One of the challenges I have in reading the Book of Job is losing the forest for the (beautiful) trees – the poetry is so profound that I get caught up in it and lose the big picture. To help me with this as I recently re-read Job, I decided to prepare for myself a summary, comprised entirely of verses from this book. So, here is my summary of Job in under 60 verses, a verse (or two) from each of the 42 chapters:
There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. (Job 1:1) Satan said to the Lord, ‘Stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.’ (2:5) In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (2:10) After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. (3:1)
Then Eliphaz said: ‘Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?’ (4:6) How happy is the one whom God reproves; therefore do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.’ (5:17)
And Job answered: ‘Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone wrong.’ (6:24) If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of humanity? Why have you made me your target? Why have I become a burden to you?’ (7:20)
Bildad said: ‘If you are pure and upright, surely then [God] will rouse himself for you and restore to you your rightful place.’ (8:6)
And Job answered: ‘If he would take his rod away from me, and not let dread of him terrify me, then I would speak without fear of him, for I know I am not what I am thought to be. (9:34-35) I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me.’ (10:5)
Zophar said: ‘O that God would speak, and open his lips to you, and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom! For wisdom is many-sided. Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves. (11:5-6)
And Job answered: ‘I am a laughing-stock to my friends; I, who called upon God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, I am a laughing-stock. (12:4) But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God. (13:3) O that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!’ (14:13)
Eliphaz said: ‘What are mortals, that they can be clean? Or those born of woman, that they can be righteous?’ (15:14)
And Job answered: ‘My face is red with weeping, and deep darkness is on my eyelids, though there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure. (16:16-17) Where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?’ (17:15)
Bildad said: ‘You who tear yourself in your anger—shall the earth be forsaken because of you, or the rock be removed out of its place?’ (18:4)
And Job answered: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God.’ (19:25-26)
Zophar said: ‘Do you not know this from of old, ever since mortals were placed on earth, that the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless is but for a moment? (20:4-5)
Job asked: ‘Why do the wicked live on, reach old age, and grow mighty in power?’ (21:7)
Eliphaz answered: ‘Is it for your piety that [God] reproves you, and enters into judgment with you? Is not your wickedness great? There is no end to your iniquities.’ (22:4-5)
And Job said: ‘O that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his dwelling! I would lay my case before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. (23:3-4) Why are times not kept by the Almighty, and why do those who know him never see his days?’ (24:1)
Bildad said: ‘How can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure?’ (25:4)
And Job answered: ‘How small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand? (26:14) I hold fast my righteousness, and will not let it go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.’ (27:6)
‘Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the air.’ (28:20-21)
‘O that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me. (29:2) But now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me. (30:16) O that I had one to hear me! (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!) O that I had the indictment written by my adversary!’ (31:35)
Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God. (32:2)
And Elihu said to Job: ‘In this you are not right. I will answer you: God is greater than any mortal. (33:12) Therefore, hear me, you who have sense, far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should do wrong. (34:10) If you are righteous, what do you give to him; or what does he receive from your hand? (35:7) Surely God is great, and we do not know him; the number of his years is unsearchable. (36:26) The Almighty—we cannot find him; he is great in power and justice, and abundant righteousness he will not violate.’ (37:23)
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you, and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.’ (38:1-4)
Then Job answered the Lord: ‘See, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth.’ (40:3-4)
Then the Lord answered Job: ‘Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you, and you declare to me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified?’ (40:7-8)
Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’ (42:5-6)
And the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. (42:9)
6 thoughts on “A Summary of the Book of Job”
This is the best statement and the best question, one that I would ask myself: ‘O that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his dwelling! I would lay my case before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. (23:3-4) Why are times not kept by the Almighty, and why do those who know him never see his days?’ (24:1)
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The Book of Job offers us good questions, doesn’t it? No easy answers, but so much to ponder.
You already know how I struggle with faith, Rev James, but as a reader of high literature, I do read the Bible.
I absolutely love the book of Job. In fact I have just finished reading it recently as part of my annual ‘Bible in a Year’ reading. It never ceases to amaze, inspire, delight, enlighten, teach, bless…the list is endless.
Thank you for sharing your pastoral ponderings on this person.
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Me too! After reading it as part of annual reading, I put together this summary to help me ponder its many meanings. The list of what it offers is truly endless!
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One of my favorite books of the Bible. Thanks for sharing! I love re reading it!