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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

D. Job’s Summation 29:1-31:40

III. The Speeches of Elihu 32:1-37:24

IV. Dialogue with Yahweh 38:1-42:6: In this section there are two speeches from God and two replies from Job.

38:1-40:2 The Lord’s first speech: J”Counsel” in verse 2 could also be translated as the plan, in other words, “who obscures the divine plan by words without knowledge?””Gird up your loins” is a phrase used of soldiers preparing for combat.   In verses 38:4-38 are a series of questions to Job about the universe. What do these verses tell us about God? What could any human’s reply to these questions be? These questions reflect the ancient cosmology where the earth has foundations and the sea (chaos) is restrained behind doors. Notice the feminine language in verse 29.

38:39-39:30 concerns the world of animals.  “Verse 38:36 should be translated: “Who gave the ibis its wisdom or endowed the rooster with its intelligence?” Both birds were regarded as foretellers of rain, which is depicted as stored in great jars.” (Clines :766)

Has God answered Job’s complaint? If so, how? If not, why not? Why do you think God responds in this manner?

In verses 40:1-2 the law court metaphor resumes.

 

V. The Closing Tale 42:7-17

 

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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