JOB 42=”AND JOB LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER!?”
Bible Background: The first 6 vs. of #42 are in the ‘poetry’ form of most of the book, and Job responds humbly to God’s speeches. He is a changed man! Then the book picks up the ‘prose’ form that this story started with. The finish ‘tidies-up’ some of the hard parts of this story. Readers might like the ‘happy’ ending, or might not!
Digging Deeper: 1. In vs. 1-6 Job responds to God and seems both humbled and satisfied. He “sees” God-and knows now that God’s thoughts and plans are bigger than Job’s own. He repents in dust and ashes.
- Then, God chides Job’s 3 friends, who “had not spoken correctly” about God (though “Job had done so!”) That’s a bit simplistic, because the friends weren’t always wrong, and Job wasn’t always ‘right’. But God provides a way for them to repent and be forgiven also. Righteous Job will pray for them. God will answer Job’s prayer! What do you think and do when someone needs you to pray for them? How is that an opportunity to help guide them to a fuller relationship with God/Christ?
- The final piece of the story is “Job’s fortunes are restored!” Actually, they are doubled, just as someone who was the victim of theft or crime deserved to be repaid twice (by the Old Testament rule of restorative justice.) But first, his ‘new life’ starts with the genuine care and comfort of his extended family (i.e. the community.) The nice round numbers on the livestock should be seen symbolically.
- What’s also noteworthy is that Job has 7 more sons, and 3 more daughters (presumably with his wife-who is not mentioned!) Here’s where it gets interesting: The 3 girls are named, but not the boys! And the girls get an inheritance too-something that was not normal in that culture. Why might the author(s) emphasize the daughters-and their beauty-and not the sons? (Your guess is as good as mine!)
- So, is this a satisfying ending? In one way, yes! Job is blessed! He can get on with his life! Others can rejoice and share with him! In another way, not-so-much! There’s still no answer to why this trouble happened to Job in the first place! And, though wealth and livestock could be ‘replaced’, can your offspring be ‘replaced’?
- Note that when Jesus used parables, he often left people scratching their heads. (Think “Prodigal Son” or “Good Samaritan”.) How does this extended parable keep us wondering or searching? How does it challenge our perception of what it means to be blessed by God? Or cursed? How does it invite us to think about God’s presence in our lives and in all creation?