Book of Job

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Anonymous

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Job Character Analysis

The book’s central character, Job, is a wealthy man who lives in the eastern land of Uz with his wife and 10 children, many servants, and huge livestock herds. He has a reputation for being “blameless and upright” in his conduct, and he faithfully worships God—God himself calls Job his own servant. Before Satan suggests the possibility of tempting Job to curse God, God places a protective “fence” around Job so that no harm will come to him. After Satan causes Job’s possessions to be stolen and his children and servants to be killed, Job shows his faith in God by immediately worshiping God and praising God’s name, refusing to accuse him of doing anything wrong. However, seeing that Job doesn’t curse God, Satan next afflicts him with terrible sores. After rejecting his wife’s suggestion that he simply “Curse God, and die,” Job grieves in silence for a week with his friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. But then he finally speaks, cursing the day he was born and wishing he were dead rather than continuing to suffer under God’s affliction. When his friends argue with him, contending that God doesn’t cause the innocent to suffer (thereby suggesting that Job has misdeeds to answer for), Job accuses them of being unkind and “worthless physicians” whose so-called comfort only prolongs Job’s suffering. It’s demonstrably untrue, Job maintains, that the wicked suffer and the innocent prosper; he has witnessed the opposite situation. Throughout the debate, Job unwaveringly maintains his innocence before God, and after several rounds of debate, his three companions ultimately give up trying to change his mind. When God speaks to Job directly at the end of the book, Job doesn’t dare argue further and finally repents “in dust and ashes” for speaking about things far beyond his understanding. Finally, God restores Job’s fortunes, blessing and enriching him twice as much as before. Job ends up with more livestock than ever, and he also fathers 10 more children, including daughters Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-happuch. He lives for 140 more years and dies “full of days,” having seen four generations of offspring.

Job Quotes in Book of Job

The Book of Job quotes below are all either spoken by Job or refer to Job. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Suffering and Divine Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Book of Job published in 2001.
Chapter 1 Quotes

There 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. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He 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. His 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. And 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.

Related Characters: Job, God
Page Number: 1:1-5
Explanation and Analysis:

The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil.” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”

Related Characters: God (speaker), Satan (speaker), Job
Page Number: 1:8–12
Explanation and Analysis:

Then Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshiped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing.

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God
Page Number: 1:20–22
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Related Characters: Job’s Wife (speaker), Job (speaker), God, Satan
Page Number: 2:7–10
Explanation and Analysis:

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all these troubles that had come upon him, each of them set out from his home—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to go and console and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him, and they raised their voices and wept aloud; they tore their robes and threw dust in the air upon their heads. They sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.

Page Number: 2:11-13
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. Job said:

“Let the day perish in which I was born,
and the night that said,
‘A man-child is conceived.’
Let that day be darkness!
May God above not seek it,
or light shine on it.”

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God
Page Number: 3:1–4
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

How happy is the one whom God reproves;
therefore do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

For he wounds, but he binds up;
he strikes, but his hands heal.

[…]

See, we have searched this out; it is true.
Hear, and know it for yourself.

Related Characters: Eliphaz the Temanite (speaker), Job, God
Page Number: 5:17–27
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

Those who withhold kindness from a friend
forsake the fear of the Almighty.

My companions are treacherous like a torrent-bed,
like freshets that pass away,
that run dark with ice,
turbid with melting snow.

In time of heat they disappear;
when it is hot, they vanish from their place.

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God, Eliphaz the Temanite
Page Number: 6:14–17
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

What are human beings, that you make so much of them,
that you set your mind on them,
visit them every morning,
test them every moment?

Will you not look away from me for a while,
let me alone until I swallow my spittle?

If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of humanity?

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God
Page Number: 7:17–21
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength
—who has resisted him, and succeeded?—
he who removes mountains, and they do not know it,
when he overturns them in his anger;
[…]
who alone stretched out the heavens
and trampled the waves of the Sea;
who made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;
who does great things beyond understanding,
and marvelous things without number.

Look, he passes by me, and I do not see him;
he moves on, but I do not perceive him.

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God
Page Number: 9:4-11
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.

Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?

In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of every human being.

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God, Zophar the Naamathite
Page Number: 12:7-10
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

Let me have silence, and I will speak,
and let come on me what may.

I will take my flesh in my teeth,
and put my life in my hand.

See, he will kill me; I have no hope;
but I will defend my ways to his face.

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God
Page Number: 13:13-15
Explanation and Analysis:

Only grant two things to me,
then I will not hide myself from your face:

withdraw your hand far from me,
and do not let dread of you terrify me.

Then call, and I will answer;
or let me speak, and you reply to me.

[…]

Why do you hide your face,
and count me as your enemy?

Will you frighten a windblown leaf
and pursue dry chaff?

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God
Page Number: 13:20-25
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God
Page Number: 19:25-27
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

Agree with God, and be at peace;
in this way good will come to you.

Receive instruction from his mouth,
and lay up his words in your heart.

If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored,
if you remove unrighteousness from your tents,
[…]
and if the Almighty is your gold
and your precious silver,
then you will delight yourself in the Almighty,
and lift up your face to God.

Related Characters: Eliphaz the Temanite (speaker), God, Job
Page Number: 22:21-26
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

If I go forward, he is not there;
or backward, I cannot perceive him;
on the left he hides, and I cannot behold him;
I turn to the right, but I cannot see him.

But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold.

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God
Page Number: 23:8-10
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

By his power he stilled the Sea;
by his understanding he struck down Rahab.

By his wind the heavens were made fair;
his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.

These are indeed but the outskirts of his ways;
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God
Page Number: 26:12-14
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.

For he looks to the ends of the earth,
and sees everything under the heavens.

When he gave to the wind its weight,
and apportioned out the waters by measure;

[…]

then he saw [wisdom] and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.

And he said to humankind,
‘Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
and to depart from evil is understanding.’”

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God (speaker)
Page Number: 28:23-28
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 32 Quotes

So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. He was angry at Job because he justified himself rather than God; he was angry also at Job’s three friends because they had found no answer, though they had declared Job to be in the wrong. Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job, because they were older than he. But when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouths of these three men, he became angry.

Page Number: 32:1-5
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 38 Quotes

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.”

Related Characters: God (speaker), Job
Related Symbols: Whirlwind
Page Number: 38:1-3
Explanation and Analysis:

Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
or loose the cords of Orion?

[…]

Who has put wisdom in the inward parts,
or given understanding to the mind?

Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?

Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
when the dust runs into a mass
and the clods cling together?

Related Characters: God (speaker), Job
Page Number: 38:31-38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 41 Quotes

Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook,
or press down its tongue with a cord?

Can you put a rope in its nose,
or pierce its jaw with a hook?

[…]

Will you play with it as with a bird,
or will you put it on leash for your girls?

Related Characters: God (speaker), Job
Page Number: 41:1-5
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 42 Quotes

Then Job answered the Lord:

“I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
[…]

therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”

Related Characters: Job (speaker), God
Page Number: 42:1-6
Explanation and Analysis:

And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. […] The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. […] After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.

Related Characters: Job, God
Page Number: 42:10-17
Explanation and Analysis:
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Job Character Timeline in Book of Job

The timeline below shows where the character Job appears in Book of Job. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Suffering and Divine Justice Theme Icon
A man named Job lived in the land of Uz. Job was “blameless and upright”—he honored God and resisted... (full context)
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...that he’s been wandering the earth. The Lord asks Satan if he’s considered “my servant Job.” After all, there is nobody else like Job on earth—a “blameless and upright” worshiper of... (full context)
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One day, while Job’s children are feasting at the eldest brother’s house, a messenger comes to Job and tells... (full context)
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When Job hears this, he gets up, tears his robe, shaves his head, and falls to the... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...Satan says he’s been wandering the earth. The LORD again asks Satan if he’s considered Job who, despite Satan’s incitement against him, maintains his integrity. Satan replies that people will give... (full context)
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Satan afflicts Job with horrible sores all over his body. Job sits in ashes and scrapes his sores... (full context)
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When they hear about Job’s sufferings, three of Job’s friends come to visit—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar... (full context)
Chapter 3
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After those seven days have passed, Job finally speaks—he curses the day he was born. He laments that he didn’t die at... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Then Eliphaz the Temanite speaks up. Eliphaz points out that in the past, Job has taught and encouraged many people. But now that suffering has touched his life, Job... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...born to trouble / just as sparks fly upward.” Because of all this, Eliphaz advises Job to seek God. God sends rain on the earth and takes care of the suffering;... (full context)
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...them with many descendants and grants them old age. These things are true; Eliphaz encourages Job to believe them for himself. (full context)
Chapter 6
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Job replies to Eliphaz. He complains that if his calamities were weighed on a scale, they... (full context)
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Job continues that those who withhold kindness from a friend do not respect God. He says... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Job continues, saying that human life is hard and filled with labor. Job has nothing to... (full context)
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Because of all this, Job won’t hold back his words—he will express his “anguish” and “bitterness.” He feels like “the... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Next, Bildad the Shuhite speaks up. He asks Job how long he’ll continue talking like this, his words “a great wind.” Does God ever... (full context)
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Bildad tells Job that he should consider the wisdom of past generations. Papyrus can’t grow without a marsh,... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Job answers Bildad. He doesn’t disagree, yet how can a human being be considered righteous by... (full context)
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God will not restrain his anger, Job continues. So how can Job presume to answer him, even if he is innocent? He... (full context)
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When Job tries to tell himself to cheer up, he nevertheless fears God’s condemnation. What is the... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Job continues his complaint—he hates his life. He wants to ask God why God finds it... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Next, Zophar the Naamathite speaks. He asks if Job’s “babble” should go unanswered. Sure, Job claims he is innocent. But if God spoke, then... (full context)
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Can Job discern God’s wisdom? It is higher than heaven and deeper than Sheol, longer than the... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Job says that no doubt wisdom will die along with Zophar. However, he understands things, too.... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Job says he is not inferior to Zophar; he knows everything his friend knows. It’s God... (full context)
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Job calls for silence so that he can speak, no matter what happens to him as... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Job continues to pray. He observes that mortals live few days and that their lives are... (full context)
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Job wishes that God would just hide him in Sheol for a while, until God’s wrath... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...He asks if the wise should answer with “windy knowledge,” using worthless words. He accuses Job of neglecting the fear of God—Job’s own words condemn him. Is Job, Eliphaz asks, the... (full context)
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Eliphaz continues that he will tell Job wisdom. The wicked suffer all their lives, constantly threatened by famine and violence. This is... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Job answers and says that he’s heard all this before; his friends are “miserable comforters.” As... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Continuing his complaint, Job says that his spirit is broken. He seeks someone who will “give surety” for him.... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Next Bildad speaks. He asks Job how long he’s going to keep talking—does he think they’re stupid? The wicked don’t thrive,... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Job asks his friends how long they’ll continue to torment him with their destructive words. Aren’t... (full context)
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Job’s family and friends have rejected him. Even his servants regard him as a stranger, and... (full context)
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Job knows that his Redeemer lives, and that in the end, his Redeemer will be seen... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Then Job answers, urging Zophar to listen to him before he mocks any further; he will offer... (full context)
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In fact, Job continues, the wicked even tell God to leave them alone, because they don’t want to... (full context)
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Job continues to insist that the wicked “are spared in the day of calamity” and that... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Next, Eliphaz the Temanite speaks up. He asks Job if even the wisest person can be of service to God. Does human righteousness bring... (full context)
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God is in the heavens, Eliphaz points out, beyond the highest stars—so Job probably assumes that God can’t see him and won’t judge him. Will Job insist on... (full context)
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Eliphaz urges Job to “agree with God, and be at peace.” If he does this, spurning gold and... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Job answers and says that he has a bitter complaint—God’s hand is heavy upon him. He... (full context)
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However, no matter where Job goes—forward or backward, left or right—he cannot find God. At the same time, God knows... (full context)
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At the same time, Job knows that God does whatever he wants. Accordingly, God will also fulfill his plans for... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Job continues, wondering why God does not seem to be around at the right times. The... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Job interrupts Bildad with sarcasm. How helpful his friends have been, he says, to a powerless... (full context)
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...heaven shake, and he stills the sea with his power. He “pierces[] the fleeing serpent.” Job describes these things as just “the outskirts” of God’s ways, as no one can understand... (full context)
Chapter 27
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Job speaks again and says that as long as God (who has embittered his soul) lives,... (full context)
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Job tells his friends he will teach them about the Almighty’s ways. (His friends have seen... (full context)
Chapter 28
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Miners dig precious metals out of the depths of the earth, Job continues, far away from other people. Even though they unearth precious things, they cannot find... (full context)
Chapter 29
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Job speaks again, wishing he were once again in his prime, when God was his friend,... (full context)
Chapter 30
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But now, Job continues, younger men mock him—pitiful outcasts whom the land has rejected. Yet to such men,... (full context)
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Job is racked with relentless pain. He feels that God has thrown him to the ground... (full context)
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Didn’t Job himself once weep for the needy? But when Job looked for good for himself, he... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Job goes on, saying that he’s made “a covenant with [his] eyes” not to look at... (full context)
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If Job has ever neglected the poor, the widow, or the orphan, then he should suffer terrors... (full context)
Chapter 32
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Job’s three companions stop answering him, because Job is “righteous in his own eyes.” Then, another... (full context)
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...up because the other men are older than him. But, angry at the failure of Job’s friends, he finally speaks. He prefaces his statement by acknowledging that he is young, but... (full context)
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...listened to the other men for a long time, but that nobody has successfully answered Job. Now that the others have fallen silent, Elihu sees no reason to keep his thoughts... (full context)
Chapter 33
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Now, Elihu tells Job to hear his speech; his words will demonstrate his uprightness. The spirit of God compels... (full context)
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...that these are the ways God brings people’s souls back from “the Pit.” He tells Job to speak if he has anything to say in response, or if not, to be... (full context)
Chapter 34
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...saying that the group of men must determine among themselves what’s right. Elihu says that Job “drinks up scoffing like water” and consorts with evildoers. He also says that God repays... (full context)
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...the poor whom they have oppressed. Anyone with sense will see this and acknowledge that Job is speaking without knowledge. He wishes that Job were tested to the limit, since he... (full context)
Chapter 35
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Elihu continues speaking. It’s not right, he says, for Job to assert his righteousness and to ask, “How am I better off than if I... (full context)
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...heed those who arrogantly present their own case to God. Because God has not punished Job harshly, Job now speaks empty words, “multiplying[] words without knowledge.” (full context)
Chapter 36
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...God “delivers the afflicted by their affliction / and opens their ear by adversity.” But Job, Elihu accuses, is obsessed with the situation of the wicked. He warns Job not to... (full context)
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Elihu urges Job to praise God’s work. God is great, and mortals can’t fully know him; “the number... (full context)
Chapter 37
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Elihu urges Job to stop and consider God’s wonderful works. Does Job know, he asks, how God causes... (full context)
Chapter 38
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Then, God himself addresses Job “out of the whirlwind.” He demands, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without... (full context)
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God continues to question Job. Where was Job, he asks, when God laid the earth’s foundations? Surely Job knows the... (full context)
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God keeps interrogating Job, asking him if he has walked in the sea’s depths, seen the gates of death,... (full context)
Chapter 39
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God continues asking Job if he knows when mountain goats or deer give birth to their young. Who let... (full context)
Chapter 40
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The LORD asks Job, “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” If Job argues with God, he must give... (full context)
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God again speaks to Job out of the whirlwind, telling him to “gird up his loins like a man” and... (full context)
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God tells Job to consider Behemoth, which God made just as he made Job. This powerful creature eats... (full context)
Chapter 41
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Can Job draw Leviathan out with a fishhook? Can he put a rope in its nose? Can... (full context)
Chapter 42
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Job answers the LORD and says he knows that God can do all these things; God’s... (full context)
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After the LORD finishes speaking to Job, he addresses Eliphaz the Temanite and says that his wrath is kindled against Eliphaz and... (full context)
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After Job prays for his friends, God restores Job’s fortunes. In fact, God gives Job twice as... (full context)