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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book of Job

Book of Job (Hebrew: אִיוֹב‎ ʾ iyobh) is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. It relates the story of Job, in Jewish tradition is the son of Uz, who was the son of Nahor, the brother of Abraham. It tells of his trials at the hands of God, his theological discussions with friends on the origins and nature of his suffering, his challenge to God, and finally a response from God. The book comprises a didactic poem set in a prose frame and has been called "the most profound literary work of the entire Old Testament". The book and its numerous exegeses are attempts to address the problem of evil. The over-riding and oft-asked question manifestly revealed in the book of Job is, "Why do the righteous suffer?
After several rounds of debate between Job and his friends, in a divine voice, described as coming from a "cloud" or "whirlwind", God describes, in evocative and lyrical language, what the experience of being the creator of the world is like, and rhetorically asks if Job has ever had the experiences or the authority that God has had. God's answer underscores that Job shares the world with numerous powerful and remarkable creatures. (Also compare Job 41:18-21 with Job 15:12-13 which was possibly in response to Job 7:11-16).
God's speech also emphasizes his sovereignty in creating and maintaining the world. The thrust is not merely that God has experiences that Job does not, but that God is king over the world and is not necessarily subject to questions from his creatures, including men. The point of these speeches, and ultimately the entire book of Job, is to proclaim the absolute freedom of God over His creation. God is not in need of the approval of his creation. Notably, it is only the reader of the book who learns the backstory of God's conversations with Satan; Job himself remains unaware of the reason or source of his sufferings until the end. Finally, humbled by God's chastising, Job turns speechless, giving up and repenting his previous requests of justice.
In the epilogue, God condemns Job's friends for their ignorance and lack of understanding while commending Job for his righteous words, commands them to prepare burnt offerings and reassures them that Job will pray for their forgiveness. Job is restored to health, gaining double the riches he possessed before and having new children, 7 sons and 3 daughters (his wife did not die in this ordeal). His new daughters (Jemima, Keziah and Keren-Happuch[10]) were the most beautiful in the land, and were given inheritance along with their brothers. Job is blessed once again and lives on another 140 years after the ordeal, living to see his children to the fourth generation and dying peacefully of old age.

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