The Book of Job presented me with a pictorial challenge to show the story I was reading, as best I could, in one frame. I couldn’t show Job and his friends as well as the scene leading to this point showing God with Satan but I had to include Satan somehow overseeing his responsibility for Job’s cataclysmic misfortune in discussion with his friends. I had to find a way to introduce Satan’s presence. How to do this was my problem. I would have to wait on the painting’s development as it took shape. I decided to wait and see how the composition developed and take my chances. I believe an appropriate opportunity finally presented itself.
Check out the painting carefully.
The element of surprise (for me) which appeared in the epilogue to the story, is that Satan appears as one of the “Sons of God,” still serving on His council of Angels. This, I believe, is the first occasion in the books of the Bible that I have found where Satan and God appear together in general discussion about a “God-fearing” earthling named Job, as God knows him. Satan then proceeds to persecute him.
Satan’s contention was that Job is not the good, kind, considerate-of-others being that God considers him to be. Further, he contends, if God had not constantly placed His protective hand around Job and his domain on earth, that he would surely be cursing God to His face.
God responds simply with a challenge to Satan: that he will place Job under Satan’s power but with the condition that he keep his hands off his person.
Then Satan leaves the presence of God and does his thing.
Soon, Job begins to receive word from many messengers that all his possessions have been destroyed, his animals have been driven away or destroyed. His houses with his entire family inside have fallen on them killing them all. Job has nothing left in the world to live for. He falls to the ground in prayer, he tears his clothes saying, “God gave and takes away, blessed be the name of God.” Festering boils cover his body and he settles into a pit of ashes having committed no sin or insult to God of which he was aware.
Job has three local friends who come to commiserate with him. Their mission is to console Job in his misery and present their reasoning for what and why these tragedies have come to him. Each friend takes his turn, including intermittent responses from Job, to explain what has happened and why, for some 30 chapters, until God straightens them all out at the end of the book.
My painting was conceived basically to show Job in his distress while in discussion with his sympathetic friends. The monotone sienna color was used to add to the somberness of the mood and, finally, I added the shadowed figure of Satan to show the villain who was really responsible for Job’s miseries.
Of course, God answers all the questions and reasoning presented in the long and tiresome dialogue in the book offered by Job’s friends.
I ask you, the readers of the Book of Job, to add your commentary about the blog or the painting, as part of the blog as I have presented it.
More from the Pop’s Art series archives:
- In the beginning God created
- Adam and Eve: Forbidden fruit and the fall
- Cain and Abel: Good and evil come to life
- Noah Walked with God, built an ark and saved mankind and the animals
- Part 2: Noah in the grapes
- Abraham is called to sacrifice Isaac and slaughter becomes laughter
- Jacob wrestles with God
- The Bible, Illustrated: Joseph thrown into a pit
- The story of the prophet Elijah, Jezebel and King Ahab
- Jonah swallowed by a whale
- Palm Sunday: Holy week and the symbolism of the palm branch
Herb Mandel was an artist, author and educator, and dear old dad of Manchester Ink Link publisher Carol Robidoux. He shared stories about his artwork and his life.