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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

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

23:1-24:25 The Reply of Job: Job wants to present his case to God. Notice how this idea has changed over the course of the book. In chapter when Job first talks about this idea, he does not think he would succeed. In chapter 13, despite certain failure,Job desires to present his case to God. By chapter 16 Job declares he has a witness in heaven to plead his case. By chapter 19 Job believes his case will be heard, even if that will happen after his death. And now in chapter 23 Job thinks he could have justice from God, if only he could find God.  In chapter 24 Job’s attention turns to the poor who suffer. Job wonders why God does not have regular times to hear cases? Why do the poor suffer unjustly? (V 1-12)  Why do the murderer, adulterer and thief go unpunished? (V 13-17)

Verses 18- 25 are out of character for Job. These verses may be Job quoting his friends or they may be a “lost” part of Bildad’s speech or Zophar’s “missing” third speech.

25:1-6 Bildad’s third speech. This is a very short speech and repeats what the friends have said before.

26:1-14 There is some disagreement among scholars about these verses. Some believe that all of chapter 26 is actually Bildad speaking. Some believe that verses 5-14 are Bildad speaking and verses 1-4 are Job speaking. Some believe that all of this chapter is Job speaking. If Bildad is speaking, his speech concerns the power of God in the heavens (25:1-6), in the underworld (26:5-6), and in creation (26:7-14).

If Job is speaking in verses 1-4, he is sharply sarcastic in reply to Bildad.  Verses 5-14 are about the power and omnipotence of God.

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.

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