Author: Job is probably the author of the book that bears his name. Job 19:23-24 says,
“Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!”
This isn’t absolute proof that Job wrote the book but there is no indication given that anyone else wrote the book either. Job is considered the author of the story kind of by default.
Date: Job was probably written somewhere between 2000 and 3000 BC. This would make Job the first book of the Bible written. (The first five books of the Bible were recorded by Moses in the 1400’s BC.)
There are no events to firmly place Job in history but some some things can be assumed. The events of Job definitely take place before Moses and the Israelites. There is no mention of the law of God or a tabernacle/temple.
We don’t know how long Job lived in total but we are told that he lived 140 years after the events of the book. Given his vast wealth and number of children before the tragedies that struck his life, he is probably not a young man but rather in the prime of his life. Today that would mean an age of 30-50 but for someone who lived another 140 years, Job was likely somewhere between 80-150. This is pure speculation however. As lifespans begin dropping rapidly after Noah and the ark, a lifespan in the range of 200-300 years would imply that Job lived before Abraham’s day.
Based on some of the animals that are mentioned in Job 40-41 it is possible that Job is a contemporary of Noah who dies before the flood. Animals such as the behemoth and leviathan wouldn’t have perished in the flood but may have died a generation of two afterwards if they were unable to live in the radically altered world after the flood. Once again, this is speculation but it does fit with the story.
Purpose of the book: Job is written to show why the righteous suffer, or to at least offer one explanation – because God says so and we have no right to question Him.
Key themes of Job: The study of Satan – we learn a bit about the way Satan acts and how he is constantly at work to accuse us. The study of nature – Job 38-41 gives us God’s perspective on how nature operates and includes references to animals that appear to now be extinct (possibly dinosaurs!).
Key verses: Job 19:25-27:
25 I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!