THE BOOK OF JOB
AN OUTLINE and AN ABRIGED VERSION
JOB IN OUTLINE
The Story of Job – fortune lost 1-2
Job’s tells his complaint 3
First Cycle 4-14
Second Cycle 15-21
Third Cycle (incomplete) 22-31
Job’s Discourse on Wisdom 28
Job’s Concluding Statement 29-31
Elihu’s Speech 32-37
God confronts Job 38-42
The Story of Job – fortune restored 42
an abridged version
1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. 2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. 3 He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. 4 His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and the satan also came among them. 7 The LORD said to the satan, “From where have you come?” The satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 8 And the LORD said to the satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” 9 Then the satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the LORD said to the satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So the satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” 22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and the satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. 2 And the LORD said to the satan, “From where have you come?” The satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 3 And the LORD said to the satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” 4 Then the satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” 6 And the LORD said to the satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” 7 So the satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes. 9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. 12 And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. 13 And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.
After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 And Job said: 3 “Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.’ 11 “Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire? 20 “Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, 21 who long for death, but it does not come.
First Cycle – Eliphaz
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: 3 You have instructed many, and you have strengthened the weak hands. 4 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling. 5 But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed. 6 Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope? 7 “Who that was innocent ever perished?Or where were the upright cut off? 8 As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. 12 “Now a word came to me in visions of the night. 15 A spirit glided past my face….then I heard a voice: 17 ‘Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker? 18 Even his angels he charges with error; 19 how much more those who dwell in houses of clay.
6 Affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, 7 but man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. 8 As for me, I would seek God. I would commit my cause to God 9 who does great things and unsearchable, and marvelous things without number. 17 Blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. 27 We have searched this out; it is so. Hear, and know it for your good.
First Cycle – Job replies to Eliphaz
Then Job answered and said: 2 Oh that my vexation were weighed, and all my calamity laid in the balances! 8 Oh that 9 it would please God to loose his hand and cut me off! 10 This would be comfort; I would even exult in pain, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One. 14 Anyone who withholds kindness from a friendforsakes the fear of the Almighty. 15 My brothers are as treacherous as torrential streams. 21 You see my calamity and you are afraid.
Job says to God: 16 I loathe my life.Leave me alone. 17 What is man, that you 18 visit him every morning and test him every moment? 19 How long will you not look away from me, nor leave me alone? 20 If I sin, what do I do to you? Why did you make me your target? How did I become a burden to you? 21 Why do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity?
First Cycle – Bildad
Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said: 3 Does God pervert justice? 4 If your children have sinned against him, he has delivered them into the hand of their transgression. 5 If you will seek God and plead with the Almighty for mercy, 6 then surely he will rouse himself for you and restore your rightful habitation. 7 And your latter days will be very great. 8 For inquire of bygone ages, and consider what the fathers have searched out. 10 Will they not teach you?
First Cycle – Job replies to Bildad
Then Job answered and said: 2 I know that it is so. But how can a man be in the right before God? 3 If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. 32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, or that we should come to trial together. 33 There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both.
I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me. 3 Does it seem good to you to oppress, to despise the work of your hands? 18 I wish I had died before any eye had seen me. 19 I wish I had been carried from the womb to the grave. 20 Are not my days few? Then cease, and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer 21 before I go to the land of darkness and deep shadow, from which I shall not return.
First Cycle – Zophar
Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said: 3 Should your babble silence men? And when you mock, shall no one shame you? 4 For you say, ‘My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in God’s eyes.’ 6 Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.
First Cycle – Job replies to Zophar
Then Job answered and said: 2 “No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you. 13 2 What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. 3 But I want to speak to the Almighty; I want to argue my case with God. 4 As for you, you whitewash with lies; worthless physicians are you all. 5 I wish you would keep silent. That would be your wisdom! 12 Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay. 15 Though he slay me, I will hope in him; I will surely argue my ways to his face. 16 This will be my salvation: that the godless shall not come before him. 23 How many are my iniquities and my sins? Make me know my transgression and my sin. 24 Why do you hide your face and count me as your enemy?
Job says to God: 13 Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come. 15 You would call, and I would answer you; you would long for the work of your hands. 16,17 For then you would seal up my transgression in a bag, and you would cover over my iniquity.
Second Cycle – Eliphaz
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: 2 Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge? 4 You are doing away with the fear of God and hindering meditation before God! 7 Are you the first man who was born? 11 Are the comforts of God too small for you? 15 Behold, God puts no trust in his holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in his sight; 16 how much less one who is abominable and corrupt, a man who drinks injustice like water!
Second Cycle – Job replies to Eliphaz
Then Job answered and said: 2 Miserable comforters are you all. 11 God gives me up to the ungodly and casts me into the hands of the wicked. 12 I was at ease, and he broke me apart; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces; he set me up as his target; 13 his archers surround me. 18 “O earth, cover not my blood, and let my cry find no resting place. 19 Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high.
20 My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God, 21 that he would argue the case of a man with God, as a son of man does with his neighbor. 22 For when a few years have come I shall go the way from which I shall not return.
Second Cycle – Bildad
Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said: 2 How long will you hunt for words? 3 Why are we counted as cattle? Why are we stupid in your sight? 5 Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out, and the flame of his fire does not shine. 6 The light is dark in his tent, and his lamp above him is put out. 7 His strong steps are shortened, and his own schemes throw him down. 8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet. 21 Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous.
Second Cycle – Job replies to Bildad
Then Job answered and said: 2 How long will you torment me and break me in pieces with words? 3 These ten times you have cast reproach upon me; are you not ashamed to wrong me? 7 I cry out, Violence! but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice. 13 He has put my brothers far from me, and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me. 14 My relatives have failed me, my close friends have forgotten me. 16 I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer; I must plead with him with my mouth for mercy. 17 My breath is strange to my wife, and I am a stench to the children of my own mother. 18 Even young children despise me. 20 My bones stick to my skin and my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
23 Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! 24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! 25 For I know that my goel (kinsman-redeemer) lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. 26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in (or, without) my flesh I shall see God, 27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. 28 If you say, ‘How we will pursue him!’ 29 be afraid of the sword, for wrath brings the punishment of the sword, that you may know there is a judgment.
Second Cycle – Zophar
Then Zophar the Naamathite answered: 3 I hear censure that insults me. 4 Do you not know this from of old, 5 that the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless is but for a moment? 6 His head reaches to the clouds, 7 but he will perish forever like his own dung.
Second Cycle – Job replies to Zophar
Then Job answered and said: 2 Keep listening to my words, 3 and after I have spoken, mock on. 4 Why should I not be impatient? 7 Why should the wicked be able to live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? 13 They spend their days in prosperity, and in peace they go down to Sheol. 14 They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways. 15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’ 34 How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.
Third Cycle – Eliphaz
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: 5 Is not your evil abundant? There is no end to your iniquities. 6 For you have exacted pledges for nothing and stripped the naked of their clothing. 7 You have given no water to the weary to drink, and you have withheld bread from the hungry. 9 You have sent widows away empty, and crushed the arms of the fatherless.
Third Cycle – Job replies to Eliphaz
Then Job answered and said: 3 I wish I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat! 4 I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would learn what he would answer me and understand what he would say to me. 6 Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power? No; he would pay attention to me. 7 There an upright man could argue with him, and I would be acquitted forever by my judge. 12 I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food. 24 “Why are times of judgment not kept by the Almighty, and why do those who know him never see his days?
Third Cycle – Bildad
Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said: 4 How can a man be in the right before God? 5 Even the moon is not bright, and the stars are not pure in his eyes. 6 How much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!
Third Cycle – Job replies to Bildad
Then Job answered and said: 2 How you have helped him who has no power! How you have saved the arm that has no strength!27 2 As God lives, who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter, 6 I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.
Job’s Discourse on Wisdom
Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold that they refine. 2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted from the ore. 12 But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13 Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living. 23 God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. 28 And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’
Job’s Concluding Defence
Job again took up his discourse, and said: 2 Oh, that I were as in months gone by, 4 as I was in my prime, 5 when the Almighty was still with me, when my children were all around me. 12 I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to help him. 13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. 21 Men listened to me, waited, and kept silence for my counsel. 25 I chose their way and sat as chief, and I lived like a king among his troops, like one who comforts mourners.
“But now they laugh at me, men younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock. 9 And now I have become their song; I am a byword to them. 10 They abhor me; they keep aloof from me; they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me. 19 God has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes. 20 I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me. 21 You have turned cruel to me.
I have made a covenant with my eyes; so how could I look with desire on a young woman? 9 If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door, 10 then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down on her. 11 For that would be a heinous crime. 13 If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant when they brought a complaint against me, 14 what then shall I do when God makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? 15 Did not he who made me in the womb make him? 16 If I have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, 19 if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or the needy without covering, 21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, because I saw my help in the gate, 29 If I have rejoiced at the ruin of him who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook him, 22 then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder, and let my arm be broken from its socket. 35 Oh, I wish I had one to hear me! (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!) Oh, I wish I had the indictment written by my adversary! 37 I would give him an account of all my steps; like a prince I would approach him. 40 The words of Job are ended.
So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. 2 Then Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. 3 He also burned with anger at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, although they had declared Job to be in the wrong. 4 So Elihu waited to speak to Job, because they were older.
6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said: 9 It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right. 10 Therefore I say, Listen to me; let me also declare my opinion. 12 I gave you my attention, and, behold, there was none among you who refuted Job or who answered his words. 14 He has not directed his words against me, and I will not answer him with your speeches. 18 For I am full of words; 20 I must speak, that I may find relief.
13 Why do you contend against God, saying, ‘He will answer none of man’s words’? 14 For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it. 15 In a dream, and also in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, while they slumber on their beds. 19 Man is rebuked with pain on his bed and with continual strife in his bones. 22 His soul draws near to the pit. 23 If there be for him an angel, a mediator, 24 and he is merciful to him, and says, ‘Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom; 25 let his flesh become fresh with youth; let him return to the days of his youthful vigor’; 26 then man prays to God, and he accepts him. 27 He sings before men and says: ‘I sinned and perverted what was right, and it was not repaid to me. 28 He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.’ 29 Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, 30 to bring back his soul from the pit.
9 But Job has said, ‘It profits a man nothing that he should take delight in God.’ 10 Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding: far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should do wrong. 11 For according to the work of a man he will repay him, and according to his ways he will make it befall him. 12 Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice. 35 Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight. 36 I wish that Job were tried to the fullest, for he answers like wicked men. 37 For he adds rebellion to his sin; and multiplies his words against God.
2 Bear with me a little, and I will show you, for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf. 3 I will get my knowledge from afar and ascribe righteousness to my Maker. 4 For truly my words are not false; one who is perfect in knowledge is with you. 16 Do you know the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge?
14 Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. 23 The Almighty – we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate. 24 Therefore men fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.
The LORD addresses Job
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 2 Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 4 Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the [surveyor’s] line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 [back in those days]when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 18 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this. 19 Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, 20 that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home? 21 You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great! [God overwhelms Job with his knowledge and management of snow, rain the constellations, lightning, the ostrich, the horse, the hawk, etc etc etc]
2 Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.
3 Then Job answered the LORD and said: 4 Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. 5 I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.
6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 7 Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 8 Will you put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? 9 Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his? [God further overwhelms Job with descriptions of Behemoth (40:15-24) and Leviathan (41:1-34), mythological land and sea monsters that only God can tame.]
Then Job answered the LORD and said: 2 I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
The LORD rebukes Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar
7 After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: My anger burns against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the LORD had told them, and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.
The LORD Restores Job’s Fortunes
10 And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.
12 And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah [daylight, or a dove], and the name of the second Keziah [cassia], and the name of the third Keren-happuch [horn of “mascara”]. 15 And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. 16 And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. 17 And Job died, an old man, and full of days.