Book of Job in Smiths Bible Dictionary

This book has given rise to much discussion and criticism, some believing the book to be strictly historical; others a religious fiction; others a composition based upon facts. By some the authorship of the work was attributed to Moses, but it is very uncertain. Luther first suggested the theory which, in some form or other, is now most generally received. He says, "I look upon the book of Job as a true history, yet I do not believe that all took place just as it is written, but that an ingenious, pious and learned man brought it into its present form." The date of the book is doubtful, and there have been many theories upon the subject. It may be regarded as a settled point that the book was written long before the exile, probably between the birth of Abraham and the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt --B.C. 2000-1800. If by Moses, it was probably written during his sojourn in Midian. "The book of Job is not only one of the most remarkable in the Bible, but in literature. As was said of Goliath's sword, 'There is none like it;' none in ancient or in modern literature." --Kitto. "A book which will one day, perhaps, be seen towering up alone far above all the poetry of the world." --J.A. Froude. "The book of Job is a drama, and yet subjectively true. The two ideas are perfectly consistent. It may have the dramatic form, the dramatic interest, the dramatic emotion, and yet be substantially a truthful narrative. The author may have received it in one of three ways: the writer may have been an eyewitness; or have received it from near contemporary testimony; or it may have reached him through a tradition of whose substantial truthfulness he has no doubt. There is abundant internal evidence that the scenes and events recorded were real scenes and real events to the writer. He gives the discussions either as he had heard them or as they had been repeated over and over in many an ancient consensus. The very modes of transmission show the deep impression it had made in all the East, as a veritable as well as marvellous event." --Tayler Lewis. the design of the book. --Stanley says that "The whole book is a discussion of that great problem of human life: what is the intention of Divine Providence in allowing the good to suffer?" "The direct object is to show that, although goodness has a natural tendency to secure a full measure of temporal happiness, yet that in its essence it is independent of such a result. Selfishness in some form is declared to be the basis on which all apparent goodness rests. That question is tried in the case of Job." --Cook. Structure of the book.- The book consists of five parts: -- I. Chs. 1-3. The historical facts. II. Chs. 4-31. The discussions between Job and his three friends. III. Chs. 32-37. Job's discussion with Elihu. IV. Chs. 38-41. The theophany --God speaking out of the storm. V. Ch. 42. The successful termination of the trial. It is all in poetry except the introduction and the close...

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