Symmetry is abandoned in Shadur’s five paper-cut panels that tell the story of Job’s suffering and his anguished quest to understand God’s purpose. The artist portrays Job in the stark, wild desert landscape of Edom and the Negev, incorporating verses from the Book of Job into the design of each episode.

The opening verse of Job radiates from panel one (below):

“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job [blue letters]; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil” [red letters] (1:1).

Job, whom God has given over to Satan for trial, cowers in his misery, while his three friends accuse him of sinning in their attempt to explain God’s punishment.

Panel two (above) displays the verse:

“My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle and are spent without hope [blue letters]…. Let me alone for my days are but a breath” [red letters] (7:6, 16).

The cloud (“… consumed and vanished away”); the weaver’s shuttle, pulling thick threads; and the sea (“Am I a sea or a sea serpent that you set a guard over me?”) all swirl around Job’s afflicted body.

The turning point in the Job drama is depicted in panel three (below):

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: Who is this who darkens counsel by speaking without knowledge?” [red letters] (38:1–2).

God finally intervenes directly, since neither Job nor his friends have grasped the essence of Job’s condition. God evokes the powerful forces of nature: the heavenly bodies, thunder, lightning and storms, the sea, the rain in the desert bringing forth tender green shoots. God challenges Job to explain the mysteries and wonders of the universe.

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding” [blue letters] (38:4).

Panel four (below) continues Job’s confrontation with manifestations of God’s power in the life of all creatures. The wonders of God’s work are expressed in these verses:

“ ‘Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young? Or can you mark when the deer gives birth?’ ” [blue letters] (39:1).

“ ‘Have you given the horse strength? Have you clothed his neck with a mane?’ ” [red letters] (39:19).

“ ‘Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer” [burgundy and purple letters] (40:2).

Job looks up, emerging from his despair and marveling at God’s greatness. Animals and birds cut into paper seem ready to move out of their rwo-dimensional space.

Shadur completes the Job cycle with a fifth paper-cut (above), in which Job accepts his limitations and submits himself totally to God’s will.

“Then Job answered the Lord and said: [blue letters]

“ ‘Behold, I am of small worth;

‘What shall I answer You? [purple letters]

‘I lay my hand over my mouth’ ” [burgundy letters] (40:3–4).

The enumeration of God’s wonderful works reaches a crescendo with the description of the great beasts He created: the behemoth and the leviathan (“… His bones are like tubes of bronze, his limbs like iron rods …”). Job learns to accept the ways of God in humility, and is comforted.

“ ‘Therefore I abhor myself,

‘And repent in dust and ashes’ ” [bottom line] (42:6).