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Job 42:11 (NIV),

All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.

Why did they assume it was the LORD who brought on all the trouble?

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  • The text does not say that they understood the reason for his afflictions. They comforted and consoled him. They did so because he was afflicted. The narrative states that these afflictions were brought on Job by the Lord. But the narrative does not put those words in the mouth of the consolers. It is only the narrative that can be categorically stated as perceiving the reason for Job's afflictions. – Nigel J Sep 8 '20 at 12:52
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Two points

Firstly

Job like his friends, took God for a distant “vending machine”. Similar to the New Age thinking of today (nothing new under the sun), “think the right thoughts and good things will come to you” or the “law of attraction”. This is evident when Job is especially careful how he phrases himself.

“And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭1:21-22‬

Job did not charge God with wrong because he did not want to upset his positive speech, positive thoughts and positive faith to attract positive things into his life. Little did Job realize that another divine council meeting would take place and a second wave would follow.

Fact is, Job did not have a personal relationship with God, it was a distant relationship

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear;” ‭‭Job‬ ‭42:5‬

Just to drive the point home that Job with his lips was refusing to say what was in his heart consider,

“but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭8:36‬

Simultaneously consider the details Scripture emphasizes.

“But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭2:10‬

“Those who hate God love death” says the Scriptures. Was this not what Job was seeking? Did Job not love death and therefore without saying so directly hated God for his pain?

*““Why did I not DIE at birth, come out from the womb and expire? Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who never see the light? “Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they find the grave?” ‭‭Job‬ ‭3:11, 16, 20-22‬ ‭

Job was exceptionally careful to lead an upright life, he got ‘righteous living’ down to a science all without ever having a relationship with the God of righteousness. And for that reason God had to stand against Job’s prideful way.

Ultimately Job recognizes the error of his ways but the divine council meeting highlighted Job at God’s initiative not the Accuser’s that he thought he could get all the benefits of righteous living whilst cutting God out and failing to...

“...ascribe righteousness to his Maker.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭36:3‬

This brings us to the next point, the divine council meetings

Secondly

In the ancient thinking God or the God of heaven had a divine council. The “nations” were all initially accountable to Him but after the rebellion of Babel the God of Heaven divided the people by languages, geographic locations and apportioned different gods/elohim to represent them before Him. These gods were not yet corrupted. Their corruption would follow.

“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:8‬

It was the understanding of the ancients that decisions were taken in this divine council and ultimately the Most High or the God of Heaven made the final call.

This is exactly how Job starts in the first two chapters.

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser (satan) also came among them.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭

And

“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser (satan) also came among them to present himself before the Lord.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭2:1‬ ‭

This is the exact same council meeting that Micaiah speaks of and the same council meeting that explains many other events in the OT, (Moab’s victory over the three armies, the Ethiopians fleeing, David’s census) which make little to no sense otherwise. Psalm 89 says the council meeting is held in the sky and psalm 82 vividly describes not only the council, the corruption of the council members (gods/elohim) but also the regaining of all the nations back onto the God of Heaven

“How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭82:2‬

This verse might indicate that all these events in Job took place prior to the Babel event. (Or that Job was of Abraham’s lineage (less likely historically)).

Conclusion

It’s in this context of a divine council that the ancients including Job’s family members understood that ultimately none of the events that took place were outside the realm of the God of Heaven’s decrees. Yes the gods were assigned with the task of judgment but ultimately God Most High signed off on the final pronouncement.

“Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for ALL the EVIL that the Lord had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭42:11‬

No man could be touched without express permission from the Most High because men are the image bearers of the Most High and represent Him on the earth.

It’s for this reason, namely divine council, that much of the language in the NT revolves around a courtroom or council meeting with judgments and petitioning. It comes right out of the OT.

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There are two matters in this question - the first is why Job's family and friends accused God of causing his troubles. Well, the record in Job does not actually say that explicitly say that his family said that, but the "narrator" says it.

So why do Hebrew writers so often say that God causes evil things to happen such as occurred in Job?

The record in Job is quite clear that God was NOT the direct cause of Job's troubles, and this is significant! God permitted Satan to cause troubles, Job 1:9-12. Despite this, God still takes responsibility for allowing it, Job 2:3 -

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one on earth like him, a man who is blameless and upright, who fears God and shuns evil. He still retains his integrity, even though you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”

There is more going on here than is immediately apparent. Compare the following two records of the same incident:

  • 2 Sam 24:1 - Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He stirred up David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”
  • 1 Chron 21:1 - Then Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.

To us, these two texts cannot both be correct but to the Hebrew mind, there is no contradiction! Satan was the direct cause of David's temptation as God does not tempt anyone (James 1:13); however, the Bible attributes all cause to God who omniscient and omnipotent - God is the cause of that which He does not prevent. We see this idea repeatedly in the Bible.

  • 1 Sam 16:14, 16, 18:10, 19:9 – God sent an evil (literally, unclean) spirit on Saul? God does not have an evil spirit to send! Again, the omnipotent God is deemed responsible for that which He does not prevent.
  • Judges 9:23 has an identical idea of an evil spirit from God.
  • 1 Kings 2:22, 23, 2 Chron 18:21, 22 all have a "lying spirit" from the LORD.
  • Ex 9:12, 10:1, 20, 27, 11:10, 14:8 – God causes Pharaoh to harden his heart??? Clearly not! Compare Ex 8:15, 32, 9:34 where Pharaoh hardens his own heart.
  • Compare Rev 17:1 where God judges the great prostitute, with, Rev 17:16, 17 where the great prostitute becomes a victim of her own wicked ways.
  • In Eze 14:9 says, “I the LORD have enticed/deceived that prophet”; whereas James 1:13 says that God does not tempt anyone.

[In modern technical theology, this is known as the "Divine Passive".]

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  • The order of events would indicate that the family did know because by the last chapter Job developed a personal relationship with God and had heard from God directly. Given the family came and ate with Job and then comforted and consoled him afterwards it would follow that Job explained the situation to them including the error of his ways and why God had to take Job through the evil he experienced to enlighten him and show Job his self-righteous pride. It’s highly unlikely the family was clueless about what God did/allowed, this given Job heard from God. – Nihil Sine Deo Sep 9 '20 at 4:31
  • @NihilSineDeo - this is not necessarily the case. There is no indication that Job ever discovered what had really happened and why - God did not tell him. All he knew is that he had been faithful (although misunderstood God) and that his fortunes had been restored. He did not know about Satan and God's conversations, etc. – Dottard Sep 9 '20 at 4:59
  • While he may not have known all those details (which I won’t contest in a comment) he knew God did it... because God tells Job it was His decision. “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” ‭‭Job‬ 38:1-2‬ whose counsel? God’s obviously. Context? Why are you Job complaining against what I do? Did I need your counsel Job to create the heavens and the earth and all that is in them? No! Then who are you Job to question my decision to allow you to suffer? Job knew at a MINIMUM that God allowed those evil over him – Nihil Sine Deo Sep 9 '20 at 11:58
  • It appears the assumption is the ancients knew less than we know today. When in fact what we know IS from the ancients. They are the ones that had greater knowledge about creation, God’s divine counsel, the divine hierarchy et cetera because they were closer to the beginning of this <7,000 year period that the universe has existed. They also didn’t believe in modern cosmology, nor in billions of years of evolution to conflict with the revealed truth. So the underlying assumption that Job knew less seems unfounded after all it was Job who was seeking to argue his case before God > who did it! – Nihil Sine Deo Sep 9 '20 at 12:08
  • @NihilSineDeo - I am not suggesting for a moment that we know more than the ancients. Far from it, the reverse is almost certainly true. All I am suggesting is that Job knew less than the inspired author of the book of Job (Moses? traditionally). – Dottard Sep 9 '20 at 21:38
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Job's brothers and sisters and everyone who knew him before, comforted and consoled him concerning all the "evil that the LORD caused to come upon him".
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The Hebrew verb used by the narrator here to describe the LORD's actions concerning Job, is הֵבִ֥יא -- the Hiphil form of the root בּוֹא (Strong's H935 - bow'):

In the Qal stem, the verb בּוֹא expresses the simple action “to come” or “to go”. But in the Hiphil stem, the verb בּוֹא expresses the causative action “to bring” (meaning, to cause something to come/go).
unfoldingWord® Hebrew Grammar

From the narrator's perspective, then, the choice of הֵבִ֥יא is apt, since the LORD did cause all the evil that came upon Job. Consider this from the introduction to the narrative:

9Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for naught? 10Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
Job 1:9-11 (KJV)

Satan stated the reason for Job's prosperity was the existence of a "hedge" that the LORD had put about him. This hedge had hitherto prevented Satan from troubling Job, but now:

12And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
Job 1:12 (KJV)

The LORD took away the hedge about Job's substance (still preserving it, though, about his person), putting "all that he hath" in Satan's power to perpetrate the evil to which he was inclined.

However, Satan's attack on Job's substance failed to bring about any change in Job's integrity:

22In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Job 1:22 (KJV)

Satan acknowledged that the loss of a man's substance is not enough to move him against the LORD:

4And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. 5But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
Job 2:4-5 (KJV)

So, the LORD took away the hedge about Job's person (still preserving it, though, about his life):

6And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
Job 2:6 (KJV)

So, there can be no doubt that the LORD did cause the evil that came upon Job, by reducing the hedge about him solely to the preservation of his life. It needs to be said, though, that Satan was the "agent" of the evil that befell Job, not the LORD.

The answer to the question, "Why would the LORD be inclined to deliberately cause evil to come upon a righteous man?", is not part of the OP's inquiry, so will have to await another opportunity. However, this much can be said:

20For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 (KJV)

So, Job was a sinner. Righteousness is not just a matter of the diligent practice of religion, but also a matter of giving due credit to the One whose hand protects man from being overwhelmed by wickedness. Here are two statements, the first by Moses and the second by Job:

  1. 1Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: 3Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
    Deuteronomy 32:1-3 (KJV)

  2. 19My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch. 20My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand. 21Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel. 22After my words they spoke not again and my speech dropped upon them. 23And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain.
    Job 29:19-23 (KJV)

Moses' words give due credit to the goodness of God, but Job's to his own.

The story of Job is one of the redemption of a man lost in the rosy glow (self-pride) of prosperity and esteem that comes via the diligent keeping of the principles of God.

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