So there’s a guy named Job. Judging by his name, you might think that Job is an awful person. You’re wrong, he’s a really great guy who walks in the ways of the Lord. God, Satan (the footnotes say that Satan, in this instance, means “accuser”) and a couple of angels decided that Job was an upright dude. And because of this, Satan talked God into testing him. (Satan was convinced that Job wasn’t as awesome as he pretended to be.) But this test is even worse than than the LSAT, the SAT and GRE all rolled together. God let Satan loose on Job, and he took away everything the Job had. He lost everything, his children included, all in one day. And though God tested him (aka destroyed his fucking life and everything in it), Job remained blameless and would not curse the Lord.
Since taking away everything the man had didn’t work to entice Job into evil, God let Satan attack the man himself. Satan put boils and sores on Job, but still he would not curse God. Three of Job’s friends heard of his plight and came to check on him. When they saw him, they barely recognized them and tore their robes. Job then gives a speech, cursing the day he was born and asking why bitter souls are given joy, while he suffers and wishes for death.
One of his friends tells Job (in a very long-winded speech) that he needs to trust in his own righteousness to save him, and trust in God to protect him, because God is blameless. Job replies that his friends are useless and not helping. He says that God has forsaken him and welcomes death. The second friend replies that Job is being ridiculous; he just needs to honor God, and remind Him that he’s been a good little human, and God will make prosperous again.
This is all just a bunch of back and forth between Job and his buddies, so let me break it down:
Job: I hate my life. I am a good man, but God is all powerful and has punished me anyway. Because he’s God and He can. I wish I had never been born.
Job’s friend: You must not be that good, because God knows everything, and He’s punishing you, so… get right with God.
Job: You don’t know any more than I do, and you’re a crappy friend.
Job’s other friend: No, you must have sinned. Like a lot.
Job: You guys suck. My heart is pure before the Lord. If the tables were turned, I would be nice to you.
Job’s other other friend: You evil.
Job: Am not. You’re attacking me for no reason, just like God.
Job’s friend: No, God only punishes the wicked. You wicked.
Job: Not true, I know some really wicked dudes whom God does not punish. They have big tents and lots of rich stuff.
Job’s other friend: You must have turned away the needy or something. God wouldn’t do this for nothing. You need to get right.
Job: No really, there are bad dudes out there, and God doesn’t punish them. They take advantage of the poor and leave them to rot, yet God does nothing.
Job’s other other friend: No person can be really be blameless, we’re all maggots.
Job: Nah, people are cool. We have wisdom, and wisdom is fearing God and shunning evil. Wisdom is worth everything. I have been kind and shown love to all who needed it, but now they laugh at me and spit in my face. Why, God, why do you not see me and help me? I have always done right by those around me and worshipped God. If only He would grant me an audience, I could tell him!
Apparently, there’s this young guy, Elihu, who has been listening to the entire back and forth between Job and his friends. He is pissed, because Job cannot see that he is unrighteous, and that the three friends had condemned Job without really refuting him.
Elihu: I was trying to keep my mouth shut, because I’m younger than you guys, and I’m supposed to respect my elders, but seriously you guys are not helping. And Job, shut up I’m about to spit wisdom. You say you are righteous but suggest that being righteous does man no good, because God does not pay attention. You say it is pointless, because God isn’t paying attention. By doing that, you doubt God and sin and prove Him right to punish you. Stop saying you know better than God does.
And then God Himself decided to weigh in on the deliberation.
God: Job, who the hell are you to question me? Did you create the earth and do all that cool stuff? (Up until God speaks, this book has been a yawn fest, but this part is actually beautifully written) He who accuses God can answer to him!
Job: Shit. I’m sorry.
God: I’m gonna ask you some questions, answer like a man. Why are you discrediting “my justice?”
Job: I spoke of things I don’t understand, things too wonderful for me to comprehend. I hate myself.
God: Good. Your friends suck, and they were wrong about me not letting the righteous suffer. Pray for them.
So Job prayed for his friends, as asked. After that, God blessed the hell of Job, and his life was better than it had ever been! Supposedly, the book is supposed to be lesson about how sometimes life is suffering, and you shouldn’t judge those suffering. Still, that’s pretty low to ruin a guy’s life to teach a lesson/test him. And as a side note, the sin that Job is accused of over and over again, the one that seems really super, extra important over every other sin to these guys, is not helping the needy. So yeah, help the needy, or God might ruin you completely. Or He may not, who knows.
Up next, Psalms!