Description: What does the Old Testament say about the problem of suffering?
Though Christians believe themselves to be held in the care of the God of love and strength, they yet find that sufferings come their way. Moreover, whole communities, even whole nations, experience terrible sufferings—all of which frequently raises the question, "Where is the God of justice?"
Those parts of the Old Testament that deal with this question are here considered and discussed, both those that understand suffering as due to human sinfulness and those that raise serious questions about that sort of understanding. Further, here are Jeremiah's questions about why he, as the Lord's prophet, must suffer; the gentler questions in Ecclesiastes; the perplexing life experiences of Joseph; the agonized prayer of Habakkuk; those most urgent questions in the book of Job; the outspoken words of psalmists; the radical talk about a "suffering servant"; and the confident hope expressed in Daniel. Thompson argues that while the Old Testament cannot always give us answers, it does point us to God for hope in the midst of suffering.
Subjects: Methods, Theological Approaches, Biblical Theology, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Theology
Review by Pekka Pitkanen
Citation: Pekka Pitkanen, review of Michael E. W. Thompson, Where Is the God of Justice?: The Old Testament and Suffering, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2012).
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