When you read the book of Job in the Bible, there is one factor Job knows nothing about. The opening chapter tells the reader that Job was, “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” The second informative verse tells us Job had seven sons and three daughters. The third verse give us a list of his livestock, beginning with 7,000 sheep, and lists camels, oxen donkeys and his many servants. Comparatively he is esteemed the greatest of all the people of the east.
An author will set the stage for his account, which he does here in this book. Having disclosed the character and status of Job, we are now informed of the life-style of his ten children. They are a typical close-knit family, and each one of the children would invite the rest to what was probably their birthday (Adam Clarke on Job 1:4). For Job’s family partying was not a problem, for they were extremely wealthy.
The fifth verse turns the reader’s attention back to Job, who would call the family together and consecrate them. “It may be that my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts” Job said. His connection to God’s presence was by his burnt offerings of animals.
There was one thing Job did not know. The reader alone is privy to this information (Job 1:6–12). God meets with Satan, and the reader is able to listen in to God’s declaration of Job’s blameless God-fearing character.
Satan’s responds by challenging God to take His hand off Job; and hear Job curse God to His face. God hands Job over to Satan, allowing Satan to attack all that Job owns.
Verse 13–19, presents a pericope of cataclysmic proportions. Every animal Job owned is gone, and all his children are killed. Contrary to the expectations of Satan, Job worshiped God saying “Blessed be the name of the LORD.” These closing three verses of chapter one, testify to Job not having sinned, nor charging God with wrong.
Chapter 2 opens with another meeting between God and Satan; of which Job is also unaware. Verses 1–7 recount God allowing Satan to attack Job with sickness, but to spare Job’s life. This personal attack on Job leaves him miserable, as recounted in verses 8–10, with his wife turning against him, but again we learn that “Job did not sin with his lips.” In the Greek version of the Book of Job, at the end, there is the following addition:
“This man is described in the Syriac book as living in the land of Ausis, on the borders of Idumea and Arabia; and his name before was Jobab; and he, having taken an Arabian wife, begot a son whose name was Ennon. And he himself was the son of Zare, who was one of the sons of Esau, and Bosorrha; so that he was the fifth in descent from Abraham. And these were the kings who reigned in Edom, which country he also ruled over: first Balak, the son of Beor, and the name of his city was Dennaba; and after Balak, Jobab etc. From this it has been supposed that this Jobab was identical with Job.”
The next section of the book begins in Chapter 2:11, announcing the arrival of Job’s Comforters who at least kept their mouths shut for seven days; for they saw that his suffering was very great. Job finally opens the conversation with his lament, frequently using the word Why. The key to this story lies in his declaration “For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.” (Job 3:25). Job had consistently depended on his sacrifices to maintain his relationship with God. Now he had none to offer.
Eliphaz, after first complementing Job’s past actions, answers Job. Eliphaz posits “Can mortal man be in the right before God?” (Job 4:17) The rest of chapters 4–5 are his way of telling Job to make right with God, and find forgiveness for his sin. Job refutes this accusation of sin, and holds to his innocence in Chapters 6–7. Next it is Bildad the Shuhite who picks up the dialogue, and this theme of riposte continues between the three comforters and Job. There is a significant statement by Bildad the Shuhite found in Chapter 18:19, “He [Job] has no posterity or progeny among his people, and no survivor where he used to live.” This may imply the death of Job’s wife. The Jewish Rabbi’s believe she died during the time of Job’s sickness. Space does not permit detailing the arguments by these three, who are joined later by a younger man, Elihu the son of Barachel, the Buzite of the family of Ram. He begins to speak in Chapter 32, continuing through 37, where he ends by stating “The Almighty—we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.” (Job 37:23).
None of these men have answers, but neither do they recognize the existence of Satan! The turning point in the entire narrative begins in Job 38:1, “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, ‘Who is this that darkens counsel with words without knowledge?’” God’s questions challenge Job to see God’s Creative Power. Finally Job admits his hasty speech and says, “I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).
Immediately the LORD turned to Eliphaz the Temanite, rebuked him and his friends and says Job was right in his repentance. God tells Eliphaz to take seven bulls and seven rams for Job to offer up a burnt offering for them, and have Job pray for them. The three did this, and “The LORD accepted Job’s prayer’ (Job 42:9).
The following verses record the restoration of Job, telling how God gave Job twice as much as he had before. From the day of his calamity, Job did not own a single animal to sacrifice in repentance; to restore his relationship with God. It was God who commanded the Comforters to provide animals for Job to sacrifice. The Bible teaching is that God saw animal sacrifices as covering sin, so He would not see the offense. Those sacrifices foreshadowed the final, God—provided, once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus the, “Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the World” (John 1:29).
This brings the book to a close, but the amazing factor here is that Job suffered until he had the only thing that could restore his relationship with God, the ability to bring a blood-sacrifice to God. God provided the very first sacrifice of a lamb for Adam and Eve, and that foreshadowed the final necessary sacrifice of the “Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.”
© 2018. Jim Cole-Rous.