A fresh commentary about Job, one of the most puzzling books of the Old Testament.
Horne (Religion/William Jewell Coll.; Proverbs-Ecclesiastes, 2003, etc.), an author of Bible commentaries, and Eades, a licensed counselor and ordained minister, combine biblical scholarship and contemporary case studies to create a “homiletic reading” of the book of Job, which tells the story of God’s perplexing interaction with Satan and a religious man. In 30 brief chapters, each split into four sections (Connections, Homily, Case Study, Reflections), the authors wonder if “the whole test of Job is whether his or any person’s moral behavior should be offered to God with no expectation of a personal benefit” in a world where often “justice fails.” These scholarly homilies, combined with real-world cases, encourage readers to consider the question of “holding faith when nearly everything around congregants challenges it.” Along the way, the struggle between the “Authentic self” and the “small self” affects choices between good and evil, the authors write. Eades once told a grieving father that while Jesus Christ redeemed the broken world, the Bible “never says that the brokenness isn’t going to kick the shit out of us, or the people we love, in the process”—a statement that fits with the story of Job, a man who loses everything, including his children. Sometimes the authors agree to disagree; one of their conversations even ends with a slangy “Whatever.” Overall, however, their intent seems to be to avoid lectures and start conversations: “Speaking from a Christian viewpoint, there is something wonderfully refreshing about Job’s perspective. It means that life here and now is what humanity has been given.” There’s also something wonderfully refreshing about biblical commentary that avoids both heavy-handed didacticism and pie-in-the-sky cheerfulness, as when the authors write: “Why, do you suppose, do we persist in our belief that God must behave in ways that make sense to us—especially when our own experience tells us that we can’t even expect the people we know best to behave in ways that make sense to us?”
Frank, engaging discussion of the book of Job’s poetic and theological complexities.