Many people have made the mistake of thinking that the Book of Job will answer the question of the problem of suffering. It really doesn't. On the other hand, the Book of Job has been a book of great comfort* for God's people.
Job is said to be a righteous man, and this attracts the attention of Satan. He challenges Job's faith and tries to prove that Job doesn't really love God because of who God is. Satan contends that Job only loves God because God has blessed him. Take away those blessings and Satan thought the Job would curse God. God allowed Satan to take away Job's property and then his children. Then He allowed Satan to afflict Job's body with great pain.
Throughout the book Job proves himself to be a believer, but he is struggling terribly. He can't understand why he has to suffer so much. Three friends come along, and they try to convince Job that he must be suffering because of some wickedness that he has yet to admit. Job never curses God as Satan tried to get him to do, but he does question the justice of God. A fourth friend comes, and he rebukes the three friends for their condemnation of Job. He also rebukes Job for questioning God's justice.
Finally God intervenes and reminds Job that He is all-powerful and all-knowing. It is okay to struggle with God. God understands our suffering in this world. But it is not okay to say that God is unjust. Job repents, and God forgives and restores all of Job's losses.
We don't know exactly when Job lived. Parts of the book seem to fit with the age of the Patriarchs like Abraham. Some parts seem to point toward a later time. The earliest reference to Job is in the book of Ezekiel. It doesn't matter when Job lived. His message is really timeless. As long as we live in a sinful world, there will be trouble. Job's experience shows us that all these troubles won't last forever. We can't understand the problem of sin or its effects. But we can trust in God to save us.
Job came from Uz, and this may be the land associated with Edom which is southeast of Israel.
* (Job 2.11; 6.10; 7.13; 15.11; 16.2;21.34; 21.2)
01 - Job Is A Righteous Man, Satan Challenges
Job offered sacrifices for his children in case they had sinned. This shows how much he cared about forgiveness. Satan challenged Job before God: "Does Job fear God for nothing?” God allows four disasters: Attack by Sabeans, fire from heaven, Chaldeans, and a great wind. His livestock, servants and ten children were killed. Yet Job worshiped God.
02 - Satan Denounces Job's Integrity
Satan challenges Job again before God: “Skin for skin.” God allows him to afflict Job’s body. Job’s wife urges him to curse God and die. Job’s three friends come to mourn with him. They don’t speak for seven days.
03 - Job Curses the Day of His Birth
Job mourned the day of his birth and asked why God gave life while he suffered. He would rather be dead and at rest than to endure suffering.
04 - Eliphaz: We Reap What We Sow
Eliphaz states that the innocent have never perished. Those who sow trouble reap the same. He saw a spirit and then heard a voice that said men are not pure and therefore are destroyed.
05 - Eliphaz: God Disciplines to Save
Man is full of trouble. But God’s discipline is good. He bruises but binds up. This man he will deliver.
06 - Job Believes His Righteousness Stands
Job laments his terrible situation and asks that God would crush him. Yet he believes that his righteousness still stands.
07 - Job Asks for Pardon
He continues to lament his suffering. He loathes his life. He asks: “What have I done to You, O watcher of men?” He asks for pardon.
08 - Bildad: Job Should Repent
God would bless if you were upright. Though your beginning was small, Yet your latter end would increase abundantly. God does not cast away the blameless.
09 - Job Finds No Mediator
How can a man be righteous before God? He fills me with bitterness. I despise my life. There is no mediator between us.
10 - Job Says He Is Not Wicked
Job affirmed that he was not wicked. He questioned why God created him intricately yet wants to destroy him? Job wished he hadn’t been born. He describes death as a land of darkness without any order where even the light is like darkness.
11 - Zophar Urges Job to Repent
Zophar said God exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves "If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents.”
12 - Job Says He Has Wisdom
Job claims that he has wisdom also. He argues that all things are in God’s hands and that humans aren’t able to understand everything God does. This shows that Job already understood what God will explain to him at the end of the book.
13 - Job Prays for an Explanation to His Suffering
Job complains that his friends are giving worthless advice. He was struggling to understand what was happening to him, but he would remain faithful: “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him; yet I will argue my ways to His face. He shall also be my salvation, for a hypocrite could not come before Him” (13.15-16). These are some of the most important verses in the book, and this is what God will teach him in the end. Job then prays to God and begs for an explanation regarding his suffering.
14 - Job Continues His Prayer: Death Comes Soon to All
"Man who is born of woman is a few days and full of trouble" (14.1) "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is no one." (14.4) Job complains about the futility of life because of sin. Here Job is admitting that he is a sinner.
15 - Eliphaz: Job Is Wrong for Arguing with God
He condemns Job for arguing with God: “That you turn your spirit against God, and let such words go out of your mouth?” (v.13). He said, “The wicked man writhes with pain all his days” (v.20). Again the argument of Job’s friends is that he had done something wicked or was secretly wicked and therefore deserved his suffering.
16 - Job Asks for Prayer
His friends have not comforted him. God has made him a target. "My friends scorn me; My eyes pour out tears to God." Job asks that someone might pray for him. (This is something his friends never do.)
17 - Job Has No Hope
He waits for the grave. He has no hope.
18 - Bildad: The Wicked Are Punished
He hammers down the principle that the wicked are punished. This supports the premise of the three friends that Job is holding back on some great sin. This premise falls short for two reasons: First, sometimes the wicked prosper (Psalms). In the end they do face eternal judgment. Second, the righteous sometimes suffer testing and persecution. Not all suffering is punishment for sin.
19 - Job Trusts His Redeemer
Job says he has been reproached ten times. God has broken him and that he thinks God is his enemy. Yet he hopes in God as His Redeemer. This spiritual fluctuation is important to notice. The Book of Job prepares us for this struggle in our own lives.
20 - Zophar Says the Wicked Will Be Condemned
Many bad things happen to the wicked man. "The heavens will reveal his iniquity, the earth will, rise up against him.” What Zophar says is true, however, it is misapplied in this case. Job has not done the wicked things Zophar describes.
21 - Job Acknowledges God’s Judgment on the Wicked
Job points out that the wicked often go unpunished and temporarily thrive, but their judgment will come on the day of doom. Job acknowledges this, but this is not his situation. It doesn’t apply.
22 - Eliphaz Accuses Job of Great Wickedness
"Is not your wickedness great?" "If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up." All of us are wicked in that we are not perfect. But Eliphaz assumes that Job is not repentant and that he is hiding wicked deeds.
23 - Job Doesn’t Understand God
Job’s complaint was bitter. He did want to come to God. He did keep His way. But God does what He wants, and this terrifies Job. Here, Job came very close to understanding God.
24 - Job Criticzes the Wicked
Job criticizes the ways of the wicked as they hurt and take advantage of the poor. The wicked rebel against the light. This may happen for a while, yet God drags away the mighty by His power.
25 - Bildad Says We All Need to Be Saved
Man can't be righteous before God. He is a maggot, a worm. His comments are interesting. Does anyone disagree with him? But does anyone realize what this means? We cannot save ourselves. We need to be saved. This is what God will tell them all in the end.
26 - Job Acknowledges God’s Greatness
His friends do not help the weak. Job knew and acknowledged that God is great. His works are amazing. "How small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?"
27 - Job Maintains His Integrity
He maintained his integrity though he considered God unjust. He then described the wicked who behave with complete nonsense. They may prosper for a while, but eventually they or their offspring will fail.
28 Job Asked Where Wisdom Is Found?
Job said that wisdom cannot be found anywhere on the earth. It can only be found in God. Job 28:28 And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.' "
29 Job Remembers Good Days
Job remembered the days when he had the counsel of God. He was honored at the gate. His honor came because of the way we helped others. He was like a king among his troops.
30 Job Laments His Condition
Job lamented his terrible condition. He was mocked by worthless men. He was falling apart. He believed his suffering was because God had become cruel to him.
31 Job Finished His Discourse on His Integrity
Job reviewed the different ways that he resisted temptation in the past. Nevertheless, Job showed that he was a sinner, but that he repented. He did not hide his transgression like Adam.
32 Elihu Rebukes Job and His Friends
He rebuked Job for justifying himself rather than God. He also rebuked the three friends because they couldn’t understand Job’s situation, and yet they condemned him. Though he was young, he believed his still had wisdom.
33 Elihu Calls Out Job’s Sense of “Purity”
Although Job admitted that all have sinned in chapter 14, and in chapter 9, Job said no one is righteous. Yet he doesn’t repent of his personal sinful condition. It could be that Job believed he was “pure” after he had made sacrifices for his sins. Elihu corrects this, and points out that we are never pure before God. He said Job was wrong in saying "I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me." Job didn’t actually say this, but he seems to imply it.
34 Elihu: Job Rebelled
Elihu stressed: ”Surely God will never do wickedly, Nor will the Almighty pervert justice" (12). Yet Job spoke without wisdom and added rebellion to his sin when he accused God of being unjust.
35 Elihu: Job Lacks Knowledge
He said that Job "multiplies words without knowledge" (35.16). Elihu never accuses Job of some great sin in the past that he was supposedly hiding as the three friends had.
36 Elihu: God is Great
He proclaimed the greatness and majesty of God.
37 Elihu: He proclaims God's majesty.
His words are a kind of prelude to God’s response that begins in the next chapter.
38 God Answers Job and Shows His Wisdom in Nonliving Things
Job 38:36 "Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart?". God shows His wisdom by the creation of nonliving things: Foundations of the Earth, Sea, Morning, Springs of the Sea, Light & Darkness, Snow & Hail, Rain, Constellations
39 God Shows His Wisdom in Living Things
He appeals to the natural knowledge of creation (living): Mt Goats, Deer, Bear, Donkey, Onager, Wild Ox, Ostrich, Horse (Aha among the trumpets!), Hawk, Eagle.
40 Job Repents. God Points to Behemoth
Job admits that he is vile. God continues to show His wisdom with the Behemoth.
41 God Continues to Show His Wisdom with Leviathan
Both Leviathan and Behemoth appear to be dinosaurs. The word “dinosaur” was not created until the 1800s. These creatures represent the strongest animals that God made. But of course, God is much stronger than them.
42 Job Repents. God Rebukes the Three Friends and Restores Job
Job 42:6 "Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes." Note that Job does not reveal some great sin that he was holding back from God. This was the accusation of the three friends. God rebukes the three friends and tells Job to pray for them. Job is the only one in this book that prays! God restored Job with ten children and material blessings.
Satan Smites Job
by William Blake
Job Suffers from Skin Disease
Job Suffers from His Three Friends