Job

This is an in-depth study on the book of Job, which teaches that Yahweh rules creation with wisdom in the midst of our suffering in a fallen and unjust world. The wisdom books are Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job and should be studied in this order. This study 2 hours long (recorded in 2020). This is worth 0.6 Bible CEUs.

 

pdf-icon.png Job Notes (414.92 KB)

 

Job-Purpose and Structure
PLAY
PAUSE
STOP
26:04 min
download
Job-Prologue Pt. 1
PLAY
PAUSE
STOP
30:18 min
download
Job-Prologue Pt. 2
PLAY
PAUSE
STOP
12:41 min
download
Job-Dialogues
PLAY
PAUSE
STOP
21:21 min
download
Job-Yahweh Confronts Job
PLAY
PAUSE
STOP
32:34 min
download
 

The title of the book of Job comes from the primary character in the story. Who wrote the book of Job and when are not certain. The culture and language of the book suggest that Job lived in the patriarchal period. However, the final form of the book could have been written later.

The books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job are considered wisdom literature. While narrative uses stories to reveal the character of Yahweh and the nature of humanity, and poetry is the expression of human emotions to Yahweh, wisdom literature instructs and provides the practical skills to obtain a good and full life. The books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job are all asking the question “What does it mean to live well in the world?” Each book explores what it means to have the good life, with three different perspectives.[1] The good life is directly connected to the retribution principle, which means that the righteous will be rewarded justly for good behavior and the wicked will be punished justly for bad behavior. It is not possible to have a good life if there is no justice for good and bad behavior in the world.

Proverbs provides the perspective of Lady Wisdom who is a wise teacher, who believes that Yahweh is wise and just, and there is a clear cause and effect between doing the right thing and being rewarded or doing the wrong thing and suffering. Ecclesiastes speaks as the cynic who makes the observation that this is not always true. Life is not just; sometimes bad things happen to good people and good things happen to foolish people. And Job is the old man who has seen and suffered a lot in his life and questions the justice of Yahweh when good people suffer. All three of these books together address the wisdom of Yahweh and how one is to live wisely and obtain the good life in a fallen world.

The purpose of the book of Job is to show that when humans suffer, they should not try to understand the suffering as a reflection of Yahweh’s justice but instead learn to trust Yahweh’s wisdom. The book of Ecclesiastes has already shown that the world is not always just, which could be an accusation against the character of Yahweh and the way that He runs the world. The book of Job makes the point that Yahweh does not run the world with justice but with His wisdom.[2] Not that Yahweh is not a just God, but the free choice of humanity in a fallen world has made the system extremely complicated, and so the wisdom of Yahweh is required to run the world. Therefore, Yahweh does not rule creation with justice but with wisdom. Other books in the Bible make it clear that Yahweh executes justice in the afterlife and will bring universal and complete justice in the second coming of Christ.

The book of Job is also not about why we suffer but about how Yahweh runs the world and how we should respond to Him. The question being asked is, “Why is Job righteous?” not, “Why is Job suffering?” No explanation is ever offered in the book for why suffering takes place, but there is a lot of discussion on what righteousness is. We do not have to understand Job’s suffering, but we do need to understand his righteousness. The issue is whether Job’s righteous devotion to Yahweh will be sustained when Yahweh’s policies of how He runs the world are incomprehensible and nothing seems to make sense.[3] It is more about how we respond to Yahweh when we are suffering than about why we are suffering.

 

[1] See Temper Longman III. Proverbs, pp. 61-63.

[2] See John H. Walton and Tremper Longman. How to Read Job, pp. 19-20.

[3] See John H. Walton and Tremper Longman. How to Read Job, p. 16.