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Job’s Character and Wealth

[a]There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God [with reverence] and abstained from and turned away from evil [because he honored God]. Seven sons and three daughters were born to him. He also possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke (pairs) of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very great number of servants, so that this man was the greatest [and wealthiest and most respected] of all the men of the east (northern Arabia). His sons used to go [in turn] and feast in the house of each one on his [b]day, and they would send word and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.(A) When the days of their feasting were over, Job would send [for them] and consecrate them, rising early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and [c]cursed God in their hearts.” Job did this at all [such] times.

Now there was a day when the sons of God (angels) came to present themselves before the [d]Lord, and Satan (adversary, accuser) also came among them.(B) The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming around on the earth and from walking around on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered and reflected on My servant Job? For there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God [with reverence] and abstains from and turns away from evil [because he honors God].” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not put a hedge [of protection] around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands [and conferred prosperity and happiness upon him], and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But put forth Your hand now and touch (destroy) all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” 12 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that Job has is in your power, only do not put your hand on the man himself.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord.

Satan Allowed to Test Job

13 Now there was a day when Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were feeding beside them, 15 and the [e]Sabeans attacked and swooped down on them and took away the animals. They also killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was still speaking, another [messenger] also came and said, “The fire of God (lightning) has fallen from the heavens and has burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was still speaking, another [messenger] also came and said, “The [f]Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and have taken them away and have killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was still speaking, another [messenger] also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and suddenly, a great wind came from across the desert, and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

20 Then Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head [in mourning for the children], and he fell to the ground and worshiped [God]. 21 He said,

“Naked (without possessions) I came [into this world] from my mother’s womb,
And naked I will return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

Job Loses His Health

Again there was a day when the sons of God (angels) came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan (adversary, accuser) also came among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming around on the earth and from walking around on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered and reflected on My servant Job? For there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God [with reverence] and abstains from and turns away from evil [because he honors God]. And still he maintains and holds tightly to his integrity, although you incited Me against him to destroy him without cause.” Satan answered the Lord, “[g]Skin for skin! Yes, a man will give all he has for his life. But put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh [and severely afflict him]; and he will curse You to Your face.” So the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, only spare his life.”

So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome boils and agonizingly painful sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And Job took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself, and he sat [down] among the ashes (rubbish heaps).

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still cling to your integrity [and your faith and trust in God, without blaming Him]? Curse God and die!” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the [spiritually] foolish women speaks [ignorant and oblivious to God’s will]. Shall we indeed accept [only] good from God and not [also] accept adversity and disaster?” In [spite of] all this Job did not sin with [words from] his lips.

11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite; for they had made an appointment together to come to sympathize with him and to comfort him. 12 When they looked from a distance and did not recognize him [because of his disfigurement], they raised their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe [in grief] and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky [in sorrow]. 13 So they sat down on the ground with Job for seven days and seven nights and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.

Job’s Lament

After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. [h]And Job said,


“Let the day on which I was born perish,
And the night which announced: ‘There is a man-child conceived.’

“May that day be darkness;
Let God above not care about it,
Nor light shine on it.

“Let darkness and gloom claim it for their own;
Let a cloud settle upon it;
Let all that blackens the day terrify it (the day that I was born).

“As for that night, let darkness seize it;
Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;
Let it not be counted in the number of the months.

“Behold, let that night be barren [and empty];
Let no joyful voice enter it.

“Let those curse it [i]who curse the day,
Who are skilled in rousing up Leviathan.

“Let the stars of its early dawn be dark;
Let the morning wait in vain for the light,
Let it not see the eyelids of morning (the day’s dawning),
10 
Because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb,
Nor hide trouble from my eyes.

11 
“Why did I not die at birth,
Come forth from the womb and expire?
12 
“Why did the knees receive me?
And why the breasts, that I would nurse?
13 
“For now I would have lain down and been quiet;
I would have slept then, I would have been at rest [in death],
14 
With kings and counselors of the earth,
Who built up [now desolate] ruins for themselves;
15 
Or with princes who had gold,
Who filled their houses with silver.
16 
“Or like a miscarriage which is hidden and put away, I would not exist,
Like infants who never saw light.
17 
“There [in death] the wicked cease from raging,
And there the weary are at rest.
18 
“There the prisoners rest together;
They do not hear the taskmaster’s voice.
19 
“The small and the great are there,
And the servant is free from his master.(C)

20 
“Why is the light given to him who is in misery,
And life to the bitter in soul,
21 
Who wait for death, but it does not come,
And dig (search) for death more [diligently] than for hidden treasures,
22 
Who rejoice exceedingly,
And rejoice when they find the grave?
23 
Why is the light of day given to a man whose way is hidden,
And whom God has hedged in?
24 
“For my groaning comes at the sight of my food,
And my cries [of despair] are poured out like water.
25 
“For the thing which I greatly fear comes upon me,
And that of which I am afraid has come upon me.
26 
“I am not at ease, nor am I quiet,
And I am not at rest, and yet trouble still comes [upon me].”

Eliphaz: Innocent Do Not Suffer

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,


“If we dare to converse with you, will you be impatient [or offended]?
But who can restrain himself from speaking?

“Behold, you have admonished and instructed many,
And you have strengthened weak hands.

“Your words have helped the one who was stumbling to stand,
And you have strengthened feeble knees.

“But now [j]adversity comes upon you, and you are impatient and intolerant;
It touches you, and you are horrified.

“Is not your fear of God your confidence,
And [is not] the integrity and uprightness of your ways your hope?


“Remember now, who, being innocent, ever perished?
Or where [and in what circumstances] were those upright and in right standing with God destroyed?

“As I have seen, those who plow wickedness
And those who sow trouble and harm harvest it.

“By the breath of God they perish,
And by the blast of His anger they are consumed.
10 
“The roaring of the lion and the voice of the fierce lion,
And the teeth of the young lions are broken.
11 
“The lion perishes for lack of prey,
And the cubs of the lioness are scattered.

12 
“Now a word was secretly brought to me,
And my ear received a whisper of it.
13 
“Amid disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night,
When deep sleep falls on men,
14 
Dread and trembling came upon me,
Which made all my bones shake.
15 
“Then a spirit passed before my face;
The hair on my skin stood on end!
16 
“The spirit stood still, but I could not discern its appearance;
A form was before my eyes;
There was silence, and then I heard a voice, saying:
17 
‘Can [mortal] man be just before God or be more righteous than He?
Can a man be pure before his Maker or be more cleansed than He?(D)
18 
‘God puts no trust or confidence, even in His [heavenly] servants,
And He charges His angels with error.
19 
‘How much more [will He blame and charge] those who dwell in houses (bodies) of clay,
Whose foundations are in the dust,
Who are crushed like a moth.
20 
‘Between morning and evening they are broken in pieces and destroyed;
Unobserved and unnoticed, they perish forever.
21 
‘Is not their tent-cord drawn up within them [so that the tent collapses]?
Do they not die, and yet without [acquiring] wisdom?’

God Is Just

“Call now —is there anyone who will answer you?
And to which of the holy ones (angels) will you turn?

“For anger slays the foolish man,
And jealousy kills the simple (naive).

“I have seen the foolish taking root [and outwardly prospering],
But I cursed his dwelling immediately [for his destruction was certain].

“His children are far from safety [and included in their father’s ruin],
They are oppressed and crushed in the [court of justice in the city’s] gate,
And there is no [k]one to rescue them.

“The hungry devour his harvest
And take it even [when it grows] among the thorns;
The trap opens for [his] wealth.

“For affliction does not come forth from the dust,
Nor does trouble spring forth from the ground.

“For man is born for trouble,
[As naturally] as sparks fly upward.


“As for me, I would seek God and inquire of Him,
And I would commit my cause to God;

Who does great and unsearchable things,
Marvelous things without number.
10 
“He gives rain upon the earth
And sends waters upon the fields,
11 
So that He sets on high those who are lowly,
And He lifts to safety those who mourn.
12 
“He frustrates the devices and schemes of the crafty,
So that their hands cannot attain success or achieve anything of [lasting] worth.
13 
“He catches the [so-called] wise in their own shrewdness,
And the advice of the devious is quickly thwarted.(E)
14 
“In the daytime they meet in darkness,
And at noon they grope as in the night.
15 
“But God saves [the innocent] from the sword of the mouth of the devious,
And the poor from the hand of the mighty.
16 
“So the helpless have hope,
And injustice shuts its mouth.

17 
“Behold, how happy and fortunate is the man whom God reproves,
So do not despise or reject the discipline of the Almighty [subjecting you to trial and suffering].
18 
“For He inflicts pain, but He binds up and gives relief;
He wounds, but His hands also heal.
19 
“He will rescue you from six troubles;
Even in seven, evil will not touch you.
20 
“In famine He will redeem you from death,
And in war from the power of the sword.
21 
“You will be hidden from the scourge of the tongue,
And you will not be afraid of destruction when it comes.
22 
“You will laugh at violence and famine,
And you will not be afraid of the wild beasts of the earth.
23 
“For you will be in harmony with the stones of the field,
And the beasts of the field will be at peace with you.
24 
“You will know also that your tent is secure and at peace,
And you will visit your dwelling and fear no loss [nor find anything amiss].
25 
“You will know also that your descendants will be many,
And your offspring as the grass of the earth.
26 
“You will come to your grave in old age,
Like the stacking of grain [on the threshing floor] in its season.
27 
“Behold this; we have investigated it, and it is true.
Hear and heed it, and know for yourself [for your own good].”

Footnotes

  1. Job 1:1 The written structure of this book is unusual because it combines prose and poetry. No other book in the Bible uses this prose-poetry-prose pattern. Chapters 1 and 2 are prose, and introduce the poetic monologues and dialogues that comprise the essence of the story of Job. The opening verse of each of the intervening chapters is also prose as is the denouement in ch 42:7-17. A slightly longer introductory prose section is in ch 32:1-6a. Job is probably the most ancient book in the Bible and in addition to its biblical message it is highly regarded as a literary masterpiece.
  2. Job 1:4 Lit house of each man his day. It has been inferred by some that his refers to Job, and that his day was Job’s birthday or some other special occasion for him. But the Hebrew wording indicates instead that his refers to each of the brothers in turn, and since there were seven of them, it follows that they held a banquet every day of the week, rotating from house to house, as is also indicated in v 5. This is evidence both of the brothers’ prosperity and the close relationship they maintained with one another.
  3. Job 1:5 Lit blessed, a euphemism for “cursed.” The very idea of cursing God was so repugnant and sacrilegious to the godly that they would not use the word in speech or thought.
  4. Job 1:6 Heb YHWH (Yahweh), and so throughout chs 1, 2, 12, 38, 40, 42.
  5. Job 1:15 Terrorizing robbers from SW Arabia.
  6. Job 1:17 Marauding nomads from the Arabian desert. Much later the Chaldeans became the dominant people in the Babylonian Empire.
  7. Job 2:4 This probably refers to a trade of one animal skin for another, but even so its application here is unclear. One possibility is that according to Satan, Job would be willing to give up his wife (his remaining loved one) to save his own life, thus surrendering his integrity (v 3). Another is that Satan is hypothetically offering to give up his own life if Job is actually willing to die for his integrity. In any case, this is a bluff on Satan’s part, probably to make what he really wants (v 5) appear less drastic.
  8. Job 3:2 The prose introduction ends at v 1 and the poetic heart of the book begins with v 2. One of the features of Hebrew poetry is the prevalence of pairs of statements in which the second statement either is parallel in thought to the first or contrasts with it. There is no rhyming or metrical correspondence.
  9. Job 3:8 Some ancient sorcerers claimed the ability to curse a day by calling up a terrifying, legendary creature, such as Leviathan, to devour the sun.
  10. Job 4:5 Lit it.
  11. Job 5:4 Lit deliverer.