This book is named after Job, whose history is here used to repeat the great truth, that sufferings here below are not always divine punishments for sins committed, but, that in ways oftentimes unknown to us, the patience of the afflicted serves to increase merit and to enhance Gods glory.
1. The prologue tells of Jobs great virtue and his wealth. Job
2. The devil is given permission to try Jobs faith. Job 1:6-12.
3. Job is told of the loss of everything, family, herds, and servants. Job 1:13-19.
4. Job praises God with the words; "The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised." Job 1:20-22.
5. Again the devil gets permission to afflict Job. Job 2:1-6.
6. Job is stricken with sores from the sole of his feet to the top of his head to which Job says "Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?" Job 2:7-10.
7. Three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, come to join Job and to sympathise at his distress. Job 2:11-13.
8. Jobs suffering makes him wish he had never been born. He longs to find peace and release in death. Job 3:1-26.
9. Eliphaz first speech. Job has often helped others in trouble; now he should be prepared to swallow his own medicine. God destroys the guilty not the innocent. No-one is blameless before God. Trouble is an inevitable part of life. The best course is to turn to God, accept his reproof and wait to be restored to favour. Job 4:1-21 & 5:1-27.
10. Job replies. Eliphaz advice is not helpful. Job is at the end of his tether. It doesnt help to be told to be patient. Job only wants to cease to be. His friends have failed to show sympathy when he needed it most. He has done nothing to deserve punishment. Job 6:1-30 & 7:1-10.
11. Job turns to God and pours out his heart. Job 7:11-21.
12. Bildads first speech. God is just. He rewards the good and punishes the wicked. Job 8:1-22.
13. Job believes in Gods justice but in his own case God has condemned an innocent man. Job 9:1-35 & 10:1-22.
14. Zophars first speech. These words are the harshest of all. Does Job think himself innocent? God is letting him down lightly. Job must put away his sin then God will restore him. Job 11:1-20.
15. Job is stung to sarcasm. His friends are not the only ones who can work things out. God is all-wise, all powerful. If he turns justice upside-down, what can anyone do about it? Job cries to God to hide him away in the land of the dead until his anger is past, and then to restore him. But despair floods back - what hope is there? Job 12:1-25 & 13:1-28 & 14:1-22.
16. Elipahaz second speech. The debate heats up. Job has needled his friends, and they make no allowances for the stress he is under. They go on defending their position. Job 15:1-35.
17. Job replies. How easy it is for his friends to talk when they are not bearing the pain. Despite everything Job cannot believe that God is unjust. Job 16:1-22 & 17:1-16.
18. Bildads second speech. He resents Jobs angry rejection of their advice. He paints a terrible picture of the fate of the wicked, meaning to put Job in his place. Job 18:1-21.
19. Jobs friends have become his tormentors. He is shut in on himself despairing. Yet even in his darkest moments, faith and hope still well up inside him. Job 19:1-29.
20. Zophars second speech. He takes up Bildads theme: the fate of the wicked. Their prosperity is short-lived their punishment certain. Job 20:1-29.
21. Job replies that Zophars words fly in the face of experience. More often than not, evil men flourish, live happily and die peacefully. The friends will argue that Gods vengeance falls on their children. But what sort of justice is that? Job 21:1-34.
22. Eliphaz third speech. Still the same argument. Job is in the wrong. He thought he could hide his sins from God. Job 22:1-30.
23. Job replies; If only he could find God and put his case to him. But God is not to be found and his ways are inexplicable. Look what goes on in the world. Life is neither fair nor just. God delays judgement, and those who trample the hepless underfoot seem to get away with it. Job 23:1-17 & 24:1-25.
24. Bildads third speech. Jobs friends have exhausted their advice. They have nothing more to say. Bildad reiterates the truth that no man is one- hundred per cent perfect in Gods sight. Job 25:1-6.
25. Jobs final reply. His friends want him to deny his integrity, but Job will not perjure himself. Job looks back on the golden days of Gods favours, but he returns to the now, the bitter present, which has made him the butt of all. All this has happened to a man who has avoided immorality, played fair with employees, been generous, turned no-one from his door. Job is prepared to swear to all this before God. Job 26 to 31.
26. Now, a fourth man, Eliu, enters into the argument. He is angry with Job. He sees good and bad conduct as a matter between men. God remains high above untouched by either. People cry out to God in their need but they are only concerned for their own skins, not for God. This is why God does not answer. Job 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; & 37.
27. God breaks in just when Eliu has finished his list of reasons why Job cannot expect an answer. Job had imagined himself putting his case to God, and asking questions. But imagination is not reality. It is God, not Job, who asks the questions now. Through the succession of searching questions Job finds his opinion of himself shrinking. His mental image of God had been altogether too small. Job 38:1-41 & 39:1-30.
28. Does Job think he is Gods equal that he questions his justice? Job realizes that he has been dabbling in things beyond his understanding, totally out of his depth. Before he has gone by heresay; now he has seen God for himself. Job 4O:1-24; 41:1-34 & 42:1-6.
29. Job is restored to his greatness. God has taken Job to task for his reaction to suffering but his integrity is beyond question. Friends, prosperity & family are all restored to him with a long life in which to enjoy them. Job 42:7-16.