Thomas Carlyle called the Book of Job "All men's Book!" and indeed there are few Old Testament stories that exercise a stronger or more lasting attraction than that of Job. "It is ," Carlyle said again, " our first , oldest statement of the never-ending Problem-man's destiny, and God's way with him here in this earth." As life loses the first simplicities of youth we sense increasingly its mysteries, of which suffering is perhaps the greatest, and we feel that even if we cannot understand all in the Book of Job, it does indicate an answer to these problems.
Yet there are two main reasons why the detailed study of this striking book defeats us. The first is that it is poetry of the highest order-Tennyson called it "the greatest poem of ancient or modern times-and consequently needs an effort of mind and heart to enter into it that is not usually associated with the study of the Bible. The second reason is the inadequacy of the King James Version, of which Davidson said "the A.V. appears at its worst in this book." It is to the overcoming of these hindrances that this penetrating and practical study by a leading Old Testament scholar applies itself, and brings the message of the book home to our hearts by stripping the characters of their Eastern garments, so that they may speak to us in the circumstances and language of today.
Above all, the Book of Job is a real story, written out of the anguish of real bei ngs, and consequently it comes alive in its fulness only to those who themselves have shared in suffering. The author of this book had hard Iy started on his studies before a period of suffering and distress broke over him, profoundly affecting both his understanding of the book and the scale of his treatment of it. The present work is therefore sent out in the hope that as Job's anguish brought the author comfort in his own dark days, it will make the triumph of Job the more real and the greater blessing to all who pass through deep waters.
[From the fly-leaf]