A Ralph Johnson


CONTENT: Problem of human suffering.  Suffering is not necessarily punishment from God.

LESSONS:   Patient trust in God.  God's reasons are just and he will work things to our good.

SETTING:   Oldest book in the Bible.  In Patriarchal times.  Job was a great man, probably in Arabia.

MENTIONED: Ezek. 14:14, 20 ; James 5:11

NATURE OF THE BOOK: Ancient drama, mostly poetry, except for prose in the opening and closing, and 32:1-5.  The type of poetry involves repeated parallels or contrasts of words and ideas rather than rhyme.

Outstanding feature of the book is its trichotomy (Things presented in threes –Three friends, three speeches etc.).




42ch(5) (brief)

1: Loss

PROLOGUE: The setting presented (Chapters 1 and 2) (prose form)


A.    Job identified: Family, prosperity and piety (1:1-5)



B.    Trials for Job to vindicate God’s confidence in him against accusations by Satan. (1:6—2:13)


1.   First Trial: Loss of possessions, servants and children. (1:12-22)

2: Pain

2.   Second Trial: Flesh corrupted with boils. (2:1-8)


3.   Wife’s discouraging counsel to curse God and die. (2:9-10)


4.   Three friends visit and just watch him for seven days (2:11-13)


3: Complaint




Job’s complaint: He curses the day of his birth and longs for death (chap. 3)




4: Eliphaz #1

A.    Eliphaz first speech (chap. 4—5)


1.        Job’s impatience reproved. (4:1-5)


2.        God does not punish without a cause. (4:7-11)


3.        Night vision warning against questioning God’s justice (4:12-21)

5: Sparks

4.        Who can appeal above the decisions of God? (5:1-7)


5.        Seek God who has the ultimate power over all (5:8-16)

6.        It is for Job’s own good (5:17—27)


6: Job

Job replies to Eliphaz (Chap. 6—7)


1.        Job has good reason to complain (6:1-7)

2.        He has not denied God yet God permits him to suffer more than he can bear. (6:8-13)

3.        They need to understand and give help rather than demeaning him for his anguished words. (6:14-23)

4.        Complaint: Why does God insist on making him suffer? (6:24-30)

7: Hireling

5.        His miserable state like a wretched servant (7:1-10)


6.    His friends have only made things worse (7:11-21)



8: Bildad #1

B.    Bildad first speech (chap. 8)


1.        Job reproved for empty accusations against God’s justice. (8:1-7)

2.        Go to what has been taught from of old (8:8-10)

3.        Those who forget God perish. Righteous will not be cast away (8:11-22)


9: Job

Job replies to Bildad (chap. 9—10)


1.         How can one approach God to plead his case? (9)

10: Bitterness

2.         Job’s bitter complaint for God to explain (10:1-7)

3.         God created him as he is (10:8-17)

4.         Why does God permit him to suffer? (10:18-22)


11: Zophar #1

C.    Zophar first speech (chap. 11)


1.        Job is getting less than what he deserves  (11:2-6)

2.        You cannot be wiser than God (11:7-12)

3.        Repent and be restored (11:13-20)


12: Job

Job replies to Zophar (chap. 12—14)


1.        Sarcastic accusation about their “superior wisdom.” (12:1-12)

2.        God’s wisdom makes all others as nothing (12:13-25)

13: Lies

3.        They misrepresent the truth—physicians of no value (13:1-12)

4.        Job insists he has done no wrong. (13:13-19)  

5.        Job calls for them to back off from their accusations and quit trying to terrorize him. (13:20-28)

14: Trouble

6.        Life is the pits! (14:1-4)

7.        Man is born, doomed to soon die (14:5-13)

8.        Is there even a hope of resurrection? (14:14-17)

9.        Death is just a dark end to a life of misery (14:18-22)




15: Eliphaz #2

A.    Eliphaz second speech (chap. 15)


1.    Job’s own words condemn him. (15:2-6)

2.    Who does Job think he is? His pride is contemptible. (15:7-16)

3.    He should remember that the wicked will perish.  (15:17-35)


16: Job

Job replies to Eliphaz (chap. 1617)


1.        They are miserable comforters. (16:2-5)

2.        He suffers, though guiltless, but they accuse him. (16:6-17)

3.        His cry of anguish at his state of rejection. (16:18-22)

17: Worms

4.        Plea to God for understanding from his friends (17:1-5)

5.        Rejected of all, his only friends are the worms in death (17:6-16)


18: Bildad #2

B.    Bildad second speech (chap. 18)


1.        Why does Job look for excuses? (18:1-4)

2.        The wicked will face the consequences of their way. (18:5-21)


19: Job

Job replies to Bildad (chap. 19)


1.        Why do they insist on tormenting him? (19:1-6)

2.        No one listens to his cry (19:7-12)

3.        All have turned against him. (19:13-22)

4.        His only hope is the resurrection. (19:23-29)


20: Zophar #2

C.    Zophar second speech (chap. 20)

Job is reminded that the wicked man may prosper for a time but his downfall is certain.


21: Job

Job replies to Zophar (chap. 21)

The wicked die, but often live in comfort while the righteous suffer.




22: Eliphaz #3

A.   Eliphaz third speech (chap. 22)


1.        This has come upon Job for extreme wickedness. (22:2-11)

2.        Job exalts himself as wiser than God.  (22:12-20)

3.        Plea for Job to repent. (22:21-30)


23: Job

Job replies to Eliphaz (23:1—24:25)


1.        If only Job could plead his case with God, but God’s ways terrify.

24: Why

2.        Why does God not do something about evil? (24:1-12)

3.        Sinners perish, but only as all others. (24:13-25)


25: Bildad #3

B.    Bildad third speech (chap. 25)

How can any man claim to be just before God? (very short, perhaps indicating he is running out of words)


26: Job #1

Job’s first reply to Bildad (chap. 26)

1.        Sarcastic accusation of their failure to help him (26:1-4)

2.    God’s ways are beyond comprehension. (26:5-14)


27: Job #2

Job’s second reply to Bildad (chap. 27—28)

(Zophar remains silent, no longer able to continue the discussion.)


1.        Job reaffirms his integrity but does not intend to imply that the wicked are never punished.

28: Wisdom

2.        One can mine for silver but where can one find wisdom and understanding? (28:1-22)

3.        Only God understands. (28:23-28)


29: Job #3

Job’s third reply to Bildad (chap. 29—31)


1.        Job cries out for the old days before his calamity. (chap. 29)

30: Derision

2.        Lamentation over his present contemptible state. (chap. 30)

31: Covenant

3.    Job swears his integrity before God and ends his words. (chap. 31)


32: Elihu #1


Introductory comments in prose form (32:1-5) Anger at job and his friends


A.    First speech of Elihu (Poetic form resumed) (32:6—33:33)


1.        Justification of his right to give his opinion. (32:6-22)

33: Listen

2.        Appeal for Job to listen. (33:1-7)

3.        Reproof of Job's self-justification. (33:8-12)

4.        Why will Job not submit to God? (33:13-33)


34: Elihu #2

B.    Second Speech of Elihu (chap. 34)


1.        Reproof of Job as maintaining it profits nothing to serve God. (34:1-9) 

2.        God is righteous (34:10-15)

3.        Does a man have a right to condemn God? (34:16-20)

4.        God knows men’s hidden sins. (34:21-30)

5.        Job answers as a wicked man and adds rebellion to his sins. (34:32-37)


35: Elihu #3

C.    Third Speech of Elihu (chap. 35)

Job accused of making himself more righteous than God.


36: Elihu #4

D.    Fourth Speech of Elihu (chap. 36—37)


1.        God's affliction is to bring deliverance. (36:1-16)

2.        Don’t be resentful against God’s chastisement. (36:17-23)

3.        Magnify God’s judgment. (36:24-33)

37: Tremble

4.        Listen to God and fear Him. (chap. 37)


38: Jehovah #1



A.    First Speech of Jehovah (chap. 38—39)

Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (2)

1.        God demands what Job knows about the creation and constitution of the Earth, the seas, light, hail, rain, stars, weather, and provision for God’s creatures. (4)

39: Creatures

2.        God’s provision for His creatures, continued. (chap. 39)


40: Jehovah

#2 & #3

B.    Second Speech of Jehovah God (40:1—24)

God challenges whether Job can contend with the almighty?  (40:1-2)


Job confesses He cannot answer (40:3-5)



C.    Third Speech of Jehovah (40:6—42:6)


1.        Can Job annul God’s judgment? (40:6-9)

2.        Job challenged to show how strong he is (40:10-14)

3.        Consider the mighty behemoth that God made (40:15-24)

41: Monster

4.    Job challenged whether he can draw out the Leviathan that God made? (chap. 41)

42: Conclusion

Job repents of speaking things he did not understand (42:1-6)



Epilogue:  Concluding narrative in prose form. (42:7-9)


A.    Jehovah God rebukes Eliphaz (the oldest) and his two friends. (7)


B.       Job restored greater than before (42:10-17)