Why do bad things happen to good people

I am working my way throught the Old Testament book of Job. This guy seems to be a pawn in the dispute between God and Satan and as a consequence, very bad things happen to him. The book is definitely from a different culture because his "friends" have a one note reason for all these bad things...'You must have sinned against God.' God himself shows up in chapter 38 and discusses the issue with Job. The book of Job is part of the 'Kethubim' or Writings section of the Old Testament, which includes Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Ruth and others. Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiates are considered Wisdom literature from the Ancient Near East. The picture at the left is a detail from a Latin Illuminated manuscript from Northern Italy, ca. 1273. Poor Job is covered with boils while his weeping wife stands over him and his 'friends' accuse him. It is from an exhibition of manuscripts at Southern Methodist University by one of my old professors, Charles Ryrie.

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