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Book of Job
There is a fair amount of controversy surrounding the book of Job along with various controversies about who wrote it. Some scholars maintain that Job did live in the time of Moses, and that the book was written by him; others disagree and maintain that the book was written by Elihu or Isaiah. Since so much of the book focuses on the idea of "wisdom" and comparable factors, others have argued that the book was actually written during the time of King David and King Solomon. On the other hand, others place the book as having been developed during the time of the Babylonian exile, arguing that there is textual evidence within the book which points to this era as being the likely time of its development.
As one scholar describes "The Book of Job, in the Old Testament, opens with words both majestic and once-upon-a-time-ish: 'There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.' Job has ten children, three thousand camels, seven thousand sheep, and many servants. He is the richest man in the East. He doesn't take his good fortune for granted. Always, the Bible says, he gets up early and makes burnt offerings to God" (Acocella, 2013). The book opens at a time when Satan was just another angel and had not been banished to the nether regions by God: at this time he works as some sort of officer of God. When God boasts about Job being a faithful servant who is extremely devoted to him, Satan answers in reply pointing out the fact that there is no reason why Job shouldn't be devoted to God -- he's been given everything he could ever wish for. Satan urges God to test Job and to see how strong Job's faith will be if he loses everything. God thus grants Satan the permission to remove all the blessings from Job's life to see how he in turn acts. Largely, this test make up the bulk of the content of the book of Job and it in turn considers the idea of disinterested faith, asking if people will go on believing in God without reward and with unjust punishment, wondering why people should be faithful to a God who allows the wicked to triumph and innocent people to suffer (Acocella, 2013). Essentially, the story demonstrates how after every imaginable factor of suffering which is flung at Job, the world starts to crumble on this man -- he loses his herds and has to withstand destructive natural disasters. However, Satan's hypothesis is never proven as Job rips apart his robe and shaves his head, falling to the ground saying, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." In fact, in the book of Job it is clearly stated that Job did not cross God by accusing him of being responsible for the wrongdoing. After a period of time, God restates to Satan that one can safely conclude that Job absolutely loves God and all the things he does, to which Satan respond by mocking this notion, arguing that while a man might give everything for his own life, but if his bodily safety was in jeopardy, he would curse one to one's face. Once more, God gives Job permission to play more underhanded tricks on Job: this manifested as sores developing all over Job's body.
The test is really to determine if Job can in fact maintain his faith throughout all of these tests and can he endure, trusting in God as the suffering appears to continue in an endless fashion, with pain and death both in sight. "Job can be seen as a metaphor of the suffering believer. How Job reacts to God's test says something about how we should react to trials. The book asks us to consider our faith. Would we continue to trust God, to love God with all our heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37-38) -- even while suffering for reasons we don't understand?" (gci.org). Part of what makes Job's entire experience so trying and so difficult is the fact that three of Job's friends, Elihaz, Bildad and Zophar visit him and merely regurgitate the mentality expressed by Satan: "God and human beings give to each other as they receive. If Job is afflicted in this way,…[continue]
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