Holy Righteous Job
An Eclectic Commentary on the Book of
How should we read
Praying for our children with the Jesus
5th Tuesday of Pascha – May 6/19 2009
Today we remember Righteous
Job. His story is a difficult one to understand in all its specifics, but we
can glean useful and soul-saving nuggets from it. This is a good approach with
Wisdom literature and much of the Psalter, and indeed the Old Testament
especially. Remembering that the OT points to the New, we read in order to
glean truths about our Christian faith. Much of the historical context and
fanciful poetical expressions are belong our meager ability to understand, but
there are some things in Job that “jump out” at the attentive
Christian reader. The story of Job, from the (recommended) Menologion program, is at
What follows is an eclectic mix
of verses that “jumped out” at me, with short commentary.
example of how much effort a parent should take to pray for his
“And when the days of the banquet were
completed, Job sent and purified them, having risen up in the morning, and
offered sacrifices for them, according to their number, and one calf for a
sin-offering for their souls: for Job said, Lest peradventure my sons have
thought evil in their minds against God. Thus, then Job did
continually.” (Job 1:5 Brenton)
What parent can measure up to the care of the good father
Job? I certainly feel the pangs of conscience, knowing that I have not prayed
as often and with as much fervor for my children as Job did for his.
I offer a piece of practical advice. An excellent way to
pray for your children is to use a prayer rope, and pray a set number of
“Jesus prayers” for them each day. I think it is much more powerful
to pray for them by name, and not group them together. I myself do this for my
family and parish. Much of the time, I pray in the car. What else would I have
to do? The radio is a waste of time, or even damaging to our souls. Sometimes,
I think, the most productive time I have all day long is when I drive, because
of this prayer.
Decide on a manageable number of prayers to say for each
child or other loved one. Let’s say you decide twelve is a nice, round,
biblical and apostolic number. Use your prayer rope to count off twelve knots,
and with each pray “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on
In those not infrequent times when a parent is especially
concerned about one of his children, this ”usual” number can be
doubled or increased in some way.
It may be that counting 12 knots is a distraction to you,
since prayer ropes do not come in 12 knot sections. In this case, pick a number
that is easy to use. I have a prayer rope with a large bead after every 10
knots. It is really easy to use this rope to pray ten times. I have another
with a bead every 25 knots. One can pray 25 times quite easily or perhaps 50
times, by finding the middle bead, and working towards the cross, which is easy
to tell by feel. Other prayer ropes have 33 or 50 knots, and of course, one can
always pray an entire rope for each child. I wish I could do this, but it takes
Just remember: “less is more.” That is, if you
have a small number of prayers you will do them, but if the number is too big,
you will end up doing NOTHING. It is better to do a little thing
than fail to do a big thing!
We cannot be like Job, but we can be inspired by his
example and resolve to pray regularly for our children and loved ones.
A Model for how to react to
So Job arose, and rent his garments, and
shaved the hair of his head, and fell on the earth, and worshipped,
and said, I myself came forth naked from my
mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave, the Lord has
taken away: as it seemed good to the Lord, so has it come to pass; blessed be
the name of the Lord. (22) In all these events that befell him Job sinned not
at all before the Lord, and did not impute folly to God. (Job 1:20-22 Brenton)
But he looked on her, and said to
her, Thou hast spoken like one of the foolish women. If we have received good
things of the hand of the Lord, shall we not endure evil things? In all these
things that happened to him, Job sinned not at all with his lips before
The answer would come much later: by the
God-man, Jesus Christ redeeming us.
I know of a truth that it is so:
for how shall a mortal man be just before the Lord? (Job 9:2 Brenton)
How many of us truly want to know all our sins?
To seek out one’s hidden sins takes great courage.
How many are my sins and my
transgressions? Teach me what they are. (Job 13:23
A massive understatement!
I have heard many such things: poor
comforters are ye all. (Job 16:2)
Job spoke this to his
three friends who had come to visit him and console him, after each had
spoken to him a long time.
The same things happened to Jesus Christ during His
But thou has made me a byword amount the nations, and I
am become a scorn to them. (Job 17:6 Brenton)
My brethren have stood aloof from me; they have
recognized strangers rather than me: and my friends have become
pitiless. (14) My nearest of kin have not acknowledged me, and
they that knew my name, have forgotten me. (Job 19:13-14 Brenton )
All the disciples,
save John, fled when He was crucified.
The Invisible World (the angels) was created before the
“When the stars were made, all my angels
praised me with a loud voice.” (Job 38:7 Brenton)
The effective prayer of a righteous man availeth
And it came to pass after the Lord had spoken all these
words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Thaemanite, Thou hast sinned,
and thy two friends: for ye have not said anything true before me, as my
servant Job has. (8) Now then take seven bullocks, and seven rams,
and go to my servant Job, and he shall offer a burnt-offering for you. And my
servant Job shall pray for you, for I will only accept him: for but his sake,
I would have destroyed you, for ye have not spoken the truth against my
servant Job. (Job 42:7-8 Brenton)
Here we see that God
hears the prayers of the righteous more than those of sinners. This coupled
with the fact that God is the God of the living, and not of the dead
(that is, the righteous who have reposed in the flesh are alive) is the basis
upon which we ask the departed saints to pray for us.
RIGHTEOUS JOB THE MUCH-SUFFERING (C.
Saint Job the
Righteous lived about 2000-1500 years before the Birth of Christ, in Northern
Arabia, in the country of Austidia in the land of Uz. His life and sufferings
are recorded in the Bible (Book of Job). There exists an opinion, that Job
was by descent a nephew of Abraham, and that he was the son of a brother of
Abraham -- Nakhor. Job was a man God-fearing and pious. With all his soul he
was devoted to the Lord God and in everything conducted himself in accord
with God's will, refraining from everything evil not only in deeds, but also
in thoughts. The Lord blessed his earthly existence and rewarded Righteous
Job with great wealth: he had many cattle and all kinds of possessions.
Righteous Job's seven sons and three daughters were amiable amongst
themselves and gathered for common repast all together in turns at each of
their homes. Every seven days Righteous Job made for his children offerings
to God, saying: "If perchance any of them hath sinned or offended God in
their heart". For his justness and honesty Saint Job was held in high esteem
by his fellow citizens and he had great influence in public matters.
One time however, when
the Holy Angels did stand before the Throne of God, Satan appeared amongst
them. The Lord God asked Satan, whether he had seen His servant Job, a man
righteous and without blemish. Satan answered audaciously, that it was not
for nothing that Job was God-fearing -- since God was watching over him and
multiplying his riches, but if misfortune were sent him, he would then cease
to bless God. Then the Lord, wishing to prove Job's patience and faith, said
to Satan: "Everything, that Job hath, I give into thine hand, but only he
himself touch not". After this Job suddenly lost all his wealth, and then
also all his children. Righteous Job turned to God and said: "Naked did I
emerge from the womb of my mother, and naked shalt I be returned to my mother
the earth. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blest be the Name of
the Lord!" And thus did Job not sin before the Lord God, nor utter even an
When the Angels of God
again did stand before the Lord and amongst them Satan also, then said the
devil, that Job was righteous, since that he himself was without harm.
Thereupon declared the Lord: "I permit thee to do with him, what thou
wishest, sparing only his soul". After this Satan inflicted upon Righteous
Job an horrid illness, leprous boils, which covered him head to foot. The
sufferer was compelled to remove himself from the company of people, he sat
outside the city on an heap of ashes and had to scrape at his pussing wounds
with an shard of clay. All his friends and acquaintances abandoned him. His
wife had to see after her own welfare, toiling and roaming from house to
house. She not only did not support her husband with patience, but rather she
thought, that God was punishing Job for some kind of secret sins, and she
wept, and wailed against God, she reproached also her husband and finally
advised Righteous Job to curse God and die. Righteous Job sorrowed
grievously, but even in these sufferings he remained faithful to God. He
answered his wife: "Thou speakest, like someone hysterical. Shalt we have
from God only the good, and have nothing bad?" And Righteous Job did sin in
nothing before God.
Hearing about the
misfortunes of Job, three of his friends came afar off to comfort his sorrow.
They reckoned, that Job was being punished by God for his sins, and they
urged this righteous man though innocent to repent. The righteous one
answered, that he was suffering not for sins, but that these tribulations
were sent him from the Lord in accord with the Divine Will, which is
inscrutable for man. His friends however did not believe him and they
continued to think that the Lord was dealing with Job in accord with the laws
obtaining under human standards, thus punishing Job for the committing of
sins. In begrieved sorrow of soul Righteous Job turned with a prayer to God,
beseeching Him Himself to bear witness before them of his innocence. God
thereupon manifested Himself in a tempestuous whirlwind and reproached Job,
in that he had tried to penetrate by his reason into the mystery of the
world-order and the judgemental-purposes of God. The Righteous Job with all
his heart repented himself in these thoughts and said: "I am as nothing, and
I foreswear and repent myself in dust and ashes".
The Lord thereupon
commanded the friends of Job to have recourse to him in asking him to offer
sacrifice for them. "Since, -- said the Lord, -- only the person Job do I
accept it of, lest I spurn ye for this, that ye did speak concerning Me not
thus rightly, as hath instead My servant Job". Job offered sacrifice to God
for his friends, and the Lord accepted his intercession, and the Lord
likewise returned to Righteous Job his health and gave him twice over more
than he had previously. In place of his deceased children was born to him
seven sons and three daughters, more beautiful than any other in that land.
After bearing his sufferings, Job lived yet another 140 years (altogether he
lived 248 years) and he lived to see his descendants down to the fourth
Saint Job prefigures
the Lord Jesus Christ, having come down to earth and suffering for the
salvation of mankind, and then glorified in His glorious Resurrection.
"I know, -- said
Righteous Job, afflicted with the leprous boils, -- I know, that my Redeemer
liveth and He wilt raise up from the dust on the last day my decayed skin,
and I in my flesh shalt see God. I shalt see Him myself with mine own eyes,
and not through the eyes of some other see Him. In expectation of this, my
heart doth jump within my bosom!" (Job 19: 25-27).
"Know ye, the
judgment, in which be justified only those having true wisdom -- the fear of
the Lord, and true understanding -- the departing from evil" (Job 28:
Saint John Chrysostom
says: "There was no human misfortune, which this man did not undergo. He was
the firmest and most adamant, beset by sudden tribulation by hunger, and by
woe, and sickness, and bereft of children, and loss of riches, and then
suffering abuse from his wife, insult from his friends, reproach from his
servants, and in everything he showed himself more solid than a stone, and a
source before the Law also of Grace".
© 2001 by translator
Fr. S. Janos.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.
St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney,
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