You will find an introduction and outline of Job, here.

A prayer to use before reading, from Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274) a prominent theologian of the medieval period.

 Creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with the loving knowledge of you, that I may bring your light to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries which you have revealed. Amen.

Outline of Job (based on Good)

I. The Opening Tale 1:1-2:13

II. The Dialogue 3:1-31:40

A. The First Cycle of Speeches 3:1-11:20

B. The Second Cycle of Speeches 12:1-20:29

      19:1-29 Job’s Reply:

              Verses 1-6 addressed to friends: Job echoes Bildad’s “how long”. While not admitting sin, Job accuses his friends of tormenting and attacking him.

              Verses 7-20 a complaint: Job uses a variety of images to describe God’s treatment of him.

               Verses 21-22 addressed to friends: “Have pity”- stop persecuting me.

              Verses 23-27 a wish, knowledge and desire: Job does not want his complaint lost. Verses 25-27 are difficult to translate, and thus difficult to understand. “Redeemer” in verse 25 would be better translated as “avenger”  or “vindicator”, as in a family member who takes divergence on the enemy of a suffering family member.

              Verses 28-29 addressed to friends: Job warns his friends that to falsely accuse him will bring punishment on his friends.

   20:1-29 The Second Discourse of Zophar:

Zophar begins by responding to Job’s comments (19:28-29) personally. The rest of the discourse is about the fate of the wicked. As with the other friends in this cycle of speeches, there are no words of comfort for Job.

C. The Third Cycle of Speeches 21:1-28:28

21:1-34 Job’s Reply: This reply is directed to the friends. Job reminds them that the wicked do remain unpunished. In verses 19-21 Job argues that the guilt ought not to be passed on to children, but that the guilty should bear their own punishment. In verses 22-26 Job points out that everyone dies, the good and the bad. In 27-34 Job suggests his friend  ask any traveler, the wicked do not suffer and their tombs are protected.

22:1-30 The Third Discourse of Eliphaz: Eliphaz accuses Job of moral ( 6-11)and theological (12-20) sins. Beginning with verse 21, Eliphaz encourages Job to repent.


Here are several good sources to aid your reading of the Job

Anderson, Bernhard W., Katheryn Pfister Darr, Understanding the Old Testament Abridged fourth Edition. (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall) 1998.

Clines, David J.A. “Job” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version.Coogan, Michael D.; Brettler, Marc Z.; Perkins, Pheme; Newsom, Carol A. (2010-01-20) Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

Good, Edwin M. “Job” in  HarperCollins Bible Commentary Mays, James L. ed.(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco) 2000.

Long, Thomas G. What Shall We Say? Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith (Grand Rapids MI:Wm B. Eerdmans) 2011.

Newsom, Carol A. “Job”,in The New Interpreter’s Bible Vol 3, Keck, Leander E. ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press) 1996.