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Job 

 

   The acclaimed movie, "A Serious Man"  follows a man whose life is turned upside down by a series of unfortunate and challenging events - a modern Job.  Reading the entire book of Job, not just parts is very revealing (ESV).   Well, after chapter 2 until chapter 42 the book is mostly poetry and the verses that make specific event claims are outside those chapters.  So, turning to the beginning and the end of the book to gain specific details was more applicable here.

 

Was Job a real person?  Below is a listing of events that are detailed in the book.   After reviewing the story's events, is it reasonable and rational to accept that Job actually existed?

 

 

1. Sabeans took all his oxen (500) and donkeys (500) and killed all the attending servants except one who came to Job to tell him of the catastrophe. Job 1: 15

 

2. Fire of God fell on the sheep (7,000) and all the attending servants were killed except one who came to Job to tell him of the catastrophe. Job 1: 16

 

3. Chaldens raid his camels (3,000) and kill all the attending servants except one who came to Job to tell him of the catastrophe. Job 1: 17

 

4. A building falls on all his children, killing all his sons and daughters, 10 people. Job 1: 18 - 19.

 

5. Job's body is covered in painful sores Job 2: 7.

 

6. Three friends come to him to offer comfort and sit with him but don't utter a word for a week.

 

7. At the end, the Lord restores Job's fortune to twice what they were before. He even has his wife give birth to 10 more children, again the same number of 7 sons and 3 daughters.

 

 

Observations:

 

1. Is it rational to think anyone could have all this occur to them? At the same time? (see third point).

 

2. If you're going to read this as mostly literal, what is the chance that Job would have all these different animals and the totals would all be round numbers?  Even the number of children killed by Satan (via God?) is an even number, ten.

 

3. Repeatedly, at the end of each catastrophe we read, "While he was yet speaking, there came another, and said,..." (v. 16, 17, 18).  Job was thus struck with each calamity at approximately the SAME time. Very many servants were dying except one in each group. (Job had 11,000 animals and "very many" servants - Job 1:3)

 

4. Although God did not directly inflict sores on Job, he gave permission for Satan to afflict Job with a terrible, painful disease.  Does this not make God an accomplice?  If you do not commit a crime but hide the accused, or drive the get-away car even though you were not in the actual building where the bank robbery occurred, is not that person put on trial also as guilty of the crime? Refer to verse 42:11, "... and comfort him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him".

 

5. In order for God to prove a point to Job, all of Job's children and servants are killed.  What about their lives?  What is the justification for killing them in this intellectual supernatural duel?  Worse, at the end Job has seven new sons and three new daughters born to him. Does God see these children as just 'replacements' for the original that were killed? Job had 10 children - not 11 or 9.  Seven were males. Both 10 and 7 are important numbers in the Bible and other ancient writings. The oxen and donkeys add to 1,000.  The sheep total is 7,000.  This is not a coincidence; it points to the mythology of the narrative.  This story is not meant to be taken literally.

 

6. His friends sit with him and do not utter a single word for a WEEK?

 

7. Job's wife had ten children, and then ten more for a total of 20 live children. We are not told how many died after child birth, but in the ancient world the infant and childhood mortality rate was not inconsequential.  So Job's wife was pregnant 20 - 30 times to have born 20 live children?

 

8. What is the view of disease in the ancient world?  How did the ancients explain the origins of disease compared to our modern concepts?  Even beyond the true etiologies of disease, Job argues that God is responsible for his circumstances, whereas his friends argue that it is Job's unrepentant sin.  Are either of these consistent with modern medicine?

 

Conclusion:  it is illogical and irrational to claim that the story of Job represents an actual occurrence.  Either it is allegory or supernatural mythology, and considering how many innocent family members and servants were dying in the story, an immoral one at that.

 

Biomed

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