Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Job and His Family, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot c.1896-1902, Jewish Museum collection

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Job 1:1

The author, date, and place of the Book of Job are all uncertain. Scholars used to think it was the oldest book in the Old Testament, and located it in the midst of Genesis, around the time of the Tower of Babel story.1 Later research sets the date of composition around the 6th century BC, and the ancient style of the writing is considered to be an affectation, to give the illusion of antiquity.

The theme of Job is purely theological. It attempts to address the questions of why pious, god-fearing people suffer, and how much suffering a man can endure before cursing God. Job, as most people know, is a man of wealth, health and happiness who loses everything, home, livestock, possessions, even his sons and daughters, and is afflicted with terrible sores over his whole body. And all this as a result of an experiment conducted by God and his angel Satan, aka "the accuser".

The opening two chapters of Job remind us of how fragile we are, how we are at the mercy of fate, chance, fortune, God, depending on your viewpoint. Our lives may appear to be our own, and we may believe we are in control. It takes only a single disaster, a few seconds to change all that. People who have lost family members to wars, car accidents, street attacks, school shootings will attest to that, as would investors who lost everything they owned during one of stock market crashes. For those living hand to mouth, the simple loss of a few days employment could be enough to negatively impact the lives of their whole family. Sometimes the fabric is that fragile. We'd do well to appreciate today what we have today. Tomorrow it may all be gone.

1 See this Bible Timeline.