So we’re getting into Job. It’s one of my favorite books. I love the message of it. I love the honesty and rawness of Job’s grief. I love the sarcasm we see from God. I love everything about it.
Some people get hung up on whether it’s literal or not. Did God hold court and bet on Job with Satan?
I mean, if he did, it wasn’t much of a bet: God is omniscient. But how does that work with the idea that the devil was cast from heaven? Is Satan from Job, the accuser, the same as the fallen angel from Genesis? If he is the same, what is he doing appearing freely in God’s court?
I don’t know. I also don’t know why this isn’t set in Israel, or even a land we’re familiar with, or why it isn’t set in an identifiable time period. Or why the story is told in a strict Hebrew poetry format with the Job and his friends speaking in such eloquently formulated arguments.
What I feel is that this is a fable, a parable, a teaching story. I don’t why the characters are named except that there are so many of them. I don’t know why they each have a designated land and/or tribe of origin except that it is significant that they represent a wide range of experience and cultures.
What I know is that it doesn’t really make a difference. Whether he was a real person or not, whether this is a literal account or teaching story, it is inspired and the message is the same. What we draw from this book is not in any way altered by whether this is historical or allegorical.