We are once again reading together the marvellous book of Job. It is the only non-Jewish book of the Bible, and it is in all probability the oldest book of the Bible. Many eminent men -- both religious and non-religious -- have called it the supreme literary production in all the world's history. It is, from any point of view, a most remarkable piece of writing.
THE PLACE AND TIME
From the names of the characters and their ancestors, and the place names, the location of the story lies in the area between the Dead Sea and the desert, or somewhat to the north or south of that: the area of the descendants of Abraham other than through Jacob -- generally speaking, the Arabs. Job was one of the "Men of the East," a term applied to the Arabs: Ishmaelites, Edomites, etc. And the time seems most likely to be during the two hundred or so years Israel was in Egypt. All the background and customs and genealogy point to this place and time.
As to how the book of Job got into an otherwise wholly Jewish Bible, there is a strong and ancient Jewish tradition that Moses wrote it, or at least made it part of the Scriptures -- by the guidance of the Spirit of course. Moses would have been the logical one to do so. He may well have known Job himself, or Job's early descendants, during the forty years he was in Midian. Job was the greatest (and therefore best known) of the "Men of the East" (Job 1:3), and Midian would be included in that area. The history of Job would be well-known there.
It is remarkable that the great typical and exemplary patient sufferer of the Old Testament is not a Jew, but rather is of a race which -- though closely related -- was always, and still is, in deep antagonism to the Jews. He was a Gentile -- a non-Jew, that is -- of the seed of Abraham, adding to the beauty and fitness of the typical picture.
A NON-JEWISH MODEL OF EXCELLENCE
Here, in the midst of an otherwise Jewish book, is a perfect model of excellence for all time: a man who is not a Jew, not under the Law, who had nothing to do with the Law, nothing to do with Israel. He is referred to by Ezekiel (14:14), with Noah and Daniel, as three outstanding examples of righteousness. He is referred to by James (5:11) as the ultimate example of patient, faithful suffering.
The story opens with the simple picture of worshippers of God coming together before Him, and among them a bitter, jealous adversary making a travesty and mockery of it. Orthodoxy represents its Devil as having free access to God's heaven, and being God's agent and accomplice. One 'respectable' modern commentary, the "New Bible Commentary," says concerning this scene that the Devil is a "divine agent," and is the supreme cynic of the heavenly court." What a debased, pagan conception of God's holy dwelling-place! -- in perfect harmony with the crude gods and heavens of Greece and Rome, but certainly not with the Scriptures of Truth.
Bro Growcott - Doth Job Fear God For Nought?