ESV - 1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
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The Book of Job is a record of an episode in the life of Job – his severe testing. Job was of Uz, likely the area south of the Dead Sea, Lamentations 4:21. He may have lived a few generations after Abraham. Job’s role of being the family priest, and the length of life of about 200-240 years all fit at about this time. The ‘piece of silver,’ Job 42:11, is not the ‘kesitah’ of later times but the ‘sitnah,’ as in Genesis 33:19. Job 32:2 compared to Genesis 22:21, seems to link place and family names. Job was a wealthy man, one of the greatest men of the area, Job 1:3. He was wise, Job 15:2, and very devout, Job 1:1, and believed he would be resurrected, Job 19:25. Unknown to Job and the people around him, God allowed Satan to ‘try’ Job to see if he really was what God said he was, a man of integrity, Job 1:8, 2:3. Satan was permitted to do anything except to take Job’s life. Job suffered the worst a person can endure, losing everything in a matter of hours and then also bearing excruciating pain. Part of Job’s suffering was not having anyone, even his friends, the wisest and most respected men, to understand his situation. They surmised that God does not punish people for nothing. Job had to have done something to have all this happen to him. A lot of what they say is objectively correct but not applicable to Job’s situation. These ‘comforters’ tried to piously grasp his situation, and, although not intending to, ended up being cruel and insensitive. Eliphaz the Temanite ‘suggested’ Job had sinned, 4:7 – he is being punished for his sins. Eliphaz knows from experience. Bildad the Shuhite ‘supposed’ Job had sinned, 8:20 – he is being tested to receive greater reward. Bildad knows from tradition. Zophar the Naamathite ‘stated’ Job had sinned, 11:14 – he is suffering because it is God’s arbitrary will for him. Zophar knows from assumption. In his article, “Is It Better to Die?”, Ray Stedman labeled them: Eliphaz the elegant, Bildad the brutal, and Zophar the zealous. While these three wrongly implied his guilt, Job also wrongly implied God’s injustice. This was when Elihu entered the picture. He was not the brash, arrogant young man that rehashed what the three friends say, but one who came in with a new perspective, addressed Job’s incorrect thinking of God, and led the way for God to speak to Job from the whirlwind. Job became a blessed and better man through his enduring, James 5:11, by which he learned of God’s compassion and mercy. He thus serves as an example for believers to look past the sufferings to see God’s purposes. He was doubly blessed, Job 42:12-13, and was an example of those used by God to deliver others, Ezekiel 14:14 (compare Job 42:7-8). He also pictures the suffering the Lord went through, falsely accused, rejected and left alone, bearing agony, and yet remaining faithful.
The book of Job was apparently well known in the days of Ezekiel, B.C. 600 (Ezek. 14:14). Ezekiel 14:14 says, "Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would save only their own lives by their righteousness, declares the sovereign Lord." The book of Job formed a part of the sacred Scriptures used by our Lord and his apostles, and is referred to as a part of the inspired Word (Heb. 12:5; 1 Cor. 3:19). Hebrews 12:5 says, "And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? ‘My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you.’” Hebrews 12:5 is a loose quotation of Job 5:17-18: “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: 18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole." And 1 Corinthians 3:19 says, "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." This is from Job 5:13, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the cunning is brought to a quick end."
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