Background and Outline (Job)

Bible Commentary / Produced by TOW Project

The author of Job is anonymous. Job does not seem to be an Israelite, because he is said to be from the land of Uz (Job 1:1), which most scholars suggest was to the southeast of ancient Israel. Because he is cited in the book of Ezekiel (Ezek. 14:14, 20), it seems best to date his story no later than Ezekiel’s life (6th Century BC). His story, in any case, is timeless.

The book contains a wide variety of literary genres (narrative, poetry, visions, dialogue and others) woven together into a literary masterpiece. The most commonly accepted outline identifies two cycles of lament, dialogue, and revelation, sandwiched between a prologue and an epilogue:

Job 1:1-2:11

Prologue - Job's Prosperity Lost

Job 3:1-26

Job's First Lament

Job 4:1-27:23

Dialogue With the Three Friends

Job 28:1-28

Wisdom Revealed

Job 29:1-31:40

Job's Second Lament

Job 32:1-37:24

Dialogue With Elihu

Job 38:1-42:6

God Revealed

Job 42:7-17

Epilogue - Job's Prosperity Restored