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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Job 1

Verse 1

INTRODUCTION TO JOB

1. The man Job seems to have been a descendant of Esau, who was identified as Jacob, the second king of Edom, Genesis 36:33. Names and places given in Job chapter 2 indicate that his home. was in Hauran, located east of the Sea of Galilee, north of Edom from the place which primitive tribes who descended from Abraham lived, reaching down to the border of Arabia, where Moses came to know them, while keeping Jethro’s flock.

2. The Book and author’s identity is uncertain. The view that Moses wrote it, as history of Job’s life and experiences, seems to be most plausible. For he was a man "learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, and mighty in words and deeds," Acts 7:22. He was himself trained in the school of affliction in the desert of Midian, and capable of writing sublime poetry, as indicated, Exodus 15; Deuteronomy 32, 33; Hebrews 11:25.

3. Job was certified by both Old and New Testament writers as a person of Godly integrity, along with Noah and Daniel, Ezekiel 14:14; James 5:11. Both Jesus and the apostles accepted the book of Job as inspired and quoted from it, Hebrews 12:5; 1 Corinthians 3:19.

4. Three general divisions make up the book:

a) Chapters 1, 2 are introductory to Job’s life and problems.

b) Chapter 3-42 recount Job’s controversy.

c) Chapter 42:7-12 relate the rewards of holy patience.

5. Job was the greatest, best known man in that part of the northern Edomite world, at that time. In one day five calamities fell upon him:

1) His vast herds of camels were stolen and their attending servants were slain by a band of Chaldean robbers, Job 1:13-19.

2) His herds of oxen were stolen and their servants slain by a band of Sabaen robbers.

3) At the same time 7,000 of this sheep and their shepherds were killed by a thunderstorm, Job 42:10; Job 42:12.

4) His family of ten children was killed by a cyclone, Job 42:13.

5) And a little later Job was smitten by a most dreaded and hideous disease of the ancient world, Job 2:7-8. In this context the poetic drama of Job’s suffering-experience, his integrity, patience, and final victory of life are recounted, Job 42:10-17.

ANALYSIS OF JOB

WHO SPEAKS:

The Book of Job is an Historical, Poetic account of the life of a man called Job. No one knows who wrote the book, but ancient Jewish tradition attributes it to Moses, while he was in the wilderness of Midian, perhaps before he took command of Israel, to lead her from Egyptian bondage, Exodus 2:15.

There are eight (8) primary, speaking Characters in the book: 1) God, 2) The Devil, 3) Job , 4) Job’s wife, 5) Eliphaz, 6) Bildad, 7) Zophar, and 8) Elihu. This is the first of the five Poetical Books of the Old Testament. The poetry consists of statements of parallelisms, thought rhymes and couplets of synonymous or antithetical ideas, often doubled, tripled, or quadrupled by the speaker.

TO WHOM?

Satan confronted God about the integrity of Job’s character, which the Lord defended. But the Lord granted Satan the power to test Job, through inflicting much suffering on him. There then followed 7 confrontation accounts that Job had with his three friends and Elihu. These pretended friends of Job confronted him with insinuations, accusations, and innuendoes to the effect that he had hidden sin, unconfessed, that caused his sufferings.

ABOUT WHAT?

The theme of the Book is the issue of the cause, purpose, and rewards of human sufferings. The material is given in a form of poetic and philosophic meditations on the ways of God in relation to His universe and mankind.

Three approaches are suggested for the cause of human suffering, such as came upon Job:

1) His three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar each attributed such suffering exclusively as punishment for personal sins, and they held that great suffering came only from great personal sins. They further asserted that to try to keep such sins secret was evidence of ones hypocrisy.

2) Elihu contended that suffering was sent as punishment on men, not so much or necessarily evidence of ones sins, as corrective to keep men from sinning.

3) God’s speech, at the end, conveys the idea that not all human suffering is either punitive or corrective but that He may be glorified in man’s voluntary service to Him in spite of the laws of sin and death that works inherently in men, in nature, and through the laws of "sowing and reaping," Galatians 6:7-8; Romans 8:28.

WHEN?

It appears that the Book was written during the 40 years that Moses was with Jethro, his father-in-law. . .priest in Midian, before returning to Emancipate Israel from Egypt. It is believed to be the oldest book of the Bible, written before the law of Moses was given, else it would have been quoted by either Job or one of his antagonists in their controversies. The events recorded in the Book of Job cover about one year.

WHAT WAS THE OCCASION?

The occasion for this book on "Job’s suffering" appears to be for the purpose of showing that there are often seeming inequities and injustices in human suffering. Suffering often falls on those who seem least to deserve it; Yet, when these sufferings are accepted as our Lord accepted them, one patiently finds triumph and victory, through Divine help, Romans 8:28; Hebrews 4:15-16.

CHART I

A 12 ACT DRAMA ON THE LIFE OF JOB

THEME: Problem of Human Suffering

The Drama Begins

Act I . . . . . Job and His Family Before Affliction, Job 1:1-8. a) He was a godly father b) A family priest, ministering to his family needs.

Act II . . . . Satan Comes On Stage a) Enters Divine Presence, Job 1:9-11. b) Insinuates Job serves God for special favors. c) Satan granted Divine permission to test Job by inflicting upon him loss of his property and children, Job 1:12-20. d) Job holds his integrity through his loss, Job 1:21.

Act III . . . . Satan Reenters Presence of God a) Requests further power to test Job, to afflict his body, Job 2:1-5. Says Job would curse God. b) He smites Job with an horrible disease, Job 2:7-8. c) Blasphemous advice of Job’s wife, triumphant reply. . .submission to God, Job 2:9-10.

Act IV.... Arrival of Job’s Three Foreign Friends a) Seven days of silence b) Sympathy before arrogant abuse, Job 2:11-13.

CHART II

THE DRAMA CONTINUES

Act V . . . Job’s Patience Exhausted, Job 3:1-26

a) Utters complaints

b) Curses the day of his birth

Act VI . . Long Disputation Between Job and Friends a) Eliphaz--the Temanite b) Bildad--the Shuhite c) Zophar--the Naamathite, Job 2:11, Job ch. 4-31 d) Friends assert his suffering is result of some overt or covert sin in his life. e) Job maintains his innocence of any known grave sin.

Act VII. . . Elihu, Sharp and Fiery, Enters the Discussion a) With much verbosity, a long-winded address, Job ch. 32-37.

Act VIII . . The Lord Jehovah Speaks to Job a) Out of a whirlwind b) With words of both comfort and reproof, Job ch. 38, 39.

CHART III

THE DRAMA CONCLUDED

Act IX . . . . Job’s Open Confession, Job 40:3-5

Act X . . . . The Lord’s Second Speech, Job 40:7 through 41:34

Act XI . . . . Job’s Second Confession, Job 42:1-6 a) The Lord rebukes Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar b) They are commanded to make a sacrifice, Job 42:7-9.

Act XII. . . Job’s Prayer For His Friends a) His own prosperity restored twofold. b) He lives to a great old age of 140 years, Job 42:10-17.

From This Drama Let Two Things Be Learned Well:

1) Satan may have malignant power over human lives.

2) Suffering is in the Divine plan for the development of Christian character.

JOB - CONTENTS

Chapter 1

Vs. 1-4 - Character, family, and prosperity of Job . . Vs. 5-12 - His piety, Satan’s theory ... he was good because

of prosperity

Vs. 13-22 - In Satan’s net by permissive will of God

Chapter 2

Vs. 1-8 - In Satan’s net with family, property, and

health lost

Vs. 9, 10 - Conflicting attitudes of Job and his wife

Vs. 11-13 - Scene of appearance of his three friends, to join

him in an ash heap of silence for a week

Chapter 3

Vs. 1-26 - Job’s first disclosure in relating his misery and despair

Chapter 4

Vs. 1-21 - First disclosure of Eliphaz

Chapter 5

Vs. 1-27 - First disclosure continued

Chapter 6

Vs. 1-30 - Job’s reply to Eliphaz, a moving appeal for pity

Chapter 7

Vs. 1-21 - Job’s response to Eliphaz continued

Chapter 8

Vs. 1-22 - Bildad’s first disclosure, thinks Job is

an hyprocrite

Chapter 9

Vs. 1-35 - Job denies being an hypocrite ... admits being a sinner, but doesn’t know how to be justified or acquitted

Chapter 10

Vs. 1-22 - His answer to Bildad

Chapter 11

Vs. 1-20 - Zophar’s first disclosure, considers Job both a liar and hypocrite

Chapter 12

Vs. 1-25 - Job’s summary answer to the three ... He is familiar with their superficial

Chapter 13

Vs. 1-28 - His answer

Chapter 14

Vs. 1-22 - His rebuttal to the three

Chapter 15

Vs. 1-35 - Second disclosure of Eliphaz based on premise of his superior experience and on tradition

Chapter 16

Vs. 1-22 - Job’s fourth reply that Elihaz had just mouthed a lot of words, without validity to his charges against Job

Chapter 17

Vs. 1-16 - His reply extended

Chapter 18

Vs. 1-21 - Bildad’s second address, a list of oriental proverbs, proving nothing against Job

Chapter 19

Vs. 1-29 - Job’s fifth answer, vs. 23-27. His resurrection faith

Chapter 20

Vs. 1-29 - Zophar’s second charge, address on tradition and proverbs

Chapter 21

Vs. 1-34 - Job’s sixth reply, that the wicked prosper, refutes charge and view that he is afflicted because of hidden sins

Chapter 22

Vs. 1-30 - Eliphaz’s third discourse an old theory Job has openly sinned, is trying to conceal it rather than confess

Chapter 23

Vs. 1-17 - Job’s seventh reply, longs for God to settle it all

Chapter 24

Vs. 1-25 - His rebuttal to Eliphaz continued

Chapter 25

Vs. 1-16 - Bildad’s third discourse of traditional sayings

Chapter 26

Vs. 1-14 - Job’s eighth rebuttal, Bildad’s view leads to despair, but Job’s faith in God did not waver

Chapter 27

Vs. 1-23 - Job’s reply continued

Chapter 28

Vs. 1-28 - His response extended, to answer false charges of

Chapter 29

Vs. 1-25 - Eliphaz ch. 22, verses 6-

Chapter 30

Vs. 1-31 - Job’s eighth reply further extended

Chapter 31

Vs. 1-40 - Job’s eighth rebuttal concluded

Chapter 32

Vs. 1-22 - Elihu the Buzite’s charge of sin against Job

Chapter 33

Vs. 1-33 - His extended charges to Job

Chapter 34

Vs. 1-37 - His address goes on

Chapter 35

Vs. 1-16 - He adds charge upon charge against Job

Chapter 36 Vs. 1-33 - He continues to lay indictments of wrong upon Job

Chapter 37

Vs. 1-24 - Elihu’s terminal charges, at last

Chapter 38

Vs. 1-41 - Jehovah appears and addresses Job

Chapter 39

Vs. 1-30 - Jehovah’s call to Job continued

Chapter 40

Vs. 1-20 - His address extended

Chapter 41

Vs. 1-34 - Concluding words of the Lord to Job

Chapter 42

Vs. 1-6 - Job’s self-judgment and humiliation

Vs. 7-18 - Job vindicated, honored, and prospered through patience

JOB - CHAPTER 1

JOB’S CHARACTER

Verse 1:

Verse 1 describes the character of Job, of the land of Uz, northeast of Arabia in four ways, Genesis 22:20; Job 1:3; Ezekiel 14:14. His name means "return." He was said to be:

1) Perfect, not without sin, but a man of maturity in character and behavior, Job 9:20; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Matthew 5:48.

2) Upright, in his upright walk and talk, a man of integrity, sincerity, and consistency in his activities of life, Genesis 6:9; Genesis 17:1; Proverbs 10:9; Matthew 5:48; See also 1Kg 6:1.

3) Feared God, or reverenced God, held Him in awe, which caused him to live a clean, separated life, Psalms 19:9, with an hatred for evil, Proverbs 8:13.

4) Eschewed evil, sought to avoid or shun evil, a godly quality of life, Job 2:3; This Peter admonished, 1 Peter 3:10-11.

Verses 2-4

Verses 2-4:

Verse 2 recounts that he was blessed with seven sons and three daughters. Sons were considered to be greater blessings than daughters in the east, in primitive times, as related, Psalms 127:3-5; Psalms 128:3-6.

Verse 3 describes Job as the "greatest of all the men of the east," sons or heirs of the east, meaning east of Palestine, Judges 6:3; Ezekiel 25:4 His wealth was: a) 7,000 sheep for food and clothing from their wool, b) 3,000 camels, called "ships of the desert," for transporting cargo over land and desert, for they could store water for their long, hot journeys and eat the roughest of desert thistles for food, c) 500 yoke of oxen, indicating that Job engaged in agricultural production there in the fertile crescent, d) 500 hundred she asses, prized for their milk and for riding, Judges 5:10, and e) a "very great household or husbandry," meaning a large number of servants and employees who looked to him for livelihood guidance, Genesis 26:14.

Verse 4 relates that his seven sons, on their birthdays, each sent and called or invited his sisters to a feast in his house. This implies close family ties and harmony in Job’s family, in contrast with the stark ruin that soon broke up their traditional scene of happiness. That these sisters were invited to the feast indicates that it was for family joy, not for licentious revelry. The sisters stayed in the homes of the mother until their marriage, according to eastern custom, Genesis 24:67.

Verse 5

Job’s Household Piety

Verse 5:

Verse 5 explains that at the end of the seventh or last son’s birthday of the year, when the festivities were over, Job "sent" and summoned them to him for a period of sanctification, as the patriarch or high priest of the family. For he was not present at the feasts, v. 13, 18. He sanctified them by purification washings, Genesis 35:2; Exodus 19:10; Exodus 19:14; 1 Samuel 16:5. This was followed by offering a burnt offering for each son, signifying that each needed personal cleansing from his sins, Genesis 8:20; Leviticus 1:4. This was done early in the morning, from most ancient times, Genesis 22:3; Leviticus 6:12. Even our Lord entered devotions, often "early in the morning," Mr 1:35. The burnt offering is often referred to as the holocaust offering because of the rolling smoke that ascended from it into the heavens. Job offered these sacrifices for he feared that his sons may have cursed God and sinned in their hearts, or dismissed God from their thoughts and purposes of life. He cared for them, as a father should, lest they be put to death for blasphemy, 2 Corinthians 11:2; 2 Corinthians 1 Kg 21:10, 13. Job worshipped God after this manner "continually," or as a pattern of life. Such certifies his quality of character.

Verses 6-12

Satan’s Charge Against Job

Verses 6-12:

Verse 6 relates that soon after the time of Job’s conclusion of sanctifying his sons a day came when the "saints," wholly dedicated and enlisted angelic servants of God, came to appear before the Lord, to recount their activities, to their master, Job 2:1; Job 5:1; Hebrews 1:14. It is noted that Satan, the adversary of God, His angels, and all men, also appeared to stand before the throne of the self-existing God, for dilatory, accusatory, and obstructive purposes, reflecting his nature, purpose, and deeds, v. 7-9, 12; 2:1-3, 6, 7; Genesis 3:11; Revelation 12:7-16; Revelation 20:10.

Satan, meaning accuser in the Hebrew, is called the Devil or accuser in the Greek, Revelation 12:10. While he has the holy law of God on his side in accusing men of sin, he ignores the fact that Jesus has paid the penalty of sin for believers, thus justifying or acquitting them of the eternal consequences of their sins; Thus Jesus advocates for, represents, or defends the believer before God, Isaiah 42:21; Romans 8:33;1 John 2:1-2. Jesus Christ, the Son (heir of) man, is at the right hand of the throne, ever-living to make intercession for every believer, Hebrews 7:25.

Verse 7 states that the Lord inquired of Satan, the accuser or adversary, from whence he came, 1 Chronicles 21:1; Revelation 12:9-10. He did not ask for information for himself, but to put the testimony of Satan on record! Satan replied that he had returned from going to and fro and walking up and down in the earth, his present domain. Heatedly he dashes about, seeking whom he may devour, 1 Peter 5:8; Matthew 12:43. When man forfeited dominion of the earth, by sin, Satan took over, Genesis 1:26; Psalms 8:6; He is now prince of this world and of the power of the air, John 12:31; Ephesians 2:2, and god of this world, 2 Corinthians 4:4. The Son of man, Jesus Christ, came to regain and restore the inheritance that man had forfeited through sin, Psalms 8:4; Luke 19:10; Revelation 11:15; See also Acts 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 5:10.

Verse 8 adds that the Lord asked the old "accuser," "hast thou considered or "set your heart on my servant Job?" like whom there was none other so righteous in all the earth, Job 2:3. The Lord reminded Satan that Job was: a) perfect in character, b) upright in deportment, c) who feared the Living God, and d) eschewed or avoided evil, shunned its appearance. The Lord made the inquiry to put Satan "on record" again, not that He did not know where Satan was, on his radar screen of omniscience, at all times, see? 1Kg 8:61; Psalms 19:9; Psalms 11:4; Psalms 139:1-4; Proverbs 15:3 states that "the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good," keeping His eyes on all men, Satan, demons, and good angels.

Verse 9 recounts that Satan replied to the Lord that Job didn’t really serve the Lord "for nothing." Such was the truth, for the Lord does bless and reward those who serve Him, 1 Corinthians 3:8. But Satan insinuated that Job’s piety was superficial, hypocritical, or insincere. It is a mark of Satan that mocks and sneers at holy things, holy people, and holy service. But God is the sure hope and reward of His people who trust in Him, though the world charges that the believer serves God for selfish motives, Genesis 15:1; Hebrews 6:19-20; Titus 2:13.

Verse 10 is an honest testimony of Satan that the living God had put an hedge or "security shield" of prosperity about Job’s house, and all that He had, so that Divine blessings had spread upon His possessions like a covering flood; So it was and is, Psalms 1:1-6; Psalms 34:7; Psalms 128:1-3.

Verse 11 offers a challenge from Satan for the Lord to reach out and take away, remove or destroy all that Job had. Then Satan added "he will curse thee (renounce you) to thy face." It is often too true of religion that when ones prosperity is gone his religion is gone because he does religious deeds for selfish, ulterior purposes, not for gratitude for salvation, Malachi 3:14; Ephesians 2:10.

Verse 12 relates that the Lord released to Satan the power to destroy all earthly possessions that Job had accumulated, as a God-fearing man. Only the Lord restricted Satan from placing his hand of death on Job, Genesis 16:6; Hebrews 2:14. Let it be noted that Satan has no power against man, until God gives it. God would not put forth His hand to destroy Job’s substance, v. 11, but He did permit Satan to do it, for His glory and our instruction, 1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Corinthians 10:13. Having endured Satan’s darts faithfully Job was richly rewarded, Job 42:12.

Verses 13-22

Tested In Satan’s Net By God’s Permissive Will

Verses 13-22:

In Affliction Job Praised God

Verse 13 relates a day in which the seven sons and three daughters of Job were eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother’s house; No wine drinking was mentioned in their former festival, v. 4. It appears that sin and indifference to its enticements had come to the household of Job, while away from his Home, to bring a sad alarm, Proverbs 27:1; Ecclesiastes 9:12; Luke 12:19.

Verses 14, 15 state that in the midst of that festival, in the older son’s house, a messenger came to Job reporting that as the oxen were plowing and the asses feeding nearby the Sabeans (Arabs) fell upon them and killed the plowman and herdsmen servants, carrying away the oxen and asses as plunder. The servant added, "1 only am escaped alone (forlorn) to tell thee;" The Sabeans were Arabs, in a general sense, Genesis 10:7; Psalms 72:15; Ezekiel 23:42; Isaiah 13:20; Jeremiah 3:2; Joel 3:8. One in each instance escaped to tell Job, v. 16, 17, 19.

Verse 16 adds that while the first servant was reporting to Job of the Sabean attack there came another and reported that the fire of God or a great fire from heaven, perhaps lightning, had struck and killed (burnt up) the entire flock of sheep and killed all the shepherds, except the one bringing the report. Satan, "prince of the power of the air," had been permitted to destroy these with lightning fire, See also Exodus 9:23; Numbers 16:35; Numbers 1 Kg 18:38; 1Kg 1:10, 12, 14. Satan was and is permitted to have destructive power over these agents of lightning and fire.

Verse 17 further recounts that while the second messenger servant of ill report to Job was speaking a third came bringing news that three bands of Chaldean warriors and looters had fallen upon the camels, slain their drivers with the sword and carried the camels away, with no servant unslain, except this one bringing the death report. These Chaldeans had swept in from the north from the Carducian mountains, Habakkuk 1:6-8. The three bands of warriors were perhaps set one each against the three herds of 1,000 camels each, v. 3. These Chaldeans from the northern section from Uz are believed to be descended from Chesed, a nephew of Abraham, Genesis 22:22.

Verses 18, 19 conclude that as the third messenger was reporting a fourth rushed in with the news that as Job’s 7 sons and three daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, v. 4, 13, a great wind storm or tornado from the wilderness south of Job’s house, came furiously out of the desert and totally destroyed the house where the festival was being held. It fell on the young men (young people) including daughters, Ruth 2:21; See also Isaiah 21:1; Hosea 13:15. Only this servant was left alive to bring the news to Job, Hebrews 13:5; 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Verse 20 relates four responses from job to this tragic loss: 1) He arose, as in the presence of the majesty, 2) He rent his mantle, a symbol of deep grief, Genesis 37:34; Genesis 37:3) He shaved his head, a second symbol of great grief, Jeremiah 41:5; Micah 1:16; Micah , 4) He worshipped, humbled himself before the Lord, in resignation to His wisdom, Luke 18:14.

Verse 21 witnesses the testimony of unreserved trust that Job expressed in God in this hour of temporary tragic loss and grief. First, he affirmed that he came into the world naked, helpless, empty handed; and second, he certified that he would depart from this life the same way, even as every man shall. One who recognizes such is wise, 1 Timothy 5:7; Ecclesiastes 5:15; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Psalms 139:15. He added that the Lord "gave," doled out to him all that he had possessed, and the Lord had taken it away, for a Divine purpose, to which he was resigned, James 1:17; 2 Samuel 12:16; 2 Chronicles 7:3; 1 Peter 5:6. See also 2 Samuel 16:12; 1 Chronicles 22:12; Proverbs 2:6; Ecclesiastes 5:19; Daniel 2:21. Job thus acknowledged the sovereignty of God over all, Matthew 20:15; Ephesians 5:20.

Verse 22 concludes that in all this experience Job did not charge God with folly, Romans 8:28; Proverbs 3:3-5. He simply did not act wickedly in charging God with doing wrong; When man sins it is himself and his fellowman he injures, not God, Proverbs 8:36; Galatians 6:7-8. No degree of worldly success or prosperity insulates one against sudden reverses.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Job 1". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/job-1.html. 1985.