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Job

Contents

Job Bible Study Notes

Overview of Job

No consensus exists for the date of the Book of Job. Some hold that it was written during the Babylonian captivity or shortly thereafter in the time of Ezra. References to Job by Isaiah and Ezekiel are inconsistent with such a view. Others date Job during the period of David and Solomon, the golden era of Hebrew literature that gave us Psalms, Proverbs, etc. However, the Book of Job lacks any mention of the Law of Moses, and Job offers his own sacrifices. Were Job written after Moses such a of violation of Mosaic Law would almost certainly be mentioned by one of Job’s friends as the cause of his suffering or the suffering of the wicked, because following Moses a person needed the services of a priest when offering sacrifices. One Jewish tradition holds that Moses wrote the Book of Job during the exodus, there is, however, no supporting historical evidence for this tradition.

The most probable date for the Job is sometime between Abraham and Moses. There are many who think Job was a contemporary of Abraham, and there are good reasons for this view. Famine was frequently experienced during Abraham’s life, and for some time thereafter. These frequent famines would naturally lead to the question of why righteous men suffer.

Another question to be considered is was Job an Israelite. The Book of Job speaks of him as living in the land of Uz (which was near the border of Edom) and as being one of the greatest men of the East. This would indicate that he was not an Israelite, and may also explain why there is no mention of the Law of Moses in Job. Many feel that Job must have been an Israelite because of his worship of the LORD. Those conclude that Job was an Israelite because he worshiped Jehovah should remember that the worship of the LORD was not confined to the House of Israel. Abraham paid tithes and was blessed by Melchizedek, the king of Salem. So righteous were his people that Melchizedek was called the Price of Peace. (Such a people could easily produce a work such as Job.) Moses received the priesthood from Jethro, his father-in-law, a Midianite. (The Medianites were wandering traders closely related to the Israelites.) Also, the Book of Numbers records how Balak, the king of Moab, sent Balaam, a non-Israelite prophet, to curse Joshua and the Israelites. Balaam both held the priesthood and worshiped the LORD. Thus there is adequate evidence to conclude that Job could have worshiped the LORD without being an Israelite.

Some doubt that that Job was a real person. While the Book of Job is a poetic-drama and it is likely that the author took literary license with Job’s life, there is still considerable reason to believe that the Book of Job was based upon the life of a real person. A reading of the scriptures (Ezekiel 14:14Ezekiel 14:14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.  

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, James 5:11James 5:11
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.  

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) supports the view that Job was a real person.

My own opinion is that Job was a real person, whose life was the basis a drama. I think he lived between the time of Abraham and Moses, was not of the House of Israel, that he worshiped the LORD, and was conversant with many of God’s teachings.

The literary style of the Book of Job is that of a poetic drama with parts for a narrator, Job, and Job’s three friends. In many ways it resembles a debate. The prologue and epilogue are in prose while the body of the work is in a poetic format. Care should be taken not to confuse literary devices used by the author with scriptural doctrine or historical fact. (The prologue is analogous to the special effects used in the movies of our day.) Often it is easier to follow a play with a scorecard, the following it is hoped will helps to understand the Book of Job.

Bible Study Tool: Outline of Job

Job: The Problem of Suffering.

I.  Job 1-2:  The Prologue, written in prose
A.   Job, the man
1.  His fame and riches
2.  His residency in the land of Uz
3.  His righteousness

B. The scene in heaven
1. The sons of God assemble
2. The adversary questions Job’s piety
3. The Lord’s wager with Satan
4. Job maintains his integrity

II.  The Debate: Three Rounds of Speeches

Position of Job’s Friends:  Suffering is the consequence of sin; therefore, Job must be a sinner who needs to repent.
Position of Job:  God’s dealings with him will be consistent with his moral government of the world.

A. First Round of Speeches
1.  Job 4-5.  Eliphaz to Job
2. Job 6-7.  Job answers Eliphaz
3.  Job 8.  Bildad to Job
4.  Job 9-10.  Job answers Bildad
5.  Job 11.  Zophar to Job
6.  Job 12-14. Job answers Zophar

B. The Second Round of Speeches
1.  Job 15.  Eliphaz to Job
2.  Job 16-7.  Job answers Eliphaz
3.  Job 18.  Bildad to Job
4.  Job 19.  Job answers Bildad
5.  Job 20.  Zophar to Job
6.  Job 21.  Job answers Zopahar

C. The Third Round of Speeches
1.  Job  22. Eliphaz to Job
2.  Job 23-24. Job answers Eliphaz
3.  Job 25.  Bildad to Job
4.  Job 26-31.  Job answers Bildad
5.  Zophar does not speak

III.   Job 32-37:   The Speeches of Elihu
A.  Elihu’s reasons for not speaking
B.  His criticism of his friends
C.  Controverts Job’s position taking the same position as his friends while laying stress on God’s goodness in man’s suffering
D.  Praises the power of Jehovah

IV.  Job 38-41:  The Speeches of Jehovah
A.  Jehovah speaks to Job out of the whirlwind
B.  He demonstrates his greatness and superiority to man by asking questions about the mortal world
C.  Job is humbled. He is unable to answer the Lord.
D.  Job is at peace now that he knows his Savior and this his life conforms to the Lord’s expectations. Previously he knew God by “the hearing of the ear” whereas now he knows by having a personal relationship with him.

V. Job 42:7-17Job 42:7-17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. him: Heb. his face, or, person 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job. Job: Heb. the face of Job 10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. gave...: Heb. added all that had been to Job unto the double 11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. 12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. 15 And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. 16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations. 17 So Job died, being old and full of days.  

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:  The Epilogue. Written in prose.

A.  Job is restored to prosperity and happiness
B.  Job intercedes for his friends

Conclusion:  Peace and happiness is obtained by trusting God under all conditions.


Job Bible Study Commentary

Job 1 thru Job 2 -The Prologue

Job chapter 1 though Job chapter 2 constituted the prologue of the Book of Job. It should be remembered that the Book of Job is not one of the prophetic books of the Bible; instead it is part of the writings, such as Psalms and Proverbs. The Book of Job deals with the question of why the righteous suffer. The intent of the prologue is to establish that Job was a righteous man who suffers thought no fault of his own. In the prologue the author states that Job was a perfect man to make it clear to the audience that Job’s suffering was not a result of unrighteousness. (Other scriptures make it abundantly clear there is no such thing as a man without sin.) Job’s life was also portrayed as being perfect. He is pictured as having what was culturally seen as perfect number of sons in relationship to daughters, the perfect number of sheep in relationship to camels, etc. all showing how perfect his life was prior to his suffering.

The author of Job uses the literary device of a contest between God and the Adversary (Satan) to explain the suffering that Job endures. Some people read the prologue literally as meaning that Satan appeared before God in heaven and literally initiated this contest. There is much against such an interpretation. First of all the idea that God would engage in some type of wager with Satan is so contrary to God’s true nature that it is surprising that some people read these passages literally. In Hebrew the word adversary is used where the word Satan appears in many English translations of the Bible. This is slightly more in keeping with the concept that Job is about to suffer hardship due to the nature of life, instead of due to a wager between God and Satan.

Some cite the Book of Job in support of a doctrine that claims Satan was in heaven until modern times. It should be noted that the Book of Job does not explicitly state that Satan appeared before God in heaven—on the contrary Job 1:7Job 1:7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.  

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indicates that Satan was on earth among the Sons of God. Job 1:6Job 1:6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. Satan: Heb. the adversary among: Heb. in the midst of  

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states “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan [the adversary] came also among them.” It certainly does not appear that the Sons of God were first transported to heaven then returned to earth. A closer reading of this verse and Job 1:7Job 1:7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.  

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support the belief that Satan was expelled from Heaven before Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. Additionally, it should be remembered that it is possible for man to present himself before God while on Earth, and that is a one of the purposes of temple worship. Thus it is unwise to conclude from a reading of the Book of Job that Satan was in heaven until modern times. (Additionally, is it not possible for adversary [hardship] to come among men without the presence of Satan?)

Notice also that God asks Satan [the adversary] “Whence comest thou?” Is it possible for God to have been ignorant of where Satan had been? Instead of being considered a doctrinal statement about the physical location of Satan, the prologue should be viewed as a literary device the author needed to insure that his audience understands that Job did not suffer because of unrighteousness

An alternative theory holds that the adversary in the Book of Job (which is often translated as Satan) was never intended to refer to Lucifer, son of the morning. In many Eastern kingdoms there was a position at court known as the Adversary. It was what today would be a combination of an Inspector General and Special Prosecutor. The role of the adversary was to find the faults of (and seek out the corruption among) the king’s servants. This theory hold that the Book of Job assumes God has an “Adversary” in his court filling the same role as the Adversary did in earthly courts. Even if this theory is correct it should still be noted that the adversary in the Book of Job fulfills a literary—not literal—role.

This viewpoint, of course, is more in keeping with the teaching that part of the purpose of mortality is for God to test man and see if he will obey him in all things. This view is consistent with other Biblical passages where God is seen sending forth angles (see Revelation 7—11) to report to him on earthly conditions as well as to do his bidding in earth.

The play begins with Satan [the adversary] being allowed to test Job to see if he will be true to God in all situations or if Job only worships God because it is to his material advantage. Job then undergoes a series of tests. He loses his sons and daughter and all his wealth. When he remains faithful his suffering is increased by physical aliments such as boils.

Job 3 – Job’s Complaint

In Job chapter 3, for seven days Job’s friends silently witness his suffering. Job breaks the silence with his lament about all he is suffering. Job curses the day he was born.


Job 4 thru Job 14 -The First Round of Speeches

In Job chapter 4 through Job chapter 14 the circle of speeches of Job’s friends are conciliatory. They set forth the belief that suffering results from God’s punishment of sin, and therefore Job must have committed some great sin to suffer so greatly. Job is cognizant of righteousness and concludes that God’s government of the world is immoral [unjust]. Job admits that like his friends had thought that suffering was the result of punishment from God. He remembers his former joy and fellowship with God and hopes it will be renewed. Job’s friends stress that God is a god of justice and wisdom and are shocked by Job’s attack on God.

Job 4 thru Job 5 -The First Speech of Eliphaz

In Job chapter 4 and Job chapter 5 Eliphaz, the Temanite, came from Edom delivers his first speech. He expresses his surprise at what has happened to Job, and discourses on the justice of God, man’s insignificance, the uncertainty of the wicked, and the benefits of suffering.

Job 6 thru Job 7 – Job’s Reply to the Eliphaz’s First Speech

In Job chapter 6 through Job chapter 7, Job states he is “pierced with the arrows of God”. He charges his friends with unkindness and appeals to God and asserts his right to complain.

Job 8 -The First Speech of Bildad

In Job chapter 8, Bildad declares that God is just and that Job’s suffering is the result of sin. He urges Job to repent.

Job 9 thru Job 10 – Job’s Reply to Bildad’s First Speech

In Job chapter 9 through Job chapter 10, Job admits the power of God and states that God has the power to force an innocent person to declare himself guilt. Job wants to know how God defines righteousness and in accordance with God’s definition “how can man be just with God.”

Job 11 -The First Speech of Zophar

In Job chapter 11, Zophar charges Job with boasting and self-justification. He then speaks about the wisdom of God and its inscrutable character.

Job 12 thru Job 14 – Job’s Reply to Zophar’s First Speech

In Job chapter 12 through Job chapter 14, Job makes an ironic comparison with his friends and speaks of God’s power in his dealings with the nations of their world. Job states that his friends are wrong in their attempt to vindicate God. He speaks of the frailty of man, prays for a place of refuge when he dies, and asks the question, “If a man die shall be live again?”

Job 15 thru Job 21 -The Second Round of Speeches

Job chapter 15 through Job chapter 21 are the second round of speeches. In the second round of speeches Job’s friends emphasize the fate of the sinner and thereby try to vindicate God’s moral [just] government of the world. Job believes that God will ultimately vindicate him, although he may never again the former fellowship of love that he once had with God. His sense of alienation is less sharp. Throughout is the question of God’s moral [just] government as seen by the contrast of Job’s situation and the prosperity of the wicked.

Job 15 -The Second Speech of Elipahz

Job chapter 15 contains Elipahz’s second speech. Elipahz declares that Job is presumptuous, and is condemned by his own words. He speaks about the state of the wicked and their final judgment. Job asks his friends not to deal in generalities, but to state the sin they think he committed.

Job 16 thru 17 – Job’s Reply to Eliphaz’s Second Speech

In Job chapter 16 through Job chapter 17, Job states that his friends are miserable comforters and affirms his innocence. He believes that God knows his heart and that his “witness is in heaven.”

Job 18 -The Second Speech of Bildad

In Job chapter 18, Bildad criticizes Job for his cynical attitude towards his friends. Through various examples he pictures the perils of the sinner. All of which may be true, but does not prove Job has sinned or name his sin in fulfillment of the challenge Job gave his friends.

Job 19 – Job’s Reply to Bildad’s Second Speech

In chapter 19, Job is weary of his friend’s criticism and appeals to their pity. Job makes an impassioned speech declaring he knows that his redeemer lives. He remains confident that his redeemer will vindicate him that he will be delivered from false accusations and the respect of the people will be restored to him.

Job 19:26-27Job 19:26-27
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: And...: or, After I shall awake, though this body be destroyed, yet out of my flesh 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. another: Heb. a stranger though...: or, my reins within me are consumed with earnest desire within...: Heb. in my bosom  

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Job chapter 19 contains the well loved verses that say: “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” These verses are somewhat ambiguous in Hebrew. They are similar to a person who says, “From my house I saw the parade.” A person standing either inside or outside the house could make such a statement. The manner in which these verses are translated is influenced by the translator’s beliefs about the resurrection.

Job 20 -The Second Speech of Zophar

In Job chapter 20, Zophar repeats arguments previously stated. Through metaphor and imagery he describes the state of the wicked.


Job 21 – Job’s Reply to Zophar’s Second Speech

In Job chapter 21, Job rebuts Zophar’s assertions by declaring that the facts contradict Zophar’s argument. Job cites the reports to travelers to show that the wicked are prospering.

Job 22 thru 31 -The Third Round of Speeches

In Job chapter 22 through Job chapter 31, false charges are brought against Job in a final attempt to find a cause for his suffering. The greatness of God and man’s inferiority is discussed. Again the question of how a man can be just before God is raised.

Job 22 -The Third Speech of Eliphaz

In Job chapter 22, Job has challenged his friends to name his sins, Eliphaz charges Job with fraudulent dealings and unkindness to the poor. Furthermore he states that Job’s denial of sin makes him a greater sinner. He urges Job to repent and return to God.

Job 23 thru Job 24 – Job’s Reply to Eliphaz’s Third Speech

In Job chapter 23 through Job 24, ignores the charges of sin are enumerated by Eliphaz. The prologue has made it clear that Job has not sinned, so there is no need for Job to defend himself against these false charges. Job expresses his deepest concern, his desire for God’s companionship “Oh that I knew where I might find him.” He remains confident.

Job 25 -The Third Speech of Bildad

In Job chapter 25 Bildad gives a short speech about man’s inferiority to God, and declares the greatness of God. He discusses the question, “How can a man be just with God?” The implication for Job is that Job must humble himself.

Job 26 thru Job 31 – Job’s Reply to Bildad’s Third Speech

In Job chapter 26 through Job chapter 27 Job argues that the all his friends have said about the greatness and omnipotence of God is true but misses the point. He states that nothing can make him give up his integrity (which would happen were he to turn away from God) passing the test set forth to try Satan assertion that Job only loved God because he was blessed by God. Job discourses of the treasures of life and compares material goods with wisdom. Job attitude changes, he is now calm as he accepts his tribulations. He does not know why he is suffering, but he remains sure that he will be vindicated and that his conduct will prove the gold of his character.

Job 32 thru Job 37 -The Speeches of Eliphaz

Job chapter 32 through Job chapter 37 contain the speeches made by Eliphaz. Thus far Elihu has remained silent and states why. His role is that of a judge in a debate.


Job 32 – Elihu Passes Judgment on the Arguments

In Job chapter 32 Elihu passes judgment on the arguments that have been presented by his friends. He concludes that not only have they failed to convince Job, but that they have failed to establish a case against him. To win their case they must prove that suffering is always the result of sin, something they have failed to show.

Job 33 – Elihu Reviews Job’s Arguments

In Job chapter 33 Elihu reviews Job’s arguments. He discusses the LORD’s dealings with man and challenges Job to offer anything in his defense.

Job 34 – Elihu asserts that God is Not to be Judged by Human Reason

In Job chapter 34 asserts that God is not to be judged by human reason. He asserts, but does not prove previous arguments, that moral government cannot be founded of injustice. For Job, the moral government of the world appears to be capricious and thus should not be considered moral [just] government.

Job 35 – Elihu Responds to Job’s Claims

In Job chapter 35 Elihu responds to Job’s claims. He states that men cry out but do not seek God when they suffer and that God will not respond to pride and vanity. He denounces Job’s position as a statement that his righteousness is greater than God’s.

Job 36- Elihu Speaks About God’s Use of Affliction

In Job chapter 36 Elihu speaks about God’s use of affliction. He states that if God afflicts the righteous it is for their instruction, and if the respond to his promptings they are blessed. Elihu maintains that suffering is essential and that Job should not let his suffering lead him away from God.

Job 37 – Elihu Speaks of God’s Greatness

In Job chapter 37 Elihu now speaks of God’s greatness (his speech foreshows Jehovah’s speech to Job). Does Job understand God’s greatness?

Job 38 thru Job 41 – The Speeches of Jehovah

Job chapter 38 through Job chapter 41 are a response to Job’s complaint that God would not answer him and the Lord now answers Job from the storm. Jehovah now asks Job a series of questions of questions. The first set of questions concern the creation and composition of the world, the next about natural phenomena (sun, hail, rain, etc.), the come questions about life (lions, birds, etc.), and finally Jehovah asks questions about Job’s participation in these great works.

Job has condemned God’s government of the world and Jehovah tells Job that if he can answer the question which Jehovah has posed then he might be qualified to form such opinions about God. He asks Job, “Will thou condemn me that thou mayest be justified?”

Jehovah’s discourse has a tremendous affect on Job. Job interrupts Jehovah and declares he is unable to answer the questions that God has asked. He is humbles and forms a deeper relationship with God. He now knows that all is well in God’s plan and there is a valid reason for his afflictions. Job’s trust in God makes it unnecessary for him to understand the reason for his suffering, his knowledge, and trust in God is all that he now needs.

Job 42:7-17Job 42:7-17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. him: Heb. his face, or, person 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job. Job: Heb. the face of Job 10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. gave...: Heb. added all that had been to Job unto the double 11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. 12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. 15 And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. 16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations. 17 So Job died, being old and full of days.  

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-The Epilogue

Job 42:7-17Job 42:7-17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. him: Heb. his face, or, person 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job. Job: Heb. the face of Job 10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. gave...: Heb. added all that had been to Job unto the double 11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. 12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. 15 And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. 16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations. 17 So Job died, being old and full of days.  

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constitutes he Epilogue to the Book of Job. Like the prologue, and unlike the rest of the Book of Job, the epilogue is written in prose. Jehovah censures Job’s friends and requires them to perform sacrifices. Job’s prosperity and happiness are restored to him.

There is general agreement among scholars that both the prologue and epilogue were added at a later date by another author. I think this view is probably correct and both they prologue and added later by an author who did not fully understand the message of Job as both the prologue and epilogue are subtly ant thematic.

A central idea presented in Jehovah’s speech is that man cannot or does not understand the works of God, including why the righteous suffer. The prologue seeks to provide an explanation for why Job suffered which contradicts the idea that man does not know why the righteous suffer. Another core concept is that it is the duty of man to endure suffering, and that suffering is not necessarily a punishment for sin.

In the epilogue Job is rewarded during his mortal life for the faithful way in which he endured his afflictions. (Blessings and punishments are two sides of the same coin.) Thus the epilogue comes close to being the antithesis of the core idea in the Book of Job which is the righteous will suffer and must endure suffering although they did nothing to merit their afflictions.

Implicit in the epilogue is a doctrine that if not understood leaves the reader to puzzle over what would otherwise create a contradiction in the epilogue. Before his afflictions started Job had seven son and three daughters plus seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses. In the end Job was blessed with fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He also was also blessed with seven sons and three daughters. Many people do not understand why in the end Job was not blessed with an additional fourteen sons and six daughters, instead of seven sons and three daughters, if he was blessed with twice as much as what he had lost.

This answer is found in a belief that is implicitly expressed throughout the Old Testament, which is that family association will continue in the next life. (This belief is also reflected in 2 Samuel 12:232 Samuel 12:23
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.  

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when David mourns the death of his first child by Bathsheba.) In reality Job had fourteen sons and six daughters, and all of them would be united with him in heaven. Although half of them were separated from him does not mean that they were still not his. Thus the story ends with Job actually having fourteen sons and six daughters, twice as many as when his afflictions began.

The question of why the righteous suffer is not fully answered in the Book of Job. It is apparent that while God’s punishment for sin causes suffering that suffering is also an inherent part of the mortal world and both the sinners and the righteous suffer. There is also an implication that until man can fully comprehend all of God’s works he will not be able to understand why the righteous suffer.

Implicit in the story of Job is the lesson that man is tested in ways he does not understand. In fact, in time of adversity man may not even realize that his character is being tested.

It is important to consider the question of how Job was able to remain steadfast during his afflictions. Job knew that God lives, and that his actions were pleasing to God. This knowledge help Job endure all the difficulties that befell him. Thus the relationship Job established with God before his troubles began and sought during his difficulties, his trust in God, his knowledge of what God expected of him, and his confidence that his actions were pleasing to God were all a source of strength for him during his afflictions. The closer to God that Job became the less he was troubled by his trails and the easier it was for him to endure them.

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