Before jumping into the first chapter of the book of Job, let me provide a brief introduction. The book of Job is a story of Job and his friends. Basically, God starts doing horrible (and horrible is an understatement) things to Job to test Job’s devotion to God. Throughout the book, Job speaks with his friends about these horrible things. Job himself lived sometime between the Flood and Moses, probably near the time or before the time of Abram. That is, of course, if Job ever existed at all. I think it’s highly doubtful there ever was a Job, but for the purposes of this blog, we’ll assume there was a Job. Let’s start reading.
We learn right away that Job fears God and shuns evil.
“…he feared God and shunned evil.” – Job 1:1
We also get a description of Job’s property. Not sure why that matters. Later in the New Testament Jesus teaches that property is meaningless, but the author of Job seems to think it’s important enough to mention in the Bible. We also learn that Job is not just a great man but:
“He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.” – Job 1:3
Next up is more misogyny.
“His sons (7) used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.” – Job 1:4
If it wasn’t for the misogyny in the first 11 chapters of Genesis I wouldn’t think much of this verse. As it stands, however, this is another statement against women. The sisters in Job can only participate if invited. How nice of their brothers. Job obviously cared deeply for his children, regardless of how misplaced his actions were.
“Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them (Job’s children), thinking ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom.” – Job 1:5
If I could speak to Job, I would tell him that yes, your children are sinning. All children sin. They’re children. They’ll make mistakes and do stupid things. Providing a burnt offering to God every time one of them sins will quickly diminish your vast supply of livestock. Next Satan makes a return. God asks Satan were he came from and Satan answers:
“‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.'” – Job 1:7
There you have it. The Bible’s evidence that Satan and Hell are below the surface of the Earth. Next God taunts Satan a bit.
“‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.'” – Job 1:8
Why does an all-powerful, all-knowing God need to show off his “perfect” servant? Kind of a dick move there God. Satan goads God by asking:
“‘Does Job fear God for nothing?…But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” – Job 1:9-11
Don’t take the bait God!!! Alas, the all-mighty God takes the bait. God then begins doing horrible things to Job and his loved ones. First:
“‘The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you.'” – Job 1:14-15
Just like that, God has Job’s livestock stolen and servants killed. Such a nice, loving God. However, God’s not done yet:
“‘The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants…'” – Job 1:16
More death…at the hands of God…for NO REASON AT ALL except to win a petty battle against Satan. Satan is laughing with glee right now for tricking God into doing evil. Looks to me as if Satan is more powerful than God. God’s still not done:
“‘The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword…'” – Job 1:17
Even more death. I hope you’re prepared for what comes next.
“‘Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners. It collapsed on them and they are dead.'” – Job 1:18-19
WTF?!?!?! God just killed ALL of Job’s sons and daughters. Job did nothing to deserve this. More importantly, God just killed Job’s 7 sons and 3 daughters for NO REASON at all. If I didn’t need this laptop sitting in front of me, I’d pick it up and throw it across the room and then burn my Bible. How can people follow this stuff? I’m not sure who’s the evil one in the Bible. Is it God or Satan? Right now, God is far more evil than Satan. One can argue that Satan tricked God, but how does one trick an all-knowing God? By definition, one can’t. Although this is a very dark chapter in the Bible, the next part makes me chuckle a bit.
“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shave his head.” – Job 1:20
I understand the tearing of the robe. That makes sense. The shaving of the head? Job’s response is to shave his head. Seems a bit odd to me given the many other reactions one could and should have. This chapter ends with Job praising God and not sinning. God chalks this up as a win over Satan, if you can somehow call destroying the life of Job a win.
So what did we learn in Job Chapter 1? Well, we learned that God is one big asshole. God has a “perfect” servant, but is goaded by Satan to test His servant and He takes the bait. God kills all of Job’s livestock and servants. He also kills all of Job’s children. Yep, that’s a loving God all right. 🙂
Coming Soon: Job – Chapter 2: Job’s Second Test