Bible Review 4:4, August 1988

Readers Reply

Bible Review

Job’s Suffering Is Neither Justified Nor Unjustified

In David Noel Freedman’s article (“Is It Possible to Understand the Book of Job?” BR 04:02), he considers the question of the injustice of Job’s suffering. That is not the central point of the story, however.

Job can be understood, but not in terms of unjust suffering. Job tried putting the question of unjust suffering to God, but only got God to admit that he (Job) had spoken about a topic he didn’t understand.

We too speak without true understanding if we claim to be able to explain how Job’s suffering, which appears to us unjust, can be justified. One can’t deal with suffering either by believing it is just (and is thus explainable and justified), or by believing it is unjust (and so must be explained and justified).

The central point of Job is that justness and unjustness are inadequate to resolve the central mystery of humanity. I applaud Professor Freedman for pointing to mystery in the meaning of Job.

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