Genesis & Job

An ancient African proverb imparts wisdom about tackling huge projects: “How does one person eat a whole elephant? One bite at a time.” The Genesis & Job Series is the first bite of Eyewitness Bible Series in tackling the Old Testament.

The most casual reader soon recognizes the majority of the writings of the Old Testament have to do with the history of the Israelites (also known as Hebrews or Jews). Embedded in the Old Testament is a wealth of knowledge about God and his character, books of poetry and proverbs, and a host of prophecies.

In Bibles used by most Protestant Christians, the Old Testament consists of 39 writings, called books. The Eyewitness Bible Series groups these books into three different series:

  • Genesis & Job: Genesis describes the creation of Earth, gives the history of all mankind, and describes a brief history of the Israelite nation from its beginning until it moves to Egypt. All of Genesis is saturated with knowledge about God, his power, and his relationship with mankind. Job is a story of an ancient man, his struggles, and his dealings with God. Although nothing is absolutely clear concerning the time period of his life, it seems as if Job lived in the time before the Israelite nation existed.
  • Promised Land: Covers the time period from the Israelites being slaves in Egypt, their exodus to Canaan, and the conquering of Canaan. This series includes the Old Testament books of Exodus to Judges.
  • Prophets and Kings: Covers the time period from the first prophet and king until the last prophet. It describes the initial occupation of Canaan, the destruction of the Northern Kingdom, the exile of the Southern kingdom, and the return to Judah. With the exception of Job, this includes the Old Testament books of Ruthto Malachi.


Job: Part Two

In the previous episode, Satan, with God’s permission, tested Job by taking away all his possessions and family. In this episode, God grants Satan permission to continue Job’s test and take away his health, replacing it with pain and agony.

In Job 2:9, Job’s wife says, “Will you maintain your integrity? Curse God and die!” These short sentences help set up two important aspects of Job’s story. The more minor of the two is Job’s relationship with his wife. These sentences are often used by modern readers to condemn his wife for being against Job. However, it is as likely that she is being merciful to him. Death looks like a much better alternative for him than life.

The second, and most important, aspect her comments set up is how humans understand God. In her belief system, God reacts directly based on the actions of humans. If Job is righteous, God lets him live. If Job opposes God, God will kill him.

A primary purpose of the book of Job is to explore and understand the nature of God. Did God reward Job and his friends with prosperity because they were righteous or for some other reason? When Job lost everything, was God punishing him for some unknown sinful behavior or for some other reason? Was God punishing Job at all or was something else going on? Why did so many other people have to suffer because God allowed Satan to test Job? Why does God do what he does? The questions go on and on and on.

Job’s responses to his wife were not rhetorical. He knew he must accept the good and bad that comes to him; he had no other choice. He only desired to know why things happened to him. Why did God behave the way he did?

Job's wife
Primary Scriptures:
Job 2:1-3:26
Story Summary:
God allows Satan to test Job by taking his health; three friends arrive
In the land of Uz
In the time of Job