Overview: Job

Overview: Job

The book of Job. It’s a profound and very
unique book in the Bible for lots of reasons. The story is set in a very obscure
land that’s far away from Israel, Uz. The main character, Job, he’s not even an
Israelite. And the author, who’s anonymous, doesn’t even set the story in any clear
period of ancient history. This all seems intentional though. It’s like the author
doesn’t want us to be distracted by historical questions but rather to focus
simply on the story of Job and on the questions raised by his experience of
suffering. The book of Job has a very clear literary design. It opens and
closes with a short narrative prologue and then epilogue. And then the central body
of the book is dense Hebrew poetry, representing conversations between Job
and four dialogue partners called “the friends.” These conversations are then
concluded by a series of poetic speeches given by God to Job. Let’s dive in to see
how it works together. The prologue introduces us to Job and we’re told that
he’s the blameless, upright man who honors God. He’s a super good guy. And
then all of a sudden were transported into the heavenly realms and God is
holding court with his staff team. It’s a very common image in the Old Testament
describing how God runs the world. And among the heavenly beings is a figure
called “the Satan,” which in hebrew means “the Accuser” or “the Prosecutor.”
It’s like we’re watching a court scene. God presents Job as a truly righteous
man and then the accuser challenges God’s policy of rewarding righteous people
like Job. He says the only reason Job obeys you is because you bless him with
prosperity. Let Job suffer– then we’ll see how righteous he actually is. And then
God agrees to let the accuser inflict suffering on Job. Now it’s at this point
in the story that most of us go, “What? Why did God do that?” and then we assume that
this book is going to answer that question–why God allows good people to
suffer. But as you read on, the book doesn’t answer that question. Nothing
in the book ever answers that question. The prologue is setting up the real
questions this book is trying to get at. Questions about God’s justice and
whether God operates the universe according to the strict principle of
justice. And the response to those questions comes as you read through to
the end of the book, not at the beginning. The ultimate reason for Job suffering is
simply never revealed. So the prologue concludes with a suffering and
bewildered Job who’s rebuked by his wife and he’s approached by three friends who
are going to try and provide wisdom and counsel. Their names are Eliphaz the
Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They are all non-Israelites, like Job. And they represent the
best of ancient Near Eastern thinking about God and suffering in the human
condition. And this moves into the main part of the book. First Job speaks. This
is how this section of the book works: first, Job is going to speak and then
will follow a response from a friend. Then Job will respond to that friend and then
another friend will respond to Job’s response and so on, back and forth
for three cycles. And this whole debate has focused on three questions: “Is
God truly just in character?” and “Does God run the universe on the strict principle
of justice?” And if so, then how is Job’s suffering to be explained? As we’re going
to see, Job and the friends, they’re working from a huge assumption about
what God’s justice ought to look like in the world, namely that every single thing
that happens in the universe should operate according to the strict
principle of justice. So if you’re a wise, good person and you honor God, good
things will happen to you. God will reward you. But if you’re evil and stupid
and do sinful things, bad things will happen to you. God will punish you. Now
Job’s constant arguments throughout his speeches is this: first of all, that he’s
innocent and so the implication of that is that his suffering is not a divine
punishment. Now we know from the prologue, both of these things are true. Remember,
God Himself said Job is righteous and blameless. And so Job concludes his argument
by accusing God. God either doesn’t run the world according to justice, or even
worse, God Himself is simply unjust. The friends, on the other hand, they beg to
differ. Their argument is that God is just. The
implication being that God always runs the world according to justice in this
way and so they conclude by accusing not God, but Job. Job must have done
something really, really bad for God to punish him like this. They even start
making up possible sins that Job must have committed. Job protests all of this.
In fact, he gets so fed up with the friends that he eventually just gives up
on them. He takes up his case directly with God. Now something to be aware of is
that Job, he’s on an emotional roller coaster in these poems. He used to think
that God is just, but now he can’t reconcile that with his suffering. And so,
in some outbursts Job will accuse God of being a bully. Once he even declares that
God has orchestrated all the injustice in the world. But the moment he utters that
thought, he’s terrified of it because he wants to hope and believe that God is
truly just. Job is all over the place in this section. And so he makes one last
statement of his innocence and then he demands that God show up personally to
explain himself. Now it’s at this point that a surprise friend shows up, Elihu the Buzite. Now, he’s not an
Israelite but he does have a Hebrew name. And Elihu has the same assumption as
Job and the friends. . He argues that God is just and that that implies that God
always operates the universe according to justice. But then Elihu draws a more
sophisticated conclusion about why good people suffer. It may not be punishment
for sin in the past. God might inflict suffering as a warning to
help people avoid sin in the future. Or God might use pain and suffering to
build character or to teach people valuable lessons. Elihu doesn’t claim to know why
Job is suffering but one thing he is certain of: Job is wrong to accuse God of being
unjust. Job doesn’t even respond to Elihu and the dialogues come to a close . It’s like
the wisdom of the Ancients has been spent and the mystery remains. And then
all of a sudden God shows up in a whirlwind and he responds to Job
personally. He first responds to Job’s accusation that he is unjust and
incompetent at running the universe. So God takes Job on a virtual tour of the
universe and he starts asking him all these questions about the order and origins of
the cosmos. Was Job ever around when God architected the earth or organized the
constellations? Has Job ever commanded the sunrise or controlled the weather? God has his eyes on all of these cosmic
details that Job has never even conceived of. Then God starts going into
detail describing the grazing habits of mountain goats and how deer give birth,
or the feeding patterns of lions and wild donkeys. What’s the point of all
this? Remember the assumption of Job and his friends about what it looks like
for God to run the world according to justice. Underneath that assumption is a deeper
one that Job and his friends have a wide enough perspective on life to make such
a claim about how God ought to run the world. And God’s response with this virtual tour,
it deconstructs all of these assumptions. It first of all shows that the
universe is a vast, complex place and that God has his eyes on all of it–every
detail. Job on the other hand, has only the small horizon of his life experience
to draw from. His view of the world is very limited and so what looks like
divine injustice from Job’s point of view needs to be seen in an infinitely
larger context. Job is simply not in a position to make such a huge accusation
about God. After the virtual tour, God asks Job if he would like to micromanage
the world for a day according to the strict principle of justice that Job and
his friends assume; punishing every evil deed of every person at every moment with
precise retribution. The fact is that carrying out justice in
a world like ours, it’s extremely complex. It’s never black and white like Job and
the friends seem to think. Which leads to God’s last point. He starts describing
these two fantastic creatures, Behemoth and Leviathan, which some people think
are poetic depictions of the hippo and crocodile. More likely they refer to
well-known creatures from ancient Near Eastern mythology that are used
elsewhere in the Bible as symbols of the disorder and danger that exists in God’s
good world. These creatures, they’re not evil. God is actually quite proud of them. But they’re not safe either. The point is that God’s world is amazing and very good but it’s not perfect or
always safe. God’s world has order and beauty but it’s also wild and
sometimes dangerous, just like these two fantastic creatures. And so we come back
to the big question of Job’s suffering. Why is there suffering in God’s world–
whether it’s from earthquakes or wild animals or from other humans. God
doesn’t explain why. What he says is that we live in an extremely complex, amazing
world that at this stage at least is not designed to prevent suffering. And that’s
God’s response. Job challenged God’s justice. God responds that Job doesn’t
have sufficient knowledge about our universe to make such a claim. Job demanded a full explanation from
God and what God asked Job for is trust in His wisdom and character. And so, Job
responds with humility and repentance. He apologizes for accusing God and he
acknowledges that he’s overstepped his bounds. Then all of a sudden the book
concludes with a short epilogue. First God says that the friends were wrong,
that their ideas about God’s justice were just too simple– not true to the
complexity of the world or God’s wisdom. And then God says that Job has spoken
rightly about him. Now this is surprising because it can’t apply to everything Job said. I mean we know Job drew hasty
and wrong conclusions, but God still approves of Job’s wrestling. How Job
came honestly before God with all of his emotion and pain and simply wanted to
talk to God himself. And God says that’s the right way to process through all of
this, through the struggle of prayer. The book concludes with Job having his health, his
family, his wealth, all restored– not as a reward for good
behavior but simply as a generous gift from God. And that’s the end of the book.
The book of Job, it doesn’t unlock the puzzle of why bad things happen to good
people. Rather it does invite us to trust God’s wisdom when we do encounter
suffering rather than try and figure out the reason for it. When we search for
reasons we tend to either simplify God–like the friends– or like Job,
accuse God, but based on limited evidence. And so the book is inviting us to honestly
bring our pain and our grief to God and to trust that God actually cares and
that he knows what he’s doing. And that’s what the book of Job is all about.

100 thoughts on “Overview: Job”

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  2. i have recently lost a loved one, but i'm still unsettled, in denial and in incredible pain after watching this. i understand it… but i don't. i want him to come back : '( </3

  3. My Professor is using your videos as a tool for us in our Books of Wisdom, Job & Ecclesiastes class. It's my favorite part of each week!

  4. Thank You Guy's for This Channel. I'm Able to Understand The Bible and What GOD Purpose for us All. Today was Extremely RUFF for Me, but GOD Answered and Assured Me That I'M Going to Be BETTER Each Second, Min, Hrs, Day.. Ect. Again Thank You and CONTINUE to BLESS 🙏 🙏 🙏

  5. "justice" is an abstract and empty concept invented by weak humans who seek to protect themselves using subjective concepts who can interpret in different ways as "morality" or "justice" the truth is that the natural and the world is just, weak human beings wants to see the world as a cartoon where evil and evil are faced in an ethical battle where "good" wins.

    These absolutist concepts make it more difficult to understand the beauty of the world.

  6. I clearly understood the video, find it difficult to understand it while reading the bible. Is it only me though? Thanks Bible Project.

  7. I believe we must sometimes suffer in ways that may seem unjust, but that God allows us to experience challenges of all kinds to bless us in ways He simply couldn’t if we didn’t go through the difficult moments in our lives. He is wise and just, even when we don’t see the whole picture.

  8. The purpose of his suffering was to prove the point of the story that truly righteous people will stay righteous without blessing and that not all people turn bad when things get rough. That was the whole point of the accuser (which we assume is The Devil).

  9. In my and many peoples opinions- the Leviathan and Behemoth were literal physical creatures that existed. Why would they be mentioned in many places if it was metaphoric hyperbole? Why does ancient asian and african and european history suggest giant creatures that are similar to these that ate people? Just too many signs.

  10. the book of Job is a template for one annointed by god. A pattern that is repeated for all whom god chooses as a prophet. There are many similarities to a buddist text – journey to the west, which describes a path to becoming a buddha. leviathan behemoth god of the air- the fish the pig and the monkey king.

  11. Job is like God become Jesus to suffer, then returning to God again…Building a new wing on the kingdom for the Christians as soon as he gets back

  12. It's not my intention to sound over critical here but, I must speak the truth. Biblical cosmology does not in any shape or form support the cult of heliocentrism or "big bang" expanding space vacuum tales. Have a nice day 😎

  13. The reason why good people are to let suffer in my understanding is this world is nothing close to good. So this world will oppress nothing good, good will always battle evil until The Lord’s day comes. Also Job didn’t possess the Holy Spirit.

  14. The behemoth was most likely something like a Brachiosaurus. That is a large vegan creature who has a tail like a Cedar. Thanks, live these vids. God Bless.

  15. Elihu seems like a prick and clearly has not experinced what Job has suffered. Plenty of people are like this today. If only everyone suffered what Job did then maybe the world would be fair but that isn't the case. God doesn't believe in equality.

  16. What about people with learning disabilities?. Making poor life decisions lead to disaster and would never makes wisdoms decisions.

  17. The bible project is misleading. It DOES answer the question of why God allows bad things to happen, that’s the whole point of Job. The devil tries to bring Job down, to get him to curse God, to give up. Therefore proving that humans are weak and will not serve God. But a Job never curses God. He pleads for answers but he never blames God. So in the end God rewards his faithfulness. It’s like saying ‘ the devil can try as it might but I’m not going to blame God for the devils’ destruction’ . You’ve got to hold on to God come what may.

  18. I pray all the good of the book of Job and all wisdom books ever are all inside and out all that I have not prayed against. I pray all the evil of the book of Job and all wisdom books ever are all inside and out all that I have prayed against especially Satan and all his minions. In the names of God I pray for all these things and all my prayers, subjects and stipulations amen.

  19. You’ve rather misleadingly left out the part about God excepting the accusers challenge to him about Job,… God agreed to allow Job to suffer because he essentially accepted what amounts to a bet from The Satan that Job wouldn’t remain faithful if his fortunes changed. God agrees to let The Satan turn Jobs life into a miserable experience of almost total suffering, this is a CHOICE that God made! He allowed, and in fact, it begs the question about “allowing” if we accept that God is omniscient and omnipotent, God CAUSED the suffering,… You ignore this crucial part of the narrative, because NO ONE has ever been able to explain it. Moses also asked God why he allowed evil and suffering, and received no answer. Gods attempt to rationalize why he allowed Jobs life to become terrible (oh yeah, God also concealed from Job the “minor” detail of the fact that he essentially gambled on the outcome of Jobs ultimate behavior and faithfulness to God,… that might not have left such a good impression on Job,… it doesn’t put God in such a nice light, does it?) So, he practicality destroys Jobs life for no better reason than because he wanted to wager with another one if his own creations, because God created everything, including The Satan,…. You see why Job is REALLY troubling? Like most folks who want to bright-side the Bible and God, you can only do so by carefully avoiding lots and LOTS of very problematic aspects of the nature of God as it’s clearly spelled out for you in the supposedly holy scriptures.

  20. My Understanding:

    Why can good people suffer? —> What is suffering? –>Take the function out. —> If I never suffer, then I never have to learn a lesson or be warned. —> Suffering causes a lesson or warning. When you're older, you already know to watch where you step to prevent falling since you learned as a kid. That doesn't mean it can't happen again when you age, and it happens regardless of whether or not you're a good person. What happens when I don't learn? —> Then I don't have faith that something may happen in the future. Israel didn't have faith in "Numbers", so they didn't learn a lesson. When they didn't learn a lesson —> they continued to suffer. Job didn't have faith at first that he needed to forego suffering —> So he didn't learn and continued to suffer. It was only when he had faith that he stopped suffering.

    Faith is the root here. And suffering can happen whether you learn a lesson or not. But faith is needed in every situation.

    So why do good people suffer? Because they do. You just need faith.

  21. I think it's important to note that Elihu is not one of the three friends who God says was wrong about Him. Only Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar had to offer a burnt sacrifice. also Job never objected to what Elihu said as he did to the other three. Elihu's message that God brings suffering upon the righteous out of love to refine and strengthen their faith is heavily supported by Jesus and the apostles.
    I find it really interesting that people that early on could have that level of understanding of who God is that matches so perfectly with what the disciples and apostles learned/taught thousands of years later.

  22. So God and Satan were making a bet on whether Job could be broken! But God's ways are far above our ways and we are like worms compared to God, so we should not question

  23. Wow…What an amazing story. Thank you so much for this overview and all of the videos in your channel. It's so important and inspiring!

  24. I still feel sorry for poor job put through all of that because God spoke of him as an example of a good person loyal to god an his ways an god was challenged by someone saying he’s only good an loyal to you because you never give him any reason to doubt you do this an then we will see so god takes this to heart and decides to make poor job suffer to see if he is still loyal to him after he makes him suffer an boy did he make him suffer why didn’t god through all his explanations which were universally awesome even offering job to be god for a day but with no real answers and all he had to do was just tell job it was a test of faith put to me by someone else awww poor innocent job I feel for him 🙏

  25. We have to weather the storm in order to truly appreciate God's blessings. In the end, Job gain a better appreciation for God's blessings!

  26. I find it very interesting how Heathens are quick to judge God and not Satan for his evil deeds in this story 🤔. Why is that?

  27. Is "leviathan not Evil"???? Hearing that be said in this video is a good reminder to myself to search the scripture and not just believe YouTube. Read the two verses below and you will see.

    Isaiah 27:1
    [1]In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

    Revelation 20:2
    [2]And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

  28. God made a bet with a human life!. That so messed up. Cut the shit. Stop making ecuses. If Job was like hes friends he wound never be in a bet stop this rubbish.!!

  29. Thank you so much for this. When I was going through dark times I read the book of Job and I could relate to it so much and it helped me work through everything and understand God and understand my own pain.

  30. This is amazing!!! Changed my life because after 35 yrs, I had so many questions. The answer is just,… trust! Shocked when my wife said, "did you ever notice that God never specifically answers why he [Job], is suffering?" You dont nees to know why. Just trust! I know when he delivers me, I dont need the math on why he delivered me. Amen that he did. Just… trust.

  31. My favorite video while using my bible project is the second video you did on Job. Is that video on YouTube? I cannot find it. Thanks! Love the app!!

  32. Whenever he said "the friends", the sitcom theme song started in my head…
    Thanks for the comorehensive overview of the structure!

  33. It's a bit like a parent taking their child to the doctor.

    The child thinks the parent is being mean because doctors are scary and shots hurt, but the child doesn't have the understanding of why he or she is being put through the suffering.

  34. I think the Behemoth and Leviathan were Dinosaurs and I believe that they existed up til the flood. And the Leviathan and other sea creatures from back then lasted even longer may even still exist

  35. This is the best explanations I saw! Such a complex topic but translated to a simple way of understanding. Thank you The Bible Project Team!!!

  36. hasatan never infected Job's mouth so he could curse the Most High as he predicted he would, and he never did. That is why Job was Blessed with twice of that taken from him.

  37. I have been going through some things (don't we all at some points in life), so I thought it would be enlightening to study Job to see how he deals with suffering & what God said to him… Interestingly my pastor mentioned (I was watching one of his old video sermons) that the (possible) reason for Job's suffering is that even when things were good he always harboured fear (at the back of his mind) & when you have fear & doubts it gives Satan/devils a door way/chance to mess with you. So I'm Starting to think this 'Satan' /accuser in Job worked against Job on that basis. Job had always feared he would one day lose everything & his fears became a reality (if you read the part were calamity first struck Job himself says: "For the thing which I greatly fear comes upon me, And that of which I am afraid has come upon me.

    " — Job 3:25

    so I think one major message in Job apart from what has been stated in this video, is that do not fear because God made us with creative ability, we might end up experiencing our fears as reality.

  38. Wait. Why are Behemoth and Leviathan mythological creatures? Why would God be proud of them if they're only myths—merely existing in the minds of men? Why would he list so many real creatures only to cap it off with two fake ones? Why does God literally say "Behold, Behemoth, which I made alongside you…"?

    The only logical conclusion is that Behemoth and Leviathan are real creatures. The description of Leviathan is kind of vague, but there are plenty of dinosaurian sea creatures it could have been. Behemoth on the other hand sounds like a sauropod dinosaur.

  39. The reason for Jobs suffered was not to show God that no matter what happen to him he was still going to love and serve God. But it let Job show satan that even if he lost everything he was still going to stay faithful to God and love God with all his heart. Job didnt have to prove anything to God. God already knew all about Job. God just let satan see there are people in this world that are going to serve God no matter if they have much or little. Because true happiness comes from God not thru how much you own in this life. Solomon had it all but He let what he had own him and he became unhappy . If you should gain the whole world and loss your soul what good would it do you. Life without peace of mind is miserable. Jesus said i give you peace not as the world gives you. A poor man with the peace of God is more happier then a rich man with great wealthy with no peace. Jobs wife just didnt get it. Her heart was on what they owned. Where your treasure is there is where your heart is. Jobs heart was on God. Thats why Job could cry out the lord gives and the Lord hath taking away blessed be the name of the Lord. The only problem Job had He thought God took everything from Him. But it was satan who took it all not God. What satan took from Job God gave Job a lot more back.

  40. How does this story invite us to trust God who rewards his most loyal servant with suffering and misery for a bet?

  41. How does this story invite us to trust God who rewards his most loyal servant with suffering and misery for a bet?

  42. I see shades of the Gospel message when I read Job. The book (and God's revelations in it) are truly phenomenal.

  43. Not true at all if you read in the apocrypha you learn that Job was prideful and boastful and let his words be his downside. So because of that is why. The Most High YAH is just and righteous in everything that he does!!

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