With my October series on Job just around the bend, I’m studying the book of Job nearly every day. Francis Anderson’s commentary on Job begins with this splendid summary that our church may hear me quote in the fall.
The book of Job tells the story of a good man overwhelmed by troubles. He is stripped of his wealth, his family, his health. He does not know why God has done this to him. Only the reader knows that God is trying to prove to the Devil that Job’s faith is genuine. Three friends come to console him in his misery, and the four engage in a long discussion. The friends try to explain what has happened by connecting Job’s sufferings with his sins. Job rejects their theory. Instead of accepting their advice to repent and so make peace with God, Job insists on his own innocence and questions the justice of God’s treatment.
At this point a new character, Elihu, appears and makes four speeches which he thinks will solve the problem; but this does not seem to make any difference. Eventually the Lord Himself addresses Job. These speeches change Job’s attitude, for he responds with contrite submission. In the end God declares Job to be in the right and restores his prosperity and happiness.
Upon this simple plot an unknown writer of superlative genius has erected a monumental work. The most persistent questions of the relationship of men to God have been given powerful theological treatment in verse whose majesty and emotion are unsurpassed in any literature, ancient or modern.