Job: The Enemy of God?

Job: The Enemy of God?

Today’s one year Bible reading passage from the Hebrew scriptures begins the Book of Job.

The Hebrew for Job is ʾIyyōv (אִיּוֹב).  The meaning of this name likely derives from the root ʾayav (איב), which means “to be hostile to.” ʾIyyōv (איוב), with the vav (ו) following the second consonant of the root, could also be in the passive form, “the one treated with hostility.” In either case, that Job’s name is indicative of “enmity” or “hostility” is fitting.  The entire narrative and dialogue of this book is full of the tensions and questions of Job’s being the target of the Adversary’s hostility and over-arching possibility of enmity between Job and God.

The root ʾayav occurs two more times in Job, once in Job 27.7 and again in Job 33.10.  In the Job 33 passage, Job’s friend, Elihu, is addressing Job’s complaints and says:

“Surely you have spoken in my ears,
and I have heard the sound of your words.
You say, ‘I am pure, without transgression;
I am clean, and there is no iniquity in me.
Behold, he finds occasions against me,
he counts me as his enemy [אוֹיֵב לוֹ, literally “an enemy to him”],
he puts my feet in the stocks
and watches all my paths.’

(Job 33.8–10 ESV emphasis added)

From Elihu’s perspective Job has declared (or thought) that God has made Job object of hostility or enmity. In many ways this is the issue/question the reader enters into as well.  IsʾIyyōv God’sʾōyev ?  Is Job God’s enemy?

I would suggest reading and wrestling with the whole Book of Job to determine your own perspectives on this question.

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I’m a husband, father, and one of those friends who has a terrible habit of not returning phone calls.  I’m really just trying to figure out what it means to follow Jesus, and I enjoy meeting great people along the way and maybe having a chance to spend time talking about things deep and trivial.

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