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Books of Ketuvim

Three Poetic Books
1. Psalms
2. Book of Proverbs
3. Book of Job
Five Megillot
4. Song of Solomon
5. Book of Ruth
6. Book of Lamentations
7. Ecclesiastes
8. Book of Esther
Other Books
9. Book of Daniel
10. Book of Ezra - Book of Nehemiah
11. Books of Chronicles

The Book of Job (Hebrew: איוב‎) is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. It relates the story of Job, his trials at the hands of Satan, his theological discussions with friends on the origins and nature of his suffering, and finally a response from God. The Book itself comprises a didactic poem set in a prose framing device and has been called “the most profound and literary work of the entire Old Testament”.[1] The Book itself, along with its numerous exegeses, are attempts to address the problem of evil, i.e. the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of God. Scholars are divided as to the origin, intent, and meaning of the book.


Job 1:1 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 and shunned evil. Job 1:2 And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Job 1:3 Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the sons of the East. Job 1:4 And his sons would go and feast houses, each on his day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. Job 1:5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly. Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before YHWH, and Satan also came among them. Job 1:7 And YHWH said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the YHWH and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." Job 1:8 Then YHWH said to Satan, "Have you set your heart to My servant Job, that none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" Job 1:9 So Satan answered YHWH and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Job 1:10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. Job 1:11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face." Job 1:12 And YHWH said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has in your hand; only do not lay a hand on him." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. Job 1:13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house; Job 1:14 and a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the female donkeys feeding beside them, Job 1:15 when Sheba fell upon and took them. They also smote the servants with the edge of the sword; and only I alone have escaped to tell you." Job 1:16 While he still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and only I alone have escaped to tell you." Job 1:17 While he still speaking, another also came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and smote the servants with the edge of the sword; and only I alone have escaped to tell you." Job 1:18 While he still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, Job 1:19 and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and only I alone have escaped to tell you." Job 1:20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. Job 1:21 And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. YHWH gave, and YHWH has taken away; Blessed be the name of YHWH." Job 1:22 In all this Job did not sin nor did he ascribe unseemless to God. [2]

The angels of heaven (the Hebrew word translated as "Angels" means "the Sons of God") and Satan (literally, the Hebrew word means "the accuser" or "the adversary") present themselves to God. God asks Satan his opinion on Job, apparently a truly pious man. Satan answers that Job is only pious because he is prosperous. In response to Satan's assertion, God gives Satan permission to destroy Job's possessions and family.[3]

All of Job's possessions are destroyed and all of his offspring are killed. Job does not curse God after this but instead shaves his head, tears his clothes and says, "Naked I came out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return : YHWH has given, and YHWH has taken away; blessed be the name of YHWH" (Simplified).[4]

As Job endures these calamities without reproaching Divine Providence, Satan solicits permission to afflict his person as well, and God says, "Behold, he is in your hand, but don’t touch his life." Satan, therefore, smites him with dreadful boils, and Job, seated in ashes, scrapes his skin with broken pottery. His wife prompts him to "curse God, and die" but Job answers, "You speaks as one of the foolish speaks. Moreover, shall we receive good from God and shall not receive evil?" In all this, Job did not sin in his lips.

And the three of Job's friends heard all this evil that came on him, and they came every man from his place — Eliphaz the Temanite (Heb: Aliphaz the Thimanite), Bildad the Shuhite (Heb: Bildad the Shuchite), and Zophar [Naamathite]] (Heb: Zuphar the Nomathite). A fourth, Elihu the Buzite (Heb: Alieua ben Barakal the Buzite), first begins talking in chapter 32 and bears a distinguished part in the dialogue; his arrival is not noted. The friends spend 7 days sitting on the ground with Job, without saying anything to him because they see that he is suffering and in much pain. Job at last breaks his silence and "curses the day he was born".

Speeches of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar

Job's friends do not waver from their belief that Job must have sinned to incite God's punishment. As the speeches progress, Job's friends increasingly berate him for refusing to confess his sins, although they themselves are at a loss as to which sin he has committed. The three friends continue to argue that Job must have sinned, and therefore must deserve his misfortune. They also assume, in their view of theology, that God always rewards good and punishes evil, with no apparent exceptions allowed. There seems to be no room in their understanding of God for divine discretion and mystery in allowing and arranging suffering for purposes other than retribution. Job's friends never use the name Yahweh in the story, they refer to God as El Shaddai, Eloahh, and Elohiym.

Speeches of Job

Job, confident of his own innocence, maintains that his suffering is unjustified as he has not sinned, and that there is no reason for God to punish him thus. However, he does not curse God's name or accuse God of injustice but rather seeks an explanation or an account of his wrongdoing.

Job is guilty of the same theological error as his friends. He assumes that God should always reward faithfulness and always punish wickedness in a uniform way. Like his friends, he believes God is in complete control of the affairs of the world. Despite his friends' insistence upon his guilt, Job believes himself to be righteous. Therefore, he questions God's fairness in allowing this calamity. Interestingly, he claims that if there were a mediator between him and God, he would be declared innocent. Despite Job's doubts and declarations, the author maintains that in all this, Job did not sin.

Speech of Elihu

Elihu, whose name means 'My God is He' or 'My God is YHVH', takes a mediator's path — he attempts to maintain the sovereignty and righteousness and gracious mercy of God. Elihu strongly condemns the approach taken by the three friends, and argues that Job is misrepresenting God's righteousness and discrediting his loving character. Elihu says he spoke last because he is much younger than the other three friends, but says that age makes no difference when it comes to insights and wisdom. In his speech, Elihu argues for God's power, redemptive salvation, and absolute rightness in all his conduct. God is mighty, yet just, and quick to warn and to forgive. Elihu takes a distinct view of the kind of repentance required by Job. Job's three friends claim that repentance requires Job to identify and renounce the sins that gave rise to his suffering. By contrast, Elihu stresses that repentance inextricably entails renouncing any moral authority or cosmological perspective, which is God's alone. Elihu therefore underscores the inherent arrogance in Job's desire to 'make his case' before God, which presupposes that Job possesses a superior moral standard that can be prevailed upon God. Apparently, Elihu acts in a prophetic role preparatory to the appearance of God. His speech maintains that Job, while righteous, is not perfect. Job does not disagree with this, and, proving that Elihu's speech was wise and correct, God did not rebuke him. After Elihu's speech ends with the last verse of Chapter 37, God appears and in the second verse of Chapter 38. God says, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?“ God also rebukes Job's three friends.

File:Why me (Job) net.jpg

"Why me?"(Book of Job) by Einar Hákonarson

God's response

After several rounds of debate between Job and his friends, in a divine voice, described as coming from a "cloud" or "whirlwind", God describes, in evocative and lyrical language, what the experience of being the creator of the world is like, and asks if Job has ever had the experiences or the authority that God has had.

God's answer underscores that Job shares the world with numerous powerful and remarkable creatures, creatures with lives and needs of their own, for whom God must provide, and the young of some hunger in a way that can only be satisfied by taking the lives of others.

God's speech also emphasizes his sovereignty in creating and maintaining the world. The thrust is not merely that God has experiences that Job does not, but also that God is King over the world and is not necessarily subject to questions from his creatures, including men. The point of these speeches, and ultimately the entire book of Job, is to defend the absolute freedom of God over his creation. God is not in need of the approval of his creation. He is free. Furthermore, Job's lack of knowledge and the ability to see the world as God does prevents him from fully understanding God's reasons for allowing Job's suffering.

In the epilogue, God condemns Job's friends for their ignorance and lack of understanding while admonishing Job for his righteous words, commands them to prepare burnt offerings and reassures them that Job will pray for their forgiveness. Job is restored to health, gaining double the riches he possessed before and having 7 sons and 3 daughters (his wife did not die in this ordeal). His new daughters were the most beautiful in the land, and were given inheritance along with their brothers. Job is blessed once again and lives on another 140 years after the ordeal, living to see his children to the fourth generation and dying peacefully of old age.

Satan in the Book of Job

The term "Satan" appears in the prose prologue of the Book of Job, with his usual connotation of "the adversary", as a distinct being. He is shown as one of the celestial beings before the Deity, replying to the inquiry of God as to whence he had come, with the words: "from going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it" (Job 1:7). There is some question as to whether this is "Satan" as the proper name for "Satan" is not used, but rather, a better translation is "The Satan". So, the question is whether this is some other demonic accuser or "Satan", than the one who was in charge of the rebellion.

The dialogue that ensues characterizes Satan as the member of the divine council who watches over human activity; but with the purpose of searching out men's sins and appearing as their accuser. He is, as it were, a celestial "prosecutor", who sees only iniquity; for he persists in his evil opinion of Job even after the man of Uz has passed successfully through his first trial by surrendering to the will of God, whereupon Satan demands another test through physical suffering (Job 2:3–5). Satan challenges God by saying that Job's belief is only built upon the material goods he has been given, and that his faith will disappear as soon as they are taken from him. God accepts the challenge.

The introduction of "the adversary" occurs in the (very short) framing story alone: he is never alluded to in the (very long) central poem at all, although Hades is mentioned in the central poem.

The Jewish and Christian interpretations of who "ha-satan" (literally, "the adversary")is tends to differ.

Many from a Christian perspective believe 'Satan' to be the Devil. 'Satan' is generally considered in that tradition to be the adversary of God, and is typically conflated with Lucifer. Thus, 'Satan' is viewed by Christians as evil personified.[5]

The Jewish view of "the adversary" is as a sort of prosecuting attorney for God.[6][7] While "the adversary" is equated with the Angel of Death, he is generally considered to be the adversary of humanity rather than God, and he is often shown obeying the will of God.

Job's wife

Job's wife is introduced in Job 2:9 when she suggests that Job curse God and die. She is not directly mentioned at any other place in the book. Throughout the ordeal, she survives and lives on with Job to bear him ten more children.

Identities of Job's friends

The first speaker to address Job, 'Eliphaz the Temanite', is likely identified in the Book of Genesis, chap. 36, verses eleven through twelve, in a genealogy: 'And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz. Now Timna was the concubine of Eliphaz, Esau's son, and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These the sons of Adah, Esau's wife.' This would probably identify the Eliphaz in the Book of Job as a descendant of Teman, and therefore designated as a 'Temanite', meaning 'a relative' or 'a descendant'; 'son of', or 'of the tribe of', rather than as coming from a place called Teman, which there probably was, and also was probably named after its founder, i.e. the original Teman, the son of Eliphaz mentioned in Genesis chapter 36.


A great diversity of opinion exists as to the origin of this book.[8] and the identity of Job

The book of Job begins, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job.” James declares, “Ye have heard of the patience of Job” (Jas. 5.11), whilst Ezekiel, speaking of judgment to come upon the land, says, “Though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls” (Ezek. 14.14).

Nevertheless, even to those who accept the Bible as God’s inspired word, Job appears as a somewhat enigmatic figure.

The Talmud (Tractate Bava Basra 15a-b) maintains that the Book of Job was written by Moses, although the Sages dispute whether it was based on historical reality or intended as a parable. Although Moses' authorship is accepted as definitive, other opinions in the Talmud ascribe it to the period of before the First Temple, the time of the patriarch Jacob, or King Ahaserus.

In contrast, comparative literary and historical examinations of the text more generally conclude that, though archaic features such as the "council in heaven" survive, and though the story of Job was familiar to Ezekiel (Chapter 14 verse 14), the present form of Job was fixed in the postexilic period 6th century BC - 5th century BC.[9] Ezekiel places Job in comparison with other righteous figures such as Noah and Daniel. The story of Job apparently originated in the land of Edom, which has been retained as the background. Fragments of Job are found among the Dead Sea scrolls, and Job remains prominent in haggadic legends. The later Greek Testament of Job figures among the apocrypha. Scholars agree that the introductory and concluding sections of the book, the framing devices, were composed to set the central poem into a prose "folk-book", as the compilers of the Jewish Encyclopedia expressed it. In the prologue and epilogue, the name of God is the Tetragrammaton, a name that even the Edomites use. The central poem is from another source.

Among the Dead Sea Scrolls is the Targum of Job 11Q10. Another example of text from the last chapter or epilogue of Job can be found in the book, The Dead Sea Scrolls a New Translation. Here we are shown examples of how fragments of The Book of Job found among the scrolls differ from the traditional text. If the prologue and epilogue were added to the central poem, then this would have happened before 100 BC or the time attributed to the Dead Sea Scrolls

The medieval exegete Abraham ibn Ezra believed that Job was translated from another language and it is therefore unclear "like all translated books". (Ibn Ezra Job 2:11)

Possible Sumerian source

The Assyriologist and Sumerologist Samuel Noah Kramer in his 1959 book History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine "Firsts" in Recorded History (1956), provided a translation of a Sumerian text which Professor Kramer argued evinces a parallel with the Biblical story of Job. Professor Kramer drew an inference that the Hebrew version is in some way derived from a Sumerian predecessor.

See Ludlul bēl nēmeqi

Later interpolations and additions

Various interpolations have been claimed to have been made in the text of the central poem. The most common such claims are of two kinds: the "parallel texts", which are parallel developments of the corresponding passages in the base text, and the speeches of Elihu (Chapters 32-37), which consist of a polemic against the ideas expressed elsewhere in the poem, and so are claimed to be interpretive interpolations. The speeches of Elihu (who is not mentioned in the prologue) are claimed to contradict the fundamental opinions expressed by the "friendly accusers" in the central body of the poem, according to which it is impossible that the righteous should suffer, all pain being a punishment for some sin. Elihu, however, reveals that suffering may be decreed for the righteous as a protection against greater sin, for moral betterment and warning, and to elicit greater trust and dependence on a merciful, compassionate God in the midst of adversity.

The status of Elihu's interrupting didactic sermon is brought further into question by his extremely sudden appearance and disappearance from the text; he is not mentioned in Job 2:11, in which Job's friends are introduced, nor is he mentioned at all in the epilogue, 42:7-10, in which God expresses anger at Job's friends. It is suggested that had Elihu appeared in the original source, his spirited and virtuous defence of the divine right to punish would have been rewarded by God in the conclusion, or at the very least mentioned. Additionally, Elihu's first spoken words are a confession of his youthful status, being much younger than the three canonical friends, including a claim to be speaking because he cannot bear to remain silent; it has been suggested that this interesting statement may have been symbolic of a "younger" (that is to say, later and interpolating) writer, who has written Elihu's sermon to respond to what he views as morally and theologically scandalous statements being made within the book of Job, and creating the literary device of Elihu to provide what seemed to be a much-needed faith-based response to further refute heresy and provide a satisfying counter-argument, a need partially provided by God's ambiguous and unspecific response to Job at the end of the book.

Subjects of further contention among scholars are the identity of claimed corrections and revisions of Job's speeches, which are claimed to have been made for the purpose of harmonizing them with the orthodox doctrine of retribution. A prime example of such a claim is the translation of the last line Job speaks (42:6), which is extremely problematic in the Hebrew. Traditional translations have him say, "Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." This is consonant with the central body of the poem and Job's speeches, other mortal encounters with the divine in the Bible (Isaiah in Chapter 6, for example), and the fact that there would have been no restoration without Job's humble repentant acknowledgment of mortality faced with divinity in all its majesty and glory. However, other scholarly interpretations of this verse also exist (for example)


Exegesis of Job largely concerns the question, "Is misfortune always a divine punishment for something?" Job's three friends argued in the affirmative, stating that Job's misfortunes were proof that he had committed some sins for which he was being punished. His friends also advanced the converse position that good fortune is always a divine reward, and that if Job would renounce his supposed sins, he would immediately experience the return of good fortune.

In response, Job asserted that he was a righteous man, and that his misfortune was therefore not a punishment for anything. This raised the possibility that God acts in capricious ways, and Job's wife urged him to curse God, and die. Instead, Job responded with equanimity: "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21) He went even further, in verse 22, by not charging any wrong to God. The climax of the book occurs when God responds to Job, not with an explanation for Job's suffering but rather with a question: Where was Job when God created the world?

God's response itself may be read in a variety of ways. Some see it as an attempt to humble Job. Yet Job is comforted by God's appearance, and the fact that he 'saw God and lived', suggesting that the author of the book was more concerned with whether or not God is present in people's lives, than with the question of whether or not God is just. Job chapter 28 rejects these efforts to fathom divine wisdom.

The framing story complicates the book further: in the introductory section God, during a conversation with Satan, allows Satan to inflict misery on Job and kill his children. The appended conclusion has God restoring Job to wealth, granting him new children, and possibly restoring his health, although this is more implied than explicitly stated. This may suggest that the faith of the perfect believer is rewarded. However, God speaks directly to this question, condemns Job's friends, and says that Job is the only man who has faithfully represented the true nature of God - that all his friends were wrong to say that faith and righteousness are rewarded. Only after Job's friends make a sacrifice to God and are prayed for by afflicted Job does God restore all Job's good fortune.

The Testament of Job

There are many parallel accounts about Job and one such account, found in the Pseudepigrapha is the Testament of Job. There are legendary details such as the fate of Job's wife, the inheritance of Job's daughters, and the ancestry of Job.

In folktale manner in the style of Jewish Midrash [2], it elaborates upon the Book of Job making Job a king in Egypt. Like many other Testament of ... works in the Old Testament apocrypha, it gives the narrative a framing-tale of Job's last illness, in which he calls together his sons and daughters to give them his final instructions and exhortations. The Testament of Job contains all the characters familiar in the Book of Job, with a more prominent role for Job's wife, given the name Sitidos, and many parallels to Christian beliefs that Christian readers find, such as intercession with God and forgiveness.

Unlike the Biblical Book of Job, Satan's vindictiveness towards Job is described in the Testament as being due to Job destroying a non-Jewish temple, indeed Satan is described in a far more villainous light, than simply being a prosecuting counsel. Job is equally portrayed differently; Satan is shown to directly attack Job, but fails each time due to Job's willingness to be patient, unlike the Biblical narrative where Job falls victim but retains faith.

The latter section of the work, dedicated like the Biblical text to Job's comforters, deviates even further from the Biblical narrative. Rather than complaining or challenging God, Job consistently asserts his faith despite the laments of his comforters. While one of the comforters gives up, and the others try to get him medical treatment, Job insists his faith is true, and eventually the voice of God tells the comforters to stop their behavior. When most of the comforters choose to listen to God's voice, they decide to taunt the one remaining individual who still laments Job's fate.

In Judaism

The Talmud occasionally discusses Job. Most traditional Torah scholarship has not doubted Job's existence. He was seen as a real and powerful figure. One Talmudic opinion has it that Job was in fact one of three advisors that Pharaoh consulted, prior to taking action against the increasingly multiplying "Children of Israel" mentioned in the Book of Exodus during the time of Moses' birth. The episode is mentioned in the Talmud (Tractate Sotah): Balaam gives evil advice urging Pharaoh to kill the Hebrew male new-born babies, Jethro opposes Pharaoh and tells him not to harm the Hebrews at all, and Job keeps silent and does not reveal his mind even though he was personally opposed to Pharaoh's destructive plans. It is for his silence that God subsequently punishes him with his bitter afflictions.[3].

There is a minority view among the rabbis of the Talmud, that of Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish, that Job never existed (Midrash Genesis Rabbah LXVII, Talmud Bavli, Bava Batra 15a). In this view, Job was a literary creation by a prophet who used this form of writing to convey a divine message or parable. On the other hand, the Talmud (in Tractate Baba Batra 15a-16b) goes to great lengths trying to ascertain when Job actually lived, citing many opinions and interpretations by the leading sages. Job is further mentioned in the Talmud as follows [4]:

  • Job's resignation to his fate (in Tractate Pesachim 2b)
  • Anyone who associated with Job when he was prosperous, including to buy from him or sell to him, was blessed (in Tractate Pesachim 112a)
  • Job's reward for being generous (in Tractate Megillah 28a)
  • King David, Job, and Ezekiel described the Torah's length without putting a number to it (in Tractate Eruvin 21a)

Two further Talmudic traditions hold that Job either lived in the time of Abraham or of Jacob. Levi ben Laḥma held that Job lived in the time of Moses, by whom the Book of Job was written. Others argue that it was written by Job himself (see Job  19:23-24), or by Elihu, or Isaiah.

Source for Jewish Law

Some of the laws and customs of mourning in Judaism are derived from the Book of Job's depiction of Job's mourning and the behavior of his companions. For example, according to[specify], the behavior of Job's comforters, who kept silence until he spoke to them, is the source for a norm applicable to contemporary traditional Jewish practice, that visitors to a house of mourning should not speak to the mourner until they are spoken to.[10]

Liturgical use

In most traditions of Jewish liturgy, the Book of Job is not read publicly in the manner of the Pentateuch, Prophets, or megillot. However, there are some Jews, particularly the Spanish-Portuguese, who do hold public readings of the Book of Job on the Tisha B'Av fast (a day of mourning over the destruction of the First and Second Temples and other tragedies).

The cantillation signs for the large poetic section in the middle of the Book of Job differ from those of most of the biblical books, using a system shared with it only by Psalms and Proverbs. A sample of how the cantillations are chanted is found below.

Many quotes from the Book of Job are used throughout Jewish liturgy, especially at funerals and times of mourning.

Philosophical approach

Maimonides, a twelfth century rabbi, discusses Job in his work The Guide for the Perplexed. According to Maimonides (III 22–23), each of Job's friends represents famous, distinct schools of thought concerning God and divine providence.

Moreover, Job reflects the view of Aristotle, that God destroys the innocent and the wicked together (Job 9). If Job held this point of view, then he did not believe in divine providence, even if he did believe in God's existence.

According to Maimonides, the correct view of providence lies with Elihu, who teaches Job that one must examine his/her religion (Job 33). This view corresponds with the notion that "the only worthy religion in the world is an examined religion." A habit religion, such as that originally practiced by Job, is never enough. One has to look deep into the meaning of religion in order to fully appreciate it and make it a genuine part of one's life. Elihu believed in the concepts of divine providence, rewards to individuals, as well as punishments. He believed, according to Maimonides, that one has to practice religion in a rational way. The more one investigates religion, the more he/she will be rewarded or find it rewarding. In the beginning, Job was an unexamining, pious man, not a philosopher, and he didn't have providence. He was unwise, simply grateful for what he had. God, according to Elihu, did not single out Job for punishment, but rather abandoned him and let him be dealt with by natural, unfriendly forces.

Conversely, in more recent times, Russian existentialist philosopher Lev Shestov viewed Job as the embodiment of the battle between reason (which offers general and seemingly comforting explanations for complex events) and faith in a personal god, and one man's desperate cry for him. In fact, Shestov used the story of Job as a central signifier for his core philosophy (the vast critique of the history of Western philosophy, which he saw broadly as a monumental battle between Reason and Faith, Athens and Jerusalem, secular and religious outlook):

"The whole book is one uninterrupted contest between the 'cries' of the much-afflicted Job and the 'reflections' of his rational friends. The friends, as true thinkers, look not at Job but at the 'general.' Job, however, does not wish to hear about the 'general'; he knows that the general is deaf and dumb - and that it is impossible to speak with it. 'But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God' (13:3). The friends are horrified at Job's words: they are convinced that it is not possible to speak with God and that the Almighty is concerned about the firmness of his power and the unchangeability of his laws but not about the fate of the people created by him. Perhaps they are convinced that in general God does not know any concerns but that he only rules. That is why they answer, 'You who tear yourself in your anger, shall the earth be forsaken for you or the rock be removed from its place?' (18:4). And, indeed, shall rocks really be removed from their place for the sake of Job? And shall necessity renounce its sacred rights? This would truly be the summit of human audacity, this would truly be a 'mutiny,' a 'revolt' of the single human personality against the eternal laws of the all-unity of being!" (Speculation and Apocalypse).

Mystical approach

According to the mystical approach, Job is being punished because he is a heretic. One reason why Job can be seen as a heretic is because in Chapter 3, he automatically assumed and was convinced that he did not sin and God therefore has no right to punish him.

According to Job, who reflected the views of Aristotle, God gave the world over to astrology. This is evident in Job's lamentation, "Curse the day I was born on" (3:2) Job cursed his birthday because he believed that his birthday was bad luck, in the astrological sense. Given the context of the passage, it is more likely that this phrase refers to Job wishing he'd never been born at all.

According to Nachmanides, Job's children did not die in the beginning of the story, but rather were taken captive and then return from captivity by the end of the story.

In Christianity

Christians accept the Book of Job as part of the Old Testament canon. The character of Job is also mentioned in the New Testament, as an example of perseverance in suffering (James 5:11).

There are several references to the Book of Job throughout the New Testament, especially the Epistles. Specifically:

Rev. 9:6 alludes to Job  3:21; compare 2 Thes. 2:8 to Job  4:9; 1 Cor. 3:19 quotes Job  5:13; Heb. 12:5, Jas. 1:12, and Rev. 3:19 all parallel Job  5:17 and Job  23:10; compare Jas. 4:14 to Job  7:6; compare Heb. 2:6 with Job  7:17; compare Heb. 12:26 with Job  9:6; Rom. 9:20 alludes to Job  9:32; Rom. 11:33 parallels Job  10:7; compare Acts 17:28 with Job  12:10; compare 1 Cor. 4:5 with Job  12:22; compare 1 Pet. 1:24 with Job  14:2; compare Lk. 19:22 with Job  15:6; Rom. 1:9 parallels Job  16:19; compare 1 John 3:2 with Job  19:26; Rev. 14:10, 19:15 parallel Job  21:20; both Rom. 11:34 and 1 Cor. 2:16 quote Isa. 40:13, which parallels Job  21:22; Mt. 25:42 alludes to Job  22:7; Jas. 4:6 and 1 Pet. 5:5 both quote Prov. 3:34, which parallels Job  22:29; compare Acts 1:7 with Job  24:1; Heb. 4:13 parallels Job  26:6; Mt. 16:26 alludes to Job  27:8; compare Jas. 1:5 with Job  32:8; 1 Jo. 1:9 alludes to Job  33:27-28; Jas. 5:4 alludes to Job  34:28; Rev. 16:21 alludes to Job  38:22-23; Mt. 6:26 alludes to Job  38:41; and finally, Rom. 11:35 quotes Job  41:11. (see Good News Bible special edition)

Christian themes include God's mercy (not treating sinners as they truly deserve), grace (treating unworthy sinners as they do not deserve), compassion (toleration of much discrediting, inappropriate mortal speculation impugning the divine character, and allegations of unrighteous/unfair dealings with men), restoration (where sin abounds, generosity superabounds) omnipotence, omnisapience [5], omnipresence, omniliberty, aseity and infinite love.

Many Christians hold that Job is a historical prototype of Jesus: the Man of Sorrows.

Messianic anticipation in the book

The book of Job contains several verses which have been taken by Christians to be prophecies of the Messiah, anticipating him as a mediator between Job and God. These may be found at 9:33, 16:19-21, 17:3, 19:23-27, and 33:23-28.

In chapter nine, Job recognizes the chasm that exists between him and God: “For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together.” [11] Job’s regret is that he has no arbiter to act as a go-between; that Job can not reconcile himself with God anticipates the need for the Messiah to become Incarnate.[12] In verse 33, Job wishes that there was an “umpire” (Heb. mokiah) to decide between him and God. One scholar says, “This person would have to be superior in authority to either party, ”[13]; thus the arbiter for whom Job hopes would have to himself be divine, or else he would no more be qualified to “lay his hand upon” God than is Job.

This idea of a divine arbiter is returned to at Job 16:19. Job again expresses his desire for a witness, and then declares, “my eyes pour out tears to God, that he would maintain the right of a man with God”.[14] Job addresses God, desiring that God will advocate on Job’s behalf with himself.[15] Job knows that no man such as himself, conceived in sin, can appeal to God on his behalf; so God must do it himself. The language used earlier is that of a judicial judgement , in which God is both judge of and lawyer for Job. Job “draws a distinction in God” , and this distinction anticipates the multiplicity of God’s persons.

Job’s faith in this arbiter is again brought up in chapter 19. It is commonly accepted that the “Redeemer” of 19:25 is the same person as the witness of 16:19.[16] This verse in particular is often seen as an anticipation of Christianity. Telgren notes that it has been suggested that verses 25 and 26 have a poetic structure of ABBA. If this is true it would support the notion that God is himself the Redeemer, by associating him with the living Redeemer in the parallel structure. The RSV’s “Redeemer” is a translation of the Hebrew go’el. That this go’el could refer to God is explicitly demonstrated in the Psalms and Proverbs, and elsewhere.

Job's unjust suffering has often been interpreted as a prophetic anticipation, or type, of the suffering of Christ.

Liturgical use

The Eastern Orthodox Church reads from Job during Holy Week.

Throughout the whole Lent the two books of the Old Testament read at Vespers were Genesis and Proverbs. With the beginning of the Holy Week they are replaced by Exodus and Job. Exodus is the story of Israel's liberation from Egyptian slavery, of their Passover. It prepares us for the understanding of Christ's exodus to his Father, of his fulfillment of the whole history of salvation. Job, the sufferer, is the Old Testament icon of Christ. This reading announces the great mystery of Christ's sufferings, obedience and sacrifice.

Alexander Schmemann, "A Liturgical Explanation for the Days of Holy Week"

The Roman Catholic Church traditionally reads from the Book of Job during Matins in the first two weeks of September. In the revised Liturgy of the Hours, Job is read during the Eighth and Ninth Weeks in Ordinary Time.

In Palestinian folk tradition, Ayyub's place of trial is Al-Joura, a village outside the town of Al Majdal (Ashkelon). It was there, God rewarded him with a Fountain of Youth that removed whatever illnesses he had, and restored his youth. The town of Al-Joura was a place of annual festivities (4 days in all) when people of many faiths gathered and bathed in a natural spring.

In Turkey, Job is known as Eyüp, and he is supposed to have lived in Şanlıurfa.

There is also a tomb of Job outside the city of Salalah in Oman.

References to Ayyub (Job) in the Qur'an

Modern approaches to Job

  • Adam's Apples,(Adams Æbler) Danish film from 2005
  • Carl Jung, Answer to Job (1952)[17]
  • G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday
  • Robert A. Heinlein, Job: A Comedy of Justice
  • Harold Kushner, "When Bad Things Happen to Good People"
  • C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
  • Henry M. Morris, "The Remarkable Record of Job"
  • James Morrow, "Blameless in Abaddon"
  • Joseph Roth, "Job"
  • Neil Simon, God's Favorite
  • Robert Frost, A Masque of Reason
  • Elie Wiesel, "Night"
  • Archibald MacLeish, J.B.
  • David Adams Richards, Mercy among the Children
  • William Safire, The First Dissident: The Book of Job in Today's Politics

References in art and music

  • William Blake famously illustrated the Book of Job, including imagery of Satan.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams' orchestral work, Job: A Masque for Dancing was directly inspired by Blake's work.
  • Joni Mitchell's song The Sire of Sorrow (Job's Sad Song), on Turbulent Indigo, is inspired by the Book of Job.
  • Sir Peter Maxwell Davies composed an oratorio, Job, focusing on the moral questions it raises.
  • Brett Gurewitz, "Sorrow (Bad Religion song)"
  • Disturbed, Prayer (song)
  • The Golden Gate Quartet have a song about Job [6]


  • Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr, and Edward Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation, (1996), HarperSanFrancisco paperback 1999, ISBN 0-06-069201-4, (contains the non-biblical portion of the scrolls), Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale
  1. John L. McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible, Simon & Schuster, 1965 p 440.
  2. Job 1:1-22
  3. Job 1:6-12, King James Bible
  4. Job 1:15-22, King James Bible
  5. Skeptic's Dictionary - see additional references at the bottom of linked page
  6. - SATAN:
  7. Kelly, Henry Ansgar (2006). Satan:A Biography. Cambridge University Press. 
  8. McKenzie, John L, "Dictionary of the Bible", Touchstone, 1995
  9. Bergant, Dianne "The Wisdom Books", The Catholic Study Bible, Oxford University Press, 1990 RG233.
  10. [1]
  11. Job 9:32, RSV
  12. Walter Kaiser, The Messiah in the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), p. 62.
  13. Marvin Pope, Job: The Anchor Bible, (New York: Doubleday, 1965), 74.
  14. Job 16:20b-21a
  15. James Smith, What the Bible Teaches about the Promised Messiah, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993), 213.
  16. e.g., John Telgren, The Identity of Job’s Goel in Job 19:25, 1999, 4.
  17. "Answer to Job" in Psychology and Religion, v.11, Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Princeton. It was first published as "Antwort auf Hiob", Zürich, 1952 and translated into English in 1954, in London.

Some or all of this article is forked from Wikipedia. The original article was at Book of Job. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.