Monday, October 2, 2023

The Book of Job (Ezekiel 14:12–23)

"… these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job …" (Ezek. 14:14).

Job, whose location in the Canon has varied through the centuries, is placed before the Psalms in English Bibles. Matthew Henry tells us that this is because scholars have considered this book to stand alone, laying the foundation of the doctrine of God for the following devotional and practical books of Psalms and Proverbs.

For the rest of this year, we will study the “wisdom literature” of Job adapting material from Matthew Henry’s commentary. Henry reminds us from the outset that despite the difficulties that often arise out of its poetical structure and ancient construction, Job is a divinely inspired book. It is, therefore, profitable for instruction, rebuke, and encouragement. There has been much debate about who wrote Job, but since ancient times it has been a part of the canon of Scripture. It receives the stamp of approval from the apostle James (James 5:11). And against those who believe this to be a figurative story, Henry reminds us that Ezekiel names him with Noah and Daniel (14:14). Therefore, the historical validity of the book must not be lost amid the poetical structure.

As for the authorship, some believe that, while he was in Midian, Moses wrote the account of this most pious Gentile. It is possible that Moses delivered this account of Job to his suffering brethren in Egypt “for their support and comfort under their burdens, and the encouragement of their hope that God would in due time deliver and enrich them, as He did this patient sufferer.” Henry believed that Elihu was the penman, at least of the discourses. “Moses perhaps wrote the first two chapters and the last, to give light to the discourses; for in them God is frequently called Jehovah [Yahweh], but not once in all the discourses, except in 12:9.”

The book of Job may date from about the era of the Patriarchs, making Job a contemporary of Isaac and Jacob. It has been speculated that Job was a descendent of Abraham’s brother Nahor, who also worshiped the one, true God (Gen. 22:21). At that time, God was known by the name God Almighty more than Yahweh, and He is referred to as such more than 30 times in the book. This book, therefore, brings the reader to consider the power and the authority of God as He exercises His righteous rule over creation.

What did Noah, Job, and Daniel have in common? (See Gen. 8, 9; Job 1; and Dan. 6) How did God show His power in their lives? How did the piety of these men compare with their neighbors? How did God bless them in the midst of great wickedness? Name specific ways God has shown His power in your life.