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Third, Job implies that neither prosperity nor suffering can be easily or routinely interpreted. It may be that suffering is the blessing and prosperity the trial. From personal experience no less than from scripture, we know that prosperity may test our faith while suffering may ready us for salvation. And fourth, the book of Job may serve to remind us that individuals often live out personal tragedies quite apart from the general prosperity and happiness of the larger community. Job addresses itself to the plight of a particular individual, not a covenant people.

Most of the Old Testament and Book of Mormon promises, on the other hand, pertain to an entire covenant community. If we look carefully at the Bible or Book of Mormon we can find many instances of good individuals who, like Job, suffer. Think, for example, of the martyred women and children Alma and Amulek witnessed burn to death, or of the wives and children forced to feed upon the flesh of their husbands and fathers just before the final destruction of the Nephites see Alma —11; Moroni —8. Righteousness does not insulate us from suffering or assure us of material rewards.

As Christians, we need not look only to Job to confirm this fact. The supreme proof of this is Christ, who suffered more than has any man. The mortal Messiah intimately knew poverty, pain, hunger, thirst, fatigue, betrayal, and agonizing death see Mosiah If the Lord, who was perfect, had to endure affliction, should we, who are imperfect, expect to be spared from it?

Art thou greater than he? The only reward for righteousness that the Lord holds out unfailingly to individuals is peace in this life and eternal life in the life to come—and even this peace must be found amid persecutions, not in the absence see John ; These and other insights into the problem of evil may be drawn from Job. In my opinion, however, the book is not primarily a repository of philosophical or theological answers as to why God permits suffering.

To put the matter succinctly, the problem Job treats involves relationship; the answer it provides entails revelation. The book of Job teaches us how to endure suffering, not the reason for it. Let me explain. If we look at the text, we observe that Job is never told the reason for his afflictions. In fact, Job endured physical pain in silence.

To follow their counsel would have forced Job to live a lie by confessing to the Lord that he felt he deserved his affliction—which he did not, and should not feel. In consequence, many innocent victims have been pressured to confess to the lie that they merit their misfortune—that whatever evil befalls them is less punishment than they deserve. But Job refuses such false wisdom and stoutly maintains that, even weighed in the balance scales of ordinary justice see Job ; , his suffering is disproportionate to any sin that could be laid to his charge.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. Such is the shocking boldness of Job before his friends and his Lord, and such is his stunning trust in a God who, Job knows, does not want man to come before Him as a hypocrite, feigning to comprehend suffering that he cannot fathom.

3.0 Commentary on Job

The text propounds few, if any, theoretical reasons for suffering, though the so-called comforters advocate many. Rather, it offers a memorable example of how to suffer suffering. Thus, the text reminds us that one can say something that is formally wrong but personally right as did Job , and something formally correct but personally wrong as did the comforters. The relationship of the speaker to the speech matters utterly.

All these points may have elements of truth, but they are also untrue. First, they were uttered without compassion. Next, they were glib. Those who suffer are not happy, at least not until they have been allowed to be unhappy first. Such smugness is roundly condemned in the book of Job. Even Elihu, the fourth and final comforter, whose speeches echo those issuing from the whirlwind, had no impact on Job and, in my opinion, stands under the same divine disapproval as the other comforters.

As a personal revelation from the Lord to the long-suffering, steadfast Job, the voice from the whirlwind had authority and meaning that no merely human voice could match. Intellectual answers can never provide this knowledge. This is very wise, but it does not go quite far enough. To human utterance must be added the witness of the Spirit.

We can testify to the truth that the Lord loves and pities His children in the midst of their sharpest sorrows. We can offer scriptural and personal insights about the various purposes served by suffering. But only the Lord can confirm His continuing love through the voice of the only unfailing comforter, His Comforter. This revelation is, ultimately, the sine qua non for resolving a Joban crisis.

It is the essential comfort every Job requires. The book of Job, then, is at bottom about the need for personal revelation. Revelation is the key to human crises of faith brought on by suffering. This interpretation, little recognized in biblical scholarship, fits LDS theology, which stresses the need for both general and personal revelation.

vindication of god

There is indeed a mystery in suffering. Job is overwhelmed by mystery in the theophany as the enigma of his own suffering is engulfed by the larger mystery of creation. Job never does receive an answer as to why he suffered; nor, often, do we. It remains inexplicable, mysterious. Yet one can overstate the mystery. In Latter-day Saint scripture we see this same historical thesis operating in the Book of Mormon. Book of Mormon history is covenant history par excellence. Modern revelation also confirms a correlation between blessings and obedience, punishment and transgression.

These and similar modern oracles provide the basis for our belief that God today still enters into covenants, as He did with Abraham. They lend further weight to faith in divine rewards and punishments. How can we understand the book of Job in connection with the doctrine of retributive justice? Can Job help us understand the true nature of our belief about the correlation between suffering and sin?

I believe so. Perhaps these few points might suggest how:. First and foremost, the book of Job makes clear that suffering is not necessarily a sign of punishment.

Book of Job

If a man is a millionaire, then he may buy a Mercedes, but if he buys a Mercedes, he is not necessarily a millionaire. Or, to apply the same principles to Job, if a man is wicked then he may and ultimately will suffer, but if he suffers he is not necessarily wicked. Sinfulness may result in suffering, but suffering does not necessarily imply sinfulness.


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The same holds true for the corollary: virtue may result in prosperity, but prosperity does not necessarily imply virtue. Third, Job implies that neither prosperity nor suffering can be easily or routinely interpreted. It may be that suffering is the blessing and prosperity the trial.

6. Psalm The Suffering of the Righteous and the Success of Sinners | ziwopycaxa.tk

From personal experience no less than from scripture, we know that prosperity may test our faith while suffering may ready us for salvation. And fourth, the book of Job may serve to remind us that individuals often live out personal tragedies quite apart from the general prosperity and happiness of the larger community. Job addresses itself to the plight of a particular individual, not a covenant people.

Most of the Old Testament and Book of Mormon promises, on the other hand, pertain to an entire covenant community. If we look carefully at the Bible or Book of Mormon we can find many instances of good individuals who, like Job, suffer. Think, for example, of the martyred women and children Alma and Amulek witnessed burn to death, or of the wives and children forced to feed upon the flesh of their husbands and fathers just before the final destruction of the Nephites see Alma —11; Moroni —8.

Righteousness does not insulate us from suffering or assure us of material rewards. As Christians, we need not look only to Job to confirm this fact. The supreme proof of this is Christ, who suffered more than has any man. The mortal Messiah intimately knew poverty, pain, hunger, thirst, fatigue, betrayal, and agonizing death see Mosiah If the Lord, who was perfect, had to endure affliction, should we, who are imperfect, expect to be spared from it?

Art thou greater than he? The only reward for righteousness that the Lord holds out unfailingly to individuals is peace in this life and eternal life in the life to come—and even this peace must be found amid persecutions, not in the absence see John ; These and other insights into the problem of evil may be drawn from Job.

In my opinion, however, the book is not primarily a repository of philosophical or theological answers as to why God permits suffering. To put the matter succinctly, the problem Job treats involves relationship; the answer it provides entails revelation. The book of Job teaches us how to endure suffering, not the reason for it.

Let me explain. If we look at the text, we observe that Job is never told the reason for his afflictions. In fact, Job endured physical pain in silence. To follow their counsel would have forced Job to live a lie by confessing to the Lord that he felt he deserved his affliction—which he did not, and should not feel. In consequence, many innocent victims have been pressured to confess to the lie that they merit their misfortune—that whatever evil befalls them is less punishment than they deserve.

"Hast Thou Considered My Servant Job?"

But Job refuses such false wisdom and stoutly maintains that, even weighed in the balance scales of ordinary justice see Job ; , his suffering is disproportionate to any sin that could be laid to his charge. Though he slay me, yet will I trust him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. Such is the shocking boldness of Job before his friends and his Lord, and such is his stunning trust in a God who, Job knows, does not want man to come before Him as a hypocrite, feigning to comprehend suffering that he cannot fathom.

The text propounds few, if any, theoretical reasons for suffering, though the so-called comforters advocate many. Rather, it offers a memorable example of how to suffer suffering. Thus, the text reminds us that one can say something that is formally wrong but personally right as did Job , and something formally correct but personally wrong as did the comforters. The relationship of the speaker to the speech matters utterly. All these points may have elements of truth, but they are also untrue. First, they were uttered without compassion. Next, they were glib.

Those who suffer are not happy, at least not until they have been allowed to be unhappy first. Such smugness is roundly condemned in the book of Job. Even Elihu, the fourth and final comforter, whose speeches echo those issuing from the whirlwind, had no impact on Job and, in my opinion, stands under the same divine disapproval as the other comforters.

As a personal revelation from the Lord to the long-suffering, steadfast Job, the voice from the whirlwind had authority and meaning that no merely human voice could match. Intellectual answers can never provide this knowledge. This is very wise, but it does not go quite far enough. There is also reason to believe that the version given in the Septuagint goes back to older sources than the version given in the Hebrew Bible.

Laying the scene at Susa , a residential city of the Persian kings, the book narrates that Haman , the vizier and favourite of King Ahasuerus Xerxes I ; reigned — bce , determined by lot that the 13th of Adar was the day on which the Jews living in the Persian Empire were to be slain.

Haman then schemed to have Mordecai hanged; instead, he was sent to the gallows erected for Mordecai, and Jews throughout the empire were given permission to defend themselves on the day set for their extermination. Therefore, Esther and Mordecai issued a decree obligating the Jews henceforth to commemorate these events on both the 14th and 15th of Adar. Theme and language characterize Esther as one of the latest books of the Hebrew Bible, probably dating from the 2nd century bce.

Nothing is known of its author. According to the postbiblical sources, its inclusion in the canon, as well as the observance of the feast of the 14th and 15th of Adar, still met with strong opposition on the part of the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem as late as the 3rd century ce ; yet, despite its lack of specific religious content, the story has become in popular Jewish understanding a magnificent message that the providence of God will preserve his people from annihilation.

The Book of Daniel presents a collection of popular stories about Daniel , a loyal Jew, and the record of visions granted to him, with the Babylonian Exile of the 6th century bce as their background. The exiled Jews had been permitted to return to their homeland by Cyrus II the Great, master of the Medes and Persians, who captured Babylon in bce from its last king, Nabonidus, and his son Belshazzar.

The ancient Near East was then ruled by the Persians until Alexander the Great brought it under his control in Under the Persian and Ptolemaic rulers the Jews seem to have enjoyed some political autonomy and complete religious liberty. But under Antiochus IV Jewish fortunes changed dramatically.

In his effort to Hellenize the Jews of Palestine, Antiochus attempted to force them to abandon their religion and practice the common pagan worship of his realm. Increasingly sterner restrictions were imposed upon the Jews, the city of Jerusalem was pillaged, and, finally, in December the Temple was desecrated. The outcome of this persecution was the open rebellion among the Jews, as described in the books of Maccabees. This period of Hellenistic Judaism is treated more fully in Judaism: Hellenistic Judaism 4th century bce —2nd century ce. The conflict between the religion of the Jews and the paganism of their foreign rulers is also the basic theme of the Book of Daniel.

In Daniel, however, it is regarded as foreseen and permitted by God to show the superiority of Hebrew wisdom over pagan wisdom and to demonstrate that the God of Israel will triumph over all earthly kings and will rescue his faithful ones from their persecutors. This revelation usually occurs as a vision expressed in complicated, often bizarre symbolism. The literature is generally pseudonymous, proposed under the name of some authoritative figure of the distant past, such as Daniel, Moses , Enoch, or Ezra. This allows the author to present events that are past history to him as prophecies of future happenings.

The Book of Daniel, the first of the apocalyptic writings, did not represent an entirely new type of literature. Apocalypse had its beginnings in passages in the works of the prophets. In fact, it has been said that the apocalyptic was really an attempt to rationalize and systematize the predictive side of prophecy. There were significant differences, however. The prophet, for the most part, declared his message by word of mouth, which might subsequently be recorded in writing.

The apocalyptist, on the other hand, remained completely hidden behind his message, which he wrote down for the faithful to read. The prophets normally spoke in their own name a message for their own day. The apocalyptists normally wrote in the name of some notable man of the past a message for the time of the age to come.

Dr. John Walton, Job, Lecture 27, Theology of the Book of Job

Like the prophets before them, the apocalyptists saw in the working out of history, which they divided into well-defined periods, a purpose and a goal. This literature, then, is a mixture of pessimism—times would become worse and worse, and God would destroy this present evil world—and of optimism—out of turmoil and confusion God would bring in his kingdom, the goal of history.

For many centuries the apocalyptic character of the Book of Daniel was overlooked, and it was generally considered to be true history, containing genuine prophecy. In fact, the book was included among the prophetic books in the Greek canon. His date for the fall of Jerusalem, for example, is wrong; Belshazzar is represented as the son of Nebuchadrezzar and the last king of Babylon, whereas he was actually the son of Nabonidus and, though a powerful figure, was never king; Darius the Mede, a fictitious character perhaps confused with Darius I of Persia, is made the successor of Belshazzar instead of Cyrus.

By contrast, the book is a not inconsiderable historical source for the Greek period. It refers to the desecration of the Temple in and possibly to the beginning of the Maccabean revolt. Only when the narrative reaches the latter part of the reign of Antiochus do notable inaccuracies appear—an indication of a transition from history to prediction.

The book is thus dated between and bce. The name Daniel would appear to refer to a legendary hero who was used in different ways at different times and who became particularly popular in the storytelling of the Persian and Greek Diaspora as a personification of the practical and theological problems faced by the Jews in that environment. Whether there is any connection between the Daniel of this book and the one mentioned as a wise man without equal and as a righteous man in the tale of Aqhat, a Ugaritic text dated from about the middle of the 14th century, is uncertain.

The book is written in two languages: the beginning —a and the final chapters 8—12 in Hebrew and the rest in Aramaic. Furthermore, there is a singleness of religious outlook, spirit, and purpose throughout.

Nevertheless, the problem of the languages has never been satisfactorily answered. The stories of the first six chapters, which probably existed in oral tradition before the author set them down, begin with the account of how Daniel and his three companions Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who were given the names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego by the Babylonians came to be living at the Babylonian court and how they remained faithful to the laws of their religion.

The last six chapters of the book are apocalyptic. The mythological beasts are interpreted as four empires the Babylonian Empire, the kingdom of the Medes, the Persian Empire, and the empire of Alexander and the manlike figure as Israel. The vision of a battle between the ram Medes and Persians and the goat the Greek Empire in chapter 8 introduces the iniquities of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and is an assurance to the stricken Jews that the end of their tribulation is near.

The remaining chapters provide the fourth commentary on the crisis provoked by the Seleucid tyrant. The greater part of this vision is a sketch of the events that affected the Jews from the Persian period to the time of Antiochus and prepared for his reign of terror. The final books of the Hebrew Bible are the books of Chronicles and Ezra—Nehemiah , which once formed a unitary history of Israel from Adam to the 4th century bce , written by an anonymous Chronicler. The purpose of this history seems to have been to trace the origin of the Temple and to show the antiquity and authenticity of its cult and of the formal, legalistic type of religion that dominated later Judaism.

The history that these books record has already been treated in the historical section of this article and is found in greater detail in Judaism. The concern in this section will be chiefly with the literary and theological aspects of the books, but their contents can be summarized. In I and II Chronicles the author repeats much of the material from earlier historical books, concentrating upon the history of the kingdom of Judah. The First Book of the Chronicles begins with an extensive genealogy of Israel from Adam to the restoration but is primarily a biography of David that adds further facts to the story as given in Samuel.

The Second Book of the Chronicles begins with Solomon and goes through the division of the kingdom to the reign of Zedekiah ; once again the Chronicler had access to materials that supplemented the account in I and II Kings. In the Book of Ezra he describes the return of the Jews from the Babylonian Exile and the reconstruction of the Temple.

He includes lists of the families who returned and the texts of the decrees under which they returned. In the Book of Nehemiah the reconstruction of the city walls of Jerusalem becomes the basis for a meditation upon the relation between God and his people. This book, too, contains lists of those who participated in the reconstruction, but much of it concentrates upon the description of Nehemiah and his persistence in performing his assignment.

The fourfold division of the books derives from the Greek and Latin versions; the more basic twofold division into Chronicles and Ezra—Nehemiah is more complex. This original division apparently resulted from the inclusion of the material known as Ezra—Nehemiah in the Hebrew canon before that known as Chronicles because it contained fresh information not found in any other canonical book.

When Chronicles was later admitted to the canon, it was placed in order after Ezra—Nehemiah; although the book has retained this position in the Hebrew Bible, the Greek version restored it to its proper sequence. Jewish tradition has identified Ezra as the author of these books, and some modern scholars concur.

According to many critics, however, the Chronicler was a Levite cantor in Jerusalem. The date of the work is more difficult to pinpoint. In its final form it has to be later than Ezra, who came to Judah about bce. An indication of the latest date at which the entire work could have been completed is its silence about the Hellenizing of Judaism that took place after Alexander the Great.

This, together with language considerations that point to the late Persian period, has led the majority of commentators to postulate a 4th-century date. Some scholars, however, claim that a time before bce would be too short to account for the genealogy at the beginning of I Chronicles, which is carried down to the eighth generation after Zerubbabel , one of the leaders of the band that returned from Babylon.

Thus, they push the final date to about bce or even slightly later. It is possible that the 4th-century work of the Chronicler went through a series of minor additions and adaptations until sometime early in the 2nd century, when it reached its final form.