Explain why Eliezer in Night by Elie Wiesel sympathized with Job?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the time that Eliezer says these words, he has been through enough horrors to conclude that things are not going to get any better for anyone. Yet, he gets gradually frustrated to hear those around him, who are also going through the same type of hellish situations, just sit there and presumably accept their situations without questioning anything.

Indeed, all throughout the novel the reader can sense that the primary question Eliezer asks constantly, whether he voices it or not, is: "Why?" Why them? Why are they victims? Why is God allowing all of this to happen? As such, throughout the novel, we also see multiple attempts by Eliezer to try and console himself with a possible answer. We see this in the comparisons that he makes, and in the observations of things that he correlates to what is going on.

One of such situations is Elie's comparison of himself to Job. According to the Biblical story, Job was a rich man who was also kind and generous. He was also a believer in God. When Satan wanted to test Job's faith by removing all of his material possessions (with God's permission), Job's faith still did not waver:

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship
and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Now, let's see Elie's statement regarding Job:

As for me, I had ceased to pray. I concurred with Job! I was not denying His existence, but I doubted His absolute justice.

These words lead us to conclude that, perhaps, Eliezer did a somewhat eschewed reading of Job. After all, Elie does blame God for what was going on, and his faith does waver, as opposed to Job's faith.

Still, we could also conclude that the aspect of Job that Eliezer means to compare to his own life, is the fact that both he and Job were tested. In that aspect, Eliezer is, indeed, similar to Job. After all, it must have definitely felt like an act of the devil to have the entire foundation of the lives of all Jews removed from underneath them. It must have felt like Satan himself came to attack all Jews in the worst ways possible. They were, like Job, disenfranchised, dispossessed, and abused by evil. In that, a similarity to Job would be definitely correct.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the Biblical story, God allows his righteous servant Job to succumb to horrific experiences after Satan suggests that Job is only faithful because God has blessed him. With God's permission, Satan strips Job of his wealth, health, and family to test his faith. Job then laments to God and questions why He has allowed disaster to ruin his life. God essentially answers Job by saying that it was His Will and proceeds to restore Job to an even better position.

In chapter 5, Elie mentions that he sympathizes with Job because he doubts God's absolute justice. Similar to Job, Elie was a righteous individual, who continually prayed, worshiped, and studied God's law. However, Elie becomes a prisoner during the Holocaust and is subjected to horrific experiences. Elie suffers from malnutrition, displacement, psychological and physical abuse, forced labor, and has to survive various selections inside the concentration camps. Like Job, Elie questions why a righteous God would allow his faithful followers to suffer such horrific experiences.

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some of the men spoke of God: His mysterious ways, the sins of the Jewish people, and the redemption to come. As for me, I had ceased to pray. I concurred with Job! I was not denying His existence, but I doubted His absolute justice.

It is through this statement that Eliezer expressed his feelings especially with regards to God and religion. By this time Eliezer and the other prisoners had gone through a series of traumatizing events. They had gone through selection where the very young and old were thrown into the furnace and burnt alive. Eliezer felt helpless after witnessing violence meted out against his father in his presence and he could do nothing about it. He agrees with Job in the religious story because just like Job, God let atrocities and persecution occur against good men who had done nothing wrong to their tormentors and they did not deserve any part of what was happening to them.

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The answer to the question is very clear. Let me give you three reasons.

First, Eliezer was a Jew. So, his holy scripture was the Hebrew Bible. So, he knew this compilation books well. If you ever read these books, then you will know that the book that deals with suffering the most is the book of Job. By this fact alone, Eliezer found a connection to Job.

Second, If we focus on the book of Job, we will come to see that Job suffered as a righteous man. This was also another point of contact. The injustices that Eliezer, his family, and his people had to undergo was without cause. It was sheer hatred for them.

Third, as long as the book of Job is, there is no answer given for human suffering. The only answer that is given is that God see, God knows, and man must still have faith in him. In the end, Job is satisfied with simply knowing who God is.