Understanding The Bible
The Book of Job

Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible

*The Book of Life. Vol. V:  Bible Poetry.  Arranged and edited by Newton M. Hall and Irving F. Wood. 27th ed. Chicago: J. Rudin, 1962
Selections from Introduction

"The Book of Job is a dramatic poem, but it was not a drama.  The Hebrews had no theatre, and the poem was not written to be acted; but the development of the dialogue is dramatic and full of climaxes.  The three friends are each different.  Eliphaz has a vision, like an old prophet; Bildad relies on the wisdom of the fathers; and Zophar thinks the facts are so plain that they need to authority.  Eliphaz is a prophet; Bildad, a traditionalist; Zophar, a dogmatist."

"Each one is more harsh than the preceding one.  Job also grows more bitter, till at the end of each round of speeches he calls his friends liars.  The experience of life has shaken him out of his old conceptions of life, and he is searching in agony for a new faith which shall meet all the facts of life."

"At last he finds it, not in an intellectual theory, but in a humble trust in God.  His problem is met by a religious experience."

"Why is there suffering in the world?"  They said, people suffered because they had sinned.  Now, it is very true that sins brings suffering, but when they turned that about and said that all suffering came from sin, this wise man doubted it.  Still more did he doubt it when they applied it to particular cases.  Can we say, "This man suffers, therefore, this man has sinned?"  Can we go a step further and say, "This man suffers much, there, he mush have been a great sinner?"  This wise man did not believe we could say that.  Do not the righteous suffer, as well as the wicked?

"In Job's story the reason of his suffering is not sin.  It is that God is allowing his piety to be tested.  He stands the test, and in the end he is rewarded."

"but the sufferer, Job, did not know that he was being tested.  To him, sitting in pain, awaiting a painful and lingering death, there could be no explanation for his sufferings.  When his friends suggest that he suffers because he has sinned, Job indignantly denies it.  Each becomes more heated as the debate goes on."

"At last Jehovah Himself speaks and gives an entirely different point of view.  God is so great, so good, so wise, that men may trust Him, even if it is impossible to solve the hard problems of life.  Job accepts this trust."


"Mason's Notes"

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