Monday, 28 May 2012

Job the Obscure

I've never quite got my head round the book of Job.

Sure, at the end of the book he's got his camels back and the sores have gone and the riches are rolling in.
But he's still lost all his sons and daughters in Chapter 1. If it's saying that you eventually get a reward for goodness in this life, there's a heck of a downside to get there.

It's like a multi-part Dr Who episode. At the end, the Doctor and his companions are generally joking around, safe in the knowledge that they've averted the latest threat to the Universe or, as it may be, Cardiff. But there's scant remembrance of the piled-up bodies of red-shirts it's taken to get to the happy ending. Oh no, it's back in the Tardis and off to Jagulon Beta.

All I'm saying is, if Thomas Hardy wrote the book of Job the ending would be more consistent with the beginning. Accepting that God is indeed able to snare Leviathan, tell unicorns what to do and generally boss the weather around, Job would say his piece and crawl under the shade of a rock to die. Obviously there's a good Wisdom-literature tradition to maintain here - so I'm not saying that it would be better, and clearly it would be less inspired. I'm just saying it would be more consistent.


  1. Job just had to survive to testify! Given that his casual loss of family members, all registered with the Local Authority and Registrar general. it would appear a little careless to just lose the lot.

    And you can just imagine the conversation with the Coroner "God did What"? "Are you pulling my dingaling"?

    No, Job needed to be around to give closure and of course to write his book, which would keep the world guessing the the next three thousand years or so.

    1. You reckon wrote his own book? I'm no Biblical scholar but I reckon that's pretty radical stuff.

  2. There is a body of thought even among evangelicals that Job is not a literal historical account but a Jewish moral parable - although no less inspired.

    I think C S Lewis took this view. In that sense then some form of poetic and story telling license is to be expected.


  3. Job, unfortunately gives some people an excuse to sit around on their butts and "suffer" as Job did knowing that if they sat on their lazy butts long enough, the money would just roll in. Pretty awful moral to the parable, wouldn't you say?


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