June 11th Job 1 A. The Drama (Prose)
The first testing of Job
1: There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 2: And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 3: His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. 4: And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5: And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. 6: Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. 7: And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8: And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9: Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10: Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11: But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12: And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. 13: And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: 14: And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: 15: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 16: While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 17: While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 18: While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: 19: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 20: Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21: And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22: In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Job 2 Job is tested again
1: Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. 2: And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 3: And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. 4: And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. 5: But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. 6: And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. 7: So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. 8: And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. 9: Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. 10: But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
B. The Dialogue (Poetry) Job’s three friends
11: Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. 12: And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. 13: So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.
Job 3 Job complains to God
1: After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. 2: And Job spake, and said, 3: Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. 4: Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. 5: Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. 6: As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. 7: Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein. 8: Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning. 9: Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day: 10: Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes. 11: Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? 12: Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck? 13: For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest, 14: With kings and counsellers of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves; 15: Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver: 16: Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light. 17: There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest. 18: There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. 19: The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master. 20: Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul; 21: Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures; 22: Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave? 23: Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in? 24: For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters. 25: For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. 26: I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.
Today we begin one of the largest, most misunderstood and interesting books of sacred scripture. The Book of Job describes a God who is in control and that righteousness is meaningful. And the sovereignty of God which is a mystery to us down here, can be explained when the shadows pass away. This is a large book of 42 chapters. Job was a wealthy landowner and livestock owner and may have lived in the days of Abraham. God had allowed Job to become very wealthy. Satan appears before God and tells God that If God allowed him to remove all his wealth and children then Job would curse Him. Job never did! So Satan comes again and says if he suffered in body then he would curse God. Job still never did, even when advised to by his wife. We learn that Job had three friends who come to give his advice. Job is the first of the five poetry books, Psalm, Proverbs Ecclesiastics, Song of Solomon & Lamentations. Hebrew Poetry is achieved by repeating an idea, which is called parallelism. Poetry came very easily to the people of that day as it does to some societies today.
In our first reading we find two chapters of the Drama in Prose. We have the description of the testing of Job which does not break his faithfulness. So then we read of the testing of Job again. This time it’s much more personal. In ch 2 we are introduced to Jobs three so-called friends. And so begins a long dialogue which comes in poetical form and lastly in chapter three Job makes his complaint to the Lord. Coming back to the beginning we read that there lived a man called Job in the land of Uz. In Gen 22v20-21 we read that after the offering of Isaac Abraham hears of his brother Nahor who has eight sons two of whom are called Uz and Buz. Uz gives his name to the land in which he settled. So it is likely that these events in Job are contemporary with the life of Abraham and that Abraham knew Job. They might have even spoke and something of the knowledge of the Lord might have come to Job from Abraham. We learn that he was perfect and upright. He was not physically and spiritually affected by the wicked men of his day and he lived an upright life before the Lord. He feared God and hated evil. God blessed Job with seven sons and three daughters. He had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 she asses, and a very great household. He was very much like Abraham. He was the greatest man of the east whereas Abraham was the greatest man of the west (or the Middle East) When his sons and daughters feasted he rose early each morning offering burnt offerings for then in the off chance that they might have sinned. He was a man of worship and prayer. Job was consistent in his sacrifices. Then suddenly the scene changes and we get a glimpse of heavens courts. The angels of God are presenting themselves before the Lord and even Satan comes with them to stand before God. The Lord speaks to Satan saying where have you been? And he replies l have been all over the place. The Lord says to him have you thought about my servant Job? There is none like him in all the earth. (What about Abraham?) He is perfect; upright he fears God and hates evil? But Satan answers that he doesn’t do all this for nothing. You have put a thick impenetrable hedge all around him. And you have blessed him in providing increase of his goods. But if you touch all he has and take it from him then he will curse you to your face. The Lord said to Satan l am going to give all his wealth into your power however you are not to touch the man himself. So Satan left. Then there came a day when Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking and there came a message to Job saying that the Sabeans attacked the herdsmen and took all the oxen away and killed all his servants. Then while he was speaking another man came saying that fire came down from heaven and destroyed all the sheep and shepherds and only l have escaped. And while he was still speaking another servant came in saying The Chaldeans attacked us on three sides and stole all the camels. And killed all the servants and only l escaped to tell you. Then another man came in saying that all his sons and daughters where in a great house and a mighty wind came and shook the house and it fell killing all his sons and daughters. Job rose up and humbled himself and fell on his face and worshipped the LORD. Then he said naked l came out of the womb and naked l will return. The Lord gave me everything and he has taken it all away, blessed be the name of the LORD. In all that happened to Job he never sinned or spoke evil of the LORD foolishly. Then the scene changes again and we seethe courts of Heaven and the angels of God are appearing again before the Lord. The enquiry is the same. Where have you been and the answer Oh l’ve been about! But then the Lord asks again have you considered my servant Job etc etc. But this time the Lord says he still maintains his integrity even though you have do all this against him. But Satan answered Skin for skin. All that a man has he will give for his life. He says if you touched his flesh and bone then he would curse you to your face. So The Lord granted permission to strike Job with the things of the flesh yet he was not allowed to take his life. Job then came down with sore boils from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head. And he took a broken pot to scratch his flesh. And he sat among the ashes. He humbled himself even more before the Lord. Then Job’s wife said to him are you still going to hang on to your integrity? Why don’t you curse God and then he will kill you. But he replied you speak like one of the foolish women. I have received from the Lord good things then why should l not receive from him evil things. In all this he did not curse the Lord. And so begins the dialogue. The poetry. Job had three friends who heard of his misfortune and they came to speak to him. They came to mourn with him and to comfort him. When they saw him they did not recognise him and they wept and they tore their clothes and put dust on their heads toward the Lord and they sat with him for a whole week in silence because they saw that his grief was very great indeed. Then after a week Job cursed the day he was born. He said may no one ever remember the day. He asks why didn’t l die on the day l was born? If l had died then l would have been at rest. The good and the bad all have rest in the grave. There the servant is free of his master it is in death that the sorrowful long for rest. He said the thing that l greatly feared has come upon me.
- How would you describe Job before he lost everything?
- How does Job respond to his first testing?
- How does he respond to his second testing?