Pray, Read, Pray, Reflect…
The Book of Job, named after its protagonist (apparently not an Israelite; cf. Ez 14:14, 20), is an excellent dramatic treatment of the problem of the suffering of the innocent. The contents of the book, together with its artistic structure and elegant style, place it among the literary masterpieces of all time. This is a literary composition and not a record of historical events and conversations.
The prologue (chaps. 1–2) provides the setting for Job’s testing. When challenged by the satan’s questioning of Job’s sincerity, the Lord gives leave for a series of catastrophes to afflict Job. Three friends come to console him. Job breaks out in a complaint (chap. 3), and a cycle of speeches begins. Job’s friends insist that his plight can only be a punishment for personal wrongdoing and an invitation from God to repent. Job rejects their parsimonious explanation and challenges God to respond (chaps. 3–31). A young bystander, Elihu, now delivers four speeches in support of the views of the three friends (chaps. 32–37). In response to Job’s plea that he be allowed to see God and hear the reason for his suffering directly, the Lord answers (38:1–42:6), not by explaining divine justice, but by cataloging the wonders of creation. Job is apparently content with this, and, in an epilogue (42:7–17), the Lord restores Job’s fortune.
The Book of Job can be divided as follows:
- Prologue (1:1–2:13)
- First Cycle of Speeches (3:1–14:22)
- Second Cycle of Speeches (15:1–21:34)
- Third Cycle of Speeches (22:1–27:21)
- The Poem on Wisdom (28:1–28)
- Job’s Final Summary of His Cause (29:1–31:37)
- Elihu’s Speeches (32:1–37:24)
- The Lord and Job Meet (38:1–42:6)
- Epilogue (42:7–17)
Pray and Give Praise
From Catholic Bible Encyclopedia.