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Job 1:1-5 – The Pious and Affluent Job Is Introduced

Summary

The reader learns about Job, who is a faithful and good man, has much wealth, and is blessed with seven sons and three daughters for whom he has great parental concern.

Analysis

In the very first sentence, the author tells us that Job is a good man who fears God and turns away from evil. This affirmation of Job will be repeated twice by God in 1:8 and 2:3. This is very important to know as the book continues with heated conversation between Job and his friends about whether or not he is deserving of his terrible suffering. Without these affirmation in chapters 1-2, we the readers would not know if Job is right to declare his innocence or if the friends are right to suspect some hidden sin (after all, no one is perfect). Job's counselors do not know what we, the readers, know. Job is a prime example of an innocent sufferer.

The numbers of sheep, camels, and oxen are important to remember because at the end of the book Job will receive double the property that he had lost. One thing that is not doubled, however, is the number of children. He will again have ten children, seven boys and three girls. This subtle point probably means something, at least that human beings are not commodities that can be added or subtracted. Children whom Job loved and lost (Job 1:18-19) cannot be replaced, even though God will have compassion on Job and provide him with a new family.

Job 1:1-5

Job

Job and His Family

1There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. 2There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. 3He had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and very many servants; so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east. 4His sons used to go and hold feasts in one another’s houses in turn; and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5And when the feast days had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt-offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, ‘It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.’ This is what Job always did.

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10 February 2011

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