Does Job convincingly argue against a fixed system of just retribution by proclaiming the prosperity of the wicked—an assertion that distinctly runs contrary to traditional biblical and ancient Near Eastern wisdom? This study addresses this question, giving careful consideration to the rhetoric, imagery, and literary devices used to treat the issue of the fate of the wicked in Job’s first two rounds of dialogue, where the topic is predominantly disputed. The analysis will glean from related biblical and non-biblical texts in order to expose how Job deals with this fascinating subject and reveal the grandeur of the composition.
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-4424-8 Publication Status: In Print Publication Date: Dec 19,2022 Interior Color: Black Trim Size: 6 x 9 Page Count: 358 Language: English ISBN: 978-1-4632-4424-8 Price: $114.95 Your price: $91.96
The book of Job has long been considered the biblical text that is most relevant to the question of theodicy. Therefore, much of its interpretational history has focused on considering theological explanations for the problem of innocent suffering. This emphasis on the “righteous sufferer” motif, though reasonable, has caused scholars to overlook what considerable sections of the first two rounds of dialogue communicate about the characters’ perceptions concerning the fate of the wicked.
To Job’s friends, justice comes in the form of the wicked consistently suffering divinely appointed consequences for their sins, which is an outcome they eventually apply to Job as the conversation intensifies. According to Job, human experience blatantly contradicts his friends’ claims about uniformity in retribution. Job’s overt allegations about the inconsistency of God’s justice, coupled with the assertion that the wicked prosper with no divine restraint, are revolutionary when compared to other sections of the Bible. As one branches out from the Bible to other ancient Near Eastern compositions (i.e., from Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Egypt), it is readily noticeable that several of the “righteous sufferer” compositions similarly exhibit the prevalence of the doctrine of just retribution, utilizing comparable language and imagery to communicate corresponding ideas to those in Job.
Does Job convincingly argue against a fixed system of just retribution by proclaiming the prosperity of the wicked—an assertion that distinctly runs contrary to traditional biblical and ancient Near Eastern wisdom? This study addresses this question, giving careful consideration to the rhetoric, imagery, and literary devices used to treat the issue of the fate of the wicked in Job’s first two rounds of dialogue, where the topic is predominantly disputed. The analysis will glean from related biblical and non-biblical texts to illustrate that Job specifically counters five recurring arguments of his friends’ speeches that are based upon traditional wisdom.
"Dominick Hernandez traces the rhetoric in the debate between Job and his three friends concerning the flourishing of the wicked, the neglected side of theodicy, and shows how parallels from the ancient Near East use similar images to those chosen by the biblical poet. The text is beautifully written; the copious philological notes and bibliographical references enrich the discussion and give specialists much to ponder."
James L. Crenshaw, Robert L. Flowers Emeritus Professor of the Old Testament, Duke University.
"The problem of evil, of the suffering of innocents, has bedeviled theologians for millennia. However, the prosperity of the wicked, though less well noted, was of great distress to such biblical figures as Jeremiah--and is a major theme in the dialogues between Job and his companions. Professor Hernandez provides a rich treatment of this theme, making expert use of philology, literary and thematic analysis, and comparison with ancient Near Eastern texts. This book should become a standard, of interest to students of Bible in general and of Job in particular." Edward L. Greenstein, author of Job: A New Translation.