A6. JOB (Between 2000 and 1500 BC)
A Man Named Job
The location of the land of Uz is currently not known. It has been identified with a number of sites, including an area south of Damascus and an area between Edom and north Arabia. Wherever it was, it was likely to have been on the eastern fringe of Canaan.
There a man named Job lived. He was blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. He had seven sons, three daughters, and possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys and a great many servants. He was the greatest of all the men of the east.
Now each of his sons took it in turns to a hold a feast in his home: each one on his own special day, possibly their birthday. They would invite, and send for, their three sisters to eat and drink with them. Their celebrations would often last several days. As a consequence, Job was concerned that his children may have sinned or cursed God in their hearts. So, when a time of feasting had ended, Job would send for his children and purify them. He would get up early in the morning and would sacrifice a number of burnt offerings for each of them. It was something that Job practiced all his life.
Job’s First Test
Now there came a day when the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before God Almighty. The Satan (‘the adversary’) was also among them. God Almighty said to the Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’
The Satan answered God Almighty, ‘I have been roaming about the earth; I have been walking backwards and forwards on it’.
God Almighty said to the Satan, ‘Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one like him on all the earth. He is a man who is blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil’
The Satan replied to God Almighty, ‘Does Job fear God without reason? Haven’t you placed a fence around him, his household and all that he owns? You have blessed everything that he does; his flocks stretch out over all the land. But stretch out your hand, strike out against all that he owns, then he will undoubtedly curse you to your face’.
God Almighty said to the Satan, ‘Look, all that he owns is in your hands. But do not lay a finger on Job himself’.
Then the Satan left the presence of God Almighty.
Now one day, as Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the eldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job. The messenger told him, ‘The oxen were ploughing and the donkeys were grazing at their side, when Sabean raiders (from Tema or Dedan, south of Edom) attacked and carried them away. They killed the servants looking after them by putting them to the sword. I alone escaped to tell you’.
While the first messenger was still speaking, another messenger came and said, ‘The fire of God fell from heaven, burned the sheep and consumed the servants who were caring for them. Only I have escaped to tell you’.
While the second messenger was speaking, a third messenger came and said, ‘Three parties of Chaldeans from the east raided your camels and carried them off. They killed the servants who were with them by putting them to the sword. I alone escaped to tell you’.
While this third messenger was speaking, a fourth messenger came and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the eldest brother’s house. Then suddenly a great wind, which had been sweeping across the wilderness, came and hit all four corners of the house. The house collapsed on your children and they are all dead. I alone escaped to tell you’.
Job immediately stood up, tore his robe and shaved his head. He then fell to the ground and worshipped God. He said, ‘I came naked from my mother’s womb and naked I will return. God Almighty has given and God Almighty has taken away. May the name of God Almighty be praised’.
Through all this Job did not sin by blaming God.
© 2013, Brian A Curtis