This blog offers a meditation on the Common Lectionary daily readings along with a headline from world news:
Job 2 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
2 Another day came when the sons of God came to serve Adonai, and among them came the Adversary to serve Adonai. 2 Adonai asked the Adversary, “Where are you coming from?” The Adversary answered Adonai, “From roaming through the earth, wandering here and there.” 3 Adonai asked the Adversary, “Did you notice my servant Iyov, that there’s no one like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil, and that he still holds on to his integrity, even though you provoked me against him to destroy him for no reason?” 4 The Adversary answered Adonai, “Skin for skin! A person will give up everything he has to save his life. 5 But if you reach out your hand and touch his flesh and bone, without doubt he’ll curse you to your face!” 6 Adonaisaid to the Adversary, “Here! He is in your hands, except that you are to spare his life.”
7 Then the Adversary went out from the presence of Adonai and struck Iyov down with horrible infected sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 He took a piece of a broken pot to scratch himself and sat down in the pile of ashes. 9 His wife asked him, “Why do you still hold on to your integrity? Curse God, and die!” 10 But he answered her, “You’re talking like a low-class woman! Are we to receive the good at God’s hands but reject the bad?” In all this Iyov did not say one sinful word.
11 Now when Iyov’s three friends heard of all the calamities that had overwhelmed him, they all came. Each came from his own home — Elifaz from Teiman, Bildad from Shuach and Tzofar from Na‘amah. They had agreed to meet together in order to come and offer him sympathy and comfort. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they couldn’t even recognize him. They wept aloud, tore their coats and threw dust over their heads toward heaven. 13 Then they sat down with him on the ground. For seven days and seven nights, no one spoke a word to him; because they saw how much he was suffering. 14 (3:1) At length, Iyov broke the silence and cursed the day of his birth.
The cunning narrator makes it clear that the Lord is reponsible for Iyov’s suffering; the Adversary decides nothing. That’s important because it’s what all believers in one creator God ought to admit but don’t: God is responsible for the suffering of his creatures. This second section of the prologue to the drama of Iyov presents us with a God who cares less for the welfare of his human servant than for his own reputation with the Adversary and the heavenly court.
Of course Iyov knows nothing of that; he only knows he suffers. The proologue is a kind of trap which gives the reader a “God” who doesn’t deserve to be worshipped, a childish tryrant playing with his human soldiers. The kind of God, in fact, that much pious religion offers to its adherents.
As Iyov’s comforters take the stage the drama proper begins with Job’s curse on the day he was born. In this sort of universe it’s best never to have existed. The reader is drawn into this great argument:
IS GOD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SUFFERING OF JIM FOLEY AND IF SO CAN ANYONE BUT A BLOOD- CRAZED JIHADI WORSHIP HIM?
That’s the argument of Iyov.