Job and his comforters

26.03.2011                      20.Adar ll, 5771


Job and his comforters

‘It is not in our power to understand either the suffering of the righteous or the prosperity of the wicked’ (Pirkei Avot 4:15).

Job is not the most popular book in the Bible, but it is one of the most profound. The occasion for my reading it again recently was the new translation and commentary by Robert Alter.

Job is a magnificent work that challenged many of the pietistic teachings regarding human suffering that were taken for granted. Job, a non-Israelite monotheist who is the epitome of the pious man, suffers tragedy after tragedy. Nevertheless he refuses to curse God, but he also refuses to admit that his suffering is justified. His so-called friends and comforters insist that he deserved what has happened to him. They believe that he must have sinned, because suffering is always a sign of sin, a result of punishment God inflicts on those who are wicked (Job 2:7)….