Conspiracy in Heaven; the story of Job – Monday, 26th Week in ordinary time – Job 1:6-22

The book of Job is one of the seven books that form part of wisdom literature. It is a book of prose and poetry. The bulk of this book is poetry but the prologue and epilogue is in prose. The prose section mirrors a style of writing from the patriarchal age, that is from the time of Abraham. Why do we say so? In the prose section, wealth is not measured in terms of coin but in terms of the number of cattle and slaves or notice the age of Job, it mirrors the long life of the patriarchs. Also, Job makes sacrifices like a priest indicating that there was no temple at this time. Because of this, there arose in the Jewish Talmud a thought that the author of this book was Moses himself though the fact is that we do not know who the author of the book is. Scholars have opined that this book was written sometime between the 6th century BC and the 3rd Century BC though some peg it as close as Genesis itself.

Job is not the name of the author; Job is at best a nick name which means hated or persecuted. The author, who was a Jew, has given his work a foreign setting. That is fitting, since the problems that Job faces transcend national boundaries. Even more, the language he speaks is the language of human suffering that is experienced by everyone.

The book deals with every day questions. Why would a God of love permit suffering and where is he when people suffer? Why do the innocent suffer? No book in the Bible has ever asked as many questions as the book of Job does; in fact, it has three hundred and thirty questions. The book of Job raises question, it does not answer them. It encourages us to wrestle with these questions, but does not give neatly packaged answers.

Job is presented to us as a righteous man, in fact it is God who in verse 8 brags about this “blameless and upright servant” whom God says “there is no one like him on the earth for he fears God and turns away from evil.” This is the most beautiful compliment that God could pay any human. God says, “there is no one like him on earth.”

Job is from the land of Uz which probably located in the desert east of Palestine and North East of Edom. Job is a man prosperous beyond measure. He is blessed with a family of ten children; seven sons and three daughters. No father is more devoted to his children than Job, for when the children feast together in celebration of a birthday, Job, fearful perhaps of some irreverent conduct on their part, continually makes intercessory sacrifices to God on their behalf (verses 4-5).

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