Understanding the Old Testament - Lesson 23


The Book of Job, found in the writings section of the Old Testament, tackles the challenging issue of human suffering. Its authorship and date remain uncertain, with speculations ranging from Moses to the Solomonic era. Job, a non-Israelite from the land of Uz, faces immense tragedy despite his blameless and upright nature. His suffering prompts philosophical discourse among Job and his companions, including Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu. The narrative is framed by a prologue and epilogue, encompassing Job's lament, speeches, and God's interventions. The central theme revolves around theodicy, questioning the coexistence of God's goodness and sovereignty amidst human suffering. Ultimately, the book asserts God's incomprehensible sovereignty as the source of hope amid adversity.

Miles Van Pelt
Understanding the Old Testament
Lesson 23
Watching Now

I. Background and Authorship

A. Date and Authorship Theories

B. Historical Context

C. Job's Identity

II. Structure and Content

A. Prologue and Epilogue

B. Job's Lament (Chapter 3)

C. Speeches by Job and His Friends

D. Wisdom Poem (Chapter 28)

E. Elihu's Speeches

F. God's Speeches and Job's Response

III. Themes and Message

A. Theodicy: Human Suffering and God's Sovereignty

B. Wisdom and Understanding

C. Resilience and Faith

IV. Conclusion and Significance

A. Lessons for Enduring Suffering

B. Comparison with New Testament Theology

C. Reflections on Job's Restoration and Future Hope

  • Engage with the Old Testament to grasp its Gospel-centered nature. From Genesis to Ecclesiastes and Psalms, discover foundational truths, wisdom, and insights on suffering. Strengthen your faith and find enduring hope in God's Word.
  • Gain insight into the Old Testament's theological core, centering on Jesus Christ. Explore its diverse genres, languages, and authors, unified by Jesus as its focal point. Understand how biblical evidence supports Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, shaping interpretation.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides the thematic framework for the Old Testament. The Old Testament's thematic core is the Kingdom of God. Through this lesson, you'll understand its covenantal nature, from pre-temporal arrangements to various administrations like redemption, works, and grace, unveiling God's salvation plan in Christ.
  • Discover the intricate covenantal structure of the Bible, revealing its theological depth and unity, from the division of the Hebrew Bible to its mirroring in the New Testament, all centered around Jesus Christ.
  • Gain insight into the Pentateuch's covenantal structure, Moses' authorship debate, and evidence supporting it. Understand its significance as the foundation of Israel's relationship with God and its relevance for biblical theology.
  • Through this lesson, you will understand the theological, structural, and thematic intricacies of the book of Genesis. You'll grasp its role as a foundational text in both the Old and New Testaments, exploring themes of covenant, creation, fall, redemption, and the fulfillment of promises. You'll gain insights into the genealogical structure of Genesis, its portrayal of key biblical figures like Adam, Noah, and Abraham, and its connection to the overarching narrative of the gospel.
  • Exodus reveals Yahweh's promise—"I will be with you"—unfolding divine presence and covenant. It anticipates Jesus as fulfillment—a better Moses and Tabernacle—ushering in God's eternal presence among humanity.
  • Studying Leviticus unveils the intricate system of laws and rituals at Mount Sinai. It explains sacrificial atonement, priestly consecration, purity laws, and the theme of holiness, prefiguring Jesus as the ultimate priest, sacrifice, and source of holiness.
  • Discover the Book of Numbers' insights on Israel's journey, God's faithfulness, consequences of disobedience, and parallels to Christ, cautioning against questioning God's holiness and emphasizing His desire to dwell among His people through the Holy Spirit.
  • Gain insight into Deuteronomy's covenant renewal for Israel entering Canaan, emphasizing obedience, typology, and its relevance for Christian living.
  • Gain deep insight into the former prophets, exploring themes of Yahweh's faithfulness, Israel's unfaithfulness, and the typological significance of the Mosaic covenant. Understand its relation to the Abrahamic covenant and its fulfillment in the New Covenant under Jesus, revealing God's plan for restoration.
  • Joshua unveils Joshua's leadership, divine promise fulfillment in Canaan, obedience's significance, and Jesus as the ultimate fulfiller of God's promises.
  • Discover the Book of Judges, detailing Israel's history and faith journey. Learn about judges as deliverers from oppression and idolatry, portraying parallels with Christ's ministry. Uncover a pattern of uncreation due to idolatry, emphasizing the need for an eternal judge—Jesus Christ—to save from corruption.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Miles Van Pelt provides insights into the book of Samuel, exploring its characters, themes, and the transition from judgeship to kingship in Israel. Learn of the significance of the Davidic covenant, culminating in Jesus as the ultimate King of Kings.
  • Gain insights into the Book of Kings, revealing its historical and theological significance. Discover the fulfillment of Davidic covenant, reasons for Israel's exile, and anticipation of the new covenant. Recognize Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of its promises.
  • This lesson reviews latter prophets' insights into Israel's exile for breaking the Mosaic Covenant, the prophetic office's nature, diverse prophecy genres, and the execution of covenant lawsuits, all pointing to God's judgment and hope for restoration.
  • Explore Isaiah's profound prophetic themes, from redemption to impending judgment. Unravel his life and ministry's context, review the debate around authorship, and learn essential tools for study.
  • Enjoy this lesson on Jeremiah, a second Moses figure, and his prophetic message of repentance, redemption, and a new covenant. Explore the book's chiastic structure, historical context, and theological significance, offering hope amidst Judah's fall.
  • Studying Ezekiel reveals its focus on the glory of the Lord and the temple. You learn of Ezekiel's exile, his visions, and themes like covenant theology, creation, and apocalyptic elements, offering profound insights into hope amidst crisis.
  • Discover insights into the minor prophets' diverse genres and themes, from covenant infidelity to divine restoration. Witness Jonah's repentance narrative and prophetic visions culminating in Christ's fulfillment. Embrace Yahweh's justice and compassion, urging Israel's return, leading to Jesus as the ultimate authority.
  • Understand the structure and themes of the Hebrew Bible's writings section. Explore diverse literary forms, intentional divisions mirroring prophets, and the overarching theme of exile and return, illuminating Israel's covenant journey.
  • Discover the depth of the Book of Psalms: 150 songs divided into 5 books, expressing diverse emotions and worship forms. Explore themes, structure, and practical applications for personal devotion and prayer.
  • Gain insights into human suffering and theodicy through Job's trials. Explore themes of faith, resilience, and God's sovereignty amidst adversity. Discover hope in God's incomprehensible sovereignty amid life's trials.
  • Proverbs is a book of timeless wisdom from Solomon, who was gifted by God. By studying this book, you can learn to navigate life with righteousness and discernment, rooted in the fear of the Lord.
  • Journey through Ruth, where redemption, loyalty, and divine providence intertwine. Ruth, a symbol of strength, aligns with Boaz, embodying ancient customs. Their union shapes history, reflecting the enduring legacy of faith amidst life's complexities.
  • Explore the Song of Songs for insights into marriage and intimacy. It navigates the tension between true love and temptation, advocating for unwavering commitment and passionate intimacy, reflecting God's desired relationship. Discover timeless wisdom for modern-day love and marriage.
  • Ecclesiastes reveals life's futility without God, emphasizing the necessity of fearing Him. Through Solomon's wisdom, it prompts reflection on divine purpose amid existential questions.
  • In Lamentations, mourn the fall of Jerusalem and exile, finding hope in God's sovereignty.
  • The book of Esthers contains themes of providence, hiddenness of God, and faithfulness in exile. You will uncover the intricacies of Esther and Mordecai's roles in the deliverance of the Jewish people, as well as the establishment of the festival of Purim. This study will equip you with insights into how God's providence operates amidst human events, even when His presence may seem concealed, and how faithfulness in exile can lead to unexpected outcomes of deliverance and restoration.
  • Through this lesson on the book of Daniel, you'll gain insights into its structure, themes of faithfulness in exile, comparisons with Joseph, and its significance for understanding apocalyptic literature, providing a comprehensive understanding of God's sovereignty and care for His people.
  • Explore Ezra and Nehemiah for insights into post-exilic restoration, intertwining faith, governance, and cultural renewal. These books point towards a deeper longing for true and lasting restoration and echo themes found in apocalyptic literature such as the book of Revelation.
  • The Book of Chronicles traces Israel's history, emphasizing kingship, priesthood, and divine selection. It anticipates restoration, pointing to Jesus as the ultimate priest-king who fulfills God's promises.

Understanding the Old Testament 
Dr. Miles Van Pelt
Lesson Transcript

The Book of Job is the second book in the writings and it deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. It follows the Book of Psalms which has at its core the issue of suffering and hardship expressed in both Lament and Thanksgiving Psalms. In terms of date and authorship, both are unknown but it's interesting to consider a couple of facts related to the book.

The events recorded in the Book of Job appear to fit into the patriarchal period, that is the description of his wealth and his time and stuff like that, and that's led some to conclude that Moses may have been the author. The Hebrew text of Job at Qumran was written not in the newer square Aramaic kind of script but in the older super old Hebrew script that was before the time of David just like the Pentateuch was. So this has led some to suggest that Moses was the author of the book but again it can't be confirmed.

Others prefer something from the time of the Solomonic era, maybe Solomon himself, because that's when wisdom literature flourished and Job is a wisdom book. He's mentioned in the book of Ezekiel in Ezekiel 14:14 by name and so we can think at least by the time of Ezekiel the book was written maybe as early as Moses as late as Ezekiel. In terms of basic contents, the Book of Job consists of Job's Lament in chapter 3, a wisdom psalm in chapter 28, various speeches by Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu, names that sound like hobbits, and climactically speeches by God and the core is then flanked by a narrative frame, a prologue at the beginning in chapters 1 and 2 and an epilogue at the end in chapter 42. So you've got two narratives at the beginning and the end and then you've got laments and speeches and poems in the middle. 

In terms of historical context, the book reflects a period that coincides with the patriarchal era, roughly 2000 to 1700 BC. That's the timing of the events of Job, but that doesn't mean that's when it was written. Here's why we think that way. Number one, Job's wealth was measured in terms of livestock, just like the patriarchs. Job functioned as a priest for his family by offering sacrifices on their behalf, just like the patriarchs. The death of Job was described like the death of Abraham in two ways, interestingly enough. First, it was recorded that Job lived 140 years, which is in line with the length of the lives of the patriarchs, right? Abraham lived 175 years, Isaac 180, and Joseph 110, so that kind of a lifespan thinks about that particular period. Secondly, in connection with Abraham, Abraham is described at his death as an old man and full of years, and Job is also described as an old man and full of days at his death. So you've got these very similar kinds of numbers and wealth and concluding formulas that seem to be patriarchal. 

In terms of who Job was, it seems clear that Job was not an Israelite. He is from the land of Uz, U-Z when you get that from chapter one, verse one, which probably refers to the area in Edom, mentioned in Lamentations 4.21, which associates Edom with Uz. Job is called the greatest of all the people of the east, which refers to the areas of Edom, Moab, and Amnon. We also know that Edom was famous for its wisdom literature. Okay, so it could be from there. The fact that Solomon collected wisdom literature may perhaps suggest that he found this book in the writings of the ancients and he collected and used it for his wisdom compilations. 

What is wisdom literature? Good question. Wisdom literature, as you see on the screen, I'm going to give you an official definition right now. This is my definition. Biblical wisdom literature teaches God's people how to live in God's world according to God's truth, revealed to us both in creation, that is general revelation, and Scripture, special revelation. In other words, it is designed to help us understand how to live and think in light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace that sustains this fallen world in which we now live. Now again, that's a long definition, but let me just summarize it this way. The creator of the heavens and the earth, right, God made this world and he knows how it works and he revealed himself to us in the world. We can see according to Romans 1, his greatness and his majesty in the creation, but we also know from the word how he loves us and how he's come to save us and we have to have faith in him. Okay, these two means of revelation can teach us, if we put them together, how to live wisely in this world even though it's broken and fallen. All right, he has in some sense given us a user manual for wise living in this world. That's what wisdom literature is. 

What is the message of the Book of Job? In the broadest of categories, it can be said that the book of Job is comprised of instruction about human suffering and its relationship to God. This is called theodicy, if you want the fancy word, which asks this question, right, how can God be both good and sovereign in light of the suffering of the innocent and the prospering of the wicked, something we've talked about earlier. While readers in the book of Job will have the advantage of knowing about the prologue and the epilogue, that is the heavenly scene, what we know is why Job is given to suffering and at the end that Job is restored fully and twofold, we have that. We must remember that Job and his companions had no such knowledge of the heavenly council or the nature of the restoration that was coming. We therefore have a special set of lenses through which to view the discussion of Job and his companions. Much of what Job's friends will say is theologically true and sound, but it does not necessarily apply to Job in his particular context. They said something right, but they applied it in a wrong way to Job's life.

Finally, the message of Job does not conclude by rationalizing the justice of God, but by proclaiming his sovereignty and comparability. All right, so in the end we get no justification for why God did what we did. We only get the statement that God is sovereign and incomparable and perhaps that's what suffering does. It helps us to realize that we don't understand everything in this world and that God is sovereign and incomparable and that's the hope that we have. 

Richard Belcher in his chapter on Job in the Biblical Theological Introduction to the Old Testament says this about it, "The major players in the book of Job as you read this lengthy book, 42 chapters, are Job himself. He was a well-to-do patriarch living east of the Jordan River at a time before the emergence of the Hebrews as a nation. The meaning of Job's name is not exactly clear, but the best guess is something like where is my father or possibly no father, which is significant in terms of what's going to go on here. He could either be an orphan or the father of an illegitimate marriage that kind of rose to prominence as we see some of the people in the book of Judges did. 

Eliphaz, one of Job's three main friends, is an Edomite from Timon, which was well known for its wisdom culture. Eliphaz was probably the senior member of the three friends because he spoke first in that culture. Bildad is a non-Hebrew name not mentioned in any other place in the Old Testament. His name is that of a well-known pagan storm god. The tribe, the Shuites, were descendants of Abraham through Keturah, remember his wife after Sarah, and the inhabitants of the land of the east. Zophar, scholars cannot agree on either the derivation of Zophar's name or the location of his tribe, which means that the author is not making it necessary for us to know anything about it, but it must have been somewhere in North Arabia or Edom around that because they came to comfort him and it had to be walking distance. Elihu speaks last and he's not mentioned as one of Job's three friends, but he was in attendance at kind of this council of suffering, right? And Elihu means, he is my God, and it's the only Israelite name in the group. He is also the youngest of the group. He is said to be a Buzite, or a Uzite maybe, and according to Genesis 22:21, Uz and Buz were brothers. Buz was the son of Abraham's brother Nahor, whose son spoke Aramaic, accounting for the numerous Aramaisms in the speech. 

One of the things about the Book of Job is there's a lot of Aramaic influence in the Hebrew text. You can kind of see that mixing. It'd be much like, you know, if I had a council of friends and some were from Mexico and some were from Canada and some from Australia, there would be that language popping up in kind of the book, those figures of speech. There's also, we shouldn't forget, God, who's the major character in this book, and this person called Satan, or the accuser, and the divine council, the divine council there. So we've got Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Those are Job's three friends. Elihu, we don't know how he relates, but he was the youngest of the group, and then God and the accuser in the context of the divine council.

In terms of basic contents, there are eight parts. There's the prologue, the Roman numeral one, and the epilogue, the Roman numeral eight. Then there are six interior sections. There's Job's lament, the cycle of speeches, the wisdom poem, Job's last speech, Elihu's speeches, you can see a lengthy section, 32 to 37, God's speech and Job's response, or God's speeches and Job's response, followed by the narrative epilogue. Let me just briefly kind of explain some of the contents of this material so that you have kind of a context for reading it when you go back and study the book. 

Let's look at the prologue together. In verses one through five, Job is described as blameless and upright, someone who feared God and turned away from evil. He was extremely wealthy and had a large family and cared for them both monetarily and spiritually. In some sense, you would say he was above reproach. Following the description of Job, we have the first divine council meeting in verses six through twelve. Now this is where God is pictured in his heavenly court, right, with all of the other Elohim or angelic beings around him. Satan comes to give his report, and here's what we hear.

God takes the initiative with Satan by bringing up the character Job. God affirms the character of Job as blameless and upright and calls him my servant, a term used only for other faithful followers of God such as Abraham, Moses, and David, remarkably. Satan challenges the character of God by implying that people only love God for what he does for them, classic, which implies that God is unworthy of being loved by who he is alone. Satan also challenges the faith of Job by identifying it with his self-interest. Job's piety is only the result of his prosperity. It's easy to be pious when you prosper.

In verses 13 through 19, then, Job suffers the loss of his great wealth by the hand of Satan and the permission of Yahweh, all but a few of his servants, and most tragically, all of his children in a single day. With news arriving in four waves, one right after the other, it says, while he was still speaking, there came another. While he was still speaking, there came another. Tragedy upon tragedy upon tragedy. We often feel that happens in our own lives. Job's response is recorded in verses 20 and 21 of chapter 1. It says, then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, fell on the ground, and worshiped. And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." It's an amazing response to suffering. Then the narrator gives his assessment in verse 22. In all this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. 

This brings us to the second divine council meeting in chapter 2. Now Satan, the accuser, goes after Job's health. It says, "Then Satan answered the Lord and said, Skin for skin, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh and he will curse you to your face." So Satan is permitted to curse him bodily. Satan afflicts Job's body and then his wife incites him to curse God and then die. And the narrator once again states, in all this, Job did not sin with his lips. Chapter 2:7 to 10.

Then following that in chapter 2, the arrival of his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. It says, "And when Job saw them from a distance, they did not even recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights and no one spoke a word to him for they saw that his suffering was very great." It's an amazing text. 

We need to understand that Job was not suffering because he had done something wrong. Job is suffering, in fact, for the very opposite reason, because he was blameless and upright. And ultimately, Job will suffer to vindicate the character of God before the accuser. This reminds me of the suffering of Christ, who was not just blameless and upright, but perfect in God himself. And he too vindicated God's character before the accuser and now serves as our advocate against condemnation. In Romans 8:1, there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

This is followed by Job's lament in chapter three. Job laments the day of his birth and he wishes that it never happened. And this lament portrays the extreme nature of his suffering, meaning this.Job endured suffering by keeping his mouth shut and worshiping God. Job is given the approbation that he did not sin in all of his responses, but that doesn't mean he wasn't suffering. He wished that he had never been born. That's the depth of his suffering. Chapter three portrays suffering as extreme, meaning that it is okay and altogether appropriate to wish that your life had never come into existence because of the nature of the suffering you experienced. That's Job's lament in chapter three.

This is followed by the speeches of the three friends in chapters four through 31. So this is a big chunk of text. The book of Job includes three cycles of speeches with these friends, with Eliphaz, and Bildad, each making three speeches, and Zophar making two speeches. And in each case, Job responds. So there are three, six, seven, eight speeches by the friends and then eight responses by Job from chapters four to 31. And this is that dialogical wisdom at work. The friends are going to say one thing, Job's going to respond. The friends are going to say another thing, Job's going to respond. And at the core of it is, they're trying to say that Job must have done something wrong to provoke this suffering and just confess and get over with it. And they're going back and forth. And Job understands that he has not done anything wrong to do this. And so in the first speech, Job desperately wants a chance to present the case of his integrity before God.

Second, Job continues to assert that he is innocent even as he perceives that God is a part of the problem. Third, Job explores the complexity of God's ways in the world so that his view of God is not limited to a mechanical view of deeds and consequences that the friends present to him, which opens the door for the hope of God's sovereignty at the end. It's not just to do the right thing and be blessed and do the wrong thing and suffer. It's not that mechanical. 

Fourth, in these speeches, Job engages in some surprising statements. For example, he'll assert, when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. He knows that he will endure. He says later, though he slay me, I will still hope in him. Again, he says, I know that my Redeemer lives and in my flesh, I will see my God. So amid his suffering, he knows that God will help him to endure at some level. Okay, those are the speeches and that's how Job responds to them. 

Then we come to the wisdom poem in Job 28, and here the theme of the wisdom psalm is this, where can wisdom be found? Meaning, how can we understand what's going on in the life of Job? The poem on wisdom highlights that although human ingenuity can do a lot of good things, it does not know how to find wisdom. Here's the question two times, for example, in Job 28:12, "Where shall wisdom be found and where is the place of understanding?" Verse 20, "From where then does wisdom come and where is the place of understanding?" Finally, the last verse, "And he that is God said to man, behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom and to turn away from evil is understanding." So the center of the theological center of the book of Job is this, once again, fear Yahweh. We're going to see this in the book of Proverbs, we're going to see this in the book of Ecclesiastes at the very end.

One of the interesting things about wisdom literature in the Bible is that you don't know how things end until the end, right? And that ending is so surprising, it causes you to go back and reread the book in light of that ending. So you have, to fully understand the book of Job, it's better to read chapter 42 first and then go back and read through it again because that's the little answer key to the book. So the same is true in the book of Ecclesiastes, where you get all this kind of under-the-sun wisdom.And then it says at the end of the day, here's the full duty of man, fear God and keep his commands. You've got to, oh, I got to go back and read the whole book in light of that. The Song of Songs has this wisdom instruction at the very end of chapter eight. And once you read that, you've got to go back to the very beginning and reread all the Song of Songs in light of chapter eight. So wisdom literature is not just in some sense, dialogical here, but it's also recursive. It's meditation literature. And so even how it's written makes you go back over and over again to reread and reread and to deepen and deepen your understanding. 

Well, after the wisdom Psalm of Job, the Elihu speeches pop up. And here we have the youngest member of the group, not necessarily a member of the friends, but somehow intruding here. Elihu has not entered the discussion yet because he is younger than Job's three friends. But he becomes angry when the argument between Job and the three friends collapses. He is angry with Job's friends because they were not able to answer Job, even though they declared him to be in the wrong. He's angry with Job because he justified himself rather than God. The fact that five chapters are devoted to Elihu more than any other of the friends must mean that he has something beneficial to say.

And the fact that God does not answer him would seem to suggest that God is pleased with his argument. The fact that five chapters are devoted to Elihu more than any one of the other friends must mean that Elihu has something beneficial to say. And the fact that God does not answer him would seem to suggest that God is pleased with his argument in some sense, right? The Elihu speeches function to demonstrate that human wisdom falls short, which shows the need for God to intervene and to answer. And that's exactly what happens in chapters 38 to 42. God answers, and Job responds.

The Lord answers Job out of the whirlwind, which is that great storm theophany. Think Mount Sinai or think of Elijah at the cave. His first answer runs from chapter 38, verse 1, all the way through 40, verse 2, and Job is blown away. Here is the conclusion to the speech and Job's response. Job 40:1 to 4, "And the Lord said to Job, shall a fault finder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the Lord and said, behold, I am a small account. What shall I answer you? I lay my hands on my mouth twice, but I'll proceed no further." 

The Lord answers again. The Lord's second answer begins in 40, verse 6, and runs through 41:34. In it, Job asks God, will you condemn me that you might be in the right? The purpose of God's second speech is to teach Job that God is the Lord of the moral order and that Job does not have the power to govern a world full of wickedness and injustice. Meaning, God says, I'm in charge, Job. Don't worry about it.

Here's Job's response to the Lord's second speech. "I know that you can do all things so that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. I heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." 

Finally, in the epilogue at the end of 42, we have in verses 7 to 17, the Lord's anger and Job's intercession in verses 1 through 7. The restoration of Job's wealth and family is twofold. Here we read, "After the Lord has spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the timid, my anger burns against you and your friends for you have not spoken what is right as my servant Job has." The vindication of Job's speech. It repeats that later in verse 8, "For you have not spoken what is right of me as my servant Job has." And then the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends and the Lord gave him twice as much as he had before. Then he came to him, all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before and they ate bread with him in his house.

It's interesting to see the blessing here. It says here at the very end, and the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than the beginning days. Just think in terms of the restoration of the God had promised that the latter days would be greater than the former days. Our eschatological life will be greater than this life here. And then it describes, "He gave him 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, a thousand female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first daughter, Jemima, et cetera, et cetera. And Job lived to be 140 years old, a man full of days." 

It's interesting here that it says that God gave Job two-fold of everything. But then it says here that he gave him seven sons and three daughters. Well, that's what he had before, which means that implied here, there's this hope of resurrection life that those seven sons and three daughters that he lost before, he will receive back in the resurrection. Job, as the gospel promised beforehand, I tried to do some of this stuff on my own, but then I found Dick Belcher's statement or Richard Belcher's statement in the Biblical Theology book so strong, I feel like it's worth just quoting here this paragraph as we conclude this lecture.

Listen to these words from Richard Belcher in Biblical Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, page 371. "Job is presented in James 5:11 as a person who was steadfast in a great trial. He is a picture of one who suffers unjustly. Just as his friends could not comprehend how someone who was blameless could endure such suffering, so those at the foot of the cross could not comprehend how one who was being crucified could be the son of God. "He trusts in God," they said, "let him deliver him now if he desires him. For he said, I am the son of God." Jesus' suffering is much greater than Job's suffering, for Jesus suffers for the sake of others with the great hope that he shall see his offspring and shall prolong his days, for the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. The followers of Jesus, us, are promised that they too will suffer for his sake and they see more clearly than Job saw the confident hope of vindication because of the resurrection of Christ and our resurrection that will come. Not only does Jesus take upon himself our sin, sickness, and suffering, but he calls us to take up our cross daily to follow him."

The coming restoration for the followers of Jesus will be so much greater than Job's restoration, for we will experience the fullness of the kingdom of Christ when he comes again. It won't just be two-fold, but it will be a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, ten million-fold. What we will receive in the kingdom will be much, much more than the book of Job.

The book of Job helps us to think about suffering in the context of the Christian life, suffering that we think we do not deserve or the fact that we just get because we live in this fallen world, but also the hope of vindication through the one who suffered on our behalf. Okay, questions? 

I just have one follow-up question. I've always been confused about this. God rebukes Job, so it sounds like Job has said something wrong, but then God praises Job to his friends, so my question is, did Job sin in his answering? Yeah, we can only infer from the context, and I think we have that Job did not sin in anything that he said, but I think perhaps the whole point was he misstepped in terms of how he came to the Lord, wanting to be vindicated before the Lord. I think that was the crux there, wanting to know why rather than wanting to know the Lord, and that's why at the end it says, I'd heard about you, but now I've seen you, and I put my hand over my mouth, so I think it's that particular thing. His words are right, but perhaps how he did it was not the best, and that's why Yahweh appeared to him to show him his grandeur and glory.

His answer was, I'm more magnificent than you could ever imagine. Why would you even worry about it?