Overview of Job

Job 1:1-22 — Job was a pious and prosperous man highly regarded on earth and in heaven. Satan accused Job of serving God for selfish reasons. God permitted Satan to test Job’s motives for serving Him with the stipulation that he not harm Job himself. Job responded to Satan’s attacks by worshiping rather than cursing God.

Job 2:1-10 — Satan again questioned Job’s motives for serving God. He received permission to strike but not to kill Job. Satan struck Job’s body with ulcerous sores. Job again accepted this adversity and refused to curse God.

Job 2:11-13 — Three of Job’s friends visited him in hope of offering sympathy and comfort. They wept and grieved with Job for an entire week and did not speak a word because of the intensity of his suffering.

Job 3:1-26 — Following a week of silence, Job spoke in the presence of his friends. Filled with emotion, he cursed the day of his birth and wished he had never been born. Job lamented that he had not been stillborn and expressed his desire to die in the midst of his present sufferings.

Job 4:1–7:21 — Eliphaz believed that Job was suffering because he had sinned against God. He urged Job to turn to God, implying that Job had turned away from God. Job asked Eliphaz to bring up specific charges against him rather than vague insinuations.

Job 8:1–10:22 — Like Eliphaz, Bildad believed that Job’s adversity came because he was guilty of sin. He argued on the basis of cause and effect and callously told Job that his children had sinned and received what they deserved. Job maintained his innocence and concluded that it would have been better for him to go from the womb to the tomb.

Job 11:1–13:19 — Like his companions, Zophar assumed Job was guilty until proven innocent. He too believed that Job was being punished by God and that he needed to repent. Job rejected the explanations of his friends. He called them worthless physicians who were unable to give a proper diagnosis and branded their counsel as worthless as ashes.

Job 13:20–14:22 — Job asked God to reveal to him any sin in his life, including any he might have committed in his youth. He lamented that the future looked hopeless and asked God to let him have a little peace before his death.

Job 15:1–17:16 — Eliphaz challenged Job’s contention that the wicked prosper in this life. He insisted that the wicked are punished, again implying that Job was suffering because he had sinned. Job called Eliphaz and his friends “miserable comforters” and maintained his innocence. Job prayed that his blood would cry out and declare his innocence if he died without being vindicated.

Job 18:1–19:29 — Bildad graphically described the fate of the wicked and told Job that he was getting exactly what he deserved. Job lamented that he felt forsaken by all who were dear to him. Yet, Job looked forward to the day when God Himself would clear him of all charges.

Job 20:1–21:34 — Zophar told Job that he must surely be aware of the end that awaits the wicked. Job responded by telling Zophar that the wicked are not always overtaken by punishment and the righteous do not always enjoy prosperity.

Job 22:1–24:25 — Eliphaz opened the third round of speeches with the direct and heartless precision of a sniper. He took aim at Job and accused him of being a sinner and a hypocrite. Eliphaz offered no supporting evidence for his charges and maintained his simple logic: Since only the wicked suffer and Job was suffering a lot it followed that Job must be very wicked.

Job responded to Eliphaz by ignoring him and speaking to the Lord instead. He lamented that no matter which way he turned he could not find God. Job wanted desperately to be able to present his case before God, if he could but find him or know his court schedule. Job detailed many of the sins of the wicked and complained that they seemed to sin with impunity.

Job 25:1–27:23 — Bildad’s brief speech focused on God’s greatness. He remarked that God is infinitely greater than His creatures—who Bildad described as maggots and worms. Since even the works of God’s creation are not pure when compared to Him, Bildad said that no person (including Job) could claim to be clean before God.

Job rebuked Bildad for talking about God’s greatness but offering no practical help to him. He was well aware of God’s greatness and sovereignty. However, Job was more concerned about God’s justice. He wanted his day in court. He told his friends that he would maintain his integrity and would not give a false confession of his sins just to please them. Job concluded his response with a description of the fate of the wicked.

Job 28:1-28 — Job turned his attention to the matter of wisdom. While his friends had knowledge (intellectual information) they lacked wisdom (spiritual perception). Job said that wisdom is not found by digging shafts deep into the earth, nor can it be purchased at a market. True wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. God’s wisdom, not that of his friends, would help Job face his perplexing situation.

Job 29:1-25 — Job recalled better days when he had thought his future was secure. In days past, Job had looked forward to dying with his children around him. He had once felt that his life was deeply rooted, secure, and prosperous. He reminisced about the days when he had a good reputation, strength, and was highly regarded for his opinions and judgments.

Job 30:1-31 — The opening words of this chapter signal a contrast to the thoughts of the previous chapter. Job lamented that in his present miserable condition he had to endure the taunts and abuse of others. He complained that even God had turned on him and would not listen to him. Job felt he had lost the respect of others and the friendship of God. He felt alone and forsaken.

Job 31:1-40 — Job turned the spotlight on himself and examined every area of his life. Intent on affirming his innocence, Job examined his marriage, his business, his home, his relationship to his employees and the people of his community, his attitude toward money, his spiritual life, his treatment of enemies, and his stewardship of the land and resources entrusted to him by God. Job then reaffirmed his personal integrity and rested his case.

Job 32:1–33:33 — Elihu, a new voice, entered the debate. He was the youngest of those present and spoke a total of four times. Elihu’s messages form a transition from the words of Job and his critics to the words of God. He rebuked Job’s friends for making unsupported accusations against Job and addressed Job’s complaint that God would not speak to him. Elihu pointed out that God speaks to people through dreams, through pain, and through others.

Job 34:1-37 — In his second speech Elihu rebutted Job’s claim that God was not fair (34:1-9). He affirmed that God is fair and always acts according to His nature (34:10-15). Elihu reminded Job and his critics that no one is in a position to criticize God regarding how He enforces judgment (34:16-20). He praised God as the omniscient Judge of the universe (34:21-30). God is not accountable to us nor does He owe us any explanations (34:31-37).

Job 35:1-16 — Elihu began his third speech by quoting Job’s earlier complaint that God seemed not to punish the wicked. He reminded Job and his friends that God is infinitely higher and beyond the grasp of than human beings. The wickedness or righteousness of people, Elihu said, impacted their fellow human beings but did not change God. He also said that God had no time for those who only called on him in emergencies but disregarded Him in good times.

Job 36:1–37:24 — In his fourth and final speech, Elihu contended that God is powerful and in control. He judges the wicked, helps the oppressed, and exalts the righteous. He reminded Job that no person is in a position to reprove or instruct God concerning His actions. God manages the universe with skill beyond our comprehension. Because we do not know, understand, or can explain how God does wondrous things in nature, we should fear Him and trust Him to do what is right.

Job 38:1–40:2 — The Lord broke His silence and spoke directly to Job from the midst of a whirlwind. This is the longest conversation in the Bible in which the Lord speaks. However, rather than being questioned by Job, the Lord asked Job to answer questions concerning the created order. His questions exposed the inadequacy of human wisdom.

Job 40:3-5 — Job responded by telling the Lord that he could not answer His questions. He concluded that it would be better to remain silent than to try to contend with God.

Job 40:6–41:34 — The Lord confronted Job with trying to discredit His justice and trying to condemn Him in order to justify himself. He then invited Job to try to do a better job than Him of running the universe. If Job was incapable of capturing and controlling a hippopotamus or a crocodile, then he was in no position to question the Creator of these animals. Job, who earlier could not wait to argue his case before the Lord, was speechless.

Job 42:1-6 — Job humbly submitted himself to the Lord and demonstrated a teachable spirit. He acknowledged the Lord’s sovereignty and the inscrutability of His ways. Job admitted that he had presumptuously spoken about things he did not understand and that his own wisdom was woefully inadequate. He repented of his presumptuous words and attitude toward God. Job was a broken man. Satan had lost. God was glorified.

Job 42:7-17 — The Lord addressed Job’s friends and expressed his displeasure over their misrepresentation of Him. They had reduced God to a formula and a cliché. The Lord ordered them to offer a sacrifice for their sin and instructed Job to pray for his friends. The three friends did exactly as the Lord instructed. After Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and family. Job lived an additional one hundred and forty years.

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