Chapter 1. Prologue and Introduction. Job lived in a land called Uz. He was married and had seven sons and three daughters. He was very wealthy, being a landowner, farmer, and a man of very high repute in the community. He was a judge and lawyer. He was in fact “the greatest man in the East’’. He feared God and shunned evil. His piety made him sacrifice offerings to God, not only for the sins of his family which where obvious, but for those sins they might have committed in their hearts unknowingly. The prologue to this amazing book tells us that there was a day when the “sons of God’’ [A.V.] came to present themselves before the Lord. One of them was Satan. “Where have you been ?” asked the Lord “I have been roaming up and down and around the earth” replied Satan. “Have you noticed a man called Job” said the Lord “there is no one like him on the earth. He fears God and shuns evil. He is blameless. [A.V.-’’perfect’’]’’ “Ah’’ said Satan, “does he do that for nothing? Is it not in his own interests to be like that? You have a protective hedge around him, and you bless everything he does and has. That is why he is prospering so much. But if you were to take away his material wealth, he would then curse you to your face.’’ “So you think so,’’ said the Lord. “very well, then I will give you permission to do as you wish with his possessions but do not lay a finger on Job himself.’’ So Satan set out to attack Job. Later. on one particular day, disaster struck from four different directions. A hostile tribe called the Sabeans attacked Job’s oxen, while they were ploughing and carried them off, together with the donkeys and they killed all looking after them Fire came from heaven and burned up his sheep, the shepherds, and the servants except the one who told the tale to Job. The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and took his camels and killed the servants And while his sons and daughters were having a party at the eldest brother’s house, a whirlwind struck and the house fell on them all, killing the lot.
Chapter 2. Prologue continued. When Satan next appeared before the Lord, he was questioned about Job again and God was not slow to point out that Job had not cursed God to the face. “Ah skin for skin” said Satan, ” a man will give all that he has for his own life. So stretch out your hand and touch his body and then he will curse you to your face’’ “Very well” said the Lord ” you can have access to his body but you cannot take away his life’’ So Satan afflicted Job with painful sores from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. He scraped them with a piece of pottery as he sat amongst the ashes. What a pitiful picture ! Like a prince on a dung-hill. Job’s wife, in good health, said to him. “Why do you hold on to your integrity, why not curse God and die.’’ Job replied, “You stupid and “sinful” woman. Shall we just thank God for the good things, and not accept trouble?’’ But Job did not sin or speak resentfully to God in all this. Now Job had three (lawyer) friends who heard of his trouble and they joined together to visit Job, but when they first saw him they didn’t recognise him. So they wept and tore their robes in sympathy and sprinkled ashes on their heads. They sat down with Job for seven days and seven nights without saying a word, for they saw how great was his suffering. Their names were Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar
Chapter 3. Job’s first speech. It would have been better if I had never been born. The day should have been scratched from the calendar, the sun should not have risen that day. Someone should have put a curse on that day. My mother should have been sterile, or I should have been still- born. If that had been the case I would not have been suffering today. I would have been in that place where both kings and slaves, rich and poor all lie down together in rest. All the kings ever lived for now lies in ruins. (Has any life a purpose?) Rich or poor, they all finish the same. It does not seem right that life should finish up like this and people have to live in misery as I am. Why should people have to suffer, why should they not be allowed to die, to end their misery? Some people think their misery in life is due to lack of riches and they long for them, I think that my misery would end with death, and I long for that. But God has me hedged in and I can’t even escape through death. Why should I have to live like this. Instead of food? I live on a diet of sighs and groans. I had always dreaded that this kind of thing might happen to me. Now it has happened, I have no peace, no rest, only trouble and turmoil.