patience of Job

being able to withstand extreme suffering without complaining
—How can you stand in line for so long and still be smiling? You must have the patience of Job.

Like Noah, Job was called a “blameless” man. But Satan told God that Job was good only because he enjoyed God’s blessings. Remove your protection and Job will curse you, Satan told God. God allowed Satan to test Job with many disasters, and even though Job did complain, he refused to turn away from God and renounce him:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. May the name of the Lord be blessed!” In all this Job did not sin, nor did he charge God with moral impropriety. (Job 1:21,22)

While the Book of Job is in the Old Testament, the phrase patience of Job comes from the King James translation of the New Testament, where James writes about the example of Job:

As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name. Think of how we regard as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance [the patience of Job—KJV] and you have seen the Lord’s purpose, that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:10,11)

During Job’s trials, some of his friends came to talk to him, but instead of giving him comfort, they tried to convince him that God was punishing him for some sin. Therefore, such people, whose words actually do more harm than good, are called “Job’s comforters.” When Job defended himself, one of the friends argued with him, saying,

Were you the first man ever born?
Were you brought forth before the hills?
Do you listen in on God’s secret council?
Do you limit wisdom to yourself?
What do you know that we don’t know?
What do you understand that we don’t understand? (Job 15:7-9)

This is probably where we get the phrase as old as the hills, meaning, of course, “very old.” Another phrase with the same meaning is as old as Methuselah. In Genesis, the genealogy from Adam to Noah lists many people who lived to great ages, but Methuselah’s life was the longest:

The entire lifetime of Methuselah was 969 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:27)

 

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