Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day

Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy: “We support biblical families.”

Today’s Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day: Job and his first set of kids (Job 1:1-5; 13-19).

There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He had seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred donkeys, and very many servants; so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.

His sons used to go and hold feasts in one another’s houses in turn; and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the feast days had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt-offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” This is what Job always did. …

One day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the eldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plouwing and the donkeys were feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell on them and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; I alone have escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three columns, made a raid on the camels and carried them off, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; I alone have escaped to tell you.”

While he was still speaking, another came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell you.”

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  • Puts me in mind of Newtown, and the tragedy there. Not just one family, but twenty.

  • Wednesday

    I first encountered the story of Job while watching an episode of Superbook as a kid. I was horrified that God would let all of Job’s children be killed. (I assumed that they were all kids like me.) I was also upset that innocent animals were killed, too.

  • LMM22

    It’s along the lines of a Right Behind drabble I’ve tossed around, but — I’ve got wonder how affected Jewish families will feel about Passover this year.

    (Hm. Has anyone *looked* at this? I’m pretty sure the God-kills-firstborns motif would mean something different immediately after, say, smallpox or measles hits a town.)

  • Wednesday

    Well, I guess that firstborn Jewish-heritage individuals in Newport who didn’t lose a family member will be more likely to observe the Fast of the Firstborn, and the naming of the plagues will be more solemn and people might spill more wine than usual for the last one.

    Any Jewish families that lost children (or nieces/nephews/cousins/grandkids), I think, will probably have the most trouble getting through the Four Questions. They might not even make it to the naming of the plagues.

  • My experience of the Passover Seder growing up was that it’s pretty easy to resist the urge to see the Egyptians in that narrative as people whose death and suffering carries moral weight or is in any way equivalent to, you know, real death and suffering, and that reinforcing that urge is considered somewhere on the borderline of heretical and merely rude.

    Having this conversation years later with a woman who grew up in an observant Orthodox Jewish Egyptian family was a head-trip.

  • ohiolibrarian

    The problem with the story here is … no empathy. While we are imagining how we would feel if we lost all our children, the story treats them as if they are just another form of “riches” no different than sheep or camels.

  • LMM22

    Wait, how did SHE see it?

  • Lori

    Pretty much everything about the story of Job bothers me and always has, but the thing that has always bothered me the most is the ending where it’s supposedly fine because Job has the same number of children again. God treats Job’s family as fungible. One is the same as any other and as long as you have the same number at the end that you had when this started it’s all good. As you say, children aren’t treated as people to be mourned and missed, but as just another form of riches.

    This isn’t first on my list of reasons why I don’t buy the idea that the god of the Bible is always good, but it’s up there.

  • hagsrus

     Did Job’s wife have to start all over again bearing children?

  • SisterCoyote

    This story is the one that solidified my childhood view of God, which was basically Fire & Brimstone.

    One reason I’m hugely thankful for this blog; I’m not less of a Christian because this story isn’t literally true.

  • Lori

    Job says nothing about the mother of the 2nd batch of children. IIRC Jewish tradition holds that she was Job’s 2nd wife, but the book of Job doesn’t say. 

  • Random_Lurker

    Don’t worry guys, it all works out in the end. God gives him a new wife and new children so everything’s hunky-dory.

    Do you suppose that needs a spoiler alert?

  • Ursula L

    It isn’t just animals and Job’s children who are killed.  Many other people, named only as “servants” are killed as well.  And their loss is seen only through Job’s perspective, loosing “servants” as part of an attack on his wealth, and a minor loss compared to loosing his children.  

    But these people were loved and had their own families.  They had their own lives and dreams.  

    Their experiences shouldn’t be erased from the story. It isn’t merely the  story of Job, or the story of Job’s children.  It’s the story of an unnumbered number of people who had the bad fortune to be tied to the wrong employer.  

  • Jurgan

    I suspect (and I think Fred has speculated likewise) that the ending was not part of the original story.  It has such a “tacked-on” feel that I think it probably was added after audiences demanded a happy ending and closure, not realizing the unfortunate implications of it.

  •  I’m not sure I can do it justice, but what I got out of it was roughly that they were careful not to draw much of an emotional connection between the mitzrayim of the Seder and the country they actually lived in.

  • Kelex

     I was always taught that Job’s first wife died with his children, and his new children were from a new wife.  But upon a quick re-reading of the text, I can’t see where that idea came from.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart


  • ohiolibrarian

    Spooky how God spares just one person each time to bring the bad news. Good aim to get everyone but one guy.

  • Keulan

    The thing that I notice most about the story of Job is that God lets Job’s family, livestock, etc. be destroyed for the sake of a bet with Satan. Even though Job gets a new family, new livestock and so on, he still lost everything because Old Testament God is a jerk.

  •  One thing I really liked in the play “J.B.” is that the idea that God is going to make things square with Job by giving him his stuff back and promising that he’ll get new children (“You’ll have better ones!”  I think I’ve mentioned, the kids when I saw it were played by my Marxism professor’s children, and the next class after the play closed, she said “I keep waiting for these ‘better children’ I was promised.”) is part of Satan’s closing argument for why J.B. should curse God.

  • Dash1

     Actually, we were taught in my fundagelical Sunday school (and by my fundagelical mother) that Job got back double of everything he’d lost except children. The reason being that he still had his original children because they were in heaven. So that makes it all OK, you see.
    Also, the same goes for the Egyptian firstborn. Any who trusted the Hebrew God would have gone straight to heaven and been quite pleased about the whole thing. Which could easily have happened, because C. S. Lewis and Tash and Aslan and Emeth in The Last Battle, that’s why.

  • mountainguy

    One thing I like about the book of Job is how God seems to be upset with Job’s friends (the archetypical apologists).