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Defending GodBiblical Responses to the Problem of Evil$
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James L. Crenshaw

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140026

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195140028.001.0001

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Punishment for Sin

Punishment for Sin

Blaming the Victim

Chapter:
(p.117) 7 Punishment for Sin
Source:
Defending God
Author(s):

James L. Crenshaw

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195140028.003.0008

Belief in individual reward and retribution was subscribed to by every segment of the population in the ancient world. Not surprisingly, it became the dominant theodicy, expressed quite simply in language familiar to one and all: “Whoever sows iniquity will reap a harvest of trouble.” Reasoning from faring ill to doing ill, all four of Job’s friends accuse him of wickedness, even though readers know that both God and the narrator have vouched for his integrity. Like Job’s attackers, the author of Psalm 37 attests the rigidity of this dogma when claiming never to have seen the righteous forsaken or impoverished, as does Israelite historiography and liturgical prayer from the period of the second temple. Jesus’ rejection of this view in John 9:7 stands alongside his acceptance of the concept of reward and punishment elsewhere.

Keywords:   reward, retribution, ancient, theodicy, sow, reap, integrity, Psalms, historiography, liturgy

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