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21. Job and his wife

My notes for teaching the Old Testament, by Mama Brenda.

Leader’s notes: Lesson 21 - Job and his wife

Enjoy this reassuring lesson!

This lesson takes a lot of consideration - so I have put Selah after several challenging paragraphs. Go through the paragraph and then have a minute of silence to try and feel what the characters in the story feel. Consider how you would react. You may need to sharpen the focus each time on what to think about.

Teach through the first three paragraphs (opposite on page 77).

Yes – that does mean chapters 4-31. Twenty-eight chapters of philosophical argument, followed by chapters 32-37, another six chapters of philosophical argument.

Now to the story. Get the ladies to read Job 1:1-5 and pull out the information.

Student's worksheet: Lesson 21 - Job and his wife

Job is the first of the Wisdom Writings in our Bibles. It has much philosophical argument wrapped in a story. Its format bears little similarity to Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or Song of Solomon - the other Wisdom Writings. In some ways we feel that it is more narrative, but the philosophical content shows the antiquity of human discussion about the problem of evil. It does not qualify as history because, although Job’s way of living puts him in a time frame, there is nothing else to date it by. The book of Job contains a detailed story which stands totally alone in the Scripture that God has preserved for us. It has details that are only otherwise mentioned in our Bibles in Daniel and Revelation, and occasional other references. It is an absolute treasure.

The book of Job is possibly the oldest story in the Old Testament - probably from before writing and therefore handed down orally. It may have been committed to writing in the explosion of written material from the time of Solomon.

Job is mentioned in Ezekiel 14:14,20 for his righteousness and in James 5:11 where his perseverance is mentioned. Paul quotes Job 5:13 in 1 Corinthians 3:19.

Let’s break the book of Job into meaningful pieces.

1:1-5 Context of Job

1:6-12 Context of the heavenly realms (1)

1:13-19 Facts of the story

1:20-22 Job’s first reaction

2:1-6 Context of the heavenly realms (2)

2:7-10 Job’s second reaction

2:11-13 Job’s three friends come and sit with him

3:1-26 Job speaks

Chapters 4-31 Philosophical arguments from Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Job

Chapters 32-37 Elihu, a younger man, intervenes

38:1-42:6 God deals with Job

42:7-9 God speaks to Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.

42:10-17 Job’s new context

1:1-5 Context of Job

Uz was a large area east of Jordan. See map on page 2.

Job was not sinless, but he was morally good and spiritually godly. His substantial wealth was measured in herds of animals and numbers of servants - as was Abram’s, Genesis 13:1-7, and his grandson, Jacob’s, Genesis 32:13-16 (and those animals were just a gift for Esau, not the main flocks!). Job was an important man. His seven sons had their own houses and the three daughters were based with Job. They feasted at the various family houses. As these feasts ended Job was in the habit of making the family purified and then sacrificing a burnt offering on behalf of each of them, just in case any of them had sinned “and cursed God in their hearts” Job 1:5. He regularly acted as a priest in this way, and this was before the ceremonial laws of Moses existed.

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Leader's notes: Lesson 21 - Job and his wife.

1:6-12 Ask the ladies to read and pull out the information. Make sure, perhaps with questions, that everyone knows exactly what is going on in this history. Teach through to verse 12.

Selah. Who in heaven has absolute power? How do we know from this Bible passage?

1:13-19 read and check information in the paragraph

Uz was east of the river Jordan

Selah – all the animals, all his wealth, all his descendants gone. Think if that happened to you.

1:20-22 Encourage the ladies to read - what is the most important phrase?

Selah – what would your reaction have been? Why?

Student's worksheet: Lesson 21 - Job and his wife.

Job 1:6-12 Context of the heavenly realms (1)

A complete change of scene. Now we are in heaven’s throne room or council chamber as in 1 Kings 22:19 “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left”, Psalm 89:5-7; Jeremiah 23:18, 22.


On this day there is an additional presence. Satan, literally ‘the accuser’, has come with the angels. How often the Evil One comes in alongside something that is good. God asks him where he has come from. God is omnipresent - present everywhere. Obviously Satan is not, but he replies that he has been to lots of places. God then initiates a conversation about Job, whom ‘the accuser’ cannot accuse of anything. So he tries to accuse Job of being a ‘fair weather Christian’ - being a believer when everything is fine. ‘The accuser’ challenges God and says “But stretch out your hand and touch everything that he has, and he will surely curse you to your face”. Job 1:11.


Who challenges who first? Yes, God challenges ‘the accuser’.

Verse 12 “The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.“

1:13-19 Facts of the story

Back to the land of Uz.

A messenger comes to Job: some local warlords have attacked and taken the oxen and donkeys. I was the only one left.

Another messenger comes: the fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants. I was the only one left.

Yet another messenger comes: more warlords came as three raiding parties and took all the camels. I was the only one left.

One more messenger: your sons and daughters were feasting at the oldest brother’s house, and a mighty wind swept in from the desert and the house collapsed on top of them. They are all dead and I am the only one to escape.


1:20-22 Job’s reaction 1

Job got up, he tore his robe and shaved his head as symbols of mourning.

He fell to the ground in ……….. no, not in anger…..not in self-pity……..but in worship. Verse 21.

“In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” Verse 22.


Page 78

Leader's notes: Lesson 21 - Job and his wife.

Teach through page 78 (opposite) using the Selah pauses.

Job 2:1-6 Invite the ladies to read and share what they have learned.

Selah – as human beings and as women, we probably feel ‘Job does not need any more problems.’ But here we are looking at God’s belief in Job and at the throne room of heaven, at the scene of all ultimate authority.

Job 2:7-10 We knew this was going to happen.

Events that hurt our closest friends and family can sometimes make us react in ways that doubt God. We need to make sure that our faith is more important than the circumstances. That is hard – but necessary.

Selah – can we react the way Job did?

Job 2:11-13 ask the ladies to read on their own and then share what they have learned.

Selah – do my, do your, words help, or merely satisfy me that I have said something?

Could I do anything else which would comfort or help?

Job 3:1-26 summarise these verses with the ladies as a class.

Student's worksheet: Lesson 21 - Job and his wife.

Job 2:1-6 Context of the heavenly realms (2)

We are in the throne room of heaven again with God. The same characters involved.

There is the same conversation plus this from God. “And he (Job) still maintains his integrity though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” There is

the same kind of response from ‘the accuser’ - “Strike his flesh and bones and he will surely curse you to your face.” God gave Satan permission to damage Job’s life but he must spare it.


2:7-10 Job’s reaction 2

‘The accuser’ strikes Job with boils all over his body. Note that Satan is able to do this, but his power is limited by God. He is not omnipotent - all powerful - God is.

Sitting among ashes - a sign of mourning - Job scrapes at the boils to get some relief. His wife tells him to give up trusting God, curse God and die. Later in history, Leviticus

24:10-16, it is made clear in the Law that those who curse God will die. Job says her reaction is like that of a foolish woman. He does not say she is a foolish woman, but in that reaction she has not been wise. Perhaps her care for her husband at that point of time became larger than her trust in God? If so, it was a wrong decision, but we understand how she got there!

Job then says what is an amazing but true thought. “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” We are pleased when life is good, happy and easy. We thank God. But when things are not easy, happy and good - do we thank God or do we blame God? Verse 10, “In all this Job did not sin in what he said.”

In the last few years there has been a tendency in England for Christians, when everything is happy, to say ‘God is good’. But God is always good all the time. Sometimes we don’t feel like expressing that truth, and we struggle to say ‘God is good’ when things are not the way we would like them to be. We must learn to be like Job.


2:11-13 Job’s 3 friends come and sit with Job

This was not the work of three short phone calls. Do you remember how long messages and information and arrangements took before phones? They heard, verse 11, and they met together by agreement to go and be with Job and comfort him.

They were disturbed by what they saw. They had no words. Their presence was the gift of encouragement they brought. In England we always have to have words for every occasion - even when words do not satisfy. Your presence, your time, show that you care, and sometimes speak louder than words. A silent hug can be good in my culture!


3:1-26 Job speaks

Job is the one who breaks the silence of seven days and seven nights. He wishes he had never been born verses 1-2. Verses 25-26 tell of his lack of peace, quietness and rest. But he does not blame God.

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Leader's notes: Lesson 21 - Job and his wife.

Work through page 80. We will not read chapters 4-37. Use my summary in the notes and move on.

Selah. Think of the times life has been difficult. We may not understand now, but God had His purpose in it, and He walked through it with us. Yes, it was hard as we walked through.

Job 38:1-42:6 – use only these selected verses:

38:4-39:30 What were the questions God asked Job?

I counted the number of question marks in those verses, in the NIV Bible

translation I was using – 40 – your translation may have more or less. All of

them show us how great our God is. Perhaps the ladies could pick out a

question each, one that especially speaks to them of how great God is.

My favourite is Job 38:31-33. You are welcome to share it with me!

40:6-8 Ask a lady to read, and then question what it means. Our thinking can be just

as devious as God suggests Job’s was.

Job 42:7-9 Invite a lady to read the verses and then to comment on them.

42:10-17 Get a lady to read the verses. Make sure the ladies have understood that our

obedience does not necessarily bring wealth or health. The ‘prosperity

gospel’ is not true to the teaching of the Bible.

Selah. God the almighty One, the all-powerful. We are human, frail and sinful, but we are loved by a great God.

There is a place for reading the speeches of the comforters, but not in an overview of the Old Testament. Wait until your philosophy degree.

There are however three shining jewels in the thirty-three chapters we have skipped over.

Make sure you look at the next lesson and leader’s notes in good time. It is different!

Student's worksheet: Lesson 21 - Job and his wife.

Job chapters 4-31 Philosophical arguments from Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Job

Chapters 32-37 Elihu, a younger man, intervenes

These four men make many arguments, but we have the advantage over them because we have seen the scene in heaven. We have learned that God is using Job’s situation to teach spiritual powers a lesson.


Job 38:1-42:6 God deals with Job

In chapter 37 Elihu talks of God in terms of thunder, driving winds, His roar, His majestic voice. Chapter 38 “The Lord answered Job out of the storm.” Perhaps God was also answering the storm going on in Job’s mind?

Put 38:2-3 into your own words.

What were the questions?

40:1-2 God challenges Job. How?

40:3-5 Job says he has no answer.

40:6-41:34 God speaks out of the storm again. Verse 8 He asks Job if Job would say God was unjust, in order to make Job seem right?

42:1-6 summarise what Job says to God.

Job 42:7-9 God speaks to Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.

Verse 7 God tells the three friends that they have not spoken truth about God. Job had spoken truth about God.

God told them to make burnt offerings for themselves and Job would pray for them “and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly”.

In verses 7 and 8 God says four times “my servant Job”. That’s where we started the story - 1:8 “my servant Job”.

42:10-17 Job’s new context

The cosmic contest with ‘the accuser’ is over and Job is restored. Until he got to heaven Job did not know the reason for everything that happened. We do not have all the answers in our lives yet, but God wants our complete trust whatever the circumstances. The fact that God gave Job more than he had before, is not a promise that if we trust we will be rewarded in the ‘now’. Plenty of God’s saints have died poor in money, but rich in God.


You will have noticed that I have jumped chapters 4-37. God gives the reason in 42:7 - the three friends have said things that are not right about God. However, Job says three things in his discourses that we cannot leave out – see Job 19:25-27; 23:10; 28:28.

A definite Selah to those three statements!

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