Sunday, January 6, 2008

Introduction to Job

It may seem strange to suddenly change to the book of Job after the first 11 chapters of Genesis. The reason for this is that numerous clues in the book of Job indicate a setting during the patriarchal period for its events. For example, Job's wealth is measured in livestock (1:3; 42:12) much as Abraham and Jacob's is. Job also offers sacrifices to God without a priesthood or a sanctuary, much as the patriarchs did. Given this, Job may be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, book in the Bible, and perhaps one of the most ancient pieces of finished literature in history.

Job occurs in the land of Uz, but we don't know where that was. He was among "the people of the East", leading most writers to conclude that Uz was located near Edom, east of the Jordan River. We will hopefully get some maps up soon to make this more graphic.

While Genesis is among the historical books of the Bible, Job belongs to the poetical books of the Bible, such as Psalms, Proverbs, and the like, and it is a magnificent poem. The famous English poet Tennyson called it "the greatest poem, whether of ancient or of modern literature".

This ancient poem deals with one of man's most ancient problems: Why do godly people suffer? Perhaps you've asked this question yourself. This is the theme of the book of Job, and one we'll be pondering as we read this wonderful work. May you be blessed as you read!

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