Book of Job, Chapter 42 (C. 700BCE)
This important passage in the Old Testament of the Bible reassures the faithful that they can be rewarded on Earth as well as in Heaven.
When God holds up Job as an exemplary model of behaviour, Satan suggests that the man is good only because he’s living a comfortable life – he’s rich and has a dutiful wife, sons and daughters. If God were to take away the foundations of Job’s happiness, the Devil claims, his base nature would become apparent. God allows Satan to test Job’s faith and the Devil afflicts him with a plague of boils. His three friends tell him that he has brought misfortunes on himself by being sinful (Job’s comforters’ is a term now used to describe people whose comments make a bad situation worse).
But Job keeps his faith ; he holds hard to the belief that since we receive good from God, we must also be prepared to receive bad things; as he says: The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.’ Moreover, Job is sure that he has done nothing to deserve this treatment and that all will come right in the end. It does, at the end of his trials, Job is amply compensated by God for his patience.