Perspectives on Suffering Evident in the Old Testament

Garner, Gary O. (2003) Perspectives on Suffering Evident in the Old Testament. (Unpublished)

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The instance of suffering in the Old Testament commences almost immediately, beginning in the book of Genesis. Chapter 3 records the fall of man where as a consequence, God inflicts his judgement on humankind, including the pain of childbirth onto women, with man required by "painful toil" to work hard "by the sweat of your brow" in order to produce the food required to sustain life. From this point, suffering in its various facets permeates throughout sweeping sagas in almost the whole of Old Testament history.

In some cases, entire OT books, or significant parts of books, are almost solely devoted to, comment on, or are otherwise concerned or connected with, the subject. Outstanding examples of this include Job (the subject whose book bears his name, whom endures suffering almost without end), various Psalms (e.g. Psalm 22 where a plea is given by the psalmist for deliverance from suffering and hostility, or Psalm 38 where King David petitions for rescue from severe suffering and sin), and the poetry of Lamentations, which provides a theological understanding of the meaning of divine retribution and the suffering which follows.

However it would be wrong to assume that it is only the suffering of man that gets consideration. For example, the so-called "Suffering Servant" found in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 - often referred to as the "gospel in the Old Testament" - deals with the coming Messiah (Jesus): God's "man of sorrows... familiar with suffering" whom was "despised and rejected by men" .

Thus it may be seen that the suffering of both man, and God, are given treatment in Old Testament scripture.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 7220
Item Type: Other
Refereed: No
Keywords: suffering, Old Testament, religion, christian, God, Genesis
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > RELIGION AND RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS (220400) > Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History) (220401)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Gary Garner
Deposited On: 27 Apr 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:39

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