Book of Job
Book of Job Current Hot-Button Issues And Cultural Debates In Practice
Getting Biblical in Daily Life
At some point, every faith has to answer the question of why the righteous suffer. Why do good people die young? Why do generous people lose everything? Why do loving people encounter hate and loss? These are the Big Questions that Job is seeking to answer.
Religious or not, you know what this is all about. If you're part of a community that has certain rules, and these rules get you stuff—a pass into Heaven, free beer on Wednesdays, whatever—what happens when you follow the rules but still don't get anything? No one likes that.
Are You There God? It's Us, Shmoop
Everyone has had the same questions as Job, and this story is able to depict a time when those questions were answered divinely. That's right—God would come right down and answer them.
But wait! Before you get too excited, remember that the moral of the story is that God is totally ungettable, ununderstandble, unknowable…you get the point. So the book of Job gives us a glimpse of what it would be like to be close to God (pretty impressive, that's for sure), and then just takes it all away.
Location, Location, Location
In the Protestant version of the Hebrew Bible, Job pops up right after Esther, a historical story of renewal and politics, and right before Psalms, a collection of poetry praising God's power. In fact, God's name is never mentioned in Esther and then Psalms is all God, all the time. Job is kind of the go-between between man and divine. Makes sense, right?
If you're reading the Bible cover to cover (which we know you are), then the Book of Job gives God some qualifications and street cred. Job essentially asks God to prove himself, and boy does he. But for anyone who's still question why we should sing the praises of a guy who punishes the righteous, Psalms comes in with the answer.