12. The parts of the book are two: I. The history of the afflictions, or of the temptations and patience, of Job (Job 1-31). II. The happy turn of the temptations and afflictions of Job (Job 31-42). A Synoptic Table, and the Interpreters of the book, Ancient, Reformed, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Hebrew.
Saint James in James 5:11 aptly divides the history of Job into two parts, namely, ὑπομονὴν τοῦ Ἰὼβ, the patience of Job, and τέλος Κυρίου, the end of the Lord, or the end of the patience imposed upon him by the Lord. Now, although the speeches of the friends of Job and of God Himself are able to be treated separately; nevertheless, because they have great γειτνίασιν/affinity with each other, it is agreeable to include the speeches of the friends and of God Himself agreeing with each other, and so to sum up the book in two parts, namely, first, the patience of Job (Job 1-31); second, the happy turning of the same (Job 32-42).
I. The history of the afflictions or temptations and patience of Job, composed of continuous Dialogues, Chapters 1-31.
1. Dialogue I: between God and Satan. In which, after a description of the person and condition of Job (verses 1-5), Satan accuses Job before God, and offers himself to God for the tempting of God (verses 6-11), but God determine the trial (verse 12), with Satan miserably exercising Job with the loss of his means and children (verses 13-19), but with Job, pressed by this calamity, remaining pious, consoling himself, and blessing God (verses 20-22): chapter 1.
2. Dialogue II: between Job and his wife. In which:
a. With Job afflicted in his own body (verses 1-8), his wife mocks (verses 9, 10), and his friends, visiting him, witness his sorrow (verses 11-13): chapter 2.
b. The outcome of the temptation is described, with Job cursing the day of his birth (verses 1-8), praising death as good, disparaging life as evil (verses 9-22), and complaining much of the fears and perturbation of his life (verses 23-26): chapter 3.
3. Dialogue III: and that manifold, between Job and his friends, concerning the reasons for the calamities inflicted upon Job: chapters 4-31. See:
a. The first Dialogue of Eliphaz הַתֵּימָנִי, the Temanite (son of Teman, grandson of Esua, Genesis 36:15), with Job: chapters 4-7. See:
α. Eliphaz’s speech, in which:
א. Censuring the infirmity of Job in bearing the affliction (verses 1-5), he teaches God to be confidence of the pious, and the reward of those that keep their ways in integrity (verses 6-11), and advises against disputation with God on account of man’s impotence (verses 12-21): chapter 4.
ב. Asserting God to be ἀνυπεύθυνον, beyond control or criticism (verse 1), and contention with Him to be noxious (verses 2-7), he urges patience and conversion to God with many argument, from hope founded in God’s patience (verses 8, 9), providence, judgment, goodness in healing wounds, averting evils, and bestowing goods (verses 10-27): chapter 5.
β. Job’s response: chapters 6; 7: in which:
א. With the magnitude of his misery (verses 1-7) and his constancy in sorrows set forth, and with a reason for his prayer for precipitant death rendered (verse 8-14), he argues the inhumanity of his friends (verses 15-23), and asserts to them his ability to argue rightly (verses 24-30): chapter 6.
ב. He defends his desire for death from the miserable condition of his life, and its hastening end (verses 1-16), confesses his sins, and professes the impotence of paying a λύτρου/ransom for them (verses 17-21): chapter 7.
b. The Dialogue of Bildad הַשּׁוּחִי, the Shuhite (born of the family of שׁוּחַ/Shuah, who was one of the children born to Abraham from Keturah, sent away into the East, Genesis 25:2), with Job: chapters 8-10. See:
α. Bildad’s speech, in which he upholds the righteousness of God exercised towards Job’s children and Job himself (verses 1-7), from the testimonies of the ancients (verses 8-10), and from the unequal outcome of the trial of the pious and of the impirous (verses 11-19); and excourages Job by urging the ἐπιείκειαν/righteousness of the Divine judgment (verses 20-22): chapter 8.
β. Job’s response: chapters 9; 10: who,
א. Acknowledging God’s righteousness and power (verses 1-13), and putting from himself any desire to contradict God (verses 14-21), asserts the judgment of God among the pious and impious (verses 22-35): chapter 9.
ב. Renewing his complaint (verse 1), asks God not to condemn him according to his own desert, and to indicate the reason for His indignation against him (verse 2); confirming this petition with several arguments (verses 3-19), he asks for a mitigation of punishment before death (verses 20-22): chapter 10.
c. The Dialogue of Zophar הַנַּעֲמָתִי, the Naamathite (born of the Arabian city Naamath), with Job: chapters 11-14. See:
α. Zophar’s speech, wherein he, rebuking Job for his loquaciousness and arrogance (verses 1-4), reminds him that God’s judgments are incomprehensible (verses 5-12); and, commending to him repentance and prayer, promises superabounding fruit of the same (verses 13-20): chapter 11.
β. Job’s response, wherein,
א. With the pride of his friends reproved, and with the common lot of the faithful in the world set forth (verses 1-6), to the presumption of his adversaries he opposes his own knowledge of Divine things, God’s wisdom, power, Majesty, and judgments (verses 7-25): chapter 12.
ב. Accusing his friends of a zeal for parties and of vanity (verses 1-5), and reproves their presumption in defending God (verses 6-12), but removing the suspicion of temerity from himself (verses 13, 14), he testifies his own faith in God, and asks for equitable judgment (verses 15-28): chapter 13.
ג. Lamenting the vanity of life, brief and irrevocable (verses 1-5), he asks that the calamities inflicted upon him might be mitigated or altogether removed from him (verses 6-22): chapter 14.
d. The second Dialogue of Eliphaz with Job: chapters 15-17. See:
α. Eliphaz’s speech, wherein, charging Job with the casting off of the fear of God, pride, and contempt of the consolations of God (verses 1-13), he recalls him to humility on account of his impurty (verses 14-16), and magnifies the evils and ruin of the impious (verses 17-35): chapter 15.
β. Job’s response, wherein,
א. Reproving the inhumanity of his friends (verses 1-5), in a variety of ways he defends his παῤῥησίαν/frankness and integrity (verses 6-17), and appeals to God as the just judge and witness (verses 18-22): chapter 16.
ב. Rebuking his friends as mockers (verses 1-4), flatterers (verse 5), and detractors (verses 6, 7), he appeals to the judgment of the pious (verses 8-10), and, setting his misery before their eyes, breathes out sighing unto death (verses 11-16): chapter 17.
e. The second Dialogue of Bildad with Job: chapters 18; 19. See:
α. Bildad’s speech, who, casting Job’s arrogance before him again (verses 1-4), compares the calamities of the pious and impious, and magnifies the latter (verses 5-21): chapter 18.
β. The response of Job, complaining of the inhumanity of his friends (verses 1-4), refuting Bildad’s speech in this, that the evils that Bildad attributed to the impious have also befallen him (verses 5-20), begging mercy of his friends (verses 21, 22), and testifying with great feeling his faith in the Redeemer and resurrection of the dead (verses 23-27), and finally dissuading his friends from persecuting him, at least out of fear of punishment (verses 28, 29): chapter 19.
f. The second Dialogue of Zophar with Job: chapters 20; 21. See:
α. Zophar’s speech, in which he asserts the misery of the impious and hypocritical (verses 1-8), and comfirms it with many arguments (verses 9-29): chapter 20.
β. The response of Job, in which, with the benevolence of his friends entreated (verses 1-6), he, setting forth the felicity of the impious in the enjoyment of the goods of this World (verses 7-13), detests the wickedness of the same (verses 14-16), marvels at their felicity in escaping punishments (verses 17, 18), with the punishment of their children, the judgment of God against the lofty, the destruction of the tabernacles of the wicked not withstanding (verses 19-23), whence he argues the vanity of the consolations of his friend (verses 24-34): chapter 21.
g. The third Dialogue of Eliphaz with Job: chapters 22-24. See:
α. Eliphaz’s speech, wherein he, refuting Job in his appeal to the judgment of God (verses 1-4), proposes that Job’s calamities were incurred because of his sins (verses 5-20), and, for the sake of comfort, commends to him submission, faith, and zeal concerning the word of God, etc. (verses 21-25), and promises manifold good (verses 26-30): chapter 22.
β. Job’s response, wherein,
א. Complaining of the injury done by his adversary twisting his words, he confidently appeals to God as judge (verses 1-7), and, lamenting God’s hiding of Himself, and his own anxienty, vindicates his innocence against Eliphaz (verses 8-17): chapter 23.
ב. He asserts the obscurity and ἀκαταληψίαν/incomprehensibility of the Judgments of God on the allowance of sins, both public and customary (verses 1-12), and clandestine (verses 13-24), and vindicates his speeches (verse 25): chapter 24.
h. The third Dialogue of Bildad with Job: chapters 25-31. See:
α. Bildad’s speech, in which he convicts Job as one challenging the judgment of God, both on account of the Majesty of God (verses 1-3), and on account of the injustice of man (verses 4-6): chapter 25.
β. Job’s response, wherein he,
א. With all the speeches of Bildad ironically rejected, as inept for consolation (verses 1-4), magnifies the efficacy of the Divine will (verses 5-13), and His terrible Majesty (verse 14): chapter 26.
ב. Appeals to God as witness of his sincerity (verses 1-6), and exposes the vanity of the hope of hypocrites (verses 7-23): chapter 27.
ג. Setting forth the wisdom of God as unsearchable (verses 1-27), teaches that the Wisdom of man consists in the fear of God (verse 28): chapter 28.
ד. Aspiring to his former happiness (verses 1-3), at length sets forth the same, as it was formerly, as a witness of Divine benevolence (verses 4-25): chapter 29.
ה. With his former glory comparing the present judgment of the worst men concerning himself (verses 1-15), with trouble inflicted by God even after supplication (verses 16-22), removes the suspicion of envy and malevolence (verses 23-31): chapter 30.
ו. Clears himself of various crimes, of concupiscence and lust, whether allowed upon a virgin or upon a wife (verses 1-12), of haughtiness and iniquity against servants (verses 13-15), the poor (verses 16-20), the weak (verses 21-23); and also of trusting in wealth (verses 24, 25), of idolatry (verses 26-28), of hatred towards one’s neighbor (verses 29-32), of hypocrisy (verses 33, 34), and, finally, of whatever injustice (verses 35-40): chapter 31.
II. The happy turn of the temptations and patience of Job, Chapters 32-42. This part consists in the remaining two Dialogues, the fourth and fifth. See:
1. The fourth Dialogue of Elihu (בֶן־בַּרַכְאֵ֣ל הַבּוּזִי֮, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram, and so born of Buz, the brother of Huz, Genesis 22:21, and hence a kinsman of Job) with Job, in which is contained the human decision of the controversy between Job and his friends: chapters 33-37. See:
a. The introduction to the speech of Elihu, who, taking advantage of the silence of Job and his friends as an occasion, and having been offended by the arrogance of Job in justifying himself, and of his friends in insulting him (verses 1-5), breaks the silence, and, asking for leave for himself as a young man to speak (verses 6-10), promises that he is going to set forth his opinion without regard to parties (verses 11-22): chapter 32.
b. The definitive sentence of Elihu, in which he,
α. With Job roused to attention (verses 1-7), denies that it is lawful for him to say that God treated him, although innocent, as an enemy (verses 8-12), teaching that it is the genuine cause of afflictions, that a man, disregarding the word of God, might cease to sin (verses 13-22), and might be loosed from the pit, trusting in the one indicated to him out of thousands, and might be heard when praying (verses 23-26), and might proclaim the goodness of God (verses 27-33): chapter 33.
β. With attention again entreated (verse 1-4), teaches Job, that he incorrectly stated that God denies judgment to him, being just and pious, and that piety profits nothing (verses 5-9), since God is still altogether just (verses 10-12), which he argues from His blessings, the creation and preservation of all things (verses 13-15), the punishments of the wicked (verses 16, 17), Royal dominion (verse 18), the justice that He preserves among men (verses 19-23), which he proves both from the indifference of His judgments upon the good and the evil (verses 24, 25), and from the equity of the judgments (verses 26-37): chapter 34.
γ. Upholds the righteousness of God in His chastisements both against the objection that it does not profit God (verses 1-8), and with this rationale, that the prayers of the afflict not rarely labor under defects (verses 9-13), and are without the necessary hope (verses 14-16): chapter 35.
δ. Teaches Job that after trial Job recompenses to those that, having been chastened, obey (verses 1-15); considers the judgment of Job, the favorable influence of piety for reward, the wishes of one asking for death instead of life (verses 16-23); and finally commends the works of Divine providence (verses 24-33): chapter 36.
ε. Setting forth various works of Divine Providence (verses 1-13), he calls Job to the admiration of them, rather than the rebuke of judgments (verses 14-24): chapter 37.
2. The fifth Dialogue of God Himself, instructing Job ἀμέσως/directly, and Divinely settling the quarrel: chapters 38:1-42:9. See:
a. The first speech of God, coming to Job out of the whirlwind: chapters 38:1-40:2: in which God:
α. Rebuking Job, and calling him to battle, as it were (verses 1-3), invites him to acknowledge the glory of His Majesty, both with respect to the works of creation and of universal government (verses 4-30), and of the weakness of the power and ability in man (verses 31-35), and of the immense wisdom and providence of God (verses 36-38), which in particular He exercises in living things, the lion and the raven (verses 39-41): chapter 38.
β. He deploys examples of this same Providence in the goat of the rock, the hind (verses 1-4), the wild ass (verses 5-8), the unicorn (verses 9-12), the peacock, the stork, the ostrich, the horse, the hawk, the eagle (verses 13-30). Whence He checks Job’s railing, and invites him to respond (verses 1, 2): chapters 39:1-40:2.
b. The response of Job, wherein he ascribes vileness to himself, and all glory and victory to God (verses 3-5): chapter 40:3-5.
c. The second speech of God from the whirlwind: chapters 40:6-41:34: wherein He:
α. Vindicating His judgment and righteousness against the accusation of Job (verses 6-8), demonstrates the power of His judgment unto the salvation of men, both by the antithesis of human weakness in subjugating enemies to themselves (verses 9-14), and by the examples of His power in subjugating Behemoth or the Elephant (verses 15-24) and Leviathan or the whale (verses 1-10): chapters 40:6-41:10.
β. Demonstrates further the righteousness of His judgment, both by this, that He is debtor to no one, and possessor of all things (verses 11, 12); and by this, that He sets the limits of the ferocity of the creatures, which He again proves by the example of the whale; magnifying its frightfulness in its whole body, spirit, strength of parts, and motion (verses 13-24), He compares the same with human weakness (verses 25-34): chapter 41:11-34.
d. Job’s response, in which he, confessing God’s Majesty and his own ignorance, surrenders himself to be instructed by God, and professes his repentance (verses 1-6): chapter 42:1-6.
e. God’s speech to Job’s friends, wherein He reproves them as having spoken perversely, and dictates to them the means of reconciliation, even a sacrifice to be offered by Job, and his intercession (verses 7-9): chapter 42:7-9.
3. The restoration of Job, whom, praying for his friends, God blessed in many way, with a twofold measure of the things that he previously possessed being restored (verses 10-17): chapter 42:10-17.