I LOVE this book.
I love it on more than one level. As an early treatise on the problem of evil, it’s pretty poignant in its portrayal of a man who did all the right things and lost anyway and his demands for an answer as to ‘why’ from the universe.
Read literally, it is insane.
Right away, we’re introduced to Job. Job is a rich guy, but Job is also a good guy. He does the right things. He has a large family: seven sons and three daughters. He has land. All the kids have their own houses, and when he hears that his kids have had a party, Job goes the extra mile and kills an animal for each of them just in case they got drunk and did something stupid that made God mad.
Meanwhile, in heaven, God is having the quarterly performance reviews for His angels.
God: Okay, Gabe, don’t spend that 3% raise all in one place. Ha ha… sigh… I hate these things. It’s so boring. Jesus, who’s next?
Jesus: Looks like Lucifer.
God: Well, I guess he’s always good to stir things up. Send him in.
Lucifer: If it isn’t the big boss man.
God: Lou, haven’t seen you in a while. What have you been up to?
Lucifer: Oh, just walking around down there on the Earth looking at those hairless apes you breathed consciousness into.
God: Oh, hey, have you seen that guy, Job? He’s the most righteous man that’s down there. There’s no one like him.
Lucifer: I bet you if you let me ruin his life, he’d totally curse you.
God: I’ll take that bet.
Down on the Earth, Job is hanging out on his front porch.
Messenger 1: Dude, some raiders killed all of your slaves and took the donkeys and the oxen.
Messenger 2: Job, God sent FIRE FROM HEAVEN to kill all the sheep and ALL THE SLAVES you had watching them.
Messenger 3: Raiders took the camels and killed all the slaves you had watching over them.
Messenger 4: Uh, hey, Job, all your kids are dead.
Job gets up, shaves his head, tears his robe, and worships God.
“Well, I came into this world with nothing, I will leave it with nothing. God gave me everything and He has taken it all away. Blessed be His name.”
Back in heaven, God continues to give performance reviews.
God: Okay, Mikey, keep up the good work and I’ll see you in three months.
Jesus: Dad, Lucifer is back.
God: I told you, when we’re in the office, call me, “Mr. God.”
Jesus: Okay, Mr. God. Lucifer is back.
God: Send him in. Hey, Lou. What have you been up to now?
Lucifer: You’re supposed to be omniscient, you tell me.
God: Have you seen Job?
Lucifer: Well, if you were omniscient, you would know that I have. Frankly, you’d also know that he wasn’t going to curse you and we wouldn’t have had to have this bet. It’s not like You have to prove anything to me anyway. But if you must know, yes, I’ve seen Job, and I bet that if you let me give him a painful disease, then he’d curse you.
God: Okay, challenge accepted.
Lucifer: Are you really sure you want to do that? I mean, if you write this down in your book, you’re going to look even worse than me.
God: I said, challenge accepted.
Down on Earth, Satan gives Job itching, painful, running boils that crust over.
Job’s wife: Just curse God and die, would you? He obviously hates you.
Job: Don’t be foolish. God can do whatever He wants with me.
Then Job’s three friends come by to visit him and comfort him. They don’t recognize him when they see him and weep. They tear their clothes and throw dirt on their heads and sit down with him for three days.