Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: The Book of Job (Selections)
  • Author: Anonymous
  • Editor: Michael Best
  • Coordinating editor: James D. Mardock

  • Copyright Michael Best. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Anonymous
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Book of Job (Selections)


    The Book of Job is a poetic narrative in the Old Testament describing the sufferings of Job as he loses his wealth, his family, and his health as a result of a test of the strength of his faith. Much of the book is taken up with debates between Job and his friends on the cause of his suffering; they suggest that he is responsible for his own pain, but Job maintains that he has been just, and that both the just and the wicked suffer. Finally, God speaks to Job from out of a whirlwind, insisting that it is impossible for any human to question his omnipotence. God then returns Job to health, with even more wealth and a new family.

    The arc of the narrative is similar to the versions of the Lear story that Shakespeare used as the source for his plot: Job begins in happiness and security, is reduced to poverty and illness, and is finally restored to health and happiness. Much of the book is in the form of dialogues, between God and Satan, between Job and his friends, and finally between God and Job. The selections here are taken from the Geneva Bible, the version used by Shakespeare. I have modernized spelling and punctuation; verses are indicated by superscript numbers.