The book of Job is one of the oldest books in the Bible, although we don’t know exactly how old the book is, there is no doubt that it is ancient. Some scholars believe that Job, is mentioned early on in the Bible in the book of Genesis as “Jobab” (Genesis 10:29), one of the sons of Joktan, which would put Job in the ear between Noah and Abraham. In the opening chapter of the Book of Job, we learn that he is from the land of Uz, well there was a man named Huz (Uz?), who was Abraham’s nephew (see Genesis 22:21), perhaps the land of Uz was named after him?
Eliphaz (Job 2:11) was the son of Esau (Genesis 34:10-11); this son of Esau had another son named Teman (Genesis 36:10-11), and the descendants of Teman were known for their wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7). Bildad is called a Shuhite (Job 2:11), and Shuah was a son of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 35:2).
Chapter 1: Job, a Just and Perfect Man
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. Job had seven sons and three daughters.
He also had an abundance of possessions (earthly and material).
- Seven thousand sheep.
- Three thousand camels
- Five hundred yoke (yoke=pair) of oxen. (so in reality 1,000 oxen)
- Five hundred female donkeys.
Job also had a very large household; he was the greatest man in the entire East. Although his sons would invite their sisters over for parties and this did not please the Lord and in His eyes they had sinned. The chapter does not say exactly what they did to sin, but it was bad enough that Job had to offer sacrifices to make up for the sin.
There was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “…Whence comest thou?” (Job 1:7) So Satan answered the Lord and said, “…From going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down it.” (Job 1:7). Then the Lord said to Satan, “…Hast thou considered my servant Job, that hence there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth (to keep from or forgo) evil” (Job 1:8) So Satan answered the Lord and said, “…Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on ever side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 1:9-11). The Lord then said to Satan, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thy hand…” (Job 1:12). So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Job’s Catastrophic Loss:
Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; and a messenger came to Job and said, “…The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (Job 1:14-15)
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “…The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (Job 1:16)
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “…The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (Job 1:17)
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “…Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (Job 1:18-19)
In the span, of what was probably only a few hours God allowed Satan to cause great destruction. I don’t know if Satan was the one controlling the weather or not, but if he was we can see that God can remove his hand or any restrictions he puts over Satan. God at any time can let Satan do his work, but God always has a purpose for it.
After hearing this, Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:
“…Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath takenaway; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
Even after all that had happened to Job, he did not sin nor charge God with wrong.
We must all look at life the way Job was able to immediately analyze and understand his situation. God gave us our lives; we came into this world with nothing, so everything he has is a blessing from the bounty of God. If God takes away something from us, and because of it we have less, it is still more than we came into this world with.
Joseph Smith went through something very similar…
While Joseph was held prisoner (with no charge or conviction) in Liberty, Missouri on March 20, 1839 he asked God;
“…where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How Long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of they servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer the wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thin heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:1-3)
Joseph Smith and the entire Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints were be persecuted mainly because of an order signed by Governor Lilburn Boggs of Missouri who issued “Executive Order 44”, also known as the “Extermination Order” which on October 27, 1838 read;
“…The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace…”
Joseph Smith received these words from God while being unlawfully detained for months and while the members of the LDS church were suffering;
“My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes… Thou are not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-10)
Although we go through challenges in life, God always has a purpose for those challenges. We can learn from them and know that God is only doing it for our own good.
Chapter 2: Job is Smitten with Boils
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord, and the Lord said to Satan, “…From whence comest thou?” (Job 2:2) So Satan answered the Lord and said, “…From going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down it.” (Job 2:2)
Then the Lord said to Satan, “…Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” (Job 2:3)
Satan answered the Lord and said, “…Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 2:4-5) And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.” (Job 2:6)
At this point, Satan is essentially challenging God and telling him that Job still praised him because nothing was directly effecting him, just his family and his possessions. Here Satan suggests that if God were to curse him with an infirmity that he would not praise him. This was a new test Satan wanted to trouble God with, a physical one to prove to God that Job would no longer praise his name.
So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.
Job’s Great Physical Suffering:
Later we can read other passages in the Book of Job that describe more of what he went through;
- Intense pain; “My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews (A piece of tough fibrous tissue uniting muscle to bone or bone to bone; a tendon or ligament.) take no rest” (Job 30:17)
- Peeling and darkened skin; “My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat” (Job 30:30)
- Pus-filled, erupting sores; “My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.” (Job 7:5)
- Anorexia, emaciation; “My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth” (Job 19:20)
- Depression; “I loathe it (talking about his life); I would not live always: let me alone…” (Job 7:16) “My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me. I went mourning without the sun: I stood up and cried in the congregation” (Job 30:27-28)
- Weeping; “My face is foul with weeping, and eyelids is the shadow of death” (Job 16:16)
- Sleeplessness and Nightmares; “The thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifies me through visions” (Job 7:14)
- Putrid breath; “My breath is strange to my wife…” (Job 19:17)
The chapter continues… his wife said to him, “…Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.” (Job 2:9) But he said to her, “…Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10) In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Job’s wife, after losing her children and her wealth and most likely out of love tells Job to curse God! If Job were to curse God, then maybe God would strike him down and kill him. Because after all that Job had been going through and is going through at this moment, death would be a sweet release from the pain and suffering that God was putting him through.
When Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They had all come together to mourn with him, and to comfort him. However, when they raised their eyes from afar, they did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.