“In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” Job 1:1, NIV. The land of Uz was the southern part of the Transjordan region; also called the East because it is East of the river Jordan. The Uz was known for the wisdom literature depicting debates and discussions of a similar genre as the book of Job. While the book of Job holds an affinity to the Transjordan literature, it is more thorough and masterful. The book of Job has undergone numerous editing and recensions to refine it and make it uniquely applicable to Hebrew theology. The main character of the trilogy, Job, was not an Israeli, according to the Jewish rabbinic Midrash, the commentary.
The intent of the trilogy, the book of Job, is not to present a praise-worthy example of righteous living. No actual historical person has likely experienced what the book of Job describes. If the “Satan” stands for the Devil himself then, most likely, Jews would not state that God made a deal with the Devil. Debates in the book of Job strive to answer the age-old question of; “Why the innocent men suffer while the unrighteous prosper”? The book of Job does not present a definitive answer. It only concludes that the ways of God could not be known to humankind.
The “innocent” means, to be free from sin or doing nothing wrong. The book of Job, therefore, implies a question, could the fallen human beings be innocent? Even if the fallen human beings obey the law perfectly, could they be innocent? God, through the prophet Jeremiah, before the composition of the book of Job, stated; “’Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil’.” Jeremiah 13:23, NIV. Paul agrees with it; “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23, NIV. The fact that those who, by human standards, do everything right all the time yet suffer disproportionally, has puzzled men for millennia. However, God, through prophet Jeremiah, gives an answer why; “‘And if you ask yourself, ‘why has this happened to me?’ – It is because of your many sins that your skirts have been torn off and your body mistreated.'” Jeremiah 13:22, NIV. All human beings are sinners by nature, because of the sin in the garden of Eden; therefore, could not be innocent and blameless no matter how hard they try.
To be continued.