9月9日-Job and the Problem of Suffering

约伯记

约伯的痛苦-Job and the Problem of Suffering

约伯的痛苦-Job and the Problem of Suffering

Now, some 45 years following the first deportation from Judah, God’s chosen nation continues to be a dispersed people. By this time many of them must wonder if there is still a God—not a “state God” attached to a nation which has been virtually destroyed, but a personal God who knows their personal misery and still cares. Even the wicked and rebellious exiles, who by now must have bent their knees in prayer for deliverance, are surely thinking that God no longer hears them. For a nation in suffering, there are many questions to be asked: how can they believe in a God who would allow such suffering? On the other hand, how can they curse God in times of adversity when he has previously brought such prosperity? Is their faith to be contingent upon economic well-being?

The ones who must be the most perplexed, however, are the faithful ones who never understood their personal involvement in the first place. After remaining true to God while almost everyone else chased after idolatry and wickedness, their reward has been the same—and sometimes worse. They too were taken captive. They too saw swords enter their children’s bodies. In the siege of Jerusalem they had starved and been victims of pestilence and plague. Here in captivity they still often go hungry and are poorly clothed. Whatever happened to the promise that the righteous would be blessed? Why were some of the wicked not taken into exile, but rather allowed to prosper under the same government that has enslaved their fellow countrymen? Where is the justice of God in these circumstances? And if punishment is for the wicked, what sin has led to the suffering of the righteous?

Of course these are the same questions which every generation asks about death, sorrow, pain, and suffering. But because his people are suffering so greatly at this time, it may well be that God chooses this context in which to give at least some insight into both the thorny theological issues and the intense emotional feelings of individual sufferers. Although there is a wide difference of opinion about its date, one of the most outstanding masterpieces in all of literature is possibly written during this period. The writing is in the form of a historical poem. It is historical in that it is based upon the life of one of the early patriarchs named Job. Job’s steadfastness following more adversity than most people will ever face has been legendary. Even the prophet Ezekiel referred to Job, along with Noah and Daniel, as a man of great righteousness. And yet Job apparently struggled with the reasons for his adversity before coming to peace about it. Therefore it is altogether fitting that this poem addressing the problem of suffering be based upon Job’s personal struggle.

There is still another reason why Job is a most appropriate choice. At this time when people are in search of a personal God, the writer takes them back before their own prophets, before the teaching of the law, before the promises made to Abraham, to a man who is not even one of the children of Israel. He is just a lone human being who finds himself in terrible suffering for no apparent reason.

The first scene of the poem opens with a picture of Job’s enviable prosperity, then turns quickly to a conversation between God and Satan. When God points to Job as an example of a righteous man, Satan suggests that Job remains righteous only because of his prosperity. God permits Satan to test this theory by removing Job’s prosperity. Job’s faith remains intact. So Satan next suggests that his personal suffering will bring curses against God. Once again Job disappoints Satan.

In the second scene, Job still does not curse God, but he does put some hard questions to God. Why must he, a righteous man, suffer? What sins have brought on his pain? Why is God so inconsistent in his punishment of the wicked? Throughout the presentation of Job’s case against God, three of Job’s friends—Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar—argue against him. They try to convince him that the answer lies in a simple syllogism: God always punishes sin; suffering is the result of sin; therefore Job is more of a sinner than he is willing to admit. Throughout it all, Job maintains his innocence and demands to know God’s rationale.

The third scene introduces a young man named Elihu who claims that neither Job nor his friends are correct. God does not act capriciously, as Job claims, and suffering is not necessarily the result of sin, as Job’s friends claim. Elihu argues that suffering is often used by God to teach lessons and to strengthen a person.

In the final scene God himself speaks to Job and demands to know what right Job has to question the Creator of the universe about his ways. Job’s humble response demonstrates the depth of his righteous character, and his prosperity is restored.

# 约伯记(JOB)
## 以利法之责言 -
[4:1] 提幔人以利法回答说:
[4:2] 「人若想与你说话,你就厌烦吗?但谁能忍住不说呢?
[4:3] 你素来教导许多的人,又坚固软弱的手。
[4:4] 你的言语曾扶助那将要跌倒的人;你又使软弱的膝稳固。
[4:5] 但现在祸患临到你,你就昏迷,挨近你,你便惊惶。」
## 言神所行无不公义
[4:6] 你的倚靠,不是在你敬畏神吗?你的盼望,不是在你行事纯正吗?
[4:7] 请你追想:无辜的人有谁灭亡?正直的人在何处剪除?
[4:8] 按我所见,耕罪孽、种毒害的人都照样收割。
[4:9] 神一出气,他们就灭亡;神一发怒,他们就消没。
[4:10] 狮子的吼叫,和猛狮的声音尽都止息,少壮狮子的牙齿也都敲掉。
[4:11] 老狮子因绝食而死,母狮之子也都离散。
## 证世人尽属微末
[4:12] 我暗暗地得了默示;我耳朵也听其细微的声音。
[4:13] 在思念夜中异象之间,世人沉睡的时候,
[4:14] 恐惧、战兢临到我身,使我百骨打战。
[4:15] 有灵从我面前经过,我身上的毫毛直立。
[4:16] 那灵停住,我却不能辨其形状;有影像在我眼前,我在静默中听见有声音说:
[4:17] 必死的人岂能比神公义吗?人岂能比造他的主洁净吗?
[4:18] 主不信靠他的臣仆,并且指他的使者为愚昧;
[4:19] 何况那住在土房、根基在尘土里被蠹虫所毁坏的人呢?
[4:20] 早晚之间就被毁灭,永归无有,无人理会。
[4:21] 他帐棚的绳索岂不从中抽出来呢?他死,且是无智慧而死。
# 约伯记(JOB)
## 恶人终难免祸
[5:1] 你且呼求,有谁答应你?诸圣者之中,你转向那一位呢?
[5:2] 忿怒害死愚妄人;嫉妒杀死痴迷人。
[5:3] 我曾见愚妄人扎下根,但我忽然咒诅他的住处。
[5:4] 他的儿女远离稳妥的地步,在城门口被压,并无人搭救。
[5:5] 他的庄稼有饥饿的人吃尽了,就是在荆棘里的也抢去了;他的财宝,有网罗张口吞灭了。
[5:6] 祸患原不是从土中出来;患难也不是从地里发生。
[5:7] 人生在世必遇患难,如同火星飞腾。
[5:8] 至于我,我必仰望神,把我的事情托付他。
[5:9] 他行大事不可测度,行奇事不可胜数。
[5:10] 降雨在地上,赐水于田里;
[5:11] 将卑微的安置在高处,将哀痛的举到稳妥之地。
[5:12] 破坏狡猾人的计谋,使他们所谋的不得成就。
[5:13] 他叫有智慧的中了自己的诡计,使狡诈人的计谋速速灭亡。
[5:14] 他们白昼遇见黑暗,午间摸索如在夜间。
[5:15] 神拯救穷乏人,脱离他们口中的刀和强暴人的手。
[5:16] 这样,贫寒的人有指望,罪孽之辈必塞口无言。
## 受神惩罚乃为有福
[5:17] 神所惩治的人是有福的!所以你不可轻看全能者的管教。
[5:18] 因为他打破,又缠裹;他击伤,用手医治。
[5:19] 你六次遭难,他必救你;就是七次,灾祸也无法害你。
[5:20] 在饥荒中,他必救你脱离死亡;在争战中,他必救你脱离刀剑的权力。
[5:21] 你必被隐藏,不受口舌之害;灾殃临到,你也不惧怕。
[5:22] 你遇见灾害饥馑,就必嬉笑;地上的野兽,你也不惧怕。
[5:23] 因为你必与田间的石头立约;田里的野兽也必与你和好。
[5:24] 你必知道你帐棚平安,要查看你的羊圈,一无所失。
[5:25] 也必知道你的后裔将来发达,你的子孙像地上的青草。
[5:26] 你必寿高年迈才归坟墓,好像禾捆到时收藏。
[5:27] 这理,我们已经考察,本是如此。你须要听,要知道是与自己有益。
# 约伯记(JOB)
## 约伯自述苦况
[6:1] 约伯回答说:
[6:2] 「惟愿我的烦恼称一称,我一切的灾害放在天平里,
[6:3] 现今都比海沙更重,所以我的言语急躁。
[6:4] 因全能者的箭射入我身;其毒,我的灵喝尽了;神的惊吓摆阵攻击我。
[6:5] 野驴有草岂能叫唤?牛有料岂能吼叫?
[6:6] 物淡而无盐岂可吃吗?蛋青有什么滋味呢?
[6:7] 看为可厌的食物,我心不肯挨近。
## 顾得死亡
[6:8] 惟愿我得着所求的,愿神赐我所切望的,
[6:9] 就是愿神把我压碎,伸手将我剪除。
[6:10] 我因没有违弃那圣者的言语,就仍以此为安慰,在不止息的痛苦中还可踊跃。
[6:11] 我有什么气力使我等候?我有什么结局使我忍耐?
[6:12] 我的气力岂是石头的气力?我的肉身岂是铜的呢?
[6:13] 在我岂不是毫无帮助吗?智慧岂不是从我心中赶出净尽吗?
## 责友无慈爱之心
[6:14] 那将要灰心、离弃全能者、不敬畏神的人,他的朋友当以慈爱待他。
[6:15] 我的弟兄诡诈,好像溪水,又像溪水流干的河道。
[6:16] 这河,因结冰发黑,有雪藏在其中;
[6:17] 天气渐暖,就随时消化;日头炎热,便从原处干涸。
[6:18] 结伴的客旅离弃大道,顺河边行,到荒野之地死亡。
[6:19] 提玛结伴的客旅瞻望;示巴同伙的人等候。
[6:20] 他们因失了盼望就抱愧,来到那里便蒙羞。
[6:21] 现在你们正是这样,看见惊吓的事便惧怕。
[6:22] 我岂说,『请你们供给我,从你们的财物中送礼物给我?』
[6:23] 岂说,『拯救我脱离敌人的手吗?救赎我脱离强暴人的手吗?』
## 请友教导
[6:24] 请你们教导我,我便不作声;使我明白在何事上有错。
[6:25] 正直的言语力量何其大!但你们责备,是责备什么呢?
[6:26] 绝望人的讲论既然如风,你们还想要驳正言语吗?
[6:27] 你们想为孤儿拈鬮,以朋友当货物。
[6:28] 现在请你们看看我,我决不当面说谎。
[6:29] 请你们转意,不要不公;请再转意,我的事有理。
[6:30] 我的舌上,岂有不义吗?我的口里,岂不辨奸恶吗?
# 约伯记(JOB)
## 在世之劳苦
[7:1] 人在世上岂无争战吗?他的日子不像雇工人的日子吗?
[7:2] 像奴仆切慕黑影,像雇工人盼望工价;
[7:3] 我也照样经过困苦的日月,夜间的疲乏为我而定。
[7:4] 我躺卧的时候便说:『我何时起来,黑夜就过去呢?』我尽是反来覆去,直到天亮。
[7:5] 我的肉体以虫子和尘土为衣,我的皮肤才收了口又重新破裂。
[7:6] 我的日子比梭更快,都消耗在无指望之中。
[7:7] 求你想念,我的生命不过是一口气.我的眼睛必不再见福乐。
[7:8] 观看我的人,他的眼必不再见我;你的眼目要看我,我却不在了。
[7:9] 云彩消散而过;照样,人下阴间也不再上来。
[7:10] 他不再回自己的家,故土也不再认识他。
## 诉神待之甚严
[7:11] 我不禁止我口;我灵愁苦,要发出言语;我心苦恼,要吐露哀情。
[7:12] 我对神说,我岂是洋海,岂是大鱼,你竟防守我呢?
[7:13] 若说,我的床必安慰我,我的榻必解释我的苦情;
[7:14] 你就用梦惊骇我,用异象恐吓我。
[7:15] 甚至我宁肯噎死,宁肯死亡,胜似留我这一身的骨头。
[7:16] 我厌弃性命,不愿永活!你任凭我吧,因我的日子都是虚空。
[7:17] 人算什么,你竟看他为大,将他放在心上?
[7:18] 每早鉴察他,时刻试验他。
[7:19] 你到何时才转眼不看我,才任凭我咽下唾沫呢?
[7:20] 鉴察人的主啊,我若有罪,于你何妨?为何以我当你的箭靶子,使我厌弃自己的性命?
[7:21] 为何不赦免我的过犯,除掉我的罪孽?我现今要躺卧在尘土中.你要殷勤的寻找我,我却不在了。」

By Lydia 小黎(梨🍐)٩(●˙▿˙●)۶…⋆ฺ

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