“Job” and the Problem of Evil
- Prose introduction (1 - 2)
- Poetic dialogue between Job and Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (3 - 31)
- Poetic monologue of young Elihu (32 - 37)
- Poetic dialogue between God and Job (38 - 42)
- Prose epilogue (42)
The Problem of Evil
Job is a blameless and rich man with ten children. One day, God boasts about Job’s righteousness to Satan, who is unimpressed. “God allows Satan to take his wealth, children, and health. Throughout the book, Job
“It is all one; therefore I say,
he destroys both the blameless and the wicked.” (9.22 - 24)
The problem of evil is a unique concern for believers of a benevolent and all-powerful God.
If God was not omnipotent, then they may not be able to prevent the suffering of the innocent. The forces of nature may overwhelm god. Or, if God is one among many, then innocent suffering could be collateral due to the whims of the gods, as is seen throughout the Iliad.
If God was not benevolent or didn’t exist, then there is no expectation that the evil will perish or the good will be blessed.
Thus, believers in a benevolent and all-powerful God must explain how the The theological discussion in Job are subtle and comprehensive.
The existence of the book of Job implies that the writers had been monotheistic for some time by the time it was written, and had thought through the various aspects of the problem of evil in detail.
- Job believed that justice exists apart from God; God seems to refute that idea
Age of the Book
- Many unknown phrases
- Iron weapon (v. 20.24) ?
- The Leviathan
- The dome in the sky
- Creating humans is like cheese curdling (10.10)
- The phoenix
Job is unaware of the existence of Heaven.
- 14.10 - 12
- 14.13 - 17 (If only I could hide in Sheol until your anger passes, and then you would let me come back to Earth and would not “number my steps”)
- “I know that my redeemer lives”
- The number of children is not doubled
- Odd re-ordering of passages
A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble
comes up like a flower and withers,
flees like a shadow and does not last. (14.1)