Book of the Week 18: Job

Book of the Bible: Job                                                          

Hebrew Name: Iyyov/Yob

Author: Unknown (possibly Moses)                                    

OT or NT: Old Testament

Number of Chapters: 42

Basic Facts

  1. Job is the eighteenth book of the Bible.
  2. In terms of literary genre, Job is classified as a theodicy.
  3. It is possible that Job is the earliest book of the Bible to be written, but the dating of the book is uncertain.
  4. The Hebrew name for the book of Job is Iyyov/Yob, after the main character, Job. Iyyov/Yob is a Hebrew name meaning “persecuted” or “hostility.”
  5. The Greek name for Job in the Septuagint is Iob, from which we ultimately get the English name “Job” for the book of Job.

Story of the Book

The book of Job tells the story of a man named Job. Job is a righteous man who fears God. The scene is set as God dialogues with Satan, and Satan gets permission from God to afflict Job and his household in order to get Job to curse God and abandon his loyalty to God. Satan is allowed to afflict Job any way that he wants but is not allowed to kill Job. Job loses his family, his health, and virtually all of his possessions through the affliction of Satan (though Job does not know that this is the work of Satan). Job is then confronted by a few friends who assume that Job is suffering hardship due to hidden sin in his life. Job has a lengthy dialogue with his friends in which his friends try to get Job to confess hidden sin while Job insists upon his integrity in the midst of suffering. Eventually Job despairs of life and questions God’s justice. At the end of the book, Job repents and is forgiven by God. God then rebukes Job’s friends for their rebuke of Job, and God’s righteousness is vindicated before Job and his friends. Finally, God restores Job's fortunes and doubles his former wealth and prosperity.  

Jesus Foreshadowed in Job

Though the book of Job does not directly refer to the Messiah, the book vindicates the righteousness and justice of God in the face of suffering, which is an important factor in understanding the Gospel. In ancient Israel, it was often assumed that when a person suffered hardship, the person suffering or their parents had sinned in some way. The story of Job reveals that even people of integrity can suffer, and the ultimate purpose for suffering is that the glory of God would be shown. (Jesus affirms this truth in a similar way in John 9:1-34, though the stories are not directly connected.) James 5:11 upholds the character of Job as an example to Christian believers who would be called to persevere through suffering, trusting that Jesus still loved them despite the persecution they faced. When Jesus died on the cross and was buried, it was a strong temptation for His followers to assume that God had abandoned Jesus because He was hanged on a tree—which was believed to be a sign of God’s curse upon a person (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). However, the righteousness and cause of Jesus are vindicated when the Father raises Jesus from the dead, for Jesus died to redeem us (Galatians 3:13-14).