The Book of Job is a famous piece of biblical literature, not only because it talks about some of the most thought provoking questions humans ask about their lives, but also because as piece of literature, it is very well written. Throughout the story, the form of the writing is very poetic in nature, even through the dialogue. The interminable conversation has the unified voice and steady style of poetry, but it’s a dialogue between dynamic characters whose moods alter, motives are questioned, and whose words are woven with innuendo and . despite the main character Job being what we consider inherently good, no characters ever express a solid true opinion. Each character is imperfect in their own way and yet shown to complex and leaving the reader to want to know more about the characters.
What we experience when Job interacts with his friends is irony. From our perspective, we see the challenges set upon Job as the contest between God and Satan, but from Job and his friends perspective, they are left in confusion of the unusual misfortunes they encounter. Job and his friends that misfortune is only a product of misdeeds. The story also touches upon the irony of trying to understand God’s ways. The three friends and Job have a serious theological discussion about something that is simply just a contest between God and the devil.
One great theme of this story is the idea of questioning why God would allow good people to suffer. Elihu, Job’s friend, says that God will bestow upon you whatever it is your actions deserve of you. Going off of that conclusion, the friends agree that Job’s misfortunes are a result of some horrible wrongdoing he must have commited. In the story, even God refuses to give a true reason as to why he would punish good people. God then suggests that it is not up to humans to even discuss or question God as his greatness is so beyond the scope of humans.
Rhetoric is one of the defining literary elements in this piece.Rather than actually try to convey information, the purpose of the rhetoric in this literature is moreso to have an effect on the reader in a way. Gods bombardment of rhetorical questions towards job, questioning whether he can do the same things he can overwhelms job and gives us a sense of God’s pride. What makes the piece so unique is the presence of self ridiculing tone and response with sarcasm are so rare to find in such an ancient verse.
The irony of the text also makes the reading a lot more intimate as a dialogue, as the poetry in Jobs verses are a true dialogue, the characters cultivate ideas and different personalities through the course of their conversations.