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Mistakes Made by Job and His Friends, Christine Hayes, 2006.

The Hebrew Bible
1-22 In all this Job did not sin or impute anything unsavory to God.

2-3 The Lord said to the Satan, ” … and still he holds on to his integrity, so you incited
me to destroy him for nothing” (2-3).

2-9 His wife said to him, “Do you still hold on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

2-10 In all this, Job did not sin with his lips.

9-17 ” … He wounds me much for nothing.”

27-2-6 “By God who has deprived me of justice! By Shaddai who has embittered my
life! As long as there is life in me, and God’s breath is in my nostrils, my lips will speak
no wrong, nor my tongue utter deceit. Far be it from me to say you are right; until I die
I will maintain my integrity. I persist in my righteousness and will not yield; I shall be
free of reproach as long as I live.”

40-8 “Would you impugn my justice? Would you condemn me that you may be right?”

* * * * * * * * *

The assumption of a moral order, a system of retributive divine justice, leads to one of
two errors-

Error I- that suffering is a sign of sin

OR (if it is not, then)

Error 2- God is indifferent, wicked, unjust because he allows the innocent to suffer

Job’s friends make error I – imputing sin where they see suffering. But Job is innocent
and suffering “for nothing.” God affirms this when he says that the friends have lied and
Job has spoken what is true.

Job makes error 2 – impugns God’s character or justice because the innocent suffer and
the wicked prosper. But Job is equally mistaken.

Both mistakes are avoided if the initial assumption – of a moral order, a system of
retributive divine justice – is abandoned. God is not a moral accountant. If he were then
it would be impossible ever to do the right thing for its own sake. Only when the hope
for just desserts is dead, can one act with full integrity, maintaining one’s righteousness.

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Posted in: Literary Prophecy

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