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The Job debate;- The troubles of Job

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posted on Sep, 22 2017 @ 05:03 PM
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On the face of it, the book of Job is about the troubles of one man.
Of course we understand him as a representative. We regard the story as a debate about the origins of human troubles.
Strictly speaking, why bad things happen to good people instead of being limited to bad people.

Job is presented to us as a man who is “blameless and upright” (ch1 v1). He fears God and turns away from evil.
In consequence (according to conventional thinking) God has “blessed the work of his hands and his possessions have increased in the land”.
God has granted him life in the form of ten children (the number of completeness).
Each day one of his seven sons (the number of God) will feast the rest of his children, and he makes a point of “sanctifying” them all at the end of each week.
He also makes a burnt offering for each of them daily, to cover the possibility that they might have slipped into sin. Specifically, the sin of “cursing God in their hearts”.

The first mover in Job’s trouble is the figure of Satan, the “adversary” or the “accuser”.
This is not the Satan of Paradise Lost, expelled from heaven before the creation of the world.
He has access to the court of heaven, and a function. His task is evidently to survey the world and report back to God on the faults that he finds there. In effect, he personifies God’s knowledge of our sin.

The name of Satan is a possible clue to the time when this book was written.
For the other references to this name come from after the time of exile in Babylon.
In the earlier version of the story about the census of Israel (2 Samuel ch24), David’s action is
prompted by God. It is the later Chronicler who substitutes the name of Satan (1 Chronicles ch21).
Satan also appears as an accuser in Zechariah ch3.
The implication is that the concept of Satan begins to feature in Jewish thinking during the time of Exile, or later.

The personified version of the “challenge” between God and Satan is a literary explanation designed to get the story going. It is not meant to be taken as literal theology, as we may guess from the way it drops out of sight after the first chapter.
But if Satan represents God’s awareness of human sin, the dialogue does have a bearing on the debates that follow.
In this book, God is “testing” the faith and loyalty of Job to an extreme point, just as he tested Abraham on another occasion.
One vital question will be whether God’s knowledge of human sin is one of the factors moving him to make the test. The comforters will claim, and Job will deny, that God’s action must have been prompted by the specific sins of Job himself. The effect of this chapter is to justify Job, in that respect, by rebutting their argument in advance.

We naturally apply this debate to the more general issue of the relationship between sin and suffering.
I think it’s possible, though, that the first roots of the book of Job lie in a more specific problem.

The fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians is the occasion for a substantial portion of the Old Testament, including the whole of the book of Ezekiel.
The reactions to this traumatic event include the Lamentations of Jeremiah, and the allegory of the Song of Solomon.
So I surmise that the first chapter of Job, at least, began as another approach to answering the agonised question of the Psalmist;
“O God, why dost thou cast us off for ever?
Why does thy anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture?” (Psalm 74 v1)

We may see Job’s children as representing the people of Israel, while Job himself may be a symbol of the nation as a whole. That would account for the otherwise perplexing fact that he is not invited to the feasts of his own children. (It was tempting to see “Job” as a shortened version of “Jacob”, but that seems not to work in the Hebrew alphabet)
The opening verses offer a very idealised view of the nation before the catastrophe, like the idyllic state described in Song of Solomon ch2.
The people live together in unbroken fellowship, and their sins are dealt with as they occur.
The dramatic series of troubles which follows echoes the troubles besetting the kingdom of Judah in the period of crisis between the battle of Megiddo (when Josiah died) and the final conquest by Babylon.
The parallel is most obvious when the Chaldeans (i.e. the Babylonians) make an appearance among the agents of Job’s downfall.
The last act of the opening day’s attack is the destruction of Job’s children. That is, the destruction of the nation by death and dispersal.

Since Job’s loyalty remains untouched by these losses, the final twist, in the second chapter. is the affliction of his body with loathsome sores.
That is the real climax of Job’s trouble.
He is reduced to apathy, and his wife urges him to give up his faith; “Curse God and die”.

I suggest that this represents the shame of a people who have lost everything that gave them a sense of value as a nation.
Many of them would have taken the advice of Job’s wife. They would have thrown over the God who seemed to have abandoned them, leaving his community and transferring (or confining) their loyalties to other gods.

Yet the loyalty of Job himself remains unshaken.
We are told that “in all this, Job did not sin with his lips”. That is, he did not curse God or blame him for what was happening.
“Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (ch2 v10)
So the story continues to present him as a model for his people.

At the same time, the “comforters” who sit with Job, judging by their contributions to the later discussion, reflect the prophetic voices which are ready to place all the blame on the sins of the people.

That will be the central issue of the debates of this book.
Are all our misfortunes the product of our own sins, or do we sometimes experience misfortune which we have not earned?
And in either case; how should we respond to what we experience?




posted on Sep, 22 2017 @ 05:04 PM
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When Satan becomes the “tempter”, that looks like a natural extension of his role as “accuser”; it’s a way of giving himself more evidence to work with.
The premise is that the tempted sinner opens himself up to adverse testimony, and thereby puts himself in the power of the accuser.
So when Satan “falls from heaven” in the New Testament, that is a fall from power as an accuser, a fall made possible by the forgiveness of sin.
“The accuser of our brethren has been thrown down… and they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation ch12 vv10-11).
That is, once the sin has been forgiven the accuser has lost the material of his case; the ground is cut away from under his feet. God’s knowledge of our sin has become irrelevant.
Revelation; Satan fell from heaven

edit on 22-9-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 22 2017 @ 05:20 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


Strictly speaking, why bad things happen to good people instead of being limited to bad people.

'Strictly Speaking', it rains on the just and unjust alike.

People with higher status or wealth have less bad things happen to them because they are 'insulated'.

Less "affluent" people get the short end of the stick. Did I read that the price of gas and hotel rent is climbing out of sight in the hurricane stricken areas? There was thousands of mortgage foreclosure announcements in Texas from Harvey alone, in 'one day' .

The gubnor of Puerto Rico is telling people they may not have electricity restored for six months.

Never understood the JOB story, if anything its a notice to people suck it up...

"Endeavor to persevere". -- Chief Dan George, from The Outlaw Josey Wales



posted on Sep, 22 2017 @ 05:24 PM
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a reply to: intrptr
"The rain it raineth every day,
Both on the just and unjust fella;
But mostly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just's umbrella".

Thank you for reminding me. I thought of quoting that one, and nearly forgot.



posted on Sep, 22 2017 @ 05:32 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

No debate! Job thought he was a very perfect man to the point of vanity. The Mighty One just made a lesson out of it all that no man or woman has perfection or blemish free grace; not you and not I, so don't even try!

HE said "Jacob, you worm" and told us that we are just another creature created by Him and we need to REMEMBER OUR PLACE in the scheme of things lest we end up like Nero thinking we are some kind of god in our egotistical mania. Even Paul admitted to his own thorn in the flesh (left us guessing as to what that might be?)

all the best from Jacob Worm!








edit on 22-9-2017 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)

edit on 22-9-2017 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)

edit on 22-9-2017 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 22 2017 @ 05:36 PM
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a reply to: Revolution9
True, but the title is partly about the debate which takes place within the book.The series is going to continue, to cover the rest of it.



posted on Sep, 22 2017 @ 05:43 PM
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I think part of the lesson of Job is that sometimes although God is just and good, God's perspective on the universe is so much bigger and more complex than ours that His version of just and good is beyond our immediate day to day selfish needs and understanding.

Try explaining to a child why the rain that falls and spoils your day may actually be just and good for the world around you even if it doesn't seem so to you.



posted on Sep, 22 2017 @ 06:01 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

My views on the book of JOB is something of a mystery to me . The story seems simple but is anything but . "The Satan" is one character I first went into reading the book but had to back away from as I had only assumed it was a character . Any how I thought I would tag this thread and leave this short vid



posted on Sep, 22 2017 @ 06:12 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI


Isaiah 41:14;
"Fear not, you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel; I will help you, said the LORD, and your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."

God is saying that HE is all our power. Without HIM we are dust with no life in it. El Shaddai just took away His protection from Job. He did not afflict Job; SATAN did.

Lol, sorry the other comment was bit of an explosion. It's just that something came back to me in a flash. Yes, Job's mistake really was thinking that he was doing it all of his own design. That's why God allowed the Angel to test him. it would be a lesson for all of humans throughout history. Job was indeed a very great and good man, but we are sinners all. We inherited Adam's Curse. TS Eliot says it thus;

(from East Coker, Four Quartets)

"The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind us of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere."

We are all poorly. That's why the earth is a madhouse. The Beast's Sin is that it believes itself its own god and dares to exert authority and demand praise from its fellow humans. Look that up in Revelation. The whole thing ties together. It's incredible.

The sin of Pride. It's the most dangerous of all.

May I include a song by Bob Dylan? Job would gladly tap his feet to it, I guess, and I certainly do:



The disease of conceit.




edit on 22-9-2017 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 22 2017 @ 11:27 PM
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God and Satan seem to have a gambling problem. They keep betting on people. I wonder what they use for money?



posted on Sep, 23 2017 @ 02:07 AM
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a reply to: rickymouse
Only if you insist on taking the story as a literal history.



posted on Sep, 23 2017 @ 08:34 AM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
When Satan becomes the “tempter”, that looks like a natural extension of his role as “accuser”; it’s a way of giving himself more evidence to work with.
The premise is that the tempted sinner opens himself up to adverse testimony, and thereby puts himself in the power of the accuser.
So when Satan “falls from heaven” in the New Testament, that is a fall from power as an accuser, a fall made possible by the forgiveness of sin.
“The accuser of our brethren has been thrown down… and they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation ch12 vv10-11).
That is, once the sin has been forgiven the accuser has lost the material of his case; the ground is cut away from under his feet. God’s knowledge of our sin has become irrelevant.
Revelation; Satan fell from heaven


I find the above very interesting - the nullification of Satan as an accuser/prosecutor. In relation to that, consider Revelation 20:2 &10, where Satan is taken out of the way twice before a judgement. In effect, the Prosecutor's
chair is rendered empty.



posted on Sep, 23 2017 @ 09:09 AM
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a reply to: Lazarus Short
An interesting supplement which I hadn't thought of, thank you. There is one catch, though, namely that the wicked are still judged in that chapter. Only "the brethren" are given immunity.



posted on Sep, 23 2017 @ 09:17 AM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: rickymouse
Only if you insist on taking the story as a literal history.



I thought we were supposed to take the scriptures as the whole truth, you cannot discount their betting on someone.

From what I read, God and Satan are not really enemies but there is competition and Satan seems to test our worthiness.



posted on Sep, 23 2017 @ 09:40 AM
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a reply to: rickymouse
I've certainly never said that every word has to be given a literal interpretation, and nobody really takes that view in practice.The parable of the Prodigal Son, for example, is recognised as a story devised for the purpose of illustrating a point, and I see Job ch1 as another example of the same genre.



posted on Sep, 23 2017 @ 02:04 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: rickymouse
I've certainly never said that every word has to be given a literal interpretation, and nobody really takes that view in practice.The parable of the Prodigal Son, for example, is recognised as a story devised for the purpose of illustrating a point, and I see Job ch1 as another example of the same genre.



But, if I try to humanize them, I can see god making bets with his son satan.



posted on Sep, 23 2017 @ 02:07 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

Another way to look it is that it's very easy to have faith and seem to do everything right when you have no tests in your life.

It is as Satan says, and you hear the same thing from people who have no faith today or who have lost their faith.

"If God is so good, why do bad things happen to innocent people? Why do the little children get cancer? Where's your all good God then?!"

We face that test all the time when talking about God's nature. That the author of Job chose to write about God's throne room rather than mere mortals is simply another way to illustrate the age-old conversation that always goes on. And the tests that Job face happen to the faithful all the time. How do you keep your faith that God is there and loves us even in the face of losing everything and everyone you hold dear, of being afflicted yourself with terrible ailments?

I see Job as the book that attempts to explain that. God sends us nothing we can't bear, but how we handle those tests defines our character and our ultimately our faith.
edit on 23-9-2017 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 23 2017 @ 02:22 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko

If noone tested our worthiness then how would god know who was actually good or bad? I know a lot of people who go to church regularly and are good people, but I also know quite a few people who go to church who rip others off continually. Some justify their wealth by saying god provides for them because they go to church. I see them overcharging for their services many times, they need to ask for forgiveness every day.

I also know some people who do not go church that are very sincere and honest.

I can't judge anyone much myself. I try to avoid associating with deceivers. My cats never lie, they are a bit lazy though.



posted on Sep, 29 2017 @ 11:29 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Excellent thread. Star, flag and bookmarked.

I'm taking a required religion class in school, Old Testament Survey. I'll be getting to Job soon and your posts provide some great insight. Thanks.



posted on Sep, 30 2017 @ 08:39 AM
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a reply to: flowerpower691
In that case, you may be interested in the other Old Testament threads in my profile, including those relating to various prophets;
Hosea; What's wrong with Israel?



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