Book of Job - Job's Family, God and Satan


#1

"One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” 8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” 9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 12 The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. 13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” 16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” 17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” 18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” 20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

I never understood this - and I hope that I’m wrong.
It seems to me, that God really loves and complety trust in Job, but look at Job’s family. God used them like a tool . Did He allows Satan to do anything with them, just to prove that is right about Job?

:confused::confused::confused::shrug:


#2

On top of that God replaced Job’s killed family with a larger family, as if the loss of a wife or child could ever be wiped away by a new wife or new child.

12The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.


#3

God loves everyone, even the children of Job. When God permits someone to die, it is for their ultimate good. The righteous are taken out of this world of suffering and go to the eternal joy of heaven. (See Wisdom 4:7-18, on early death) Even the wicked, who die and go to hell, are by death prevented from committing more evil, saving them from experiencing even greater punishments in hell.


Jesus' Parable warns the non-believers
#4

I am going through a study of Job by The Teaching Company right now. It’s done by a priest who seems ok. I haven’t finished it yet. So far so good though. You might want to check it out. The series is “Wisdom Literature” and includes other books as well.


#5

Job is a type of Mary. When the widow Mary gave her two mites, God said to Satan have you seem my servant Mary? She would suffer torment as Satan took all that she had, her Son and that torment would continue until the resurrection.
Something to ponder.
Grace and peace,
Bruce


#6

I’m concerned about why God had to be bragging in front of satan. Seriously, does God really need the esteem of the evil one? Of course not. So why was he bragging?

Didn’t God say “thou shalt not put the Lord thy God to the test”? But here God allows the devil to test him over and over. Why did God allow satan to get away with this?


Jesus' Parable warns the non-believers
#7

Then Job answered the LORD and said:
"I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be hindered.
I have dealt with great things that I do not understand;
Things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.
I had heard of You by word of mouth,
But now my eye has seen You.
Therefore I disown what I have said,
And repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:1-6).

In these beautiful verses, Job sublates his prior astonished indignation at an unjust God and confesses his enlightened surrender to an unfathomable God. In a free act, albeit conditioned by intense physical suffering and the resulting mental anguish, Job converts his attitude from being God’s victim to beneficiary. I think Job’s desolation, his deep, soul- wrenching suffering, sprang from the culturally prevalent but erroneous premise that one’s physical suffering verified one’s alienation from God. As I read the text, I imagine Job’s eyes opening wide and the wrinkle of a smile softening his taut, pained face as the reality behind his suffering finally comes to him. After the theophany, Job is filled with God’s grace and the desolation that surged from Job’s false perception of God’s disaffection departs. Job now sees himself suffering with God; his prior view imagined his suffering as coming from God. Job’s new attitude allows grace to accompany suffering; his former attitude made suffering and grace mutually exclusive. Job’s renewed affection with God stunningly reverses Job’s disposition toward his suffering from the evidence of his alienation to the instrument of his atonement, “at-one-ment” with God.

In my interpretation, Job comes to see suffering as God’s instrument of intimacy; not of punishment. His prior experience of God expressed in verse five, “I had heard of You by word of mouth,” is indirect and wanting. In the time of his material prosperity, Job “heard” about God and responded liturgically using the proven formulas of his cult to maintain God’s goodwill. In a simplistic quid pro quo relationship, Job gives to God what is His—sacrifice—and, in return, God gives to Job—prosperity. But God so loves Job that He wishes to reveal Himself in a deeper, profounder way. To achieve this intimacy, God must first penetrate Job and strip away all his distractions, thereby capturing his complete attention. The bounty of the land impedes Job; prosperity and prolificacy inflict on Job a spiritual myopia, so God gracefully removes these obstacles to intimacy. What Job first misinterprets as deprivation, he construes after the theophany as blessing, because intimacy with God requires detachment and an opening of oneself. Now a truly disinterested Job testifies of experiencing the intimacy of directly relating to God and he confesses so in verse five, “But now my eye has seen You.”


Jesus' Parable warns the non-believers
#8

The exchanges between God and Satan (not necessarily the fallen angel we are familiar with later) should not be taken literally. It’s very much poetic license. God does not hold court like some earthly king or some Greek God. And God does not make bets.

The story is very much about God permitting evil in the world, about how evils afflict even the righteous and that such evils do not mean the man must have committed some great sin against God compared to other men, that none of us are truly righteous in that perfect sense of the word when before God, and about God’s plan and providence being so far above us to be beyond our comprehension. More can definitely be said, but Job (alone) is not supposed to have a satisfactory explanation. If it leaves you still asking “why?”, that’s part of the point. Like Job, we are called to accept God’s providence in our lives even if we don’t understand it.

In my personal opinion, the giving of a new family to Job is also unsatisfactory. It attests to a belief that the righteous will be rewarded in the end, but this seems at odds with Job’s debate with his three friends from earlier. It’s (what I think) an ineffective attempt to reconcile God’s justice with his providence and how we often see things work in the real world. And it suggests that finite, earthly goods can make up for all suffering, which does not seem to be true in all cases. The answer to that is in the Resurrection of the dead, the life in the world to come, and the Beatific Vision, but at the time Job was written that (meaning the resurrection of the dead) was not yet a Jewish belief, leaving us with this more imperfect end of Job being given a new family.

What I think is important to remember is that the story of Job does not end with chapter 42. It ends and finds its full meaning and fulfillment in Christ: In Him who was truly righteous before God and suffered for our sake, of God who humbled Himself so that he might suffer with us, and in Him who is the Resurrection and the Life. The only way to make sense of Job (for Christians) is reading it in the light of Christ Crucified and Resurrected.


#9

To me, it’s a bit disconcerting when violence and tragedy in the real world are excused by stating the victims will see a much better afterlife. It connects unfavorably to non-Christian zealots who cause mayhem on Earth for the promise of something better after death.

I would take it a step further and say God was tempted by Satan.

I would definitely disagree with this. When God finally reveals himself to Job, God doesn’t answer any of Job’s questions. God simply states that he has the power and Job does not. Job doesn’t appear to have a change of heart or see himself as benificiary as opposed to a victim. If anything he seems resigned to accept that he will not get answers and that by lacking power he lacks a say in the matter. Job understands that might makes right.


#10

I agree that Job is resigned to accept God’s Providence, but I would not say it is a “might makes right” situation. God is not simply a mightier being among beings. All things exist continually only because he continually wills them to exist. Everything that exists only because God gives it existence from moment to moment. Everything continuously derives its existence from God, such that everything you have and are is from and is God’s. I am being redundant, but only to stress the ontological difference between God and anything else. Might makes right implies “my might makes yours mine.” But with God, everything already is His. He doesn’t take it from you. In fact, you only have anything at any moment derivatively, as a steward of what is God’s. You never own anything in the way God owns everything. At best, you are a steward. It is not a “my might makes yours mine” situation in any way when speaking of God. If God calls in on anything He wants, it is His to call in on.


#11

One, I know no one who uses that as an excuse to not carry out justice. Two, there’s a difference between saying the victims of evil will be in a better place and saying that the perpetrators of evil will earn being in a better place.


#12

Biblical scholars place the Book of Job into a grouping known as Wisdom Literature and Poetry. The “wisdom” writers of the Old Testament were a special class characterized by their rationalistic approach to ethics, religion and the problem of human life.

Perhaps anticipating or reflecting the Hellenistic approach of viewing morality as a science, these writers sought to show how Yahweh not only brought order to chaos but gave humankind the ability to maintain that order through reason. The essence of Wisdom theology might be stated as: 1) order is heaven’s first rule; 2) humankind, through a systematic reflection on daily living, can discover the underlying principles of causality; and 3) we may master life by conformance to these governing principles. A fundamental governing principle in the mind of the “wisdom” writers was retribution: in this life, Yahweh blesses the righteous and destroys the wicked. Such is the worldview of Job’s friends. However, in the Book of Job, I think, we find an anti-wisdom vein cautioning us on the folly of trying to contain an infinite God within the finite faculty of human reason.

The burden of monotheism in this worldview is that if you are desolate and the only God who exists is good, you must be bad because God has abandoned you. Job is an early attempt at addressing this issue of theodicy, the vindication of God’s goodness and justice in the face of the existence of evil.

Scholars believe a later editor or editors added the prologue and epilogue to fix a happy ending for Job and encourage the afflicted. Ignoring the prologue and epilogue, events leading to 42:1-6 may be summarized as follows. Job, an upright person, catastrophically loses all his children and possessions but does not curse God. Subsequently, Job’s person is afflicted such that sores cover him from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head causing him to suffer excruciating pain continuously. Still, Job does not curse God but he does question the meaning of his suffering. Three friends attend him and in their dialogue with the stricken Job, offer him the pat answers of Wisdom theology’s divine retribution doctrine to explain his situation. Job refuses their counsel to repent of sins he has not committed and demands a day in court with God to plead his cause as a righteous man unjustly afflicted. Then God speaks to Job. God does not answer any of Job’s questions on the apparent miscarriage of justice but instead questions Job. God’s rhetorical and ironic questions remind Job that he is but a creature and not able to understand the mind of his Creator.

Agreeing with the anti-wisdom theme, Guinan in his commentary on Job in The Collegeville Bible Commentary questions the proper translation of “repent.” Preferring the alternate translation for the Hebrew that connotes “conversion” instead of “remorse,” Guinan interprets verse six as representing Job’s changed relationship with God, an evolution achieved through suffering:
Has Job finally done what they all (the Satan, his wife, his friends, Elihu) have all been trying to get him to do? That is hardly likely. Now, as earlier, God is not served by lies. Job may have overstepped his limits in his search for understanding, but his suffering was not the result of sin. The Hebrew word translated “repent” does not convey a confession of sinfulness or guilty remorse; it means ‘to change one’s mind’ or ‘to be sorry.’ (697).

What Job “disowns” in verse six is unclear and, certainly, what Job “repents” is not his sins because to do so would go against the whole tenor of the book.

Agreeing with Guinan about the uncertainty of the translation of the last two lines of Job’s recantation, the editors of Interpreter’s Concise Commentary give their initial translation as, “Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (38). They also note the plausibility of multiple translations, “It is not impossible to take the words in a quite different way: ‘Therefore, though I am melting away, I am comforted in regard to dust and ashes.’” (38). Finally, they offer with reservation their best guess as, “Therefore, I abhor and repudiate [all my words, sitting] on dust and ashes (on ashes as a sign of grief and mourning)” (39).


#13

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