Study Guide

Book of Job

Book of Job Introduction

Ever notice that the guy in front of you always gets the last apple fritter at Starbucks? On a Monday morning? When you skipped dinner the night before?

And why does the subway train always leave just as you get through the turnstile? Does it know that you're already running late and it just wants to spite you?

Why do you always get stuck in the middle seat on planes, no matter how far in advance you book? And why does the lady next to you always forget to wear deodorant that day?

And, why oh why didn't you take the blue pill?

The Book of Job deals with these exact issues. Well, not these exact issues, but the millennia-ago versions. If you think about it, these questions really get to the heart of most religious thought. If you believe in a righteous force that governs the universe, then why isn't activity on earth righteous? And didn't God say that the righteous would be rewarded and the wicked punished with fire? So why didn't you get your stinkin' apple fritter?

Job is a nice guy who's been doing pretty well for himself out on the ranch—he's got a wife, some kids, and enough sheep to last him a lifetime. Then, suddenly, he loses it all. Does he whine and complain? No. He takes it one step further: he calls out God for letting all this misery happen to a righteous man. Yes, that's right—he calls God's bluff.

We know you're ready to read it, so go ahead. And the next time you're asking "why me?" just remember—Job was there first.

What is Book of Job About and Why Should I Care?

Did you know that the Andromeda Galaxy is eventually going to collide with the Milky Way? Pretty nuts.

How do we know this? Um, it's obvious: humans know everything. We mean, really. If we know about things that are 2.5 million light years away, there can't be anything we don't know…right?

Wrong.

Job learns that he can't ask the universe for justice because he doesn't know how the universe works. And as much as we know about the mechanics of the world millennia after Job's time, we still have questions galore.

Whether you're a priest or a scientist—or both—you'll agree: we can't know everything. Thanks, Job.

Book of Job Resources

Websites

Barack and Job
Some people think that President Obama's tough times echoed Job's. We can all agree that Job resonates far outside of its originally intended audience. This one is deeply embedded in Western thought.

Job the Survivor
Get this: actor Paul Giamatti and others read the Book of Job to help the Joplin community cope with its communal loss after it was devastated by tornadoes. It's no wonder Job has remained so relevant for so long

Movies and TV

Adam's Apples
This modern day interpretation of Job as a Danish dramedy involves a neo-Nazi who has beef with a priest. Hmmm.

Tree of Life Addresses Job
Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain take on some of the questions posed by Job in this 2011 drama. You'll either love it or hate it—either way, Job is all over it.

A Serious Man Is a Serious Take on Job
This Coen brothers film puts Job in a Jewish community in Minnesota. The main character has misery heaped upon him, and his reactions aren't that different from the biblical Job's. God may not show up in the end, but the wisest man in the room sings the Temptations. Six of one, right?

Historical Documents

Linking Older Literature and Job
Could Job have been based on an ancient Mesopotamian legend? It's possible.

Job and the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls, a small ancient library unearthed in Israel, contained an Aramaic translation of Job. Thank you, archeology!

Video

Another Take on Job
How do you like God's look in this one? Nice shades, right?

Audio

Job in Voice
Job probably couldn't read, so why not listen?

Richie Spice Sings Job
You can't get more Jamaican Job than this.

Images

Job, the Pensive Statue
He looks glum here, but we guess that's the point of the book. We're not sure a smiling Job would really do the trick.