Job, Book of

A great diversity of opinion exists as to the authorship of this
book. From internal evidence, such as the similarity of
sentiment and language to those in the Psalms and Proverbs (see
Ps. 88 and 89), the prevalence of the idea of "wisdom," and the
style and character of the composition, it is supposed by some
to have been written in the time of David and Solomon. Others
argue that it was written by Job himself, or by Elihu, or
Isaiah, or perhaps more probably by Moses, who was "learned in
all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and mighty in words and deeds"
(Acts 7:22). He had opportunities in Midian for obtaining the
knowledge of the facts related. But the authorship is altogether
uncertain.

As to the character of the book, it is a historical poem, one
of the greatest and sublimest poems in all literature. Job was a
historical person, and the localities and names were real and
not fictious. It is "one of the grandest portions of the
inspired Scriptures, a heavenly-repleished storehouse of comfort
and instruction, the patriarchal Bible, and a precious monument
of primitive theology. It is to the Old Testament what the
Epistle to the Romans is to the New." It is a didactic narrative
in a dramatic form.

This book was apparently well known in the days of Ezekiel,
B.C. 600 (Ezek. 14:14). It formed a part of the sacred
Scriptures used by our Lord and his apostles, and is referred to
as a part of the inspired Word (Heb. 12:5; 1 Cor. 3:19).

The subject of the book is the trial of Job, its occasion,
nature, endurance, and issue. It exhibits the harmony of the
truths of revelation and the dealings of Providence, which are
seen to be at once inscrutable, just, and merciful. It shows the
blessedness of the truly pious, even amid sore afflictions, and
thus ministers comfort and hope to tried believers of every age.
It is a book of manifold instruction, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in
righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).

It consists of,

(1.) An historical introduction in prose (ch. 1,2).

(2.) The controversy and its solution, in poetry (ch. 3-42:6).

Job's desponding lamentation (ch. 3) is the occasion of the
controversy which is carried on in three courses of dialogues
between Job and his three friends. The first course gives the
commencement of the controversy (ch. 4-14); the second the
growth of the controversy (15-21); and the third the height of
the controversy (22-27). This is followed by the solution of the
controversy in the speeches of Elihu and the address of Jehovah,
followed by Job's humble confession (42:1-6) of his own fault
and folly.

(3.) The third division is the historical conclusion, in prose
(42:7-15).

Sir J. W. Dawson in "The Expositor" says: "It would now seem
that the language and theology of the book of Job can be better
explained by supposing it to be a portion of Minean [Southern
Arabia] literature obtained by Moses in Midian than in any other
way. This view also agrees better than any other with its
references to natural objects, the art of mining, and other
matters."