Theodicy in the Old Testament

W Brueggemann. In Old Testament Theology: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997), pp. 385-99. This chapter explores the way the biblical texts have answered the question of 'theodicy', which asks why there is suffering in the midst of a righteous, loving, omnipotent God. According to the classic formula, the innocent should not suffer: "For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish" (Psalm 1.6). Unfortunately, this ancient piety does not always match up with human experience, which is a theme explored by Jeremiah (see 12.1-4), Job and Eccesiastes. Psalm 88 is an expression of rage and indignation at the silence of YWEH when the innocent suffer. The story is Israel is one of constant petition in the face of YWEH's silence; a people who start by believing in the logical procession of deeds and consequences, but do not give up on YWEH when the cosmos fails to provide moral symmetry.