Moral judgments—understood to be conclusions regarding proper conduct—pervade the first two rounds of dialogue in the book of Job. Whereas Job’s moral accusations commence by focusing upon God’s perceived injustice (cf, Job in 9:22-24), Job’s companions make moral judgments directed at Job.As the dialogue progresses it becomes increasingly evident that Job’s companions use rhetoric and imagery known from other ancient Near Eastern literature to include Job among the wicked. Studying the passages that treat the fate of the wicked in Job alongside extra-biblical literature reveals that the dialogues are notably conversant with the other wisdom sections of the Bible and ancient Near Eastern literature. This is particularly evident in the characters’ utilization of comparable rhetoric and imagery to treat themes related to morality.
This paper elaborates upon and examine ways in which Job and other compositions from the ancient Near East use similar imagery to make moral judgments. In this paper, examples are adduced in order to show how the book of Job and other ancient Near Eastern literature use similar imagery and rhetoric to make moral statements which mostly pertain to the doctrine of just retribution and the prosperity of the wicked.