The book of Job is named after its principal character, around whom the events of the narrative revolve. The name “Job” means persecuted one.
The author of the book is unknown, but he was obviously a wise and well-educated man with literary skills. It is possible that Job wrote the book himself, after his restoration. Other suggested authors include Moses, Solomon, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Ezra, and Elihu.
The period of the patriarchs seems to be the most likely time period for the book of Job. Job was not a descendant of Abraham, and he did not live in the land of Canaan. The text identifies his land as Uz.
Job, the book, tells the story of Job, the man of God. It is a gripping story of riches to rags and then rags to riches. It tells how in a matter of minutes, a prominently wealthy and godly man lost all of his possessions, all of his children, and finally his health. Even his wife told Job to curse God and die, and his friends condemned rather than consoled him.
Job was a prosperous farmer living in the land of Uz. He had thousands of sheep, camels, and other livestock. He also had a large family and many servants. Satan was allowed to destroy Job’s children, servants, livestock, herdsmen, and home, but Job continued to follow God. Then he experienced extreme physical pain as he was covered with boils. Then his wife deserted him, and his friends told him to confess his sins and turn back to God. Finally, God spoke to him out of a whirlwind and Job fell in humble reverence before Him. In the end, Job was restored to happiness and wealth.
This book wrestles with the age-old question as to why righteous men suffer if God is a God of love and mercy. It is easy to think that we have the answers, but in reality, only God knows why things happen as they do. We can be sure that God is in control of every situation and only He understands why the good are allowed to suffer.
This book also teaches that to ask why, as Job did (3:11-12, 16, 20), is not wrong. However, to demand that God answer why, as Job also did (13:22; 19:7, 31:15), is wrong. This constitutes a challenge as to God’s sovereignty. The best question is to ask God what He wants us to learn through suffering rather than why it happened.
The book can be outlined as follows:
The disasters of Job (chapters 1-2).
The friends of Job (chapters 3-37).
The conversation of Job with God (chapters 38-41).