David N. Tunison
Christians, like all peoples of a faith, know suffering like that of Jesus and Job. One of the underlying purposes of Job is to demonstrate God’s power over men. The erroneous theological views of Job’s friends put in motion the necessary arguments for the teaching of Christians to stay faithful to God, and they also foreshadow the opponents of Jesus whose theology he rejects in favor of a correct teaching of God’s Word. Jesus’ opponents give him the opportunity to teach the truth about God. Jesus and Job are important teachers of the suffering that mankind encounters.
Background Information of the Book of Job
Before the theology of the book of Job can be discussed, background information must be given. There are traditions that date Job to writings by Moses, though Job is often thought to be the author of the book. Middle eastern writers often wrote their experiences in the third person which could mean that Job was not a real particular man, but a story about the causes of suffering. Walton, the author of Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament gives the view that accepts the biblical events as historical. For Walton, Eden is a real place, so Job is figured as an actual man for many people. The whole book of Job and the characters in it are accepted as real persons from many centuries back according to Couch.
The book of Job is possibly the most ancient literary account in the Bible. Scholars date the book to other Near East writings about suffering. The mentality of the Near East and suffering is found in Job’s friends. Job’s friends appear as a foil and give an illustration of Near Eastern thought that is manifested in the tale of Job’s suffering.Additionally, knowledge of the Near Eastern beliefs about suffering is necessary for the understanding of the book of Job. Studies of literature from ancient...