I’ve decided to devote a few posts to the book of Job. I’ll separate out the two authors and their accounts, and in this post talk about the prose narrative that begins and ends the book – that originally was just one story, without all the intervening materials (chs. 3-39) present in them.
The book begins by describing Job, who is not, as it turns out, an Israelite. He comes from the land of Uz , which appears to be a fictional place. Job nonetheless worships Yahweh, and is unusually righteous and upright. As a result God has rewarded him handsomely. He has a large family – seven sons and three daughters – and an unbelievable number of sheep, camels, oxen, donkeys, and servants. He is so righteous that he not only makes sure that he himself never sins, but he regularly offers burnt sacrifices to God on behalf of his children in case any of them has sinned.
One day the “sons of God” come up to God in heaven, including one called Satan. The term “Satan,” means “the accuser” or “the adversary.” Here he is not portrayed as in modern popular imagination as the devil who is the head of demons and is destined for (or is now ruling in) hell; here he is one of the members of God’s divine council. But he is the one who stands in an accusatory or adversarial relationship with humans. And especially Job.
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