Job passed God's meteorological exam

 

Job's comforters have become proverbial. These, you may recall, were three old friends who, some time in the evil days between the Deluge and the call of Abraham, had journeyed from afar to visit Job, and found him in a very sorry state indeed.

Some time previously a great storm had come down from the desert, sweeping away the house in which Job's children were assembled and crushing them to death; then robbers made away with his camels, his oxen and his asses; and finally on Job himself there fell the terrible and awful scourge of leprosy.

The visitors found the poor man alone, sick, deserted, cursed and childless.

All this was in stark contrast with the Job they used to know and love. He had been rich and happy, enjoyed life, and dutifully praised God who had blessed him with such comfort and contentment.

Observing the great change, the visitors rather tactlessly suggested that Job must have sinned a great deal to have brought such calamities upon his head.

The facts, of course, were rather different. God had sent all these nasty happenings merely to test Job's mettle, and after the comforters had gone on their way He finally relented. To end the exercise, He gave Job a long lecture on complacency, which included a viva voce on weather matters which would serve admirably as the final examination of any Institute of Meteorology:

"Hast thou entered into the store-houses of the snow; or hast thou beheld the treasures of the hail?" He asks of Job. "By what way is the light spread and heat divided upon the Earth? Who gave a course to violent showers or a way for noisy thunder?

"Can any understand the spreadings of the clouds? Who is the father of rain? Or who begot the drops of the dew? Out of whose womb came the ice? And the frost from heaven - who hath gendered it?

"Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that an abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings - and will they go? And will they return and say to thee `Here we are!'? Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds?"

Job seems to have passed all these tests. The happy ending in the Book of Job reads: "And the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than the beginning, and gave him twice as much as he had before. And Job lived after these things 140 years and he saw his children and his children's children unto the fourth generation, and he died an old man and full of days."