We need your help. Please consider supporting Reasons for Hope*Jesus

The Bible does not tell us exactly how long Job suffered.  We know that his suffering began with the death of his servant and the loss of his livestock and got progressively worse with the deaths of his children and his physical afflictions.  However, we do not know the time frame in which all these afflictions took place. Scripture suggests that they occurred in one day, for we are told that the messengers came, one after the other (four total), and while the previous one “was yet speaking…” (Job 1:16,17,18). 

Job’s Friends Spoke

We are also told that three of Job’s friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) came to him when they heard of his suffering (Job 2:11ff).  But we do not have answers to these questions: 

How long after Job’s suffering did they hear?
How long did it take them to prepare for their trip?
And how long did it take them to travel to where Job was?

When Job’s friends arrived, they sat in silence with him for seven days.  After that, they spoke. Their words are recorded in Job 3-31. While we know they waited seven days to speak, we do not know over how many days they spoke.

When Job’s three friends ceased talking, another friend (Elihu) spoke up. His words are found in Job 32-38 but we also do not know how long he spoke.

God Spoke

Then all of Job’s friends ceased speaking. Job gave his final speech, after which, God spoke. But we do not know if He spoke immediately or if there was a delay in time.  

When God began to speak, He first asked questions of Job (Job 38-41), and then He rebuked Job’s three friends. Before considering more about Job’s period of suffering, let’s pause to remember how Job responded to the Lord:

Job 42:2-6  “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.

A Reasoned Answer

Having followed the chronology of events, but without any definitive time markers or a specified number of days or years, we still can’t know how long Job suffered.  We can reasons that it had to be more than just a few weeks based on:

  • one day of calamity in Job 1
  • an apparent gap between Job 1 and 2
  • the time it took for the three friends to hear about Job and travel to visit him
  • one week of the friends sitting in silence with Job
  • the three friends speaking
  • the fourth friend speaking
  • Job speaking
  • God speaking
  • God commanding the friends to offer sacrifice
  • the departure of Job’s friends
  • Job praying

It was only after the three friends left (Job 42:9), and when Job prayed for his friends, that God restored Job (Job 42:10).  

Some have suggested the course of events took as long as two years, which would mean Job suffered for that time.  Others have suggested it might have been 42 months, as a whisper of the Great Tribulation.  But again, there is no way to determine how long Job suffered. The Bible simply does not say.  This might be why the book of Job is not included with the historical books, but instead is part of the writings. Without any specific mention of dates or historical events, it is impossible to conclusively date the book or determine the length of events and Job’s suffering.

In Application

When God allows us to suffer in any way, or for any length of time, we must remember that He has a purpose.  We are promised that He works all things for our good and His glory.  Therefore, what matters most is not the length of suffering, or even the severity of our suffering, it’s how we suffer.  Where do we turn for comfort and hope?  When we turn to God in faith, our hearts are changed and our souls are comforted.

Suffering and Restoration

It is my belief that Job suffered well, and that the anguish he expressed was from his thought that God had left him.  Job said, “I have uttered what I did not understand” (Job 42:5). In the ancient mind, it was understood that earthly blessings were gifts from God and that God protected his faithful people from harm. When Job’s earthly possessions and his children were taken from him, Job knew that God had not protected him from the losses yet he did not charge God with having done these things to him (Job 1:22). We are also told that Job did not sin (Job 1:22) and later God says Job spoke rightly (Job 42:7,8).  Therefore, I believe that Job thought that God had turned away from him and so his greatest suffering was thinking that God had left him.  Reading Job’s words in that light, we see a man despairing, feeling alone, and grieving his distance from God.  Job was not sealed by the Holy Spirit as we are.  Nor did he have God’s written words to read for reassurance.  So we should be compassionate and understand his anguish.

Job did not know why such calamities had befallen him.  God never explained to Job either. But in due time, God revealed more and more of Himself to Job, giving Job comfort and hope.  And then, God restored that which Job had lost, giving him a double blessing.  

Restoration in Relationship

The greatest lesson of restoration in the book of Job is not that of his wealth and children.  Job was restored to experience God’s presence.  The book started by telling us that Job offered sacrifices to God for his children (Job 1:5), and it ends with God telling Job’s friend to offer a sin sacrifice, but he does not tell Job to do so for himself.  Instead, he tells Job to pray for his friends.  When Job did as God asked, Job demonstrated his continuing faith in God and his trust that God was present to hear his prayers.  

Rather than judging Job, God…

    • commended Job (Job 42:7-8), 
    • restored Job (Job 42:9-10), and 
    • gave Job a long and full life (Job 42:17).

<*}}}><

*******

Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists

Thank you to all who contributed in 2020. Your generosity is a blessing and encouragement to us.  We did not meet expenses in 2020 and still need your help to continue our global outreach in 2021.  Our mission is to glorify God by equipping, encouraging, and empowering YOU to understand the Bible and grow in faith. If our online resources have blessed you, we hope you will support Reasons for Hope* Jesus. Our ministry outreach has grown significantly and. . .

Please support Reasons for Hope* Jesus with a donation of $5, $10, $20, or more. A donation of any amount is needed and greatly appreciated.

CLICK TO DONATE
to Reasons for Hope*Jesus(a 501c3 Ministry)
Use a Credit Card or PayPal for safe, secure giving.

*******

***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***  

Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus.  When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).

A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ   Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.

Top Ten  in 2019

  1. What is the meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
  2.  What is the meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
  3. Is my TATTOO a sin?
  4. What do the 12 stones UNDER the JORDAN River mean? (Joshua 4)
  5. CHARLIE BROWN Theology 
  6. What Does It Mean to TASTE & SEE That God Is Good? (Psalm 34)
  7. Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
  8. Is Leonard Cohen’s “HALLELUJAH” a Christian Song?
  9. Where did OT Saints go at death? ABRAHAM'S BOSOM? Where was that?
  10. Is It a Sin to Drink ALCOHOL?

More Popular Questions & Articles:

If BAPTIZED as an Infant, Do I Need to Be Baptized Again?
How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM? Psalm 22
Is Satan’s Real Name LUCIFER? Or Should We Call Him Satan?
What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings? 
Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
The Names of Jehovah hidden in Psalm 23! This will surprise you!
What Did Jesus Say About HEAVEN (and HELL)?
JESUS WEPT. Why? And…it’s not the shortest verse in the Bible!
Is There a Remez (HIDDEN MESSAGE ) in Revelation 7? Why is Dan Missing?
What Does it Mean to Be A CHILD OF GOD?
Why Is PRAYER Important?
Is SUICIDE an Unforgivable Sin?

Something ALL Christians must know:  IVDARR

Our Top Three Videos

Christian Version of Leonard Cohen's HALLELUJAH
Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace
RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!

Help us spread the good news and saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Please tell your friends about ReasonsforHopeJesus.com. If you have a website or blog, please link to ReasonsforHopeJesus.com.   All resources on this site © Reasons for Hope* Jesus --  click for Republication Permissions or contact hope@reasonsforhopeJesus.com

We need your help. Please consider supporting Reasons for Hope*Jesus
Reasons for Hope* Jesus

SubscribeNow!

Yes, send me answers to interesting and challenging questions about Jesus and the Bible.  Help me get equipped and be encouraged so I am empowered to know, live, and share my faith.  <*}}}><

 

Get equipped with knowledge!

Be encouraged in hope!

Live empowered with love! 

You have Successfully Subscribed!