The Bible is full of tales of adventure, war, nations being built and destroyed and so much more. It is a veritable source of fascinating stories and historical recollections. But, along with the good comes the bad – it is also full of horrifying moments that put the goriest modern horror films to shame. This list looks at ten such tales.
The Torment of Job
Job, chapters 1, 2, and 38-42
The entire Book of Job is one of the most uncomfortable lessons the Bible teaches, namely that God is in charge, what he says goes, and there is absolutely nothing any one of us can do about it, that we have precisely zero right to question him, zero authority, zero power to stop him.
In this case, God takes it away on a bet with Satan (“Satan” is Hebrew for “Accuser,” similar to prosecuting attorney), who walks into Heaven one day with the other angels. This is after the war in Heaven. It is God who baits Satan into a bet God knows he will win, that Job is the finest, godliest man on Earth and will never curse God. Satan argues that Job lives the sweet life, so God allows Satan to take away all Job’s treasured possessions, even his children. His flocks and property are stolen by surrounding enemies, and his children are all crushed to death by a wind that collapses their house.
Job refuses to curse God. So God rubs it in Satan’s face, knowing full well that Satan will simply raise the stakes. Then God allows him to torture Job’s body all over with boils and sores, but not to kill him. This is all in the first 2 chapters. Most of the rest of the Book is a lengthy rant by Job, interrupted by arguments from his friends against judging God. Job never once curses God, but demands an explanation from God and asks over and over, “Why has he done this to me?!”
From chapters 38 to 42, God finally shows up and answers Job out of a storm, “Who is this who darkens my counsel with words that have no knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man. Now I will question you, and you will answer me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Answer me, if you even understand how.”
God explains to Job in a long diatribe that God created everything in existence, including Job, and does not have to abide by the rules, since he created the rules. His primary point is that Job, with his feeble, finite mind, cannot possibly comprehend the first thing about what is right or good or true, under God, that God alone comprehends righteousness, goodness, and truth, and that man must do as God commands. In the end, since Job never actually cursed God, God rewards his faith and obedience by giving him twice as much of everything as he had before, and blessing him and his wife with 3 daughters and 7 sons, the same number as before.
But God never gives Job (or us) an explanation for why he would allow bad things to happen to good people. The only reasonable answer is quite scary: the only reason you woke alive this morning and are still breathing is because of God’s beneficent mercy, a mercy he can take away at a whim.