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My Top Six OT Comments: Job (Guest Writer: Dr. Richard Middleton)


(Want to keep up to date with all of our previous guest posts and their commentary recommendations? Here’s the index link to that series.)

Today, we have Dr. Richard Middleton (Northeastern Seminary), author of the recent book, Abraham’s silence. In this book, Middleton’s two chapters on Job are a mini-commentary on the whole book (chapter 3 covering Job 1–37, chapter 4 covering Job 38–42). He is currently working on a stand-alone commentary on 1 Samuel 1–15 (Eerdmans), titled Portrait of a Disgruntled Prophetand another on Genesis 2–3 (Cascade), titled Life and Death in the Garden of Eden.

David JA Clines, Job 1–20, Employment 21–37, Employment 38–42Word Biblical Commentary 17, 18A, 18B (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1989, 2006, 2011).

This is the major and comprehensive commentary on Job. While I often disagree with Clines’ interpretations of specific passages, his treatment of the Hebrew text of Job is indispensable for serious study of the book.

L.Seow, Task 1–21: Interpretation and CommentaryIlluminations (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013).

This is my new favorite substantial commentary on Job. I learned Hebrew many years ago through Seow’s Hebrew Grammar. This commentary, which combines the history of interpretation with a detailed commentary on the Hebrew text, is paradoxically one of the most lucid and clear commentaries I have read.

Samuel E. Ballentine, UseSmyth & Helwys Bible Commentary (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2006).

This beautifully presented commentary takes a predominantly literary approach, with fascinating inserts (some visual) that connect Job to many interpreters throughout history, both religious and secular (some additional material is included on the CD-Rom).

Gerald Janzen, UseInterpretation (Atlanta: John Knox, 1985).

This is one of the most theologically profound Job comments I have come across. Although written primarily for pastors, Janzen brings his knowledge of Hebrew, Semitic languages, and ancient Near Eastern mythology to bear on the text, along with a poetic sensibility and earthly spirituality. Before reading this comment, I was drawn to reading Job by Janzen in a very personal post-cancer meditation called Scent of Water: The Foundation of Hope in the Book of Job (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009).

Gustavo Gutierrez, On Job: God Speaks and the Suffering of the Innocent, trans. Matthew J. O’Connell (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1987).

A short but powerful commentary from the father of Latin American liberation theology. I am convinced that Gutiérrez is right to see Job’s central problem as how to speak of (and to) God from within a situation of innocent suffering. His reflections on justice and the connection between the book and the suffering of Jesus are inspiring.

Carol A. Newson, “The Book of Job,” in The New Interpreter’s Bible, flight. 3, ed. Leander E. Keck et al. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1996), 319–637.

A useful commentary for preachers who are mindful of the multiple possibilities of interpretation on many issues throughout the book. It is a precursor to his later monograph on the contest of moral imaginations in Job, which asserts that there is no unifying point of view in the book.

Andrew Zack Lewis, Employment in approachCascade Companions 33 (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2017).

Although not a commentary, it is a wonderful introduction to Job in four chapters that deal with the book’s content, structure, key individual passages, and theological and ethical implications.

Thank you, Dr. Middleton! Take a look at his book Abraham’s Silence