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In the Book of Job, Satan attempts to prove to God that Job will turn against God if he endures enough suffering. Satan takes away Job’s wealth, children, and servants, then curses Job with painful sores all over his body. However, even in suffering, Job does not give up his faith; instead, he ponders God’s ways and motives.
The central problem of the book is “What is the proper attitude of man toward the government of God?” (Ballantine 123). However, this problem is also complemented by Job’s personal questions to God. For instance, Job wonders why God judges and punishes men for their sins when he can alter their behavior instead. He also questions God’s justness, arguing that he lets wicked men live in prosperity while innocent men suffer (Cooper 228). During their dialogue, each of Job’s friends shares their opinion on the situation. Most of them are fearful of God and suppose that Job must have done something evil to get such a terrible punishment. Elihu, on the other hand, offers a notable opinion, suggesting that pain and suffering are one of God’s ways of communicating with people and that misery is necessary to appreciate the gifts of God when they come.
God resolves all the questions posed in the book. In response to Job’s questions, he exposes how limited human knowledge of God is, thus showing that it is not up to men to question God’s ways. God also rewards Job for his patience by granting him prosperity, new children, and long life. Thus, the central question of the poem is answered through Job’s story of devotion to God both in times of prosperity and in times of suffering. Therefore, the Book of Job serves to provide hope and guidance for people in difficult situations (Hazard 60). It is also an essential part of the Hebrew Bible that establishes the proper relations between men and God.
Ballantine, W. G. “The Book of Job.” The Old and New Testament Student, vol. 10, no. 2, 1890, pp. 123–123.
Cooper, Alan. “The Sense of the Book of Job.” Prooftexts, vol. 17, no. 3, 1997, pp. 227–244.
Hazard, M. C. “The Book of Job.” The Biblical World, vol. 53, no. 1, 1919, pp. 60–64.