Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Wisdom and the Book of Job

 

What follows are some thoughts from a recently completed re-reading of the Book of Job.

To set the stage: Job tells the story of a righteous man who endures incredible suffering, all under the sovereign oversight of Almighty God. The narrative follows a series of long poetic dialogs between Job and the friends who have come to mourn with him and comfort him, all concerning the nature of man and his relationship to God. Job’s friends argue that Job must have sinned greatly to have merited such punishment from God. Job counters that he has lived a just life, and that the miseries visited upon him are unjust. Ultimately, Job is vindicated and restored by God, but in the telling, it is made clear to Job that he is not owed an answer or justification by God. Rather Job comes to recognize that the Lord’s power and authority are beyond human accountability.

Having previously read this particular book several times, I must admit that earlier efforts were pretty shallow. I didn’t really enjoy the subject. Quite frankly, the deeper message of a loving and all-knowing Lord who would allow unspeakable suffering and affliction towards an innocent person confused and confounded me. However, the passage of time and the gaining of a bit of maturity has revealed a number of new insights from this particular book of Scripture. I’d like to share two of them here.

From Chapter 15, verses 17, 25 and 26.* Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends, is speaking:

The wicked man writhes in pain all his days…

Because he has stretched out his hand against God
and defies the Almighty,
running stubbornly against him
with a thickly bossed shield

I read this and immediately thought, “Wow; that reads an awful lot like a reference to classical Hellenic (Greek) hoplite battle. Where did that come from?”

Why is this significant? Because the Hellenes, contemporaries of the Hebrew at the time story of Job was being definitively transferred from oral to written form, fought in a unique, disciplined, and distinctively Greek method. Their ground combat was characterized not by the wild, disorganized milieu of a mob of single warriors all fighting hand-to-hand that we tend to imagine. Rather, it was the tightly disciplined and ordered phalanx of soldiers who achieved victory by pushing their enemies off the field by the weight of their hoplon shields. Thus, the image emerges of a wicked man striving against God by attempting to push him off of the field, or rather, out of his life, so as to remain master of his own little piece of ground. The image is both contemporary within the context of the time it was written, yet timeless in its broader application to the human condition. Even if one does not believe in the existence of a higher power, don’t all people perceive their lives at times to be a struggle against greater adversity?

Further on, the author of Job makes a number of references to natural phenomena, stating that, the Lord “binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them.” (Job 26:8) And later, Elihu observes that,

For (God) draws up the drops of water;
They distill his mist in rain (Job 36:27)

And,

By the breath of God ice is given,
And the broad waters are frozen fast.
He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
The clouds scatter his lightning. (Job 37:10-11)

Isn’t it a little remarkable that an ancient Jewish writer, most likely living in Persia at the time, would be able to describe the subtleties of the natural water cycle in all its physical phases — solid, liquid, gas — so elegantly? It becomes even more of a mental “kick-in-the-pants” when one considers that the story of Job is set in a much earlier era, the time of Abraham, and located in Northern Arabia. The story of Job had come down through ages of oral tradition from the earliest days of the Hebrew nation before being committed to written form. Familiarity with frozen seas (Glaciers? Icebergs?) and the cycle of water from earth to sky was so well known that the author could put these words into the mouths of his characters with the expectation that his readers and listeners would understand. Whether or not one ascribes these natural processes to the design of a creator or not, how can one not see the beauty and wonderment of such phenomena?

These are just two examples of the wisdom embedded through this marvelous ancient piece of literature. By my reckoning, Job was written down in the form that it has come down to modern readers around 750 BC. This would make it a contemporary of Homer’s Iliad. I suggest that both works are literary masterpieces, but each of them paints very different pictures of Mankind’s relationship with the divine and the natural world. In Job, one can see how even in the face of unjust suffering, one might retain dignity and honor. Job gives us an appreciation for that broader world, sky, and stars that makes us feel infinitely small and incomprehensibly big at the same time.

* All quotations are from the English Standard Version.

There are 39 comments.

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  1. Fred Houstan Member

    Excellent reflection, thanks for writing this.

    Providentially, the story of Job has come across my mind repeatedly over this year’s Lent. On the one hand, I find it a powerful rebuke to Joel Osteen’s “Prosperity Gospel.” Bishop Robert Barron offers that the story of Job is the biblical accounting of why bad things happen to good people.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07AWWJiyAU8

    • #1
    • April 22, 2018, at 11:13 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Excellent post. We have some friends who have gone through years of suffering in their family, enough to make anyone shake their fists at God and ask, Why Us? But they have maintained their equanimity through everything, and continue to place their trust in their God with love and joy. Remarkable.

    • #2
    • April 22, 2018, at 11:24 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  3. Front Seat Cat Member

    Very interesting post – from what I remember about Job is he took his medicine – he refused to be consoled to the end, when God not only restored everything that he had lost, but a lot more because he was faithful. There are many examples in the Bible of that, including individuals and countries.

    • #3
    • April 22, 2018, at 11:25 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Kay of MT Member

    Postmodern Hoplite: * All quotations are from the English Standard Version.

    Wonderful post. The Tanakh, translations from the new JPS Translation according to the traditional Hebrew tex, is not much different from the English Standard Version.

    • #4
    • April 22, 2018, at 11:58 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Jim Beck Member

    Afternoon Hoplite,

    Mark Vroegop at College Park, in Indianapolis, gave a super sermon on Job. Job 1:21, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. Couple this truth with 1 Cor. 4:7 “What do you have that you did not receive?” and we can see that we did not make ourselves, our laws, morals, culture, our minds, our bodies. We have been placed in this time and place not by our efforts, and we have little to boast of. Later, Job asks the follow up in reply to his wife, 2:10 What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Do we love God only when we have our worldly desires served, close to home.

    The problem I have with Job, returning to 1:21, Job never acknowledges that his morals and integrity were taught to him by someone; parents, teacher, Job did not invent moral behavior, yet he never shows gratitude to anyone else, not his parents, not even thanking God for showing the straight path. Secondly, Job never worries about what will happen to others in this tragedy, like his wife, who will take care of her, who will model good behavior with him gone, there will be a reality beyond Job’s life, Job does not consider this.

     

    • #5
    • April 22, 2018, at 12:11 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Arahant Member

    It’s amazing how we can read things multiple times, but still not be ready to receive the wisdom. Then, maybe a few years pass, perhaps hard years full of learning, and we go back and re-read that classic to find what has been waiting there for us to grow enough to recognize has been there all along. The book didn’t change, we did, and now we see. One might say that it takes wisdom to recognize wisdom.


    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under April’s theme of The Course of Wisdom. If you have a bit of wisdom to share, why not take one of our remaining dates?

    • #6
    • April 22, 2018, at 12:41 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  7. JoelB Member

    Attempting to push God off the field by collective might! How true of the attempts to push God out of public life and yet how laughably futile ultimately. Job is a complex book, just as life is complex and difficult to understand at times. Your observations shine some light into some of the dark sayings. Thank you for sharing this @postmodernhoplite

    • #7
    • April 22, 2018, at 2:32 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  8. Drusus Coolidge

    Jim Beck (View Comment):
    The problem I have with Job, returning to 1:21, Job never acknowledges that his morals and integrity were taught to him by someone; parents, teacher, Job did not invent moral behavior, yet he never shows gratitude to anyone else, not his parents, not even thanking God for showing the straight path. Secondly, Job never worries about what will happen to others in this tragedy, like his wife, who will take care of her, who will model good behavior with him gone, there will be a reality beyond Job’s life, Job does not consider this.

    Job is a book of poetry. It has a particular thematic thrust. Everything that is recorded is in service to the aims of the author. There is no interest in world-building here. Assuming that Job is a real person, I think it is unfair to assume that he shows no gratitude to his parents or cares about his wife simply because it is not recorded. Besides that, there is in fact some textual evidence that Job cares deeply about about his family:

    “4 His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.”

    — Job 1:4-5

    And, as my preacher always points out, Job’s wife is one of the only figures in his life who is not removed. Considering her advice to “curse God and die,” Job’s wife was as much an affliction as anything else. 

    • #8
    • April 22, 2018, at 6:23 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  9. JoelB Member

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite: * All quotations are from the English Standard Version.

    Wonderful post. The Tanakh, translations from the new JPS Translation according to the traditional Hebrew tex, is not much different from the English Standard Version.

    I find your comment interesting, @kayofmt , because a Jewish friend once borrowed a Revised Standard Version to read and told me that it seemed to him to be the most Jewish of the versions that he had read. (I don’t really know what his criteria were).

    Since the ESV is an update of the RSV, it seems this quality carried over.

    • #9
    • April 22, 2018, at 6:33 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Ontheleftcoast Member

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Kay of MT (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite: * All quotations are from the English Standard Version.

    Wonderful post. The Tanakh, translations from the new JPS Translation according to the traditional Hebrew tex, is not much different from the English Standard Version.

    I find your comment interesting, @kayofmt , because a Jewish friend once borrowed a Revised Standard Version to read and told me that it seemed to him to be the most Jewish of the versions that he had read. (I don’t really know what his criteria were).

    Since the ESV is an update of the RSV, it seems this quality carried over.

    You might also like what Robert Alter does with the Biblical texts, and the attention he pays to language thematic words.

    Here he is, talking about his approach to translation.

    And @postmodernhoplite, I really liked your insight into the hoplon. It may be worth mentioning since languages don’t map exactly, but the “thick” shield and the “thick” clouds do use the same word in the original.

    • #10
    • April 22, 2018, at 7:00 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. Clavius Thatcher

    Wonderful post. I have not read Job in many years, but this inspires me to try again.

    I think I might need a tutor, though.

    • #11
    • April 22, 2018, at 7:30 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Clavius (View Comment):

    Wonderful post. I have not read Job in many years, but this inspires me to try again.

    I think I might need a tutor, though.

    It’s a deep book. The pastor who confirmed me was of great help with it.

    • #12
    • April 22, 2018, at 7:31 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Clavius Thatcher

    Percival (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):

    Wonderful post. I have not read Job in many years, but this inspires me to try again.

    I think I might need a tutor, though.

    It’s a deep book. The pastor who confirmed me was of great help with it.

    I’d really like to have two. One Jewish and one Roman Catholic (I am a Roman Catholic convert) to see how they describe it differently.

    • #13
    • April 22, 2018, at 7:37 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. T-Fiks Member

    Jim Beck (View Comment):

    The problem I have with Job, returning to 1:21, Job never acknowledges that his morals and integrity were taught to him by someone; parents, teacher, Job did not invent moral behavior, yet he never shows gratitude to anyone else, not his parents, not even thanking God for showing the straight path. Secondly, Job never worries about what will happen to others in this tragedy, like his wife, who will take care of her, who will model good behavior with him gone, there will be a reality beyond Job’s life, Job does not consider this.

    Interesting observations. While I think they’re both valid criticisms of Job, I think we have to consider the author’s discipline towards the theme of the story. My interpretation is that it deals purely with the issue of Job’s personal suffering in the light of his loyalty to God. To bring in the issues of where Job’s loyalty came from and the impacts of Job’s suffering on peripheral characters in the story would make what is already a dense presentation even denser.

    • #14
    • April 22, 2018, at 8:35 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. Israel P. Inactive

    Although I should know better by now, it still sounds weird when you folks talk about “reading” a book of the Bible. We use the verb “learn” or “study.”

    • #15
    • April 22, 2018, at 10:52 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  16. Saint Augustine Member

    T-Fiks (View Comment):
    My interpretation is that it deals purely with the issue of Job’s personal suffering in the light of his loyalty to God.

    But there is more than that. There’s some real theological clashes.

    Short little Bildad (you know, the shoe-height guy), Eliphaz, and Zophar say that G-d punishes the wicked and rewards the good with material blessings, and a few other points of theology (which I’d rather not try to recall because I jotted them down in my ESV at home and I’m busy enough right now at the office).

    But Job answers saying contrasting things and then G-d speaks and tells the three friends that they have not spoken what is righteous of G-d, “as my servant Job has.”

    • #16
    • April 23, 2018, at 1:28 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Boss Mongo Member

    Outstanding. Thank you.

    • #17
    • April 23, 2018, at 3:50 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron MillerJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I will think of hoplites when I read it now. Thanks.

    A couple thoughts regarding the unanswerable “Why do good people suffer?” question:

    The Bible is replete with “sins of the father” statements, as either blessings or curses passed through generations. Nothing is so valuable to good people, and to many wicked people, as their children and/or posterity. There is plenty else beyond a person’s control that affects the course of a life, so inherited debts are not particularly unfair. Is it more fair that we may ask blessings for our loved ones? Our choices are in dealing with life and not creating it from nothing. Surely, we become better people when we live for the sake of others and not only for ourselves.

    Also, it might be that many good people are good precisely because of their hardships. Even setting aside God’s own Biblical analogy of strengthening metal in a hot forge, how many of your best moments — when, in hindsight, you acted well with selfless love — were moments of pain or exhaustion in which something simply needed to be done?

    God is not masochistic. But a life of love looks different in a fallen world than it does in paradise. It is burdened by need and distress. The beauty of the Judeo-Christian story is that the Lord has chosen to suffer with us.

    For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways,
    my thoughts higher than your thoughts. —Isaiah 55:9

    • #18
    • April 23, 2018, at 6:43 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  19. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    T-Fiks (View Comment):
    My interpretation is that it deals purely with the issue of Job’s personal suffering in the light of his loyalty to God.

    But there is more than that. There’s some real theological clashes.

    Short little Bildad (you know, the shoe-height guy), Eliphaz, and Zophar say that G-d punishes the wicked and rewards the good with material blessings, and a few other points of theology (which I’d rather not try to recall because I jotted them down in my ESV at home and I’m busy enough right now at the office).

    But Job answers saying contrasting things and then G-d speaks and tells the three friends that they have not spoken what is righteous of G-d, “as my servant Job has.”

    Aug,

    You are right about the discussion with the three “friends?”. What interests me is that it appears Gd does have a problem with Job but not the normal one you’d expect. Job is neither rebellious nor immoral. Thus ‘Job has spoken what is righteous of Gd’. So what gives? We don’t get the drift until the very last few passages. As I remember it, only paraphrasing, Gd says to Job, “Were you there when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Job answers no. Gd says, “Were you there when I erected the heavens?” Job says no.

    I think the point is that Job has assumed a little too much. We have much advanced knowledge of nature but nothing like a creator of the universe would have. Similarly, we have much moral knowledge of just behavior. However, nothing like the creator of our own souls would have. Thus, we must remember to be humble and realize that we won’t have a good explanation for everything. This is perhaps the best argument for having faith that I can think of. You have already pushed your rational knowledge to the limit and there isn’t any more rational knowledge. That is the time when you must operate on faith alone and you shouldn’t be afraid to accept Gd at that point.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #19
    • April 23, 2018, at 7:17 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  20. Jim Beck Member

    Morning Drusus,

    My complaint about Job’s lack of gratitude comes from the repeated refrain that Job did not sin with his lips or what he said as St. Augustine notes about. Cursing and speaking righteously have importance in this book, yet Job in reviewing his shattered life metaphorically compares his mother and father to the grave and corruption Job 17 : 13-14. One could say that he is so over come by grief that although he will not curse God, he can see no goodness in anyone else besides himself. This self obsession for an understanding, for a recognition of his own righteousness is almost idolatry. Contrast Job to Moses or in the most clear case to Christ, Christ is heading for suffering and he is repeatedly teaching, comforting, loving, reassuring his disciples, his friends, Job does not step out of himself at any time. Or maybe a better example is David, as David is being driven out of town by his own son, Absalom, he is cursed by Shimei who also casts stones at the fleeing David. David stops his servant Abishai from going after Shimei and said, “let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and the the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.” 2 Sam 16: 11-12 David can imagine that God has purposes for affliction and apparent injustice that are beyond our understanding, Job does not have that type of imagination.

    Perhaps because of my own ignorance, Job has not been satisfying. God and the devil act like Greek gods discussing Job as if he were a Guinea pig having his righteousness tested. It is one thing to lean not onto our own understanding, and to recognize the our ways are not God’s, however the God in Job is unlike the God in Genesis, Exodus, and on. In those books, we can see God interacting with us with the intention of directing our moral growth, of course this is challenging in that we all want to go our own way. We can see from the beginning, that we need counsel and redemption from God, we are not given a God like that in Job.

    As Aaron points out, the question about what is the cause for this disaster, is it sin, yours or your father’s, lasts even until John 9 and the healing of the blind man by Christ. The disciples rabbinically ask, what is the source of the man’s disability, his sin or his parent’s. The hard answer, the blindness is a platform through which Christ will glorify God.

    It may be that my problems with Job are due to my ignorance.

    • #20
    • April 23, 2018, at 9:37 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Hypatia Inactive

    “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods,

    They kill us for their sport.”

    That’s pretty much the message of Job. It’s a standard folktale trope, like Patient Griselda: endure your sufferings without complaint, injustice without bitterness, and all will be restored.

    (….or not. According to divine will…)

    And that’s God’s final word! The Book of Job is the last time Jehovah speaks for himself in the OT, in the canonical order; after this it’s through the prophets.

    • #21
    • April 23, 2018, at 11:32 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. RyanFalcone Member

    What a fun post! I’m just getting ready to start reading Job in a few days! Our church is doing our summer Bible Study on Job and I want to get into it a bit early. I was kinda unenthusiastic about it until reading this. I only read through Job once before and found it too difficult. I was dismayed by what I perceived as God’s unfair treatment of Job and frankly the long passages of poetry between Job, his friends and his awful wife just dragged on and on and I struggled to make it through the book. As some have mentioned, I hope my heart and mind are a bit more focused this time around.

    • #22
    • April 23, 2018, at 12:03 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Hypatia Inactive

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):

    What a fun post! I’m just getting ready to start reading Job in a few days! Our church is doing our summer Bible Study on Job and I want to get into it a bit early. I was kinda unenthusiastic about it until reading this. I only read through Job once before and found it too difficult. I was dismayed by what I perceived as God’s unfair treatment of Job and frankly the long passages of poetry between Job, his friends and his awful wife just dragged on and on and I struggled to make it through the book. As some have mentioned, I hope my heart and mind are a bit more focused this time around.

    You should read Robert Frost’s The Masque of Reason.

    • #23
    • April 23, 2018, at 12:05 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western ChauvinistJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Job is a great comfort to those who suffer unjustly and fear their lack of righteousness (since the Psalms keeping touting the rewards for the righteous, for example). His is a story of ultimate justice for the faithful who have little hope of it in this life.

    • #24
    • April 23, 2018, at 12:10 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. Saint Augustine Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Job is a great comfort to those who suffer unjustly and fear their lack of righteousness (since the Psalms keeping touting the rewards for the righteous, for example). His is a story of ultimate justice for the faithful who have little hope of it in this life.

    And a good reminder of the Psalmist’s principle of not taking judgement into our own hands or even minds: “Save me, O G-d, by your name; vindicate me by your might” (ESV probably; italics added).

    • #25
    • April 23, 2018, at 4:24 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. Saint Augustine Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    T-Fiks (View Comment):
    My interpretation is that it deals purely with the issue of Job’s personal suffering in the light of his loyalty to God.

    But there is more than that. There’s some real theological clashes.

    Short little Bildad (you know, the shoe-height guy), Eliphaz, and Zophar say that G-d punishes the wicked and rewards the good with material blessings, and a few other points of theology (which I’d rather not try to recall because I jotted them down in my ESV at home and I’m busy enough right now at the office).

    But Job answers saying contrasting things and then G-d speaks and tells the three friends that they have not spoken what is righteous of G-d, “as my servant Job has.”

    Aug,

    You are right about the discussion with the three “friends?”. What interests me is that it appears Gd does have a problem with Job but not the normal one you’d expect. Job is neither rebellious nor immoral. Thus ‘Job has spoken what is righteous of Gd’. So what gives? We don’t get the drift until the very last few passages. As I remember it, only paraphrasing, Gd says to Job, “Were you there when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Job answers no. Gd says, “Were you there when I erected the heavens?” Job says no.

    I think the point is that Job has assumed a little too much. We have much advanced knowledge of nature but nothing like a creator of the universe would have. Similarly, we have much moral knowledge of just behavior. However, nothing like the creator of our own souls would have. Thus, we must remember to be humble and realize that we won’t have a good explanation for everything. This is perhaps the best argument for having faith that I can think of. You have already pushed your rational knowledge to the limit and there isn’t any more rational knowledge. That is the time when you must operate on faith alone and you shouldn’t be afraid to accept Gd at that point.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Yes.

    Wow. You connected Job to Kant. Marvelous!

    • #26
    • April 23, 2018, at 4:25 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. Saint Augustine Member

    Jim Beck (View Comment):

    Morning Drusus,

    My complaint about Job’s lack of gratitude comes from the repeated refrain that Job did not sin with his lips or what he said as St. Augustine notes about. Cursing and speaking righteously have importance in this book, yet Job in reviewing his shattered life metaphorically compares his mother and father to the grave and corruption Job 17 : 13-14. One could say that he is so over come by grief that although he will not curse God, he can see no goodness in anyone else besides himself. This self obsession for an understanding, for a recognition of his own righteousness is almost idolatry. Contrast Job to Moses or in the most clear case to Christ, Christ is heading for suffering and he is repeatedly teaching, comforting, loving, reassuring his disciples, his friends, Job does not step out of himself at any time. Or maybe a better example is David, as David is being driven out of town by his own son, Absalom, he is cursed by Shimei who also casts stones at the fleeing David. David stops his servant Abishai from going after Shimei and said, “let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and the the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day.” 2 Sam 16: 11-12 David can imagine that God has purposes for affliction and apparent injustice that are beyond our understanding, Job does not have that type of imagination.

    Ah! A case against what I said about Job being like David. Interesting. (And I’m too tired and busy to sort it all out.)

    Perhaps because of my own ignorance, Job has not been satisfying. God and the devil act like Greek gods discussing Job as if he were a Guinea pig having his righteousness tested. It is one thing to lean not onto our own understanding, and to recognize the our ways are not God’s, however the God in Job is unlike the God in Genesis, Exodus, and on. In those books, we can see God interacting with us with the intention of directing our moral growth, of course this is challenging in that we all want to go our own way. We can see from the beginning, that we need counsel and redemption from God, we are not given a God like that in Job.

    Aren’t we? G-d answers him out of the storm, chastens him for his mistake, tells him he was right all along, chastens his friends, and makes him rich.

    • #27
    • April 23, 2018, at 4:28 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Jim Beck Member

    Evening Saint Augustine,

    In Genesis 18:25 Abraham says to God, “Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” God is totally comfortable with Abraham repeatedly asking Him about how He will enact justice upon the wicked when some righteous may live among the wicked. Whether it is Abraham, or Jacob, or Moses, we see men wrestling with a God who is beyond our complete understanding, and God is providing them with a way to some understanding, He seeks that they have a greater of His nature and a better understanding how to live a sanctified life. The God we see in Job kills slaves and family for proof of Job’s integrity. I think this are two different images of God. I realize Job is a set piece and that it is speaking in a different fashion about God, however the main character in Job is Job, not God, and that also sets Job apart from books like Genesis and Exodus where the main character is God. Compared to Abraham, Jacob, David, is Job after his tragedies a different man, not nearly in the same way as our other model of men who were righteous.

    • #28
    • April 23, 2018, at 5:41 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Saint Augustine Member

    Jim Beck (View Comment):

    Evening Saint Augustine,

    In Genesis 18:25 Abraham says to God, “Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” God is totally comfortable with Abraham repeatedly asking Him about how He will enact justice upon the wicked when some righteous may live among the wicked. Whether it is Abraham, or Jacob, or Moses, we see men wrestling with a God who is beyond our complete understanding, and God is providing them with a way to some understanding, He seeks that they have a greater of His nature and a better understanding how to live a sanctified life.

    That sounds to me like a very good description of Job! He challenges and questions G-d a ton, even longing and hoping for an intercessor to help him do it. He says there is more than this present life with its material blessings, and he prophesies the resurrection of the dead. G-d answers him and vindicates him, humbling him at the same time. What difference do you see from Abraham, David, or Jacob?

    The God we see in Job kills slaves and family for proof of Job’s integrity. 

    No. Satan does.

    I think this are two different images of God. I realize Job is a set piece and that it is speaking in a different fashion about God, however the main character in Job is Job, not God, and that also sets Job apart from books like Genesis and Exodus where the main character is God.

    If you count the words of or about G-d in Exodus or Genesis and the words of or about G-d in Job, I image the proportion will be the same.

    In any case, couldn’t we say that the whole Old Testament and the whole Bible have two main characters–man and G-d?

    • #29
    • April 23, 2018, at 6:45 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. ChefSly - Bad Hausmann Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    The God we see in Job kills slaves and family for proof of Job’s integrity. 

    No. Satan does.

    The G-d we see in Job lets Satan kill slaves and family (and livestock, and infect Job with sores … ) because … G-d is insecure and wants to prove a point to Satan? I’m not clear on that.

    And everything is fine in the end, because kids are fungible, right?

    • #30
    • April 24, 2018, at 6:18 AM PDT
    • 2 likes

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