ere followeth the History of Job, read on the first Sunday of September.
There was a man in the land of Uz named Job, and this man was simple, rightful and dreading God, and going from all evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and his possession was seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred asses, and his family and household passing much and great. He was a great man and rich among all the men of the orient. And his sons went daily each to other house making great feasts, ever each one as his day came, and they sent for their three sisters for to eat and drink with them. When they had thus feasted each other, Job sent to them and blessed and sanctified them, and rising every day early, he offered sacrifices for them all, saying: Lest my children sin and bless not God in their hearts. And thus did Job every day.
On a day when the sons of God were tofore our Lord, Satan came and was among them, to whom our Lord said: Whence comest thou? Which answered, I have gone round about the earth and through walked it. Our Lord said to him: Hast thou not considered my servant Job, that there is none like unto him in the earth, a man simple, rightful, dreading God, and going from evil? To whom Satan answered: Doth Job dread God idly? If so were that thou overthrewest him, his house and all his substance round about, he should soon forsake thee. Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possession is increased much in the earth, but stretch out thy hand a little, and touch all that he hath in possession, and he shall soon grudge and not bless thee. Then said our Lord to Satan: Lo ! all that which he owneth and hath in possession, I will it be in thy hand and power, but on his person ne body set not thy hand. Satan departed and went from the face of our Lord. On a day as his sons and daughters ate, and drank wine, in the house of the oldest brother, there came a messenger to Job which said: The oxen eared in the plough and the ass pastured in the pasture by them, and the men of Sabea ran on them, and smote thy servants, and slew them with of sword, and I only escaped for to come and to show it to thee. And whiles he spake came another and said: The fire of God fell down from heaven and hath burnt thy sheep and servants and consumed them, and I only escaped for to come and show it to thee. And yet whiles he spake came another and said: The Chaldees made three hosts and have enveigled thy camels and taken them, and have slain thy servants with sword, and I only escaped for to bring thee word. And yet he speaking another entered in and said: Thy sons and daughters, drinking wine in the house of thy first begotten son, suddenly came a vehement wind from the region of desert and smote the four corners of the house, which falling oppressed thy children, and they be all dead, and I only fled for to tell it to thee. Then Job arose, and cut his coat, and did do shave his head, and falling down to the ground, worshipped and adored God, saying: I am come out naked from the womb of my mother and naked shall return again thereto. Our Lord hath given and our Lord hath taken away, as it hath pleased our Lord, so it is done, the name of our Lord be blessed. In all these things Job sinned not with his lips, ne spake nothing follily against our Lord, but took it all patiently.
After this it was so that on a certain day when the children of God stood tofore our Lord, Satan came and stood among them, and God said to him: Whence comest thou? To whom Satan answered: I have gone round the earth, and walked through it. And God said to Satan, Hast thou not considered my servant Job that there is no man like him in the earth, a man simple, rightful, dreading God, and going from evil, and yet retaining his innocency? Thou hast moved me against him that I should put him to affliction without cause. To whom Satan said: Skin for skin, and all that ever a man hath he shall give for his soul. Nevertheless, stretch thine hand and touch his mouth and his flesh, and thou shalt see that he shall not bless thee. Then said God to Satan: I will well that his body be in thine hand, but save his soul and his life. Then Satan departed from the face of our Lord and smote Job with the worst blotches and blains from the plant of his foot unto the top of his head, which was made like a lazar and was cast out and sat on the dunghill. Then came his wife to him and said: Yet thou abidest in thy simpleness, forsake thy God and bless him no more, and go die. Then Job said to her: Thou hast spoken like a foolish woman; if we have received and taken good things of the hand of our Lord, why shall we not sustain and suffer evil things? In all these things Job sinned not with his lips. Then three men that were friends of Job, hearing what harm was happed and come to Job, came ever each one from his place to him, that one was named Eliphas the Temanite, another Bildad the Shuhite, and the third, Zophar Naamathite. And when they saw him from far they knew him not, and crying they wept. They came for to comfort him, and when they considered his misery they tare their clothes and cast dust on their heads, and sat by him seven days and seven nights, and no man spake to him a word, seeing his sorrow. Then after that Job and they talked and spake together of his sorrow and misery, of which Saint Gregory hath made a great book called: The morals of Saint Gregory, which is a noble book and a great work.
But I pass over all the matters and return unto the end, how God restored Job again to prosperity. It was so that when these three friends of Job had been long with Job, and had said many things each of them to Job, and Job again to them, our Lord was wroth with these three men and said to them: Ye have not spoken rightfully, as my servant Job hath spoken. Take ye therefore seven bulls and seven wethers and go to my servant Job and offer ye sacrifice for you. Job my servant shall pray for you. I shall receive his prayer and shall take his visage. They went forth and did as our Lord commanded them. And our Lord beheld the visage of Job, and saw his penance when he prayed for his friends. And our Lord added to Job double of all that Job had possessed. All his brethren came to him, and all his sisters, and all they that tofore had known him, and ate with him in his house, and moved their heads upon him, and comforted him upon all the evil that God had sent to him. And each of them gave him a sheep and a gold ring for his ears. Our Lord blessed more Job in his last days than he did in the beginning. And he had then after fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, one thousand asses. And he had seven sons and three daughters. And the first daughter’s name was Jemima, the second Kezia, and the third Keren-happuch. There was nowhere found in the world so fair women as were the daughters of Job. Their father Job gave to them heritage among their brethren, and thus Job by his patience gat so much love of God, that he was restored double of all his losses. And Job lived after, one hundred and forty years, and saw his sons and the sons of his sons unto the fourth generation, and died an old man, and full of days.