How to Read Job
We often turn to the book of Job when we encounter suffering. We look for an explanation for the questions "Why me?" or "Why her?" But what if it turns out that although Job does suffer, the book is not really about his suffering?
If ever a book needed a "How to Read" instruction manual, it is the book of Job. And when two respected Old Testament scholars team up—both of whom have written commentaries on Job—we have a matchless guide to reading and appreciating the book. From their analysis of its place in the wisdom literature of the Bible and the ancient Near East to their discussions of its literary features and relationship to history, Walton and Longman give us the best of their expertise. They explore the theology of Job, placing it within Israelite religion and Old Testament theology. And they coach us in how to read Job as Christians. When it turns out the book is not what we thought it was, our reading is richly layered and more satisfying.
Whether you are preparing to preach or teach, leading a Bible study, studying for a class or for personal enrichment, How to Read Job is your starting point.
"Walton and Longman, two seasoned commentators on Job, argue that readers should redirect their efforts from seeking in its pages reasons for human suffering to instead recognizing the lesson to trust in a sovereign God within the incongruities of life. The pious may not understand their painful lot, but assurance and rest come in accepting the wisdom of the Almighty. Thoughtful and accessible, this is a welcome addition to the How To Read series."
"The book of Job is a weighty read at just about every level, from its language to its theology. Walton and Longman's How to Read Job is a helpful training manual for the task. Their treatment of the discrete interpretive issues is clear and concise. Taken as a whole, their individual discussions guide the reader of Job from an understanding of the book in its ancient context to its Christian application as Scripture. Walton and Longman take unequivocal interpretive stances on various of the book's conundrums, and they provide questions to prompt the reader to further reflection. The best feature of this short primer on the book of Job is that it draws one to read the book of Job itself rather than substituting lengthy commentary for the biblical text. Students, pastors and laity can all benefit from this delightfully accessible invitation to the book of Job."
"This readable volume questions many traditional answers to Job. It also provides important perspectives on the book's interpretation. It is an excellent starting point for the reader of this great literary masterpiece of the Bible."
"This book is very easy to read and provides a great introduction to the basic themes, ideas, and issues surrounding the book of Job. Having read this book, the reader will be ready to take on the task of reading a verse-by-verse commentary on Job. The book will also invoke a number of great discussions around this ancient story."
"This book will stimulate readers willing to re-evaluate their assumptions about how to read Job."
"The authors of this book know the real Job, and they address several of the main issues of the book that bears his name. Besides the book's literary composition and rhetorical function, these issues include: the characterization of God portrayed in the book; the identity and function of Satan; the question of retribution; the visitors and their advice; theodicy or the justice of God; the possibility of an afterlife; and the perception of the cosmos. These profound questions are treated in a very readable fashion. Questions at the end of each chapter suggest that the book can be used for group study. It is highly recommended for the non-scholarly reader."
Part One: Reading Job as Literature
1. What Is the Book of Job About?
2. What Is the Rhetorical Strategy of the Book of Job?
3. Job in the Context of the Ancient Near East
4. Is Job a Real Person?
Part Two: Getting to Know the Characters of the Book of Job
5. What Do We Learn About God from the Book of Job?
6. Who Is "Satan" in Job?
7. What Is the Role of Job in the Book of Job?
8. How to Assess Job?s Human Advisers
9. Who Is Job?s Advocate?
10. Behemoth and Leviathan, the Most Powerful Creatures Imaginable
Part Three: The Theological Message of the Book of Job
11. The Retribution Principle and Theodicy in Job
12. The Retribution Principle in Wisdom Literature
13. Does Job Believe in the Afterlife?
14. Learning About the Cosmos from the Book of Job
15. The Theology of Suffering in the Book of Job
16. Job?s View of God
Part Four: Reading Job as a Christian
17. Job and Jesus
18. The Message of the Book of Job for Today
19. Does the Book of Job Provide Comfort?
20. Applying the Book of Job
Appendix: Commentaries on the Book of Job