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Book of Job Excerpts (King James 1611 translation):

Vocabulary: Anaphora, Epistrophe, Masoretic Text, Parallelism, Personification, Septuagint, theodicy

Identify the following Characters or Creatures: Job, God, Satan, Job’s wife. The three “Comforters” (i.e., Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuite, Zophar the Naamathite), the Leviathan.


According to our introduction to the text, how is suffering different in Job than it is in the Genesis account?
According to the introduction to the text, how is Job highly structured?

Chapter One:

  • In Chapter 1, of Job what is the setting? (i.e., in what land does Job live?)
    From our class discussion, where is this land located?
  • Why does Job offer a burnt offering to God for each of his children early every morning?
  • In the third paragraph of our textbook’s translation of Job, chapter one, what beings come to present themselves to God? Where did we see this beings earlier in Genesis (i.e., what unusual activity were these beings doing in the flood account of Noah?)
  • When these beings gather before God, God only has questions for one of them. With whom does God speak, questioning him as to where he has been?
  • According to Satan, what has he been doing recently?
  • When God compliments Job for his religious fear and the way he “escheweth evil,” what reason does Satan offer for Job’s behavior?
  • God gives initially Satan permission to do what to Job? What is the one thing Satan is not permitted to do initially?
  • When the servants come, they bring a litany of bad news. According to these reports, what happened to Job’s oxen and his asses and the servants watching these beasts?
  • According to the second servant, what happened to the sheep and the servants watching the sheep?
  • According to the third servant, what happened to the camels and the servants watching the camels?
  • According to the fourth servant, what happened to Job’s sons and daughters?

Chapter Two:

  • When God brags to Satan about how good Job is even after these earlier tragedies, what cause does God he and Satan had to destroy him? (Trick question.)
  • When God brags to Satan about how good Job is even after these earlier tragedies, what reason does Satan give for Job’s continued good behavior?
  • What does Job use to scrape his skin when boils cover him from “foot unto his crown”?
  • What does Job’s wife suggest he do in order to end his misery?

Chapter Three

  • In Chapter Three, what event or day does Job wish had never happened?
  • According to Job, kings and counselors and princes, along with the wicked and the weary, the prisoners, and the small and the great all face what identical situation in the afterlife? How does this contrast with later religious expectations about the afterlife by the time of Christ?

Chapter Four and Five:

  • In Chapter Four, Eliphaz the Temmanite uses a series of erotema (rhetorical questions) to confront Job. List one example of this technique.
  • Whom does Eliphaz the Temmanite blame for Job's problems?
  • Eliphaz mentions in this chapter that he once had a vision when sleeping and a spirit passed before his face. How did his body react to the sight of this spirit?
  • According to Eliphaz, in chapter five, what emotional state should a man be in when God "correcteth" him and chastens that man with wounds and sores?

Chapters Six and Seven:

  • According to Chapter Seven, what fills Job's nights unto the dawning of the day?
  • To what does Job compare the passing of his days shortly below that passage? Why is that an appropriate image or comparison?
  • According to Job at the end of Chapter Seven, he will go to sleep in the dust. What does this euphemism probably mean?
  • According to Job, after he goes to sleep in the dust, what will hapen when God goes out to seek Job in the morning? What does this imply about beliefs in the afterlife in Job's day?

Chapters Eight and Nine:

  • Bildad the Shuite claims in Chapter Eight, "Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, / neither will he help the evil-doers." What is Job's reaction to this argument in Chapter Nine?
  • According to Job, what will God do if Job washes himself and his hands with "snow water"?
  • After Job has been cast into a ditch, Job claims an unusual set of objects will "abhor" him. What are these items? What do we call this poetic technique where inanimate objects are given human qualities? [hint: check your vocabulary for this week]

Chapters 10-13:

  • Job uses an unusual simile to describe the way he is "poured" and "curdled" in this passage What has his body been poured out as? What has gone and "curdled" him? What do you imagine being curdled feels like?
  • Job also used unusual catachresis to describe the way God made his body. According to Job, in what has God "clothed" him? In what has God "fenced" him?
  • What does Job wish had never happened to him (again!) at the end of chapter ten?
  • In chapter 11, Zophar the Naamathite seems to be getting fed up with Job. According to Zophar, how much punishment does Job deserve for his iniquity? (i.e., How much punishment has God exacted from Job?)

Chapter 14:

  • According to Job, who or what can bring a clean thing out of an unclean one? [Trick question!]

Chapter 29-30:

  • According to Job, in the good old days (i.e, a few months ago), what did he wash his steps with? What did the rock pour out for him? What do these images mean?
  • How did people used to react to Job's presence in town?
  • In Chapter 30, however, how do people react to Job now?

Chapter 31:

  • Job suggests rhetorically whether or not he has committed a number of sins in this chapter, and asks that various punishments fall upon him accordingly. List any one of these sins he explores and the punishment he states should befall him if he has committed that act.

Chapter 38:

  • In Chapter 38, who comes to answer Job's charges? From where or out of what does this being answer Job? What does this imply about the weather during this conversation?
  • What does Job's answerer advise him to "gird up" before this question and answer session? What does this imply about the nature of the discussion?
  • Does God's responses seem like an answer to Job's charges to you? Or do his responses seem more like rhetorical questions?

Chapter 39:

  • God discusses a number of unusual animals in the King James translation of Job, Chapter 39. Which animal does he NOT discuss here out of the following list: (1) wild goats, (2) hinds, (3) wild asses, (4) unicorns, (5) peacocks, (6) cobras (7) ostriches.

Chapter 40:

  • When God demands that Job answer God, does Job continue in accusing him?
  • What animal, according to God, "eateth grass as an ox" and has "his strength in his loins" with a "tail like a cedar" with bones like brass or iron?

Chapter 41:

  • To emphasize Job's puny mortality, God asks Job if Job is able to fish out what creature with a hook?
  • What comes out of this creatures mouth? What comes out of this creature's nostrils?

Chapter 42:

  • In chapter 42, after listening to God's counter-charges, Job "abhors" himself and repents in dust in ashes. Should he repent? Has God accused him of doing any wrong, or is God angry with him?
  • According to chapter 42, with whom is God actually angry? God says he will forgive them only under special conditions. What are those conditions?
  • At the end of chapter 42, Job regains wealth and has new servants, livestock, and children. What is not restored to him that he had previously?
  • How old does Job live to be--i.e., how many more years does Job live after these events? How does this contrast with God's earlier statement about the limit of human longevity in Genesis 11?

Sample Quotations to Identify (list work, author if known, the character speaking if the text is in quotation marks, and a brief discussion of the passage's significance)

A: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return thither:
The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

B: “Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now and touch his bones and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.”

C: “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth:
Therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.
For he maketh sore, and bindeth up:
He woundeth, and his hands make whole.
He shall deliver thee in six troubles:
Yeah, in seven, there shall no evil touch thee."

D: "Is there iniquity in my tongue? Cannot my taste discern perverse things?"

E: "What is man, that thou shoudest magnify him?/ And that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? /And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, / And try him every moment?"

F: "For now shall I sleep in the dust; / and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be."

G: "If I wash myself with snow water, / and make my hands never so clean, / Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, / and mine own clothes shall abhor me. / For he [God] is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, / and we should come together in judgment."

H: "Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, / that thou shoudest despise the work of thine hands, / and shine upon the counsel of the wicked? / Hast thou eyes of flesh? / or seest thou as man seeth?"

I: "Oh that I were as in months past [. . . . . . .] When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me;/ When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil; When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street."

J: "And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me. / My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest."

K: "Who is this that darkneth counsel by words without knowledge?/ Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me./ Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. / Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? / Or who hath stretched the line upon it? / Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof?"

L: "Hast thou entered into the treasures of snow? Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, / Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, / against the day of battle and war?"

M: "Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook? / Or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?/ Canst thou put an hook into his nose? / Or bore his jaw through with a thorn? / . . . / Who can open the doors of his face? / his teeth are terrible round a bout. / His scales are his pride, / shut together as with a close seal. / One is so near to another, / that no air can come between them."

N: "Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; / things too wonderful for me, which I knew not./ Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: / I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. / I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. / Wherefore I abhore myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

O: "My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath."

Food for Thought:

How is the relationship between Satan and God depicted in Job? Is this similar to the way most modern Protestant Christians think of that relationship?

Do characters like Job (or ancient Hebrews generally) believe in an afterlife? Does he ever mention the existence of any sort after sheol (the grave)?

God talks quite a bit to Job in response to his questions. Does he ever actually answer the question of why Job is suffering? Does Job ever learn the reason for his family's death (i.e., that it's all a bet between God and Satan?)


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