The story of Job and his many trials and tragedies is critical in understanding several very important theological issues involved with both Christianity and Judaism (as both hold Yahweh as their primary deity.) First, the account of Job helps us to better understand the nature of the diety Yahweh as well as how that nature expresses itself. Secondly, we are given an opportunity to see how Yahweh views humanity and what potential values he places on human life, animal life and life in general. Lastly, we are left with a big picture view of how Yahweh views morality and his path through the relationship between "Godhood" and mankind. It is important that we inspect the characters involved with the story with as little bias as possible. It would be better if we could change the actors' names and identities all together (but this would require a thoughtful translation into a more modern tale.) When we (attempt to) separate ourselves from the value judgements we have (about each character) prior to reviewing this story, we see through new eyes. I invite you all to take an hour or so, sit down, relax, read the account of the man named Job. Try to live it out like a virtual reality show. Stand next to Job, see and hear the landscape and the world around you. Watch it play out as if you are actually there. It is important to remember that the point of this excercise is to explore the story of Job as an actual personal experience. As an impartial observer it is your role to witness all events, to take in the sensual perspectives involved and to then process it afterward. Biblical scholars as well as scholars of the Torah mostly agree concerning the purpose of this book. The primary thrust of the book of Job is to illuminate the struggle of a pious man being tested by his diety (more generally to express the relationship between an ordinary mortal and a sovereign diety.) A few things to keep in mind when you read Job's story: - The relationship that Job and his family had with their livestock is often significantly underestimated. Job would have cared for his animals and crops much like a father. His flocks and fields were his entire estate, a living treasure, a source of revenue for his hearth and home as well as his legacy to be passed down to his progeny. - Job was clearly a family man, a loving father and devoted husband. His children and wife represented the very heart of what he found valuable in his own personal world. He would have instantly sacrificed his own life to defend his family from a band of marauders. - As a farmer and rancher, Job would have worked from sun up to sun down to nurture his estate. He would have often been tired and worn out from heavy labor and constant stress, yet Job was a devout and pious jew who followed the laws of his religion to the letter. He would have taken a leadership role in his home as the spiritual director of worship. This task would have taken much of his leisure time away, as he focused on keeping the rituals and traditions of his faith. - In summary, you would be hard pressed to find any individual who was more devoted to living a life in accordance with the laws of his diety. Job (as a character) represents the perfect example of an everyday hero. He is a model of what a great man and a pious believer should be. Now that you have explored the tragedy of Job, please take a moment to ask yourself a few questions. Q&A: How did this narrative make you feel? What would you say to Job? What would you say to Yahweh (the diety Job worships?) How does Yahweh feel about Job? What do you make of the interactions between Yahweh and "the adversary" (also labeled Satan "the adversary" in Hebrew")? What is the inner nsture of the relationship between Yahweh and Satan? What is the inner nature of the relationship between Yahweh and Job? - Does Yahweh view Job as having. value? If so, why? How? Does this impact his treatment of Job or others in this story? - Does Yahweh view Job (who is clearly a representative of humanity as a whole) as having feelings and emotions that are equivalent to his own? Do they matter to Yahweh? To what extent? Does the pain and fear that the actors feel matter to Yahweh? If so, how do you know? Does Yahweh feel that his own actions in this story are morally correct? If Yahweh does feel this is so, do you agree? Explore your own frustrations and questions with this story. Do you have any other interesting thoughts or suggestions concerning this unique tale from the Old Testament / Torah? I welcome any comments (positive, negative or neutral.) My apologies but I say what I want, and I expect the same from everyone around me as well. Please feel free to post your answers to Q&A queries as well as other questions and answers or comments you may have.