The Greatest Disagreement in the Bible? Job vs. Chronicles

The Greatest Disagreement in the Bible? Job vs. Chronicles March 20, 2010

Moving from Job straight to Chronicles this semester, I was struck by a contrast between the outlook of these two works in a way I hadn’t noticed in precisely these terms before.

The Book of Job pronounces judgment on Job’s friends because they are willing to rewrite the history of Job’s life in order to preserve their theology. They turn him from a saint into a sinner because they believe that is necessary if God is to be viewed as just and all-powerful.

The Books of Chronicles rewrite history (see for instance the lives and deaths of Manasseh and Josiah) in order to preserve his theology. He introduces repentance by Manasseh and disobedience by Josiah in order to find a theologically-acceptable explanation of their fates.

I’ve been aware of these aspects of Job and Chronicles for a very long time. Yet somehow I never brought them directly into dialogue with one another, so as to think in terms of there being a stark disagreement between them, with one author doing the very thing that the other author condemns.

Had others noticed this disagreement in these terms before? Any thoughts about it?


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