Thursday, September 17, 2009

Job - Background

Since the Chrono bible scheduled the book of Job for the last few days (Sep 8th until today) I wanted to share some thoughts from a commentary on the book of Job that I read last year (“The Gospel According to Job” by Mike Mason… all thoughts below are from this book).

The book of Job can be viewed in 6 parts:
1) Job 1-2: Prologue
2) Job 3-11: Round 1 of the discourse between Job and his friends
3) Job 12-20: Round 2 of the discourse between Job and his friends
4) Job 21-31: Round 3 of the discourse between Job and his friends
5) Job 38-42:6: Theophany
6) Job 42:7-17: Epilogue

There are 7 main characters involved:
1) God
2) Satan
3) Job: God called him “blameless” (1:1b). Guiltless and blameless are 2 distinct terms. When someone is guiltless, he has done nothing wrong. When someone is blameless, it means no matter how horrible his offense may have been, all charges against him are dropped and absolutely no blame attaches to him.
4) Eliphaz: Most mature member among Job’s friends; comes off as a kindly and articulate older man. Job sat before his friends stripped of everything, his heart torn and exposed, his words desperate, and what does Eliphaz offer? Amidst his smoothly eloquent talk, perhaps the gist of his entire message may be summed up by the stinging yet almost hidden little comment in 4:8 “As I have observed, those who sow trouble reap trouble.”
5) Bildad: Comes across as a staunch, ramrod traditionalist, one who sees all issues in black and white and who prides himself on his straightforward, no-nonsense approach. He is the kind of person whose mind is already made up and whose faith is a simple matter looking to the past for answers (8:8-9). People who place such heavy reliance on tradition show that they have little in the way of a personal relationship with God. Bildad insinuates that Job’s faith is like “relying on a spider’s web. He leans on his web, but it gives way” (8:14-15).
6) Zophar: Probably the least sophisticated of the 3 friends. He wastes the least breath on tact and diplomacy. A sort of fellow who shoots first and asks questions later. In his criticism of Job he is not just blunt but insulting, calling his friend a scoffer and a windbag (11:3) and broadly accusing Job of arrogant self-righteousness (11:4). Zophar has an open scornful attitude. Zophar’s real fault, as with all Job’s friends, lies in his forcing of the issue-that is, in the injury he does to the freedom and inviolability of Job’s will by trying to press him into accepting simplistic answers.
7) Elihu: Comes into the scene near the end. He is a classic angry young man, and does not side with Job or the other 3 men. He talks too much, repeats himself, and is enormously conceited. The actual substance of Elihu’s arguments is similar to Job’s other 3 friends even though it contains some slight variations. But his last comments (38-40) are stirring and profound, comparable to what God will say in the last chapters.

That is all for now, I will be posting the cool “nuggets” from the book in my next post…

1 comment:

Justin Seibel said...

Good stuff tera. With those two adjectives Job sounds like a great guy. Eliphaz is pretty harsh. It'll be helpful to have these thoughts while we're reading Job.