 - 42:6 Behemoth (Supersaurus) & Levitathant
Clearly, the purpose of God is to bring Job to the end of himself. Read 40:1-5
God transforms, vindicates and restores Job:
Transformation - "Him will I accept" V. 8.
Vindication - "My servant" V. 8.
Restoration - "The Lord gave Job twice as much." V. 10.
Thus Satan's challenge becomes God's opportunity to build up Job's life. "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." James 5:11
1.What are the three divisions of the Book of Job?
2.Was the conversation between God and Satan real or fictional?
3.Name three friends of Job who gave him advice.
4.What is the message of Job to you?