“Chapter Summaries, Job 1-5”Categories: Bulletin Articles
Job 1 sketches out both the prosperity and the downfall of the title character. The first eight verses paint him as a man who has everything in both a physical and spiritual sense. He is as righteous as he is wealthy. However, his prosperity and righteousness attract the attention of Satan, who claims that the second is the result of the first. Satan seeks and receives permission from God to take away all of his blessings without harming his health. Satan does precisely this, using various means to destroy not only Job’s flocks and herds, but also his children.
Job 2 is more of the same. God and Satan have another conversation. God points out that Job, despite having lost his prosperity, has not ceased to be righteous. Satan promises different results if he is allowed to up the ante, attacking Job’s health as well. God gives Satan permission, and now Job has a plague of boils to go along with his other problems.
Job’s calamities begin to draw notice from others. His wife tells him to curse God and die. Job righteously refuses. Then, three of Job’s friends, named Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, show up. They sit in mourning with him for a week, saying nothing.
Job 3 contains the first of Job’s poetic speeches. He begins it by calling a curse down on the day of his birth and the night of his conception. In Job’s view, both the day and the night have betrayed him because they allowed him to exist. He would have been far better off if he had never been born. He considers the dead with longing because they no longer have to suffer.
Instead, he wants to know why he continues to exist. For him, there is no joy in life, only suffering. The key question appears in v. 23, in which Job asks why life continues to be granted to him when God clearly is set against him.
Job 4 is the beginning of Eliphaz’s first speech. Eliphaz accuses Job of being ready to dish out spiritual correction but not so ready to take it. He then maintains that the innocent are never oppressed by God. Instead, God only makes the wicked suffer. Eliphaz then relates a vision that he saw. In this vision, a fearsome specter points out that it is impossible for man to be right in the sight of God. Even angels transgress, and we’re nothing next to them! People perish because of their sins.
Job 5 continues Eliphaz’s narrative. He points out that in his experience, it is the wicked and foolish who suffer. They bring it on themselves. He encourages Job to turn to God, who rescues the poor and needy while bringing down the proud. He thinks that Job needs to accept God’s rebuke, implying, though not saying, that he thinks that Job’s problems are sin problems. Once Job is willing to do that, all of his difficulties will clear up. Repent, Job. It’s for your own good.