Q: #176. How long did Job suffer?

By: Steve Shirley

    A: The answer to this question cannot be known for sure because the Bible does not tell us. However, we do know that it was more than a day, because Job mentions suffering for "days" (Job 7:6)(Job 30:16,27). We know that it was more than a week, because before Job's friends would even speak to him, they sat silent with him for "seven days and seven nights" because "his grief (pain) was very great" (Job 2:13). It even seems possible, based on (Job 7:3), that it was months. According to some Jewish tradition, it may have been a year.

     Whatever the length of time, Job certainly did suffer greatly. First, his 1000 (Job 1:3) oxen and donkeys were stolen, and some of his servants were killed (Job 1:14-15). Then, "the fire of God fell from heaven" (probably lightning, and it wasn't from God, because Satan was attacking Job: Job 1:12) and burned up all 7000 (Job 1:3) of his sheep, and more of his servants were killed  (Job 1:16). Then, his 3000 (Job 1:3) camels were stolen, and even more of his servants were killed (Job 1:17). Following this, and worst of all, the house in which Job's 7 sons and 3 daughters (Job 1:2) were meeting was blown down by "a great wind" (likely a tornado) and they were all killed (Job 1:18-19). Finally, Job was smitten from head to toe with painful boils (Job 2:7) which caused his skin to turn black and gave him a fever (Job 30:30).

     In spite of all of these trials, however, Job never lost his integrity (Job 2:3), never cursed God (Job 2:10), held fast to his faith (Job 13:15), and spoke right of God (Job 42:8). In fact, James commented in the New Testament that Job was a model of "endurance" and "perseverance" (James 5:11).

     After his trials, God gave Job 7 more sons and 3 more daughters, and double the number of livestock that he had lost (Job 42:12-13).

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