Job and His Family
1 There was a man in the country of Uz named Job. He was a man of complete integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters. 3 His estate included seven thousand sheep and goats, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large number of servants. Job was the greatest man among all the people of the east.4 His sons used to take turns having banquets at their homes. They would send an invitation to their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 Whenever a round of banqueting was over, Job would send for his children and purify them, rising early in the morning to offer burnt offerings for[a] all of them. For Job thought, “Perhaps my children have sinned, having cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice.
Satan’s First Test of Job
6 One day the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. 7 The Lord asked Satan, “Where have you come from?”“From roaming through the earth,” Satan answered him, “and walking around on it.”8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.”9 Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Haven’t you placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he owns, and he will surely curse you to your face.”12 “Very well,” the Lord told Satan, “everything he owns is in your power. However, do not lay a hand on Job himself.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and reported: “While the oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing nearby, 15 the Sabeans swooped down and took them away. They struck down the servants with the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you!”16 He was still speaking when another messenger came and reported: “God’s fire fell from heaven. It burned the sheep and the servants and devoured them, and I alone have escaped to tell you!”17 That messenger was still speaking when yet another came and reported: “The Chaldeans formed three bands, made a raid on the camels, and took them away. They struck down the servants with the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you!”18 He was still speaking when another messenger came and reported: “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house. 19 Suddenly a powerful wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on the young people so that they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you!”20 Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, 21 saying:Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will leave this life.[c]
The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.22 Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.[d]
Satan’s Second Test of Job
2 One day the sons of God came again to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before the Lord. 2 The Lord asked Satan, “Where have you come from?”“From roaming through the earth,” Satan answered him, “and walking around on it.”3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil. He still retains his integrity, even though you incited me against him, to destroy him for no good reason.”4 “Skin for skin!” Satan answered the Lord. “A man will give up everything he owns in exchange for his life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”6 “Very well,” the Lord told Satan, “he is in your power; only spare his life.” 7 So Satan left the Lord’s presence and infected Job with terrible boils from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself while he sat among the ashes.9 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”10 “You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said.[e]
Job’s Three Friends
11 Now when Job’s three friends—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite—heard about all this adversity that had happened to him, each of them came from his home. They met together to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they looked from a distance, they could barely recognize him. They wept aloud, and each man tore his robe and threw dust into the air and on his head. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him seven days and nights, but no one spoke a word to him because they saw that his suffering was very intense.
Job’s Opening Speech
3 After this, Job began to speak and cursed the day he was born. 2 He said:3 May the day I was born perish,
and the night that said,
“A boy is conceived.”
4 If only that day had turned to darkness!
May God above not care about it,
or light shine on it.
5 May darkness and gloom reclaim it,
and a cloud settle over it.
May what darkens the day terrify it.
6 If only darkness had taken that night away!
May it not appear[f] among the days of the year
or be listed in the calendar.[g]
7 Yes, may that night be barren;
may no joyful shout be heard in it.
8 Let those who curse days
those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.
9 May its morning stars grow dark.
May it wait for daylight but have none;
may it not see the breaking[h] of dawn.
10 For that night did not shut
the doors of my mother’s womb,
and hide sorrow from my eyes.11 Why was I not stillborn;
why didn’t I die as I came from the womb?
12 Why did the knees receive me,
and why were there breasts for me to nurse?
13 Now I would certainly be lying down in peace;
I would be asleep.
Then I would be at rest
14 with the kings and counselors of the earth,
who rebuilt ruined cities for themselves,
15 or with princes who had gold,
who filled their houses with silver.
16 Or why was I not hidden like a miscarried child,
like infants who never see daylight?
17 There the wicked cease to make trouble,
and there the weary find rest.
18 The captives are completely at rest;
they do not hear a taskmaster’s voice.
19 Both small and great are there,
and the slave is set free from his master.20 Why is light given to one burdened with grief,
and life to those whose existence is bitter,
21 who wait for death, but it does not come,
and search for it more than for hidden treasure,
22 who are filled with much joy
and are glad when they reach the grave?
23 Why is life given to a man whose path is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
24 I sigh when food is put before me,[i]
and my groans pour out like water.
25 For the thing I feared has overtaken me,
and what I dreaded has happened to me.
26 I cannot relax or be calm;
I have no rest, for turmoil has come.
First Series of Speeches
4 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:2 Should anyone try to speak with you
when you are exhausted?
Yet who can keep from speaking?
3 Indeed, you have instructed many
and have strengthened weak hands.
4 Your words have steadied the one who was stumbling
and braced the knees that were buckling.
5 But now that this has happened to you,
you have become exhausted.
It strikes you, and you are dismayed.
6 Isn’t your piety your confidence,
and the integrity of your life[j] your hope?
7 Consider: Who has perished when he was innocent?
Where have the honest[k] been destroyed?
8 In my experience, those who plow injustice
and those who sow trouble reap the same.
9 They perish at a single blast from God
and come to an end by the breath of his nostrils.
10 The lion may roar and the fierce lion growl,
but the teeth of young lions are broken.
11 The strong lion dies if it catches no prey,
and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.12 A word was brought to me in secret;
my ears caught a whisper of it.
13 Among unsettling thoughts from visions in the night,
when deep sleep comes over men,
14 fear and trembling came over me
and made all my bones shake.
15 I felt a draft[l] on my face,
and the hair on my body stood up.
16 A figure stood there,
but I could not recognize its appearance;
a form loomed before my eyes.
I heard a whispering voice:
17 “Can a mortal be righteous before God?
Can a man be more pure than his Maker?”
18 If God puts no trust in his servants
and he charges his angels with foolishness,[m]
19 how much more those who dwell in clay houses,
whose foundation is in the dust,
who are crushed like a moth!
20 They are smashed to pieces from dawn to dusk;
they perish forever while no one notices.
21 Are their tent cords not pulled up?
They die without wisdom.5 Call out! Will anyone answer you?
Which of the holy ones will you turn to?
2 For anger kills a fool,
and jealousy slays the gullible.
3 I have seen a fool taking root,
but I immediately pronounced a curse on his home.
4 His children are far from safety.
They are crushed at the city gate,
with no one to rescue them.
5 The hungry consume his harvest,
even taking it out of the thorns.[n]
The thirsty[o] pant for his children’s wealth.
6 For distress does not grow out of the soil,
and trouble does not sprout from the ground.
7 But humans are born for trouble
as surely as sparks fly upward.8 However, if I were you, I would appeal to God
and would present my case to him.
9 He does great and unsearchable things,
wonders without number.
10 He gives rain to the earth
and sends water to the fields.
11 He sets the lowly on high,
and mourners are lifted to safety.
12 He frustrates the schemes of the crafty
so that they[p] achieve no success.
13 He traps the wise in their craftiness
so that the plans of the deceptive
are quickly brought to an end.
14 They encounter darkness by day,
and they grope at noon
as if it were night.
15 He saves the needy from their sharp words[q]
and from the clutches of the powerful.
16 So the poor have hope,
and injustice shuts its mouth.
17 See how happy is the person whom God corrects;
so do not reject the discipline of the Almighty.
18 For he wounds but he also bandages;
he strikes, but his hands also heal.
19 He will rescue you from six calamities;
no harm will touch you in seven.
20 In famine he will redeem you from death,
and in battle, from the power of the sword.
21 You will be safe from slander[r]
and not fear destruction when it comes.
22 You will laugh at destruction and hunger
and not fear the land’s wild creatures.
23 For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field,
and the wild animals will be at peace with you.
24 You will know that your tent is secure,
and nothing will be missing when you inspect your home.
25 You will also know that your offspring will be many
and your descendants like the grass of the earth.
26 You will approach the grave in full vigor,
as a stack of sheaves is gathered in its season.27 We have investigated this, and it is true!
Hear it and understand it for yourself.
I find several things fascinating about the start to the story of Job:
- He was a wealthy man, but was a devout believer in God. This is not necessarily an easy thing to do. Jesus would say it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (Luke 18:25).
- God asked Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? (1:8). Does this seem a little backward to you? Initially reading it, it makes you ask why in the world God was serve Job up like this…God was bragging on Job and his upright character.
- Job loses almost everything, yet at the end of chapter 1 he praises God in the midst of loss:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will leave this life.[c] The Lord gives, and the Lord
takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (v. 21).”
4. Job had 3 friends who gave him all the wrong advice. You will see this throughout the book.
So we have a story of a real man who experienced real loss yet continued to praise God in the midst of all of the tragedy. What will you do when loss and tragedy comes to your life? You have to decide now you will trust and praise God no matter what comes.