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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.

[ Of the resources listed below, the section in Thomas Long’s book “Interlude- Howl:Job and the Whirlwind” is perhaps the most accessible and helpful overviews of the book of Job.]

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 :

40:1-2: see last weeks comments. These verses are the ending of God’s speech to Job

40:3-5  Job’s Reply: Job’s response in very short,especially compared to the previous speeches.  Is Job’s response humble or defiant? Notice Job does not say he has sinned.

40:6-41:34 God’s Second Speech: Again God speaks from a whirlwind. Verse 7 here is the same as 38:3. Verse 8, God summarizes Job’s complaint and in verses 9-14 is God challenging Job to consider the scope of his complaint or is this an ironic response?

Verse 15 the Behemoth is an imaginary monster symbolic of chaos and evil coming from Canaanite mythology.

41:1 -34 The Leviathan is an imaginary sea monster which is also symbolic of chaos.

In earlier times, scholars believed the Behemoth was a hippopotamus and the Leviathan a crocodile. Certainly that is what their descriptions here suggest. But recall that in Genesis 1, God’s creative actions involve the creation of order out of chaos. If these are chaos creatures, what is God telling Job?

42:1-6 Job’s Reply: Job acknowledges God’s sovereignty. Even though Job does not receive an answer to his compliant, the reality that God has heard and spoken to him is enough. God’s justice is not to be comprehended by humans. Justice is not a value or principle that God is subject to.

Cline on verse 5, “Now that he [Job] has heard God for  himself and his eye sees him (a metaphor for his experience of God), he “submits” and “accepts consolation.”
I despise myself, no object of the verb is expressed, and the verb is probably not Heb “ma’as,”“despise,” but “masas,”“melt, be discouraged,” as in Josh 2.11 (REB rightly translates “I yield”). Repent, Job has never acknowledged any sin, so he cannot be repenting; the verb means rather “be comforted.” Job means he will now end his
period of mourning (in dust and ashes) and resume his normal life. ” (Cline: 770)

V. The Closing Tale 42:7-17: These verses are similar to 1:1-2:13 in style, language and situation. God speaks to the friends and God is not pleased with what they have told Job. They are to make sacrifices and ask Job to intercede for them.  The friends’ position is “Biblical” according to Deuteronomy and the prophets. What does God mean? What have the friends gotten wrong and what has Job gotten correct?

Job prays for his friends and Job is restored to family and friends. Job receives a family, herds and wealth.Interestingly the names of Job’s daughters are given, but not the names of the sons, which we would expect to be given.  In light of the entire book, what does this restoration mean? We might ask ourselves, what does Job think all this means?

As Edwin Good writes, “Any summary of this huge, sprawling, complex book would gravely insult its integrity and its depth. The only thing to do is to read it again.” (Good: 393).

 

 

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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