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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Job - Introduction

A brief narrative informs the reader that the hero is subjected to a divine test as a means of ascertaining whether or not he serves the deity without thinking about profiting from it. A poetic debate between Job and three friends follows, in which they discuss Job's suffering and the broader issue of divine justice. This debate opens with Job's powerful lament; from then on, a friend speaks and Job responds. This happens for three cycles of debate, except that Bildad's last speech is quite brief and Zophar's is missing. Job then remembers his happy past, contrasting it with his miserable present. A poetic interlude asks where wisdom can be found, and Job pronounces an oath of innocence aimed at evoking a divine response. Instead of the anticipated deity, a youthful Elihu appears and criticizes the friends for failing to answer Job effectively and Job for the nature of his complaints. God finally arrives in a tempest, rebukes Job, and praises the wonders of nature, both heavenly and earthly. In the face of such majesty, Job relents—although the text is ambiguous at this point. The book concludes with a short narrative telling about Job's restoration.

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