The Book of Job: Righteous Suffering
At first glance, it would appear that the Book of Job simply asks the question, ‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’ Why would God, in all of his omnipotence and righteousness, cast evil upon those who devote every aspect of their life to adhering to the word of the divine? After a just and humble Job has everything he ever valued in life stripped away from him, he is left begging for an answer to this question. Within Job’s struggle throughout the story, he is confronted by a number of third parties who are particularly eager and resolute in their views on this matter. Within the confines of this account, they represent orthodoxy for logic in the eternal struggle between reason and faith. They assert that, “Evil does not grow out of the soil, Nor does mischief spring from the ground; For man is born to [do] mischief” (Book of Job 77). In this sense, no man can fully escape punishment on this earth, therefore, one should not ask ‘why am I suffering’, but instead ‘how can I suffer the most righteously?’ The reasoning behind this question is attempted by Job’s three friends who approach and challenge him with their judgments, and in doing so, challenge his relationship with God. The three friends of Job come to him with the intent of teaching their own ideals on following the word of God, and yet, it is this very interpretation that defies the absolute truth that God has to offer. This hypocrisy of truth is found all throughout the dialogue between Job and his three friends, as they preach to Job as if he were the ‘general public,’ which, in turn, causes Job to speak recklessly and only hinders his true understanding of the divine word. Overall, the three friends’ assumption about human suffering is that it is simply God’s form of communicating his retribution for our sins and shortcomings that we are all predisposed to exhibit within ourselves. But, by Job’s final lesson within the story, we are...
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