Bible Study – Job
Class Two: Job 1: 6-12

From the Orthodox Study Bible.

Satan is Permitted to Test Job

6.  Then as it so happened one day that behold, the angels of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the devil also came with them. 

7. The Lord said to the devil, “Where did you come from?” So the devil answered the Lord and said, “I came here after going about the earth and walking around under heaven.”

8. Then the Lord said to him, “Have you yet considered my servant Job, since there is none like him on the earth: a blameless, true, and God-fearing man, and one who abstains from every evil thing?”

9. So the devil answered and said before the Lord, “Does Job worship the Lord for no reason?

10. Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?  You have blessed the work of his hands, and his cattle have increased in the and. 

11.  But stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and see if he will bless You to Your face.”

12.  Then the Lord said to the devil, “Behold, whatever he has I give into your hand; but do not touch him.”  Thus the devil went out from the Lord.

Let’s break this down.

v. 6; why were the angels of God presenting themselves before the Lord?

Many angels surround Him continually;

·      Anaphora of St. John Chrsysostom.  For all these things we give thanks unto Thee, and to Thine only-begotten Son, and to Thy Holy Spirit; for all things of which we know and of which we know not, whether seen or unseen; and we thank Thee for this Liturgy which Thou hast willed to accept at our hands, though there stand by Thee thousands of archangels and hosts of angels (Daniel 7:10) the Cherubim and the Seraphim, six- winged (Isiah 6:2) many-eyed (Revelations 4:8) who soar aloft, borne on their wings:  Singing the triumphant hymn, shouting, proclaiming, and saying: “Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord of Sabaoth! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory’. (Isaiah 6:3) Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest. (Mathew 21:9, Mark 11:9-10, Psalms 118:26)

·      Hebrews 12:22.  But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,

   Possibly – they are part of His Divine Council

·      Psalm 81:1-2a; “God stood in the assembly of gods; He judges in the midst of gods,”  

·      Psalm 88: 9-13 (89:6-8). “The heavens shall confess Your wonders, O Lord, and Your truth in the church of the saints.  For who in the clouds shall be compared to the Lord and who among the sons of God shall be compared to the Lord?”

More likely – they are ministering angels

·      Hebrews 1:14.  Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

·      Psalms 90:11.  For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

·      Matthew 18:10.  “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

Hesychius of Jerusalem (5th Century - not recognized as a saint): Was there ever a time when the angels did not stand before the Lord? Was it not written about them that “a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him”? (Daniel 7:11)But this coming, in our opinion, is that of the angels who had been sent to serve human beings. Paul actually says, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” HOMILIES ON JOB 2.1.6.

More on v.6: why was the devil with him?

Note – the problem is why God would be talking with the devil, and why the devil could even stand to be in His presence.

One way to resolve this is to note that there are other places in scripture when God talks to the devil and demons (temptation in the wilderness, demons at Gardenes).

Another way is to say that it wasn’t really “THE Devil”, it was “The Satan”, which is a job title, “The Adversary.”  This takes us back to the Divine Council.  As Michael Heiser writes;

Evidence for exactly the same structures in the Israelite council is tenuous. Despite the fact that popular Israelite religion may have understood Yahweh as having a wife, Asherah (see Hess), it cannot be sustained that the religion of the prophets and biblical writers contained this element or that the idea was permissible. There is also no real evidence for the craftsman tier. However, the role of the śāṭān (see Satan), the accuser who openly challenges God on the matter of Job’s spiritual resilience, is readily apparent (Job 1:6–12; 2:1–6). In the divine council in Israelite religion Yahweh was the supreme authority over a divine bureaucracy that included a second tier of lesser ʾĕlōhîm (bĕnê ʾēlîm; bĕnê ʾĕlōhîm or bĕnê hāʾĕlōhîm) and a third tier of malʾākîm (“angels”). In the book of *Job some members of the council apparently have a mediatory role with respect to human beings (Job 5:1; 15:8; 16:19–21; cf. Heb 1:14).
M. S. Heiser, “Divine Council,” ed. Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Inter-Varsity Press, 2008), 114.

However, these are not the tacts that St. John Chrysostom took.  By his time, this Satan had been seen to be the same as the fallen angel in the garden etc.

·      He had a lot to say about how angels and demons are mixed together here on earth (even remarking on the headcover passage 1 Corinthians 11:10).  This has obvious implications for us and our spiritual lives!

·      He also said that there was no way the devil could talk to God in this way, and that this is written for the sake of the story (page 24).

Also his comment on being rich already putting Job into the arena. [NOTE: I was kidding/prodding about St. John being woke, but he was/is supremely concerned for the poor and the obligations of the rich. Before the term became altered and politicized, this made him a strong promoter of social justice.]

v. 7–8 Where Have You Come From?

St Gregory the Great: Satan’s “going to and fro on the earth” represents his exploring the hearts of the carnal. In this way he is seeking diligently for grounds of accusation against them. He “goes round about the earth,” for he surrounds human hearts in order to steal all that is good in them, that he may lodge evil in their minds, that he may occupy completely what he has taken over, that he may fully reign over what he has occupied, that he may possess the very lives of those he has perfected in sin. Note that he does not say he has been flying through the earth but that he has been “walking up and down it.” For in fact he is never easily dislodged from whomever he tempts. But where he finds a soft heart, he plants the foot of his wretched persuasion, so that by dwelling there, he may stamp the footprints of evil practice, and by a wickedness similar to his own he may render reprobate all whom he is able to overcome. But in spite of this, blessed Job is commended with these words, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil.” To him, whom divine inspiration strengthens to meet the enemy, God praises as it were even in the ears of Satan. For God’s praise of Job is the first evidence of Job’s virtues, so that they may be preserved when they are manifested. But the old enemy is enraged against the righteous the more he perceives that they are hedged around by the favor of God’s protection. MORALS ON THE BOOK OF JOB 2.65.66.

v. 1:9–10 Does Job Fear God for Nothing?

St. John Chrysostom: Do you see that Job’s wealth was a gift from God? Do you see that it was not the fruit of injustice? How Job had to suffer in order to demonstrate to people that his wealth was not the fruit of injustice! And behold, the devil himself bore witness to him from above and did not realize that he praised Job as well by saying that he had not acquired that wealth through illicit trading and through the oppression of others. Instead, Job owed his wealth to God’s blessing, and his security came from heaven. You would have not rejoiced if Job had not been virtuous. But the devil praised and covered him with laurels without realizing what he was doing. COMMENTARY ON JOB 1:10.

Manlio Simonetti and Marco Conti, eds., Job, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 4–5.

Robert Charles Hill.  St. John Chrysostom Commentaries on the Sages, Volume One – Commentary on Job.  Holy Cross Orthodox Press.

What we will cover next week:

Job loses his possessions, his children, and his health.  Job 1:7-22

Direct download: 20240131-Job01_6-12.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:41am EDT

Homily – Bringing Grace to a Messy World
St Luke 18:35-43.  The healing of the blind beggar.

Three points:

Jesus did not stay in one place.

Jesus Christ is and was God.  It is fitting that He reside in the throne room of God, surrounded by the cherubim and seraphim, with His holiness reflecting off all the angels and archangels around Him.  But as the being of perfect love, He had to act on behalf of his beloved children (US!).  So He took flesh and became man.

Some would have expected Him to take up residence in the Temple or in the Governor’s House.  But instead He lived among common men and women and, for the last three years of His life, went from town to town so that everyone would know the Good News of salvation.  His body was the temple and He took His holiness, His healing love, and the truth of the Gospel everywhere He went.

We must do the same.  God resides within us.  We are called to love others as God loves us.  We are more than just disciples, we are Christ to the world– we are members of His body, the Church.  Others expect us to keep the reason for our joy and hope here in this building, but that is not how to love!  Yes, we invite the world to be transformed by joining us here, but love requires that we share the reason for joy and hope in the world.  We don’t hide it under a bushel (no!) we let it shine!

The Lord was traveling in today’s lesson, and we give a glimpse at what happened as He did.  We see that it isn’t always neat.  

Jesus – and his disciples – encountered the messiness of the world.

The world is a messy place.  Look what happened in today’s lesson: Christ and His entourage are almost to Jericho, and a beggar disrupts their travel.  This comes on the heels of other messy encounters: people having the nerve to bring their children up to Him to be blessed … a Rich Young Man questioning Jesus, and now this beggar!  I am willing to guess that, in their weaker moments, the disciples would have preferred Jesus stay in a place where they could control Him.  Then He could teach them – and anyone else who knew how to behave and knew what kind of questions were appropriate. 

But that would have been a different God, the God of Ivan Karamazov’s “Grand Inquisitor”.  Life is messy.  People have real problems, questions, and needs that do not fit into neat little categories.  And God goes out to meet them where they are.  As with the Rich Man, He may not always tell them what they want to hear, but there is the real sense that love required meeting people where they are (out in the world)… and then leading them to the cross and, through that, to the Resurrection and life eternal. 

We have to recognize the way our desire to control and mediate grace is more often a result of our own totalitarian pathology than a genuine desire to do God’s will.  Yes, grace leads to harmony; but demanding harmony before offering grace is like withholding medicine until a patient is well enough to deserve it.   

Everyone glorified God.

My final point may seem obvious, but it demands attention.  How did the people respond to the blind man’s healing?  Did they attack Jesus (they did in other places, as when He healed on the Sabbath)?  Were they upset that He wasted His time and power on a simple beggar when He could have done something more important?  Were they upset that they did not get their fair share of Jesus’ miracles on their own body (I bet all of them suffered from something!)?

No,  the Gospel says; “And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.” 

This is the proper response to God’s love and power no matter how it matches our desires or expectations: glorification!  When we glorify God, we become more human, more happy, more resilient.  And when others see us glorifying God, not just here in the temple, but everywhere we see Him and His miraculous action in this world, they are naturally drawn to worship Him as well.

Yes, let’s continue to praise God and enjoy His miracles here within these walls, but let’s be like Jesus Himself and take the Good News out into the world and let our friends and neighbors – even our enemies – feel the healing grace that flows through our love for them.  Yes, it’s going to be messy and it may well mean that more unworthy beggars than kings feel the benefit of this grace; and it may end up meaning that we bring more grace to the lives of the people in communities of the upstate than to those in the great halls of Washington D.C. (that may seem to need it more).

But Christ cured the blindness of the beggar on the way to Jericho despite the all terrible things the powerful were doing in Rome.  Evangelism is local; it begins with the transformation of our hearts into overflowing fountains of grace that pour out to bless everyone we meet. May the Lord strengthen us as we spread His grace in a messy world.

Direct download: 20240128-ChristMoved.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 12:06pm EDT

Bible Study – Job
Class Two: Job 1: 1-5

From the Orthodox Study Bible.

1.  Faithful Job and His Children

1 There was a man in the land of Austis, whose name was Job.  That man was true, blameless, righteous, and God-fearing, and he abstained from every evil thing.

2 Now he had seven sons and three daughters,

3 and his cattle consisted of seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred female donkeys in the pastures.  Moreover he possessed a very large number of house servants.  His works were also great on the earth, and that man was the most noble of all the men in the East.

4 His sons would visit one another and prepare a banquet every day, and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.

5 When the days of their drinking were ended, Job sent and purified them; and he rose early in the morning and offered sacrifices for them according to their number, as well as one calf for the sins of their souls.  For Job said, “Lest my sons consider evil things in their mind against God.”  Therefore Job this continually.

From Fr. Patrick Reardon

The first chapter of Job describes him, in fact, as the embodiment of the ideals held out in the first psalm. Job “walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, / Nor stands in the path of sinners, / Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” On the contrary, he is “like a tree planted by the rivers of water, / That brings forth its fruit in its season, / Whose leaf also shall not wither; / And whatever he does shall prosper.”

Whereas the “man” in the first psalm is clearly a Jew, whose “delight is in the law of the Lord,” Job is only a man—any just man, anywhere. St. John Chrysostom drew special attention to the fact that Job is only a man, not a Jew. That is to say, Job does not enjoy the benefits of the revelation made to God’s chosen people. The only revelation known to Job is that which is accorded to all men, namely, that God “is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

The first verse of Job introduces the narrative prologue (1:1–2:13) preceding the lengthy and complicated dialogue that forms the long central core of the book. This prologue contains six scenes:

(1) an account of Job’s life and prosperity in 1:1–5;

(2) the first discussion in heaven in 1:6–12;

(3) Job’s loss of his children and possessions in 1:13–22;

(4) the second discussion in heaven in 2:1–7;

(5) Job’s affliction of the flesh in 2:7–10;

(6) the arrival of Job’s three friends in 2:11–13.

Chapter 1, then, contains the first three of these six scenes.

In the first scene (1:1–5) [this is the one we are covering today] Job is called a devout man who feared God, a man who “shunned evil.” He thus enjoyed the prosperity promised to such folk in Israel’s wisdom literature. As we have reflected in our introduction to this book, Job is the very embodiment of the prosperous just man held up as a model in the Book of Proverbs.


From the Orthodox Study Bible footnote

Note that Job was “blameless” and “abstained from every evil thing.”  Does that mean he is perfect?

·      Ecclesiastes 2:20/21.  For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.

·  Hebrews 4:15.  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.


St. Gregory the Great (he does literal and then two allegoricals)

On the description of Job. But it is the custom of narrators, when a wrestling match is woven into the story, first to describe the limbs of the combatants, how broad and strong the chest, how sound, how full their muscles swelled, how the belly below neither clogged by its weight, nor weakened by its shrunken size, that when they have first shewn the limbs to be fit for the combat, they may then at length describe their bold and mighty strokes. Thus because our athlete was about to combat the devil, the writer of the sacred story, recounting as it were before the exhibition in the arena the spiritual merits in this athlete, describes the members of the soul1, saying, And that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil; that when the powerful setting of the limbs is known, from this very strength we may already prognosticate also the victory to follow.

On sacrifices for his children (literal).  This circumstance demands our discreet consideration, that, when the days of feasting were past, he has recourse to the purification of a holocaust for each day severally; for the holy man knew that there can scarcely be feasting without offence; he knew that the revelry of feasts must be cleansed away by much purification of sacrifices, and whatever stains the sons had contracted in their own persons at their feasts, the father wiped out by the offering of a sacrifice; for there are certain evils which it is either scarcely possible, or it may be said wholly impossible, to banish from feasting. Thus almost always voluptuousness is the accompaniment of entertainments; for when the body is relaxed in the delight of refreshment, the heart yields itself to the admission of an empty joy. Whence it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Exod. 32:6.

More on the sacrifices (allegorical).  For we rise up early in the morning, when being penetrated with the light of compunction we leave the night of our human state, and open the eyes of the mind to the beams of the true light, and we offer a burnt offering for each son, when we offer up the sacrifice of prayer for each virtue, lest wisdom may uplift; or understanding, while it runs nimbly, deviate from the right path; or counsel, while it multiplies itself, grow into confusion; that fortitude, while it gives confidence, may not lead to precipitation, lest knowledge, while it knows and yet has no love, may swell the mind; lest piety, while it bends itself out of the right line, may become distorted; and lest fear, while it is unduly alarmed, may plunge one into the pit of despair. When then we pour out our prayers to the Lord in behalf of each several virtue, that it be free from alloy, what else do we but according to the number of our sons offer a burnt offering for each? for an holocaust is rendered ‘the whole burnt.’ Therefore to pay a ‘holocaust’ is to light up the whole soul with the fire of compunction, that the heart may burn on the altar of love, and consume the defilements of our thoughts, like the sins of our own offspring.

Saint Gregory the Great, Morals on the Book of Job, vol. 1 (Oxford; London: John Henry Parker; J. G. F. and J. Rivington, 1844), 34.

St. John Chrysostom

On wealth and temptation.  Do you not see that for people not on the alert wealth becomes the basis of falsehood.  This man was not like that, however, though: although he was wealthy, it was for you to learn that had wealth as an inclination towards evil, and that it is not wealth that is responsible [for sin] but free will.  [notes that later he also avoided the temptations of poverty].  Later, Job will explain how he came to be like this. 

On harmony.  Great harmony, the highest of goods; they were brought up to share their meals, keeping a common table, which makes no little contribution to good relations.  Do you see, dearly beloved, enjoyment accompanied by security?  Do you see family dining?  Do you see the well-knit group?

On the purification.  It was not from some bodily contamination, there being no Law by that stage, but from a mental one….: it was for sins that were hidden and not acknowledged [and he would certainly have done more if they were obvious]… This very process, in fact, became also instruction for his children, not only removal of their sins; people who are aware that punishment is God’s prerogative for both thoughts and sinful acts – their father, after all, would not have offered sacrifice if were not a sin he was anxious to cancel – and who constantly are instructed in this by sacrifices would be more hesitant if something like this happened in their case… Note how he gave them a lesson in harmony also in his sacrifice, offering one calf for them all as if for a single person… Which love in particular made him do it?  In my view, love for God and then love for his children.

Robert Charles Hill.  St. John Chrysostom Commentaries on the Sages, Volume One – Commentary on Job.  Holy Cross Orthodox Press.

What we will cover next week:

Satan is Permitted to Test Job; Job 1: 6-12.

Direct download: 20240124-Job01_1-5.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 11:07am EDT

On Gratitude (with thanks to St. Nicholai Velimirovich)
Luke 17: 12-19 (The Ten Lepers, only one of whom returned)

[Started with a meditation on the virtues of hard work and gratitude; hard work so that we can be proud of what we have done and foster an appreciation for the amount of effort that goes into the making and sustaining of things. This makes us grateful for what we have, and especially the amount of effort that goes into gifts that we receive from others. But what if these virtues break down? What if there was a society where hard work was not required and gratitude was neither expected nor offered? What if everything was both easy and taken for granted? Would this be a society comprised of real men and women, or of spoiled children? Would those who understood the need for virtue – and who cultivated it within their own lives – [would they] not weep when they saw the corruption that surrounded them?]

We are taught through small things, not always being able to understand big ones.

  • If we cannot understand how our souls cannot live for a moment without God, we can see how our bodies cannot live for a moment without air.
  • If we cannot understand how we suffer a spiritual death when we go without prayer and the doing of good deeds, we can see how we suffer and die when we go without water and food.
  • If we cannot understand why it is that God expects our obedience, we can study why it is that commanders expect obedience from their soldiers and why architects expect it from their builders.

So it is with gratitude. If we do not understand why it is that God seeks our gratitude – and why He seeks it in both thought and action – we can look at why parents demand gratitude from their children.

  • We do parents require that their children thank them for everything, both large and small, that they receive from their parents?
    • Are parents enriched by the gratitude of their children?
    • Are they made more powerful?
    • Is it to feed their egos?
    • Does it give them more influence or status in society?
  • No, parents are not enriched by their children’s gratitude, and it takes time and effort to cultivate it in them. So parents spend time and effort on something that brings them no personal enrichment. Why do they do it?
    • They do it for love. They do it for the good of their children, so that they will grow up to be civilized and a benefit to society and their own families.
    • “A grateful man is valued wherever he goes; he is liked, he is welcomed, and he people are quick to help him.”

What would happen if parents stopped teaching their children gratitude? How would their children turn out? How would society turn out? Isn’t it every parent’s obligation, then to demand gratitude from their children?

And so it is with God. He does not need our thanks. There is no way to add to His infinite power. There is no way to add to his glory. He in no way benefits from the thanks that we give Him.

  • And yet He demands that we thank Him every morning for getting us through the night.
  • And yet He demands that we thank Him at every meal for the food on our tables.
  • And yet He demands that we thank Him that we thank Him every Sunday for the gift of His Son.

It seems like a lot, right? Couldn’t we just skip it? No. Not if we want to be human. Not if we want to be good.

  • It isn’t just about doing things to please God (He is what He is regardless of our actions),
  • and it isn’t really about doing things because we need to follow God’s rules.
  • It is about being (and becoming) good and doing what is right.

God desires that we be His children, through Christ, He has made this possible. Through our baptism and through our confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, we can join the ranks of the saints. This is not something to be taken for granted.

  • We are like the lepers who encountered Christ in today’s Gospel
    • Because of our disease, we are not fit to join the the saints and angels of God.
    • But Jesus Christ has healed us of our disease. He has nailed our sins to the Cross. He has restored our fallen humanity to a state of grace.
    • This is not something we have earned, nor is it something we deserve, nor is it something that Christ had to do.
  • All ten of the lepers received the gift of health and their ability to walk once more with those who are well in a healthy community. Only one was grateful.
    • Christ God suffered and died so that all of humanity could receive the gift of healing and eternal life, and the ability to live in everlasting joy with all the saints and angels.
    • What is our response?

Are we like the spoiled child that expects everything he receives (and more), that believes that everything is his due? If so, what kind of life can we expect to have? How can it not be stunted and incomplete? What kind of families and communities can we expect to grow around us?

Or are we like the the child who grows into the virtuous adult, the one who everyone likes to have in their company, who brings out the best in those around him? If so, will our lives not be better? Will our community not thrive? Will we not have shown – through God’s grace – that we belong with the saints?

We are not worthy of the gifts that God has given us. We accept them with open arms. We offer our thanks for them. And we join the ranks of holy ones and angels that continually proclaim His glory.


Direct download: 20240121-Gratitude.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:29pm EDT

Bible Study – Job


Job is the first book of the Wisdom genre in the Orthodox Bible.  The others are The Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of Sirach.

Date and Authorship: Unknown, but Job lived during the time of the Patriarchs (about 1600 BC).

From Fr. Joseph Farley;

The story of Job is traditionally based on the life of Jobab, king of Edom, mentioned in Genesis 36:33. (This ascription is also reflected in the final verses of the book as found in the Septuagint.) The tale of Job contains some of the best poetry ever written, and it recounts the suffering of a man who suffers unjustly, though he is completely righteous. His acquaintances (famous proverbially as “Job’s comforters”) assume his great suffering proves he has committed a great sin, but Job continues to deny it and to insist on his innocence. At the end of the story, God appears on the scene in a whirlwind to confound the worldly “wisdom” of Job’s tormenting “comforters,” reveal His power, and show the folly of supposing human wisdom is adequate to question the providence of God. He then restores to Job all that he has lost. A Septuagintal addition to the Hebrew text adds, “It is written that he will rise with those whom the Lord resurrects” (Job 42:1–8 OSB). Suffering leads eventually to resurrection.

We read the story of Job as a model of the sufferings of Christ, a foreshadowing of His Passion and Resurrection. Like Job, Christ was innocent yet suffered greatly. Like Job, Christ was vindicated by God at His Resurrection. Along with the story of Joseph the patriarch, the tale of Job reveals that in this age God’s chosen ones suffer unjustly. That the Messiah, “the Righteous One,” would suffer on a cross does not defy historical precedent. A crucified Christ is not a contradiction in terms. God’s servants have always suffered unjustly and been misunderstood by their “pious” contemporaries before being vindicated by God. It is for this reason that the Book of Job is read in church at the Presanctified Liturgies during Holy Week.  (Lawrence R. Farley, The Christian Old Testament: Looking at the Hebrew Scriptures through Christian Eyes (Chesterton, IN: Ancient Faith Publishing, 2012), 143–144.)

In Scripture

Genesis and the historical books (as Jobab).

Ezekiel 14:14.  Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God.

Ezekiel 14:20.  Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

James 5:11.  Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Liturgical Use

Holy Week.  Monday (PSL): Job 1:1-12; Tuesday (PSL): Job 1:13-22; Wednesday (PSL): Job 2:1-15; Thursday (VDL): Job 38:1b-21); Friday (Vespers) Job 42:12-21.  Up until then, we had been reading Proverbs in that place in the service (Exodus replaces Genesis and Ezekiel replaces Isaiah).

Great Canon of St. Andrew (Canticle Four; in between Esau and Christ).

Thou hast heard of Job, O my soul, who was justified on a dung heap; yet thou hast not imitated his courage nor hast thou shown any firmness of will in the face of thy trials and temptations but hast proved cowardly and weak. He that once sat upon a throne now lies naked on a dung heap, covered with his sores. He that had many children and was once admired by all is suddenly bereft of children and is left without a home; yet for him the dung heap is a palace, and his sores a chain of pearls.

Purpose:  Wisdom.

Resources for our study.

Orthodox Study Bible; St. John Chrystostom’s commentary; St. Gregory the Great’s Commentary; Fr. Patrick Reardon’s The Trial of Job.  Dictionary of Wisdom and the Psalms (IVP). Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.

Some initial thoughts:

It is about suffering, but mostly about how to relate to God in suffering.  Losing faith in God is one of the biggest temptations that suffering can bring.

Parts of it are not easy to read (negativity; structure; poetry).  Not always clear what is being taught.

Fr. Patrick refers to is as a "trial".  That’s good.  But who is on trial?  Is it Job?

Three of his friends (pagan kings!), Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, present traditional religious ways of relating to God (or the gods) during suffering (suffering is retribution; requires appeasement).  You may end up sympathizing with some of what they say, but their understanding of God and how to relate to Him is flawed. 

Elihu, his fourth friend offers a more correct understanding of God, but his witness is tainted by His pride and by twisting the facts (even though he, unlike the others, wanted to present Job as righteous).  He does seem to act as a sort of (an imperfect) prophet to Yahweh (who speaks right after his speech) not just by describing God’s glory but by holding Job accountable for the arrogance of his previous appeal.    God condemns the other friends, but Elihuh is not mentioned.  However, his theology is not reliable (it is really a reformulation of the same retribution principle).

Job’s continual defense of himself is his righteousness.  He does end up needing to repent of his accusations against and doubts in God.

In the end, Job’s righteousness is affirmed, Job’s goods are restored, and God’s justice is confirmed.

Direct download: 20240117-IntrotoJob.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 8:51pm EDT

Ephesians 4:7-13.  In this homily (hostage situation?), Fr. Anthony talks about the temptations new technology brings for getting ecclesiology wrong.  Noting that bad ecclesiology is bad theology, he offers to help everyone find their calling and develop their gifts, but warns that we need be careful to take our time and not fall into (or prey to!!!) prophecying, teaching, and preaching outside the blessing of the Church.   Enjoy the show.

Direct download: 2024014-EccelsialDisruption.mp3
Category:Orthodox Podcast -- posted at: 9:54am EDT