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Thursday, May 19, 2011

RIGHTEOUS JOB THE MUCH-SUFFERING

Saint Job the Righteous lived about 2000-1500 years before the Birth of Christ, in Northern Arabia, in the country of Austidia in the land of Uz. His life and sufferings are recorded in the Bible (Book of Job). There exists an opinion, that Job was by descent a nephew of Abraham, and that he was the son of a brother of Abraham -- Nakhor. Job was a man God-fearing and pious. With all his soul he was devoted to the Lord God and in everything conducted himself in accord with God's will, refraining from everything evil not only in deeds, but also in thoughts. The Lord blessed his earthly existence and rewarded Righteous Job with great wealth: he had many cattle and all kinds of possessions. Righteous Job's seven sons and three daughters were amiable amongst themselves and gathered for common repast all together in turns at each of their homes. Every seven days Righteous Job made for his children offerings to God, saying: "If perchance any of them hath sinned or offended God in their heart". For his justness and honesty Saint Job was held in high esteem by his fellow citizens and he had great influence in public matters.
One time however, when the Holy Angels did stand before the Throne of God, Satan appeared amongst them. The Lord God asked Satan, whether he had seen His servant Job, a man righteous and without blemish. Satan answered audaciously, that it was not for nothing that Job was God-fearing -- since God was watching over him and multiplying his riches, but if misfortune were sent him, he would then cease to bless God. Then the Lord, wishing to prove Job's patience and faith, said to Satan: "Everything, that Job hath, I give into thine hand, but only he himself touch not". After this Job suddenly lost all his wealth, and then also all his children. Righteous Job turned to God and said: "Naked did I emerge from the womb of my mother, and naked shalt I be returned to my mother the earth. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blest be the Name of the Lord!" And thus did Job not sin before the Lord God, nor utter even an unthinking word.

When the Angels of God again did stand before the Lord and amongst them Satan also, then said the devil, that Job was righteous, since that he himself was without harm. Thereupon declared the Lord: "I permit thee to do with him, what thou wishest, sparing only his soul". After this Satan inflicted upon Righteous Job an horrid illness, leprous boils, which covered him head to foot. The sufferer was compelled to remove himself from the company of people, he sat outside the city on an heap of ashes and had to scrape at his pussing wounds with an shard of clay. All his friends and acquaintances abandoned him. His wife had to see after her own welfare, toiling and roaming from house to house. She not only did not support her husband with patience, but rather she thought, that God was punishing Job for some kind of secret sins, and she wept, and wailed against God, she reproached also her husband and finally advised Righteous Job to curse God and die. Righteous Job sorrowed grievously, but even in these sufferings he remained faithful to God. He answered his wife: "Thou speakest, like someone hysterical. Shalt we have from God only the good, and have nothing bad?" And Righteous Job did sin in nothing before God.

Hearing about the misfortunes of Job, three of his friends came afar off to comfort his sorrow. They reckoned, that Job was being punished by God for his sins, and they urged this righteous man though innocent to repent. The righteous one answered, that he was suffering not for sins, but that these tribulations were sent him from the Lord in accord with the Divine Will, which is inscrutable for man. His friends however did not believe him and they continued to think that the Lord was dealing with Job in accord withe the laws obtaining under human standards, thus punishing Job for the committing of sins. In begrieved sorrow of soul Righteous Job turned with a prayer to God, beseeching Him Himself to bear witness before them of his innocence. God thereupon manifested Himself in a tempestuous whirlwind and reproached Job, in that he had tried to penetrate by his reason into the mystery of the world-order and the judgemental-purposes of God. The Righteous Job with all his heart repented himself in these thoughts and said: "I am as nothing, and I foreswear and repent myself in dust and ashes". The Lord thereupon commanded the friends of Job to have recourse to him in asking him to offer sacrifice for them. "Since, -- said the Lord, -- only the person Job do I accept it of, lest I spurn ye for this, that ye did speak concerning Me not thus rightly, as hath instead My servant Job". Job offered sacrifice to God for his friends, and the Lord accepted his intercession, and the Lord likewise returned to Righteous Job his health and gave him twice over more than he had previously. In place of his deceased children was born to him seven sons and three daughters, more beautiful than any other in that land. After bearing his sufferings, Job lived yet another 140 years (altogether he lived 248 years) and he lived to see his descendants down to the fourth generation.

Saint Job prefigures the Lord Jesus Christ, having come down to earth and suffering for the salvation of mankind, and then glorified in His glorious Resurrection.

"I know, -- said Righteous Job, afflicted with the leprous boils, -- I know, that my Redeemer liveth and He wilt raise up from the dust on the last day my decayed skin, and I in my flesh shalt see God. I shalt see Him myself with mine own eyes, and not through the eyes of some other see Him. In expectation of this, my heart doth jump within my bosom!" (Job 19: 25-27).

"Know ye, the judgement, in which be justified only those having true wisdom -- the fear of the Lord, and true understanding -- the departing from evil" (Job 28: 28).

Saint John Chrysostom says: "There was no human misfortune, which this man did not undergo. He was the firmest and most adamant, beset by sudden tribulation by hunger, and by woe, and sickness, and bereft of children, and loss of riches, and then suffering abuse from his wife, insult from his friends, reproach from his servants, and in everything he showed himself more solid than a stone, and a source before the Law also of Grace".



©  2001  by translator Fr. S. Janos.
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