Part 1 Job and the Nation Israel First Study: In the Hands of the Enemy -- By: Charles Lee Feinberg

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 096:384 (Oct 1939)
Article: Part 1 Job and the Nation Israel First Study: In the Hands of the Enemy
Author: Charles Lee Feinberg

Part 1
Job and the Nation Israel
First Study: In the Hands of the Enemy

Charles Lee Feinberg


This book is named after its chief character, Job, which means “persecuted” or “afflicted.” In our canon it is the first of the poetic books of the Old Testament. Although the book is poetry the story is not fiction but fact (cf. Ezek 14:14, 20; Jas 5:11). The events must have taken place in patriarchal times for (1) there is no mention of the law; (2) the offerings are burnt offerings and not sin offerings as required under the law; (3) Job performs the functions of a priest himself; and (4) no mention is made of the exodus from Egypt. The book is a work unsurpassed for depth of feeling and grandeur of thought and conception. Luther said of it: “Magnificent and sublime as no other book of Scripture.” Renan, the author and critic of the past century, delivered himself as follows: “The Book of Job is the Hebrew book par excellence-it is in the Book of Job that the force, beauty, the depth of the Hebrew genius are seen at their best.” Tennyson called it “the greatest poem of ancient or modern times. Carlyle said it was “apart from all theories about it, one of the greatest things ever written with pen. There is nothing written, I think, in the Bible or out of it, of equal merit.”

The theme, subject, or problem of the book is the suffering of the godly. The suffering of the ungodly is no mystery. The psalmist said: “Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days” (Ps 55:23; cf. also

Prov 29:1). But why do the godly suffer? The book really deals with five problems that grow out of this main one and include it. (1) Can man serve God disinterestedly from pure love of Him or is all his worship of God tainted with ulterior and selfish motives? (2) Is there anyone but God to whom the control of the circumstances of human life can be attributed? (3) Are man’s outward circumstances a criterion and standard of his moral character and life before God? (4) Can men, by their wisdom, rightly and completely comprehend the workings of the providence of God? (5) Since the righteous do endure such great afflictions in this life, is a life of righteousness worth it in the last analysis?

Scripture is so full in its truth that although there is but one interpretation, there may be many applications. This book in particular lends itself to several applications. By way of comparison with Job we can see the be...

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