Arguably one of the best pieces of poetry in western civilization, Dante’s “Divine Comedy” is a journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. Dante spent 13 years beginning in 1303 to perfect his work while living in exile outside of Florence, Italy. In his first “cantina”, called “Inferno”, he describes his pilgrimage through Hell alongside his guide, Virgil. Dante illustrates his perspective of Hell organized in 9 circles, the farther you go down, the more evil the sinful lifestyle you must have lived. This takes the reader into a horrifying state of mind where Dante witnesses the sinner being treated according to their sin. Although we shouldn’t take this poem as theological doctrine, we could take a lesson from it.
Dante designed the innermost circle for Traitors. This is because betrayal is the most powerful sin according to him and has more influence in hurting people than anything else. The 9th circle houses Judas Iscariot and world leaders who were famous for betraying their countries and families. Fortunatly Dante’s Inferno isn’t reality and we shouldn’t take it literally.
While Job experiences betrayal, he continues to press into God for answers and relief.
“13 He has put my brothers far from me,
and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me.
14 My relatives have failed me,
my close friends have forgotten me.
15 The guests in my house and my maidservants count me as a stranger;
I have become a foreigner in their eyes.
16 I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer;
I must plead with him with my mouth for mercy.
17 My breath is strange to my wife,
and I am a stench to the children of my own mother.
18 Even young children despise me;
when I rise they talk against me.
19 All my intimate friends abhor me,
and those whom I loved have turned against me.
20 My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh,
and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
21 Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends,
for the hand of God has touched me!”
The legend of Job begins with a conversation between God and Satan where Satan accuses Job of only being loyal to God becuase Job had everything he needed. Satan then betted that Job would curse God if everything was taken from him: his possesions, health, and family. The story continues on of Job losing everything as his 3 friends question him. Chapter 19 is an emotionally-charged part of the narrative where he cries out becuase of the betrayal he feels from everyone around him. Through it all, he continues to stay faithful to God despite the circumstances he was facing. Unfavorable events (in this case betrayal) give us the choice of turning our back to God or to continue pressing forward in His glorious plans he has for us.