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The Book of Job: A Story of Suffering and Hope

Images that look like the Book of Job

The Old Testament Book of Job describes God's judgment and his suffering in human society.

The book is famous for dealing with the theme of 

I have done nothing wrong, and yet I must suffer.

The book is mostly a book of questions and answers between people, and it is also a book that is often quite difficult to understand.

What is the story of the Book of Job?

What is the Book of Job?

The Book of Job is a book written in Hebrew and included in the Old Testament.

In the Jewish tradition,

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The author was Moses?

But the actual author is unknown.

If you would like to know more about Moses,

Please see this article.

There is little difference from the "Dead Sea Scrolls," an ancient document that is about 2,000 years old and has been accurately handed down over a long period of time.

Satan Seduces God

There was a man named Job.

He was a man of integrity and uprightness of heart, a man who feared God and was free from evil.

He owned many livestock, and slaves, and was the most powerful man in the town.

God said to Satan,

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Have you seen Job? There is no one more pious than Job.

But Satan (the one who crawls on the earth) said,

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What do you say? Job is only pious because he thinks that he has prospered thanks to you. By all means, try taking all his wealth away from him. I am sure Job will resent you.

Then, God said,

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Then do what you want. Do not take his life in return.

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Understood.

Just as Satan wanted, Job lost all his livestock and his children.

When Job received the news, he immediately bowed down to the ground and simply prayed to God and did not complain about God.

Satan, hunting down Job

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Job lost his possessions, but he did not lose his piety. You were wrong.

God said to Satan, but Satan didn't care.

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Man would give all his possessions for his life. The most important thing for a man is his life and health. What do you think? Try hitting his bones and flesh. He will surely resent you.

Then, God said,

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Then do as you wish. Do not take his life in return.

Thus Satan struck Job with malignant boils from his feet to the crown of his head.

Job was indeed weakened by this.

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Are you still trying to defend your integrity in this? Curse God and die!

His wife said so to Job.

But Job replied,

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Since we receive blessings from God, shouldn't we also receive misfortune?

And Job simply endured the pain that befell him.

Three friends come to him

Then three friends came to Job.

They saw that Job was in a lot of pain for a week, and at first, no one could talk to him.

But one day, Job opened his mouth.

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I wish I had never been born if this is what happens to me.

This led the three of them and Job into an argument.

A Heated Discussion with Three Friends

This argument is the main theme of the Book of Job and takes up most of the content of the book, but it is a long story and difficult to understand, so I will give a brief summary.

According to the three people's claims,

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Job is in pain because he did something against God, didn't he?

On the other hand, Job's argument is that

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I too have always been faithful and have done nothing wrong.

This was a roundabout way of arguing.

The argument got heated, and some pretty harsh things were said and done, but in the end there was no answer.

Job was an undeniably good man, and yet he was in a bad situation, suffering from the disaster, scorned by people, and harshly criticized by his friends.

Although it would have been nice for his three friends to give him a little extra care and attention,

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The reason you are in such a situation is that you are not pious enough.

They kept saying things like this.

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Why don't you understand me!

It appears that Job was also frustrated by this.

A brief synopsis before the discussion

The three friends can be summarized as follows:

  • Eliphaz
  • Bildad
  • Zophar

They traveled from their respective countries to comfort Job.

And they sat with Job for seven days and seven nights.

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Ughhhh...

When they saw Job in such intense pain, they could not even speak to him.

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Did you really do something wrong? Why don't you admit all your sins!

The three friends began to argue with Job, who had no memory of what had happened.

The tendency of Argument with the Three Friends

Job repeated the argument trend a whopping three times, dealing with each of his three friends one by one.

This discussion was followed by the assertion of the mysterious Elihu, and finally by God's response.

In the first discussion, each of them would encourage dialogue out of courtesy, but in the second, their expressions would become harsher.

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You have committed a malicious injustice!

The third time, the three friends finally decided that Job was so.

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It is those who oppose me and defy me who are to be considered unjust and guilty!

Job also retorted so, and the mood of the room became worst.

As the discussion progressed, it went from abstract to concrete, and Job raised questions from the sermons of his three friends.

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My point is that it is inherently comforting to be heard...

He also said it.

The content of the discussion with the three friends

In the midst of Satan's trials and tribulations,

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Why was I born... I want to die...

Job's three friends began to comfort him and taught him the law of cause and effect.

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God gives blessings to the righteous and woe to the sinful.

And they used this principle of cause and effect as a shield.

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Job, if you want to return to your former circumstances, admit your sins and return to the faith of God.

But Job had no idea what they were talking about.

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No, I didn't sin or do anything!

He told his three friends that he had been falsely accused of a crime.

If Job had admitted his guilt and said,

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God, please restore me to my original condition...!

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After all, Job was a man who believed for his own gain.

Satan would be victorious.

Job's doubts throughout the discussion

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God is judging the world righteously. There is no room for doubt about that judgment!

The three friends relentlessly repeated,

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Job was guilty of some sin, and the answer was to be reconciled to God and walk the righteous path.

The three friends believed so and did not doubt.

They also insisted that,

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There is no one person who is righteous before God. That is why each of us must suffer the punishment of our sins.

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Still, it is unjust to charge us with sins that God does not even recognize.

Job refuted that claim.

He had innocent faith from the beginning, but Satan's trials and arguments with his friends led him to think

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Is it okay to think about disaster and punishment so easily...

And after going through the discussion,

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There are those who make atonement for themselves. And there exists a worldview different from that of cause and effect.

Thus he said.

Causation alone is not enough

Eliphaz, who led the discussion among the three friends, said that Job was rich.

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According to God's justice, was it not because he had originally taken the possessions of the poor?

And the argument progresses to the point where neither side can back down.

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By those who were born to power and brutally rob and oppress, I am with innocent people who were born poor and live.

Job came to realize this.

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We have to draw a conclusion somewhere, not just the general theory of cause and effect.

He knew that this was the case.

And then he would become even more verbal than his three friends.

At this point, Job was so convinced of his own righteousness.

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......

So, his three friends could only be silent.

Elihu was angry at the situation.

Elihu's (the mysterious figure) assertion

In response to the three friends' assertion of guilt by retribution, Job, in his own righteousness, insisted on the innocence of sin, and the argument went on a parallel track.

At this point, the character of Elihu suddenly appeared.

He angered at Job's failure to show his guilt.

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Whether or not Job has sin is for God to decide, and there is a problem with the method of argument. If we accept Job's argument, God's justice would not be complete. Hence, God's ethics would be disordered!

Although Elihu's claim rests on an ethical basis in the omnipotence of God and is based on a formal point of view,

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What was this person ultimately trying to say?

It seems to be difficult to understand his opinion.

Elihu's claim finally comes to a conclusion with God's reply.

God's Answer and the Conclusion of the Story

Eventually, God emerged from the storm and admonished them all to teach.

God rebuked the three friends and promises to give Job his property again.

Thus Job lived to be 140 years old and then died.

But this 140 years of age was more than Moses' 120.

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God prolonged Job's life.

It is believed so.

God's Response to Job

Having said it all, Job set aside his doubts about his afflictions and listened to his inner voice.

At that moment, God Himself clearly appeared to Job out of the storm.

And God said,

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Job lacked knowledge, but he spoke the right thing.

In other words, this answer shows that cause and effect is not the whole story.

God's Paradoxical Question

From here, God asks Job a paradoxical question as a battle.

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Where were you when I put My earth? If you say you knew, say what you understand.

The point of this question is as follow:

Man is not the protagonist of God's plan or involved in creation at all, and the purpose of God's activity is to transcend human activity

And Job showed knowing this.

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I understand and know that I live in the world of God's gratuitous acts. I also see and know that natural phenomena.

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At that time you were already born, and if you have many days in your life, you should know what I am saying.

God asked Job to speak, who withdrawed.

Job acknowledged his smallness and retreats, understanding that man is not at the center of God's purpose for activity.

To such Job, God continued.

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Do you take me? Take yourself? Do you deny what I have decreed, and even convict Me in order to acquit yourself?

God's Intended Lesson

To prevail over this paradoxical question of God,

  • Must change the character of creation and annihilate it
  • He must deny creation

Such contradictions are present in the small being Job.

Interpretations of the most powerful monsters, the imaginary animals Behemoth and Leviathan, vary.

However, with an honest consideration of the nature of each animal and the significance of the story,

The animals that Job encountered that brought chaos and calamity are part of God's creative activity.

We can also understand them as part of God's creative activity.

In other words, all the disasters that humans cannot control are under God's control.

Job knew that God's plan was being fulfilled, and he was happy to encounter God.

On the other hand, he realized his disrespect to God and repented himself by getting down on dust and ashes.

Job's frustration was gone, and he also realized that all of God's justice and calamities were established in His free love.

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Since God has given us happiness, let us also have misfortune.

Thus, it was concluded that Job's words were correct.

The Conclusion of the Story of Job

At the end of the story, God's anger was directed at the three friends.

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You have not spoken rightly about Me as My servant Job did.

And God continued.

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If Job, who is hurt by this discussion, does not pray for you, your sins will not be cleansed.

And Job prayed for them, and his prayer was heard by God.

At the same time, God restored Job's lost possessions, giving him:

  • 14,000 sheep
  • 6,000 camels
  • 10,000 yoke of oxen
  • 1,000 head of asses

He also had seven sons and three beautiful daughters, and Job lived to the age of 140 years and died a long life.

Compared to other prophets, Job's age is also a life span added by God.