The title character of the book of Job suffers terribly, but we should not mistakenly think that this book is just about Job. It is about all of us, and ultimately about God.
Many have thought that the book simply restates the perennial questions that plague humankind in a world full of suffering. But often our questions are too limited, and we must learn to ask better questions so that we might find more significant answers. The book of Job answers our original questions obliquely, letting these answers prompt deeper questions, and leading us to discover the wealth that the book has to offer.
A lot of people assume that the book of Job deals with the question of why righteous people suffer. Instead, John Walton suggests that the book is about the nature of righteousness—not the nature of suffering. As we learn to deepen our questions, God will transform how we think about his work in the world and about our responses in times of suffering.
“Regardless of its location, this detail is significant because it indicates that Job is not an Israelite. His non-Israelite status explains the absence of many key theological elements in the book, including law, covenant, temple, and references to Yahweh.4 Intriguingly, however, the book frequently evidences an Israelite perspective,5 which suggests that the story of the non-Israelite Job has actually been given its literary shape by an Israelite author for an Israelite audience.” (Page 57)
“Tam and yašar are desirable accolades, but they are achievable for humans who seek steadfastly to order their ways according to customary conceptions of godliness. But these terms do not describe people who live lives of sinless perfection; rather, they describe those who have found favor in the eyes of God and other humans (cf. Prov. 3:4).” (Page 58)
“The important point is that Yahweh is not simply taking up the role of wisdom instructor; the tone of his words should be understood as a rebuke. The storm does not simply convey his power; it conveys his wrath.” (Page 398)
“In common Old Testament usage, to fear the Lord/God is to take God seriously.” (Page 58)
“For these reasons, we may rightly assume that Job was a historical figure—a man who was righteous and suffered greatly.15 We lose nothing by accepting Job’s story as historical, and we gain nothing by concluding that he is a fabricated, fictional character.” (Page 25)
This is the pulpit commentary for the twenty-first century.
—George K. Brushaber, president, Bethel College and Seminary
The NIV Application Commentary meets the urgent need for an exhaustive and authoritative commentary based on the New International Version. This series will soon be found in libraries and studies throughout the evangelical community.
—James Kennedy, senior minister, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
It is encouraging to find a commentary that is not only biblically trustworthy but also contemporary in its application. The NIV Application Commentary will prove to be a helpful tool in the pastor’s sermon preparation. I use it and recommend it.
—Charles F. Stanley, pastor, First Baptist Church of Atlanta
The tools, ideas, and insights contained in this volume will help preachers communicate God’s Word and understand the Gospel in the context of contemporary culture, and the exegetical, literary, and grammatical summaries will benefit scholars and students of the Bible. What’s more, with Logos, Scripture passages are linked to Greek and Hebrew texts, along with English translations, and the powerful search tools provide instant access to the information you need for research projects, sermon preparation, and personal study.
John H. Walton received his PhD from Hebrew Union College and is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School. Before teaching at Wheaton, Walton taught at Moody Bible Institute for 20 years. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Old Testament, and Ancient Near Eastern Thought, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, and A Survey of the Old Testament. He was also a speaker at the Pastorum Live 2012 Conference.