Job - Faithful In Spite of Suffering

Profile of Job, Unappreciated Bible Hero

Job in the Bible
Job Hears Bad Tidings by James Tissot. SuperStock / Getty Images

Job is one of the most famous people in Scripture, yet he is rarely listed as a favorite Bible character.

Except for Jesus Christ, no one in the Bible suffered more than Job. During his troubles, he remained stubbornly faithful to God, but surprisingly, Job is not even listed in the Hebrews "Faith Hall of Fame."

A number of signs point to Job as a real, historical person rather than just a character in a parable.

In the opening of the book of Job, his location is given. The writer provides concrete details on his occupation, family, and character.  The most telling signs are other references to him in Scripture. Other biblical authors treat him as a real person.

Bible scholars place Job in the time of Isaac. As a patriarchal head of the family, he offered sacrifices for sins. He made no mention of the Exodus, Law, or judgment on Sodom, which had not happened yet. Wealth was measured in livestock, not money. He also lived about 200 years, a patriarchal lifespan.

Job and the Problem of Suffering

Job's dilemma was frustrating because he had no knowledge of the conversation God and Satan had about him. Like his friends, he believed good people should enjoy a good life. When bad things started to happen, he looked for a forgotten sin as the cause. Like us, Job could not understand why suffering happens to people who don't deserve it.

His reaction set a pattern we still follow today. Job got his friends' opinions first rather than going directly to God. Much of his story is a debate over the "Why me?" question.

Besides Jesus, every Bible hero is flawed. Job, however, even got an endorsement from God. Perhaps we have trouble identifying with Job because we know we don't approach his level of righteousness.

Deep down, we believe life should be fair, and like Job, we're baffled when it is not.

In the end, Job did not get a definite answer from God about the reason for his suffering. God restored, by double, everything Job had lost. Job's faith in God was steadfast. He held to what he said early in the book: "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;" (Job 13:15a, NIV)  

Job's Accomplishments

Job became fabulously wealthy and did it honestly. The Bible described him as the "greatest man among all the people of the East."

Job's Strengths

Job was singled out by God as someone who "is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." He performed sacrifices on behalf of his family in the event anyone inadvertently sinned.

Job's Weaknesses

He fell victim to his culture and thought his suffering must have a traceable cause. He felt worthy of questioning God.

Life Lessons from Job in the Bible

Sometimes suffering is not related to anything we have done. If it is allowed by God, we must trust him and not doubt his love for us.

Hometown

The land of Uz, probably between Palestine, Idumea, and the Euphrates River. 

References to Job in the Bible

Job's story is found in the book of Job. He is also mentioned in Ezekiel 14:14, 20 and James 5:11.

Occupation

Job was a rich landowner and livestock farmer.

Family Tree

Wife:  Unnamed

Children: Seven unnamed sons and three unnamed daughters killed when a house collapsed; seven later sons and three daughters: Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-Happuch.

Key Verses

Job 1:8
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (NIV)

Job 1:20-21
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” (NIV)

Job 19:25
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. (NIV)

(Sources: Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Robert Jamieson, A.R.

Faussett, David Brown; Life Application Study Bible, Tyndale House Publishers Inc.; gotquestions.org)

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Fairchild, Mary. "Job - Faithful In Spite of Suffering." ThoughtCo, May. 16, 2016, thoughtco.com/job-faithful-in-spite-of-suffering-4046418. Fairchild, Mary. (2016, May 16). Job - Faithful In Spite of Suffering. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/job-faithful-in-spite-of-suffering-4046418 Fairchild, Mary. "Job - Faithful In Spite of Suffering." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/job-faithful-in-spite-of-suffering-4046418 (accessed January 21, 2018).