What does Job, Book Of mean in the Bible?


1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Job, Book of
First of the poetic didactic books of the Old Testament in the Vulgate. The author and period of composition are still matters of conjecture, though the evidence for the post-exilic era is insufficient. The original language was Hebrew with perhaps an Aramaic foundation. Containing 42 chapters, it presents an investigation into the causes of evil and human adversity experienced by the just, and inculcates the lesson that man should not attempt a close scrutiny of the ways of Providence; secondarily it depicts Job as a model of faith, fortitude, and patience. Quite apart from the prologue (1:2), as well as the epilogue (42:7-16), three parts may be distinguished:
three discussions of Job with his friends and two monologues (3-31)
four discourses of Eliu, rebuking Job and his friends for some of their views, and extolling the wisdom and justice of God (32-38)
utterances of God Himself teaching that His ways are not matters for the curious searching of human intellect (38-42:6)
Composed in the highest style of Hebrew poetry, it indicates great technical skill on the part of the author, and is embellished with rich oriental imagery. Its Divinely inspired character is acknowledged in the Old and New Testaments (Ezechiel 14:14-20; James 5:11); it is found from the beginning in the canons of the synagogue and the Church. Correct exegesis satisfactorily explains difficulties in some of the utterances, viz., God's statements and those approved by Him must be regarded as Divinely inspired in themselves; with regard to the rest, it is Divinely inspired that the remarks and sentiments were expressed, but the doctrine contained therein is not thereby approved. The book furnishes Divine consolation and possesses marked dogmatic importance because of the doctrine concerning the Resurrection of the Body (19:25-27). There are significant passages concerning God's supremacy, passing human comprehension (38:39), and Job's humble confession (42:1-6). In the Roman Breviary lessons from this book are read in the Office for the Dead and in the nocturne of Matins during the first two weeks of September. Although sources and descriptions such as the Babylonian poem "Subsimesri-Nergal" may have been utilized the book must be regarded as the work of one person acting under Divine inspiration.
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Job, Book of
A great diversity of opinion exists as to the authorship of this book. From internal evidence, such as the similarity of sentiment and language to those in the Psalms and Proverbs (see Psalm 88,89 ), the prevalence of the idea of "wisdom," and the style and character of the composition, it is supposed by some to have been written in the time of David and Solomon. Others argue that it was written by Job himself, or by Elihu, or Isaiah, or perhaps more probably by Moses, who was "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and mighty in words and deeds" (Acts 7:22 ). He had opportunities in Midian for obtaining the knowledge of the facts related. But the authorship is altogether uncertain. As to the character of the book, it is a historical poem, one of the greatest and sublimest poems in all literature. Job was a historical person, and the localities and names were real and not fictious. It is "one of the grandest portions of the inspired Scriptures, a heavenly-repleished storehouse of comfort and instruction, the patriarchal Bible, and a precious monument of primitive theology. It is to the Old Testament what the Epistle to the Romans is to the New." It is a didactic narrative in a dramatic form.
This book was apparently well known in the days of Ezekiel, B.C. 600 (Ezekiel 14:14 ). It formed a part of the sacred Scriptures used by our Lord and his apostles, and is referred to as a part of the inspired Word (Hebrews 12:5 ; 1 Corinthians 3:19 ).
The subject of the book is the trial of Job, its occasion, nature, endurance, and issue. It exhibits the harmony of the truths of revelation and the dealings of Providence, which are seen to be at once inscrutable, just, and merciful. It shows the blessedness of the truly pious, even amid sore afflictions, and thus ministers comfort and hope to tried believers of every age. It is a book of manifold instruction, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16 ).
It consists of,
An historical introduction in prose (ch. 1,2).
The controversy and its solution, in poetry (ch. 3-42:6).). Job's desponding lamentation (ch. 3) is the occasion of the controversy which is carried on in three courses of dialogues between Job and his three friends. The first course gives the commencement of the controversy (ch. 4-14); the second the growth of the controversy (15-21); and the third the height of the controversy (22-27). This is followed by the solution of the controversy in the speeches of Elihu and the address of Jehovah, followed by Job's humble confession (42:1-6) of his own fault and folly.
The third division is the historical conclusion, in prose (42:7-15). Sir J. W. Dawson in "The Expositor" says: "It would now seem that the language and theology of the book of Job can be better explained by supposing it to be a portion of Minean [1] literature obtained by Moses in Midian than in any other way. This view also agrees better than any other with its references to natural objects, the art of mining, and other matters."
Morrish Bible Dictionary - Job, Book of
All that is known of the history of Job is found in the book bearing his name. He lived in the land of Uz, which was probably named after Uz, or Huz (the Hebrew is the same), the son of Nahor, Abraham's brother. Another link with that family is also found in that Elihu was the son of Barachel the Buzite, for Buz was the brother of Huz. Genesis 22:21 . The land of Uz is supposed to be in the S.E. of Palestine toward Arabia Deserta. Job is called "the greatest of all the men of the east." No date is given to the book, but there being no reference in it to the law, or to Israel, makes it probable that Job lived in patriarchal times, as the name Almighty, which was revealed to Abraham, was known to Job, his three friends, and Elihu. He is described as "perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil;" yet he suffered the loss of all his property; his children were killed; and his body was grievously afflicted. The great problem of the book is, the government of God, not directly as with Israel, but providentially in a world into which sin and death had entered, and where Satan, if permitted of God, can exercise his antagonistic power. God's dealings with men in government and chastening are for good; but this brings out another question, How can man be just with God? — a question answered only in the gospel.
Job's three friends entirely misunderstood this government of God, asserting that he must have been doing evil or he would not have been thus dealt with. Job resented their judgement of him, and in justifying himself blamed God in His ways with him. The key to this part of the book is that Job was being tested: his heart was being searched that his true state might be brought out, and that he might learn to know God in His wisdom and power, and that His ways are in view of blessing to man.
The testing, all came from God: it was He who introduced Job to the notice of Satan, in the wonderful vision of the unseen, where the 'sons of God' presented themselves before God. Satan was ever ready to afflict man and to impute motives; but he was foiled. When all Job's property and his sons and daughters were swept away, still he worshipped, saying the Lord who gave was the Lord who had taken away; and he blessed the name of the Lord. Then, when his body was full of sores, his wife was used of Satan to try and induce him to curse God; but he replied, "What! shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" "In all this did not Job sin with his lips." Satan was defeated, and he is not again mentioned in the book.
Then come Job's three friends, and though thus far he had not sinned with his lips , yet his friends bring out what was in his heart. Though they did not understand God's government with him, and falsely accused him, they said many right things as to that government in other cases. In short, Eliphaz went upon personal experience. He said "I have seen they that plough iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same." Job 4:8 . Bildad is the voice of tradition and the authority of antiquity. He said, "Enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers." Job 8:8 . Zophar exhibited law and religiousness. He said, "If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, . . . . then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot." Job 11:14,15 .
All this led Job to assert his integrity as among men. He said to God, "Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand. Thine hands have made me, and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me." Job 10:7,8 . "I will maintain mine own ways before him . . . . behold now, I have ordered my cause: I know that I shall be justified." Job 13:15,18 . Then, provoked by the suspicions and misjudgement of his friends, he falsely judged God, saying, "God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked." "Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgement." "Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity." Job 16:11 ; Job 19:7 ; Job 31:6 . Yet, as before God, he owned, "If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me;" and again, "If I wash myself with snow-water, and make my hands never so clean, yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch and mine own clothes shall abhor me." Job 9:20-30,31 . But the unsolved question in Job's mind was, Why should God set his heart upon man? He so great, and man so fleeting and wretched: why would not God let him alone to fill out his day? For Job had the sense that it was God who was dealing with him, and that he was not suffering from ordinary providential causes. His friends could not explain it.
Elihu then came forward: he is a type of Christ as mediator, and spoke on God's behalf. He said, "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life . . . . . I am according to thy wish in God's stead." Job 33:4-6 . He showed that Job was not just in justifying himself rather than God. He spoke of God's dealings with mankind; how He speaks to man, even in dreams, to give him instruction; and if there be an interpreter, one among a thousand, who can show him how his soul can stand in truth before God, he may be delivered from going down to the pit; for God has found a ransom. God chastises man to bring him into subjection, so that He may be favourable to him.
In Job 36 Elihu ascribes righteousness to his Maker, and assures Jobthat "He that is perfect in knowledge is with thee." God despiseth not any and He withdraweth not His eyes from the righteous; and if they areafflicted it is for their blessing. He closes with dwelling on the incomprehensible power of God.
God Himself then takes up the case of Job, and, by speaking of the acts of His own divine wisdom and power in nature, shows by contrast the utter insignificance of Job. As to the wisdom of God's ways, would Job pretend to instruct Him? Job replied 'I am vile ,' and is silent. God continues to argue with him, "Wilt thou disannul my judgement? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?" And He again points to His power in nature. Job confesses that he had uttered what he understood not: things too wonderful for him, which he knew not. He said, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee: wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Job had now learned the lesson God intended to teach him: he is in his proper place of nothingness before God. There God can take him up. In 1Cor. 1Christ is seen to be the wisdom and power of God when man is brought to nothing by the cross. Job had seen God, and all was changed. God reproved Job's friends: they had not spoken of Him what was right as Job had. They must take a sacrifice, and Job must pray for them: Job was God's servant, and him God would accept. God blessed his latter end more than the beginning: he had great possessions, and seven sons and three daughters. He lived after his restoration 140 years.
Twice Job is mentioned along with Noah and Daniel in connection with 'righteousness' when the state of Israel had become so iniquitous that if these three men had been there, even their righteousness would have delivered their own souls only, but would not have saved so much as a son or a daughter. Ezekiel 14:14,20 . Job is also held up as an example of endurance, and as showing what the end of the Lord is, that He is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. James 5:11 .
Smith's Bible Dictionary - Job, Book of
This book has given rise to much discussion and criticism, some believing the book to be strictly historical; others a religious fiction; others a composition based upon facts. By some the authorship of the work was attributed to Moses, but it is very uncertain. Luther first suggested the theory which, in some form or other, is now most generally received. He says, "I look upon the book of Job as a true history, yet I do not believe that all took place just as it is written, but that an ingenious, pious and learned man brought it into its present form." The date of the book is doubtful, and there have been many theories upon the subject. It may be regarded as a settled point that the book was written long before the exile, probably between the birth of Abraham and the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt --B.C. 2000-1800. If by Moses, it was probably written during his sojourn in Midian. "The book of Job is not only one of the most remarkable in the Bible, but in literature. As was said of Goliath's sword, 'There is none like it;' none in ancient or in modern literature." --Kitto. "A book which will one day, perhaps, be seen towering up alone far above all the poetry of the world." --J.A. Froude. "The book of Job is a drama, and yet subjectively true. The two ideas are perfectly consistent. It may have the dramatic form, the dramatic interest, the dramatic emotion, and yet be substantially a truthful narrative. The author may have received it in one of three ways: the writer may have been an eyewitness; or have received it from near contemporary testimony; or it may have reached him through a tradition of whose substantial truthfulness he has no doubt. There is abundant internal evidence that the scenes and events recorded were real scenes and real events to the writer. He gives the discussions either as he had heard them or as they had been repeated over and over in many an ancient consensus . The very modes of transmission show the deep impression it had made in all the East, as a veritable as well as marvellous event." --Tayler Lewis. the design of the book. --Stanley says that "The whole book is a discussion of that great problem of human life: what is the intention of Divine Providence in allowing the good to suffer?" "The direct object is to show that, although goodness has a natural tendency to secure a full measure of temporal happiness, yet that in its essence it is independent of such a result. Selfishness in some form is declared to be the basis on which all apparent goodness rests. That question is tried in the case of Job." --Cook. Structure of the book .-The book consists of five parts: -- I. Chs. 1-3. The historical facts. II. Chs. 4-31. The discussions between Job and his three friends. III. Chs. 32-37. Job's discussion with Elihu. IV. Chs. 38-41. The theophany --God speaking out of the storm. V. Ch. 42. The successful termination of the trial. It is all in poetry except the introduction and the close. The argument .--
One question could be raised by envy: may not the goodness which secures such direct and tangible rewards be a refined form of selfishness? Satan, the accusing angel, suggests the doubt, "Doth Job fear God for nought ?" and asserts boldly that if those external blessings were withdrawn, Job would cast off his allegiance" he will curse thee to thy face." The problem is thus distinctly propounded which this book is intended to discuss and solve: can goodness exist irrespective of reward ? The accuser receives permission to make the trial. He destroys Job's property, then his children; and afterward, to leave no possible opening for a cavil, is allowed to inflict upon him the most terrible disease known in the East. Job's wife breaks down entirely under the trial. Job remains steadfast. The question raised by Satan is answered.
Then follows a discussion which arises in the most natural manner from a visit of condolence on the part of three men who represent the wisdom and experience of the age. Job's friends hold the theory that there is an exact and invariable correlation between sin and suffering. The fact of suffering proves the commission of some special sin. They apply this to Job, but he disavows all special guilt. He denies that punishment in this life inevitably follows upon guilt, or proves its commission. He appeals to facts. Bad men do sometimes prosper. Here, at ch. 14, there is a pause. In the second colloquy the three friends take more advanced ground. They assume that Job has been actually guilty of sins, and that the sufferings and losses of Job are but an inadequate retribution for former sins. This series of accusations brings out the in most thoughts of Job. He recognizes God's hand in his afflictions, but denies they are brought on by wrong-doing; and becomes still clearer in the view that only the future life can vindicate God's justice. In his last two discourses, chs. 26-31, he states with incomparable force and eloquence his opinion of the chief point of the controversy: man cannot comprehend God's ways; destruction sooner or later awaits the wicked; wisdom consists wholly in the fear of the Lord and departing from evil."--Cook.
Elihu sums up the argument "The leading principle of Elihu's statement is that calamity, in the shape of triad, is inflicted on comparatively the best of men; but that God allows a favorable turn to take place as soon as its object has been realized." The last words are evidently spoken while a violent storm is coming on.
It is obvious that many weighty truths have been developed in the course of the discussion: nearly every theory of the objects and uses of suffering has been reviewed, while a great advance has been made toward the apprehension of doctrines hereafter to be revealed, such as were known only to God. But the mystery is not us yet really cleared up; hence the necessity for the theophany. ch. (Job 38:41 ) From the midst of the storm Jehovah speaks. In language of incomparable grandeur he reproves and silences the murmurs of Job. God does not condescend, strictly speaking to argue with his creatures. The speculative questions discussed in the colloquy are unnoticed, but the declaration of God's absolute power is illustrated by a marvellously beautiful and comprehensive survey of the glory of creation and his all-embracing providence. A second address completes the work. It proves that a charge of injustice against God involves the consequence that the accuser is more competent that he to rule the universe.

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