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Wisdom In Book Of Job

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The book of Job is a fable rich with intellectual meanings and lessons to be learned. The book attempts to rationalize the ways of God and human suffering. The themes of the story are faith in God, fate of the wicked human being and wisdom. These elements are developed dramatically in the story. Among these elements the theme and quest for wisdom is more visible than others.

Job was a righteous man who lived in Utz with his seven sons and three daughters. He was a very wealthy man of his time. Each year, he held a banquet where Job would have each of this children purified for fear they might have sinned and cursed God in their hearts. However, his fate was changed when God's wrath came down to him invoked by the accusing angel. He lost his children, wealth and his health was destroyed in the most horrific form. Hence, Job refused to commit sin by cursing God for all of his sufferings. Job had three friends: Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Nammatite. They heard about his misery and came to offer their sympathy and grief to him.

Job finally broke down and curses the day he was born. He wondered why life was given to a person who desires only death. In his words "Who wait for a death that never comes, though they would rather dig for it than gold" (verse 3:22). Eliphaz, the most significant among the three answered him first by saying that Job helped others in their bad times and his innocence and righteousness will restore his fate back. However, he tries to put blame on Job that he has committed sin and therefore he is suffering. His deceiving comments are found in verses 4:20 and 15:13 where he states, "God does not trust His own courtiers sees folly in His own angels." He went on by saying, "How can mortal man be guiltless, how can woman's brood be innocent". Job however, doesn't accept Eliphaz's view that he must have committed sin and feels that his argument was irrelevant for the circumstances. On the other hand, Bildad accuses Job's sons of sinning and assures job of restoration of his fate if he will only acknowledge his guilt. Zophar also follows the path of his company and accuses Job of sinning.

The notion of wisdom starts flourishing from Bildad's first speech. Eliphaz spoke largely in his own voice and drew on personal experiences. Bildad however, gives references in his speech to ancient wisdom. As he states, in verse 8:5 "Just ask the older generation and set your mind questioning their fathers". He continued his reference to wisdom, "No God would not reject the innocent, and would not take hold of a bad man's hand" (verse 8: 20). By tracing back his ideas to tradition, he accuses job of being a wicked person. Zophar also refers to his wisdom and claims that the God is punishing him less than he deserves. However, Job rejects the wisdom of his friends and according to him wisdom belongs to God as he mentions in verse 12:10 "Wisdom", they say, "belong to elders, length of years makes a man perspicacious"; "He (God) has wisdom and power, He has counsel and insight". Here, Job silently meant that Wisdom is not for mortal beings, it is for Him who has created all the beings.

Eliphaz in the second round of speech

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