Job was the main person in the Book of Job. He lived in the Land of Uz sometime after the Great Flood. He had fourteen sons and six daughters over the course of his life and was the richest man in Mesopotamia or the area east of the Euphrates River. After having raised ten children to adulthood, he lost all of his wealth and children in a test of his faith, brought about by a heavenly "accuser". While struggling with despair following his loss, three of Job's friends: Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar suggested various sins they believed Job committed to deserve a punishment from God. Job defends his own righteousness against the inaccurate accusations of his friends. In the end, God does not explain why Job suffered, but only that it was a mystery that Job could not fathom. After many erroneous admonitions from Job's associates, a young man named Elihu offers some sound advice.
After this tragic episode in Job's life, God chooses to restore Job's wealth and offspring twofold.
Inhabitant of Uz
"Job" (a literary title meaning persecuted) was an inhabitant of the Land of Uz, living in a settlement. His mother is referenced concerning his birth and childhood and his father is briefly referenced (both in a general way that does not reveal any specific details about them). As an adult, Job became very wealthy. In particular Job's wealth was measured in his vast flocks, spread all throughout the land, in addition to his numerous servants. Job's wealth was so immense that he was considered the richest man in all of Mesopotamia. At a certain age Job married and began his own family, having ten children in all.
By the time of his suffering, Job's sons had their own homes. Due to his wealth he had many friends, with some of his relatives living nearby. During a certain point he became acquainted with three men named Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.
A righteous man
Job was considered righteous by God and even Satan himself. Job closely followed God and used his vast wealth to bless others. Job was generous to the poor, blessed widows, gave to all who were needy and ensured all had justice.
He understood that wisdom was from God. He wisely abstained from sexual sin, having made a "covenant with his eyes" not to lust. The rich man of Uz even made sacrifices on behalf of his children, to cover any sins they may have committed against God.
The righteousness of Job, in particular his generosity to the poor caused him to be highly esteemed in his town. The reverence for Job by the townspeople was so great, they would remain completely silent before and after he spoke publicly. People viewed his face as a precious site and Job as a leader among the people; which led Job to compare himself to a king amongst his soldiers. In Uz, he had such an influence that, he had a seat in the public square.
Job's description of himself may imply that he had some official leadership position in the city (even could've been a King) or was the de facto leader of the city. Regardless if his leadership was institutional or not, the people of the city upheld Job as one of the city's greatest leaders.
The Trials of Job
While Job continued about his normal routine of sacrificing on behalf of his children, Satan decided to inquire before God. In their conversation Satan suggested that Job only feared God, because God had greatly blessed him. Satan proposed that Job should be afflicted with many trials, hoping to cause him to disown God.
God allowed Satan to this, while forbidding him from killing Job. A herald came to Job and informed him that Sabeans had raided his cattle. They had taken all of the oxen and donkeys and also killed the servants over them. Another came in and informed Job that all of his sheep and the servants over them were killed by fire. Yet again another herald came in and told Job that Chaldeans had taken all of his camels and killed the servants over them. One more messenger came to give Job a message, that all of his children were killed when a house collapsed on them.
After hearing all of these things Job ripped his clothes and shaved his head. Soon afterwards, Job was afflicted with painful sores that covered his whole body. Job scraped his sores with a shard of pottery as he sat among ashes. Job's wife told Job he should curse God. but Job refused to curse God. Three of Job's friends, Eliphaz, Zophar and Bildad went to go comfort Job. Job's depression and affliction of sores made him unrecognizable to his friends. His friends sat with him for seven days and nights and no one said a word, because of his severe suffering.
During his time of mourning everyone shunned and avoided Job. All the people of Uz, even the young boys scorned and counted Job as evil (because he had lost everything, the people thought he had sinned against God and was being punished). None of the servants would answer Job's requests, his family ignored him and moved away, and almost all of his friends had forgotten him. Job's Wife was even critical of her husband.
Failed Comfort with friends
After his seven day mourning Job cursed his birth, wishing he had never been born nor conceived. Job's three friends began having dialogue with him trying to comfort him in his time of distress. Each of his friends suggested ideas that were false, telling Job he had committed great sin against God, therefore he was being punished. His friends attempt at honesty brought no help to him and the ideas were false, regardless. Job on the other hand expressed that he was clueless why God had allowed him to suffer. Job justified himself as righteous.
While Job did not sin by being angry with God, he did during his despair by upholding himself as righteous. Eventually God Himself spoke to Job. He questioned Job on all kinds of matters of nature and its laws to show that He was divine where Job was not. Job only responded twice during God's whole oration and he expressed that he was unworthy and repented of the sin he had committed.
God then rebuked Job's friends who had told lies about Him, rather Job had remained truthful about God. God commanded Job's comforters to make sacrifices. Job prayed over the sacrifices and mercy was given to his liar friends.
After Job prayed for his associates, God restored his wealth twofold. It is not known how Job's wealth was restored and greatly enhanced, but it probably took some time. Soon Job's siblings and all those who knew him came and feasted with him in his house. They each gave Job a gold ring and a piece of silver, perhaps this is how Job restored his wealth. Now with his twofold wealth Job had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand oxen and one thousand donkeys. Job also had an additional ten children (replacing the ones he had lost): seven sons and three daughters, who were the most beautiful women in the land.
After having more children, Job lived an additional one-hundred and forty years. He lived to see his descendants to the fourth generation. Job died as an old man "full of years", just as he thought he would. It is not known how old Job was when he died, but he would have lived well beyond 120 years.
All of his children, even his daughters received an inheritance. After Job's death his fortune would have been divided into ten and further subdivided with his descendants.
The name Job (Heb:אִיּוֹב, Iyyob), literally means "the persecuted" or "hated". This means, the name "Job" is actually no this name, but a title depicting his literary role. This seems to be the case with the names of Job's friends as well. Specifically, Job may be hated, persecuted or the enemy of the "accuser" who serves as the instigator of Job's suffering, by presenting a challenge to God in a courtroom context. His name may indicate the book is depicting Job as an archetype for those who are suffering.
References Outside of the Book of Job
Job is directly mentioned twice outside the account covering his trials. In the Old Testament, Ezekiel recorded a prophecy from God concerning judgement for Jerusalem. God considered the city so wicked that He said that if Job, Noah and Daniel were in it, only they would be saved due to their righteousness.
Job is also mentioned once in the New Testament, in the Epistle of James. Here James refers to the perseverance of Job as an example of patience in seeing God's mercy. The reader is reminded of the blessings that come to those who wait on God's timing. Incidentally, James reminds the early church that the Book of Job is part of the Bible.
- Job 1:1
- ↑ Job 22:16 (Link)
- Job 1:3
- ↑ Job 1:21, 3:10-11, 10:18-19 (Link)
- ↑ Job 15:10 (Link)
- ↑ Job 1:2 (Link)
- ↑ Job 1:4 (Link)
- ↑ Job 19:13-14, 19 (Link)
- ↑ Job 1:1, 8 (Link)
- ↑ Job 29:12-16; 31:16-20 (Link)
- ↑ Job 29:14, 17; 31:13 (Link)
- ↑ Job 28 (Link)
- ↑ Job 31:1-12 (Link)
- ↑ Job 1:5 (Link)
- ↑ Job 29:1-12 (Link)
- ↑ Job 29:8-10, 21-23 (Link)
- ↑ Job 29:24-25 (Link)
- ↑ Job 1:9-10 (Link)
- ↑ Job 1:14-19 (Link)
- ↑ Job 1:20-21 (Link)
- ↑ Job 2:7-10 (Link)
- ↑ Job 2:11-13 (Link)
- ↑ Job 19:13-19 (Link)
- ↑ Job 16:3 (Link)
- ↑ Job 32:2 (Link)
- ↑ Job 1:22 (Link)
- ↑ Job 40:3-5, 42:2-6 (Link)
- ↑ Job 42:7-9 (Link)
- ↑ Job 42:10 (Link)
- ↑ Job 42:11 (Link)
- ↑ Job 42:12-15 (Link)
- ↑ Job 42:16 (Link)
- ↑ Job 42:17 (Link)
- ↑ Job 29:18-20 (Link)
- ↑ Ezekiel 14:13-20 (Link)
- ↑ James 5:11 (Link)