The Book of Job: A Whirlwind of Confusion

An ambiguous divine speech is the subject of great scholarly debate.

Print this page Print this page

In God We Trust

Most interpreters agree that the ultimate theme of the book is the nature of the righteous man's faith in God. As Leon Roth states, "The book of Job turns on the question of the nature of religion: Can man serve God for naught?…When Job says, 'Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him' (13:15) [The second half of this verse may also be rendered, "yet will I argue with him.".ed.], he vindicates both himself and God."

The book reaffirms Job's trust in God‑-and God's trust in Job. In teaching that piety must be unselfish and that the righteous sufferer is assured not of tangible reward but of fellowship with God, biblical thought about justice, retribution, and providence reaches a climax‑-and a limit.

One alternative that the author of Job did not consider was that the sufferings of the innocent might be compensated in a future life. The problem of theodicy is resolved through just this means in post-biblical Judaism.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Robert M. Seltzer

Robert Seltzer is a Professor of History at Hunter College (CUNY).