The righteous Job (whose name means “persecuted”), was God’s faithful servant, and is considered to be the perfect image of every virtue. He lived around 1500-2000 years before the birth of Christ, and was the son of Zarah and Bossorha (Job 42), and a fifth-generation descendent of Abraham. He was a truthful, righteous, patient, and pious man who abstained from every evil thing. With all his soul he was devoted to the Lord God and in everything conducted himself in accord with God's will. Job was also very rich and blessed by God in all things. For his justness and honesty Job was held in high esteem by his fellow citizens and had great influence in public matters.
One time however, when the Angels stood before the Throne of God, satan appeared amongst them. The Lord God asked satan, whether he had seen His servant Job, a man righteous and without blemish. Satan answered audaciously, that it was not for nothing that Job was God-fearing - since God was watching over him and multiplying his riches, but if misfortune were sent on him, he would then stop blessing God.
Then the Lord, wishing to prove Job's patience and faith, said to satan, "Everything, that Job has, I give into your hand, but you cannot touch him." After this Job suddenly lost all his wealth, and then also all his children. Job turned to God and said, "Naked did I emerge from the womb of my mother, and naked will I be returned to my mother the earth. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!" And thus did Job not sin before the Lord God, nor utter any evil word against God.
Then satan said that Job was righteous because he himself remained unharmed. And the Lord allowed satan to do anything he wanted with Job, except touch his soul. After this Job was inflicted with horrible illness and leprous boils covered his whole body. He had to move outside of the city limits, and while sitting on a heap of ashes, he scraped his wound with a broken ceramic piece. Job's wife reproached him and told him to curse God and die. His friends abandoned him. But Job remained steadfast, saying, "Will we have only the good from God, but not the bad?"
Three of Job's closest friends came to comfort him, but seeing him, they assumed that he was punished by God for some unseemly sin. Job, however, knowing himself and his actions, refused to accept this explanation. He acknowledged that these tribulations came from God, but not as punishment. In prayer to God Job asked Him to witness to his friends his innocence. In His reply God reproached Job for trying to penetrate with his human reason the divine mystery of the world order. And Job answered, "I am as nothing, therefore I repent in dust and ashes."
For his unfailing faith, the Lord restored to Job his health and gave him twice as much as before. Job lived for 170 years after his misfortune, completing his earthly life in 1350 BC at the age of 240.
Job’s explanations are among the most poetic writings in the Old Testament book which bears his name. It is one of the most edifying portions of Holy Scripture. Job teaches us that we must endure life’s adversities patiently and with trust in God. As Saint Anthony the Great says: without temptations, it is impossible for the faithful to be saved.
The Orthodox Church reads the book of Job, the first of the seven wisdom books of the Old Testament, during Holy Week, drawing a parallel between Job and Christ as righteous men who suffered through no fault of their own. God allowed satan to afflict Job so that his faithfulness would be proven. Christ, the only sinless one, suffered voluntarily for our sins.
Saint John Chrysostom says: "There was no human misfortune, which this man did not undergo. He was the firmest and most adamant, beset by sudden tribulation by hunger, and by woe, and sickness, and bereft of children, and loss of riches, and then suffering abuse from his wife, insult from his friends, reproach from his servants, and in everything he showed himself more solid than a stone, and a source before the Law also of Grace".
As an indestructible pillar of courage,
you repulsed the attacks of Belial and remained unmoved in temptation.
Therefore, O wise Job,
the Church praises you as a model of endurance and an example of virtue,
and she is made radiant by your great deeds.
You were true and just, pious, blameless and holy, O glorious servant of God.
You enlightened the world by your perseverance, O much-afflicted Job.
Therefore, we all honor and praise your divinely-wise memory.
Find the Book of Job in your Bibles, and read at least a chapter a day as part of your daily prayer rule. You can also find this text here.
Through the prayers of Saint Job the long-suffering, O Lord Jesus Christ out God, have mercy on us and save us.