This post and the next few will cover the Books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and The Song of Solomon. For the earlier books of the Old Testament, see posts 22 and 47.
After Genesis and Exodus, these are probably the books I was most looking forward to. Which makes my initial foray into Job such a disappointment as I found it very hard going.
Job is the most righteous man alive, worshiping God and shunning evil. He is also very wealthy, blessed with family and large numbers of livestock and slaves. God asks Satan if he has seen anyone in his travels as worthy, and Satan remarks that if all of Job’s wealth was removed, Job would soon turn to cursing God. God allows Satan to take everything away from Job and kill his sons, yet Job remains worshipful.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away – blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job, 1:21
Again Satan asks God to test Job by taking away his health, and God allows Satan to cover Job with boils, and yet he still stays faithful.
“Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” Job, 2:10
Job is then visited by three ‘friends’ : Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, who remonstrate with him that he must have sinned against God and he should now repent, as God would not punish the innocent so.
And here is where I started to lose the thread of the arguments, for now Job appears to question God’s actions and demand an explanation. God’s voice comes out of a whirlwind and describes His own wisdom and omnipotence without explaining why Job has been made to suffer. Nevertheless Job repents and admits his lack of wisdom and is restored to health, wealth and family.
Since Job is synonymous with patience, I expected some sort of superhuman endurance and resistance by Job to all the misfortune suffered, which he does demonstrate until his ‘friends’ arrive on the scene. The arguments of his three ‘friends’ and the mysterious fourth commentator Elihu are confounding and I had to look for explanation elsewhere. Luckily one of my staff is a Bible scholar and happened to be studying Job this week, so we have had a few chats about it.
I found it interesting that Satan could tempt God into allowing him to test Job. Surely God would be immune to Satan’s tricks and temptations?
“for the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit ; the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me” Job, 6:4
“For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow” Job, 8:9
and the rather obscure pronouncement from Job
“I am a brother to dragons and a companion to owls” Job, 30: 29
Who was the shortest man in the Bible? Bildad the Shuhite 😉
Personal rating : 3
Next: The Book of Psalms