I am very ignorant of pretty much the entirety of bible, so this is my first time reading the book of Job.

Most of the story is a dialog that attempts to address the problem of why bad things happen to good people. The answer, it seems, is that God just does shit sometimes and it may seem capricious (and maybe it even is) but you can’t assume that bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people.

What knowest thou, that we know not? What understandest thou, which is not in us? – Job 15:9

In the story the reason for Job’s suffering is that Satan mentioned to God that Job is probably only pious because he has a cushy life so God destroys his life because reasons.

The majority of the reading is Job’s friends Eliphaz, Bildada, and Zophar insufferably insisting that Job repent for his wicked ways. Job keeps insisting that God is causing his suffering for no reason, randomly, and he has nothing to repent for – which (from our omniscient narrative prospective) we know is totally correct – and his friends say things like:

Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers – Job 8:20


For the company of the godless shall be barren, And fire shall consume the tents of bribery. – Job 15:34


Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth. – Job 11:6

Which are, it occurs to me – like Polonius’s speech in Hamlet (best embodied by Bill Murray in the 2000 movie version of Hamlet) – likely quoted out of context all the fucking time in the misguided belief that that they’re not meant to be banal, naive, and (in this instance) ultimately incorrect platitudes.

God swoops in at the end of the narrative and restores Job at his friend’s expense and explains basically nothing which is probably the point.