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By Tyson Thorne

October 9, 2018
 

Intro Job Large

The story of Job takes place during the times of the Patriarchs — Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as is evidenced by his theology of sacrifice and some of the archaic language used in the text. It is definitely an Israelite work, however, as it uses YHWH as the divine name throughout the book. Job has three distinct sections: the prelude which gives us insider knowledge about Job — especially concerning his righteousness, a conclusion wherein God makes an appearance to answer the questions of Job, and an expansive middle section that presents and destroys the common answers to the question of suffering.

Job is found among the Hebrew wisdom literature and is the longest poem in the Bible even though it combines some prose in the form of dialogue and monologue. Due to the time-frame of the account, we must understand that the speakers do not have the revelation of Moses or later Scriptures. Job's friends who do most of the talking exhibit little knowledge of God or wisdom. It isn't until Elihu speaks that some wisdom is actually related, namely that suffering isn't always punishment but can sometimes be used for instruction. This is the closest the book comes to offering an answer to the question posed from the human side of the coin.

Author and Date of Writing

While the story of Job took place early on, long before the establishment of the nation Israel, it was obviously written after the events depicted.. How much later is debated, but there is no reason to assume a post-exilic date as some have proposed. Many scholars suggest it was written during King Solomon's rule. The reasoning behind this assumption is that at that time Israel was well connected and cosmopolitan and would have gained exposure to the literature of other nations who also have wisdom literature about suffering. This is possible, of course, but some of those books they reference as influences for Job were written during the time of Job and the other patriarchs. There is no reason it couldn't have been written shortly after the actual events. The best we can do in establishing the date of writing is sometime after Job and no later than the period of the united kingdom.

The author of Job has, by Jewish tradition, been assumed to be Moses. That said, the writing style is sufficiently different to rule Moses out. Since the author does not mention their name the author is best said to be unknown.

Big Idea

While the book looks at the human side of the coin, questioning why the righteous suffer painfully (and apparently needlessly) the intent of the book is to answer such questions from the divine side of the coin stating that God handles the running of the entire universe and is capable of running our life too if only we trust him to.

Outline

I. Prelude, 1.1-22

II. Man's Arguments, 2.1-37.24

III. God's Answers, 38.1-42.6

IV. Epilogue42.7-17

This was the world of Jesus and the early church.

 
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