Daily Bible Study Tips: Job
Comments on Job 1 to 3
Comments on Job 4 to 11
Comments on Job 12 to 18
Comments on Job 19 to 21
Comments on Job 22 to 27
Comments on Job 31 to 38:21
Comments on Job 38:22 to 40
Job 42:7-17, Epilogue.
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Job 42:7-17 (8/27/10)
Is it just me, or is the ending of the book of Job a little weird?
For about 35 chapters, Job says, "Look around. What we've been taught - that the good are always rewarded and
the bad are always punished in this life
--is simply not true. Why is that?" His friends Eliphaz,
Bildad, and Zophar argue unconvincingly that it is true, but Job, Elihu, and God all agree that they are full of beans.
Then God says to Job, "You have no standing to even raise the question 'Why?', let alone the wisdom to understand the answer."
, in the last half of the last chapter, God rewards Job for being a good guy! Does this seem to you to undermine the message of the entire rest of the book? Some scholars suspect that the epilogue and prologue were written by an author or authors other than the one who wrote the speeches. I think the writer of the epilogue was trying to soften the primary message of Job: "I'm God, and you're not. Deal with it." (8/27/10)
Supplement: Since I quoted fellow-reader Jack N. a couple times during our study of Job, I'm going to give him the next-to-the-last word:
Here's my take on the ending of Job: Job deserves a reward because
a) He didn't try to speak for God as the Comforters did and thereby distort God's nature and message;
b) He stuck to his guns in the face of enormous peer pressure and conventional logic to assert the unfairness of his situation and ask for a hearing; this is courageous and truthful;
c) He wavers and doubts and questions but does not despair in the face of unbelievable suffering and stays engaged with God; and finally
d) When he hears God's message, he stops arguing and humbly acknowledges his place.
There is a biblical tradition of "wrestlers" with God (e.g., Jacob/"Israel," the wrestler or striver, David in many of his Psalms, the Preacher in Ecclesiastes, Jeremiah...more, I'm sure) and Job fits right in; it seems God likes the wrestlers more than the lip service "lukewarm" conventional followers.
Your initial question was probably rhetorical, but I responded anyway!
And in response, here's my last word on Job:
Well, my question really wasn't rhetorical. After actually reading (the better part of) the whole book, the last half of the last chapter does seem weird to me.
I agree with Jack: Job deserved
a reward. But the whole point of the argument has been that people don't necessarily get what they deserve.
Copyright 2010 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the
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Bible-study participants. Thanks to the
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errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
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