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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:34 pm 
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From a strictly literary construction point of view, I'd say that the operation of the Accuser was built to fit the accusations of the three friends in the older poetic section.

The framing device of Job is unique in the OT so far as I know: a purported glimpse of the operation of the Heavenly Court, as it were. For that matter, the only place this sort of thing happens in the NT is in the Revelation of John. But even there the vision is clearly given to someone. In Job the purveyor of the revelation is nameless, unknown. This is extraordinary.

Really we should come up with more neutral terms for the discussion than the "testaments." That's supercessionist terminology. Ketuvim? That's the third section of the Hebrew Bible, the "Writings" as opposed to Torah or Prophecy.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:05 am 
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axordil wrote:
From a strictly literary construction point of view, I'd say that the operation of the Accuser was built to fit the accusations of the three friends in the older poetic section.

The framing device of Job is unique in the OT so far as I know: a purported glimpse of the operation of the Heavenly Court, as it were. For that matter, the only place this sort of thing happens in the NT is in the Revelation of John. But even there the vision is clearly given to someone. In Job the purveyor of the revelation is nameless, unknown. This is extraordinary.

Really we should come up with more neutral terms for the discussion than the "testaments." That's supercessionist terminology. Ketuvim? That's the third section of the Hebrew Bible, the "Writings" as opposed to Torah or Prophecy.


That makes sense, the first part I mean.

As for your second point, I was thinking about that the other day while reading the Passover thread in Bag End... the terms Old and New Testament taken together do seem a bit loaded. The way I think about them is the Old and Older Testaments ;) or simply The Christian Bible.

But now I have a question: is the Older Testament of the Christian Bible much different than the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh)? Someone mentioned something about book order I think (for instance the Hebrew Bible does not end with Malachi)? I might be thinking of something I heard on the radio.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:11 am 
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axordil wrote:
The framing device of Job is unique in the OT so far as I know: a purported glimpse of the operation of the Heavenly Court, as it were. For that matter, the only place this sort of thing happens in the NT is in the Revelation of John. But even there the vision is clearly given to someone. In Job the purveyor of the revelation is nameless, unknown. This is extraordinary.
Without meaning to take a tangent, but I think this needs correcting. Firstly, the "Revelation of John" was only attributed to John by Justin Martyr in the second century CE; prior to this, the purveyor was nameless. Secondly, there were a number of apocolypses that were deemed canon by early Christian churches, the most famous of which is the Apocolypse of Peter, the influence of which culminated with inspiring Dante's Divine Comedy.
Again, apologies if this is felt to be irrelevant.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:37 pm 
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No, that's a useful reminder of attribution being often after the fact. Still, the sense of the presence of the author in Revelation is much stronger: the author names himself (though which John he is, or whether he's using the name to gain authority, are open questions) in the first verse. Whoever wrote Revelation wanted it associated with an authorial name (and place! Patmos is in the first chapter as well).

That kind of brute-force authorial stamp is lacking in Job. Tradition ascribes it to Moses, of course, but that's more by default than because of any textual evidence.

SirD: the Nevi'im (Prophets), including the minor Prophets, including Malachi, all come before the Ketuvim, including Job.

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axordil wrote:
No, that's a useful reminder of attribution being often after the fact. Still, the sense of the presence of the author in Revelation is much stronger: the author names himself (though which John he is, or whether he's using the name to gain authority, are open questions) in the first verse. Whoever wrote Revelation wanted it associated with an authorial name (and place! Patmos is in the first chapter as well).

That kind of brute-force authorial stamp is lacking in Job. Tradition ascribes it to Moses, of course, but that's more by default than because of any textual evidence.
Yes, that is fair comment. There is a behavioural tradition in the New Testament for books to be imbued with authority by attributing them to apostolic authors, including the four canonical gospels. Even Paul's epistles have questionable authorship; 1 Timothy (for example) is almost certaintly pseudonymous.
So on reflection I agree; Job does appear to stand separately in its anonymity.

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Not irrelevant. Fascinating. My only concern before was that the discussion not trail off into a debate about the veracity of scripture in general. We've already had that one, and will continue to do so I'm sure, elsewhere.

Insofar as Job sets trusting God and trusting in religion at odds, perhaps no one wanted to queer the pitch as it were by ascribing the words to anyone in particular? For instance the Jews Jesus and Paul had quite a bit to say on this subject as well. In both cases what they said need be rejected by some simply because of who they were (in the case of Paul he is ignored also by some "Christian" sects).

Job 15 to follow... sorry for the delay.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:01 pm 
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Quote:
Insofar as Job sets trusting God and trusting in religion at odds, perhaps no one wanted to queer the pitch as it were by ascribing the words to anyone in particular?


I find this extremely plausible. Although it's plunked down with Proberbs and Psalms, Job is a far, far more high-stakes book than either of them, too important to ignore, and perhaps too dangerous to attribute.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:49 pm 
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axordil wrote:
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Insofar as Job sets trusting God and trusting in religion at odds, perhaps no one wanted to queer the pitch as it were by ascribing the words to anyone in particular?


I find this extremely plausible. Although it's plunked down with Proberbs and Psalms, Job is a far, far more high-stakes book than either of them, too important to ignore, and perhaps too dangerous to attribute.


Job is not a "biblical" story, to me. It's a "real" story.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:53 pm 
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That's why it's so important and so dangerous. ;)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:52 pm 
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And Tolkien is not fantasy. :P

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:15 pm 
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And with Frelga's insight, shared by many I'm sure, we are back to the hard sayings of Elifaz.

Job 15 NKJV or HEB

Eliphaz Accuses Job of Folly


Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

2 “Should a wise man answer with empty knowledge,
And fill himself with the east wind?

There's a saying: "An east wind always brings rain." There is a similar nautical saying: "A west wind always brings rain, and an east wind blows it back again." It probably matters where you are whether this is true or not. Where I live an east wind usually brings bad weather.

3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk,
Or by speeches with which he can do no good?
4 Yes, you cast off fear,
And restrain prayer before God.
5 For your iniquity teaches your mouth,
And you choose the tongue of the crafty.
6 Your own mouth condemns you, and not I;
Yes, your own lips testify against you.

"You speak that way because you are unwise, your sin causes you to be brazen."

7 “Are you the first man who was born?
Or were you made before the hills?
8 Have you heard the counsel of God?
Do you limit wisdom to yourself?
9 What do you know that we do not know?
What do you understand that is not in us?
10 Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us,
Much older than your father.

"Now listen here whippersnapper, do you really think you know more than us?"

11 Are the consolations of God too small for you,
And the word spoken gently with you?
12 Why does your heart carry you away,
And what do your eyes wink at,
13 That you turn your spirit against God,
And let such words go out of your mouth?

"If you know God why do you despair?" The NIV renders verses 12&13:
12Why has your heart carried you away,
and why do your eyes flash,
13 so that you vent your rage against God
and pour out such words from your mouth?
For some reason in the NIV it really stands out that Elifaz seems completely unmoved by Job's condition. Perhaps he's angry by now?


14 “What is man, that he could be pure?
And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous?

"None are righteous, not even you." Point to Elifaz. However, if he had discernment, might not Elifaz have known what God thought of Job?

15 If God puts no trust in His saints,
And the heavens are not pure in His sight,
16 How much less man, who is abominable and filthy,
Who drinks iniquity like water!

Verses 14 to 16 combined are the refrain: Man is corruptable, impure, perhaps fallen(?) It is curious that Elifaz points out that even God's angles and the heavenly court itself "are not pure in His sight (how much less man" indeed).

To me it seems Job is now on trial for the way he is behaving though it seems clearer when Bildab speaks next (after Job again).


17 “I will tell you, hear me;
What I have seen I will declare,
18 What wise men have told,
Not hiding anything received from their fathers,
19 To whom alone the land was given,
And no alien passed among them:
20 The wicked man writhes with pain all his days,
And the number of years is hidden from the oppressor.
21 Dreadful sounds are in his ears;
In prosperity the destroyer comes upon him.
22 He does not believe that he will return from darkness,
For a sword is waiting for him.
23 He wanders about for bread, saying, ‘Where is it?’
He knows that a day of darkness is ready at his hand.
24 Trouble and anguish make him afraid;
They overpower him, like a king ready for battle.
25 For he stretches out his hand against God,
And acts defiantly against the Almighty,
26 Running stubbornly against Him
With his strong, embossed shield.

27 “Though he has covered his face with his fatness,
And made his waist heavy with fat,
28 He dwells in desolate cities,
In houses which no one inhabits,
Which are destined to become ruins.
29 He will not be rich,
Nor will his wealth continue,
Nor will his possessions overspread the earth.
30 He will not depart from darkness;
The flame will dry out his branches,
And by the breath of His mouth he will go away.
31 Let him not trust in futile things, deceiving himself,
For futility will be his reward.
32 It will be accomplished before his time,
And his branch will not be green.
33 He will shake off his unripe grape like a vine,
And cast off his blossom like an olive tree.
34 For the company of hypocrites will be barren,
And fire will consume the tents of bribery.
35 They conceive trouble and bring forth futility;
Their womb prepares deceit.”

Verses 17 to 26 and 27 to 35 remind me of the curse part of Deut 28:15-68. Basically if one of His children were to turn from God or to not revere Him, but instead were to take God's blessings and then "go his own way" -- especially bowing down to other gods -- he would bring a curse on himself and the land. Such a one was to be driven out. If Job's friends were operating under this revelation, I can see why they would have Job on trial. Though some of what Elifaz says above echoes what Job is saying himself (esp. v35) though the perspective or application is shifted subtly.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:30 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
And Tolkien is not fantasy. :P


:)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:29 am 
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Job's fifth speech again covers more than one chapter. In Job 16 he answers Elifaz, in Job 17 he prays to God. Though it is a bit of reading, here is his entire fifth speech.

Job 16 New Century Version (NCV) or HEB

Job Answers Eliphaz


1 Then Job answered:
2 "I have heard many things like these. You are all painful comforters!
3 Will your long-winded speeches never end? What makes you keep on arguing?
4 I also could speak as you do if you were in my place. I could make great speeches against you and shake my head at you.
5 But, instead, I would encourage you, and my words would bring you relief.

A familiar opening. In the NLT verse 3 reads: "Won’t you ever stop blowing hot air?" Returning to my comments in ch. 15 about the east wind, perhaps, if Uz was somewhere near (if not east of) present day Israel, I would think an east wind would be a hot wind, coming off the desert from that direction.

Verse 5 is Job telling his friends what he needs (but apparently isn't getting) from them. It is fascinating to consider: if this is pre-Moses, and if Job and his friends are working from what they believe to be revelations from God, that even as they receive right instruction (if it is from God how could it be otherwise?) there remains the potential to botch the delivery or application. Something (a personality) or someone (an entity) may be running interference. In practical terms we could point to Job's physical condition (his flesh) or his friends' reason and/or egos.

As we see in this chapter and in Job's last speech, he is bouncing between despair and hope while his friends might be becoming more and more incredulous at what he his saying to them, especially given that they believe (on some level) that they are trying to help him.


6 "Even if I speak, my pain is not less, and if I don't speak, it still does not go away.
7 God, you have surely taken away my strength and destroyed my whole family.
8 You have made me thin and weak, and this shows I have done wrong.

Is Job wavering here, or is this merely a sketchy line in an otherwise decent paraphrase (the NCV is a paraphrase by the way)? All the other several translations I looked at are less definite about what his condition implies. For instance the HEB says it this way: "And Thou hast shrivelled me up, which is a witness against me; and my leanness riseth up against me, it testifieth to my face." This is consistent with the KJV and others, the meaning of which is "The state you have put me in testifies against me." Clearly that is not the same as, "You've afflicted me therefore I have done wrong."

9 God attacks me and tears me with anger; he grinds his teeth at me; my enemy stares at me with his angry eyes.

"He hates me."

10 People open their mouths to make fun of me and hit my cheeks to insult me. They join together against me.
11 God has turned me over to evil people and has handed me over to the wicked.

"And everyone else hates me."

12 Everything was fine with me, but God broke me into pieces; he held me by the neck and crushed me. He has made me his target;
13 his archers surround me. He stabs my kidneys without mercy; he spills my blood on the ground.
14 Again and again God attacks me; he runs at me like a soldier.

"God is out to get me."

15 "I have sewed rough cloth over my skin to show my sadness and have buried my face in the dust.
16 My face is red from crying; I have dark circles around my eyes.
17 Yet my hands have never done anything cruel, and my prayer is pure.

"Though I am innocent, I am wretched. My lament is sincere."

18 "Earth, please do not cover up my blood. Don't let my cry ever stop being heard!
19 Even now I have one who speaks for me in heaven; the one who is on my side is high above.
20 The one who speaks for me is my friend. My eyes pour out tears to God.
21 He begs God on behalf of a human as a person begs for his friend.

This part is speaking about an intercessor or advocate in Heaven. Some other translations infer (especially in light of the Testament of Jesus) most emphatically that the advocate is Christ. However, the KJV is less specific than even the HEB on this point.

22 "Only a few years will pass before I go on the journey of no return.


And now Job cries out to God for the second time (as far as I can tell).

Job 17 KJV or HEB

Job prays for relief


1My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me.

2Are there not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation?

3Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?

"I'm ready to be taken to you [in death]. No one here understands me or finds me very useful."

4For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them.

"They have no idea how to help me, therefore I doubt you are with them."

5He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.

v 5 sounds like a proverb. Flattery is not to be confused with praise; though similar the intent of flattery is to gain something, it's substance insincere. I'm not sure whether he is saying "I don't want them to pretend to like me" or if he is saying "I would judge them (or things as they are) otherwise, but I would be lying."

6He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret.

"I used to be somebody; people know who I am at least. But..."

7Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow.

"My sight grows dim, my strength fails."

8Upright men shall be astonished at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite.

9The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.

"[Some day] people will understand my story and it will help them..."

10But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.

"...but not this day. My story is wasted on those present."

11My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.

12They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness.

"My life is ended, darkness overtakes me."

13If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.

14I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister.

15And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?

16They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.

"Though I long for death, should I perish [of my affliction] how would my story bring hope to others, unless they die also?" Actually the HEB has verses 13 and 14 as "If" statements and 15 as a "then" statement. The meaning is similar to my paraphrase (I think).

Feel free to challenge any of my assertions or paraphrases here. Or, if my comments can be counted as insightful, feel free to also add insights of your own.

Bildad is up next. Of the three, I think I like Bildad best so far; even if he is about to rip Job a new one in his somewhat indirect way.

(Incidentally in a few more chapters we'll have made it to the half way point.)


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Turning now to Bildad, he makes some general comments about what he believes happens to the wicked. It's pretty clear however that he is implying that Job must be wicked because what is happening to Job also happens to the wicked.

Job 18 NKJV or HEB

Bildad: The Wicked Are Punished


18 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

2 “How long till you put an end to words?
Gain understanding, and afterward we will speak.

"Are you finished? Not that there's any point speaking with you until you understand things better."

3 Why are we counted as beasts,
And regarded as stupid in your sight?
4 You who tear yourself in anger,
Shall the earth be forsaken for you?
Or shall the rock be removed from its place?

"Why do you think we're the wicked ones when it is you who believes their anger to be righteous?"

"This is what I know about the wicked:

5 “The light of the wicked indeed goes out,
And the flame of his fire does not shine.
6 The light is dark in his tent,
And his lamp beside him is put out.

things go badly for him, shadow over takes him and all he owns;

7 The steps of his strength are shortened,
And his own counsel casts him down.
8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet,
And he walks into a snare.

he does not prosper; he incriminates himself;

9 The net takes him by the heel,
And a snare lays hold of him.

one day without warning he falls;

10 A noose is hidden for him on the ground,
And a trap for him in the road.

he enjoys no protection;

11 Terrors frighten him on every side,
And drive him to his feet.

he has no peace, no rest;

12 His strength is starved,
And destruction is ready at his side.
13 It devours patches of his skin;
The firstborn of death devours his limbs.

he is weak and sickly;

14 He is uprooted from the shelter of his tent,
And they parade him before the king of terrors.
15 They dwell in his tent who are none of his;
Brimstone is scattered on his dwelling.

he is driven out of his tent* (or home) by unclean spirits;

16 His roots are dried out below,
And his branch withers above.

he is fruitless and near death;

17 The memory of him perishes from the earth,
And he has no name among the renowned.

he is not counted among the great nor will he be remembered;

18 He is driven from light into darkness,
And chased out of the world.

what understanding he has he will lose and he will have nowhere to call home;

19 He has neither son nor posterity among his people,
Nor any remaining in his dwellings.

he loses his reputation and his loved ones (in case you have no idea who I am speaking about);

20 Those in the west are astonished at his day,
As those in the east are frightened.

the Godless marvel at his calamity; and those who fear God don't want to be like him."

21 Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked,
And this is the place of him who does not know God.”

"Surely (there's that word again) Job you do not know God."


Basically Job and Bildad disagree on how to interpret what is happening to him. Bildad's assertions are in direct opposition to Job's point that the wicked prosper the same as anyone else including the righteous. It follows therefore that neither calamity nor prosperity are reliable proofs of either righteousness or wickedness.

The other friends straight-up accuse Job of unrighteousness. To that Job points out that since he is innocent, and since they consider themselves to be innocent too, then they should also be suffering. (Another way to say it is if Job fits the criteria of deserving what befell him, then so do they.)

Judging Job based on surface evidence puts me in mind of something Blake said:

Quote:
This life's dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not through, the eye.


The idea of course is that Job's friends were judging him according to what they could see with their eyes rather than what they knew about him. As well based on how they were relating to him, they were unmoved by what they were seeing, for instance by his suffering. They were not seeing through their eyes with their souls or consciences; because of this, as Blake indicates; they were missing the truth of the matter.

Edit: * "tent" might also mean temple, or body. There's an idea that a righteous person is "indwelled" by God (or the Holy Spirit). Verses 14 and 15 may be suggesting that with wicked people a clean, healthy or pure spirit is driven out and replaced by unclean spirits. In light of the "parade him before the king of terrors" part, this may also suggest what happens to a person's soul when they choose wickedness over blamelessness.


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By the view count -- which I am happy to note is usually robust between posts -- I can see that not many readers have had a chance to see Job 18 yet. I hope that it is not overlooked entirely as I make a second post today.

In Job 19, perhaps the most straight forward chapter since the first 2, we find Job not rebuking Bildad as much as he does the other two. Instead he delivers a fairly coherent description of how he feels he's being treated followed by some hopeful words in closing. You will likely notice if you've been following along that basically he fleshes out and reaffirms his statement from Job 13:15 "Though He slay me, yet will I trust him." It seems to me that Job's finer (stronger) moments are when he turns from focusing on his condition to focusing on His hope.

Job 19 KJV or HEB

Job rehearses his hope in his Redeemer


1Then Job answered and said,

2How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?

3These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me.

4And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.

5If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach:

6Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.

"I need a friend not an accuser right now. Besides there is nothing you can do to me that God has not already done. (or Your words are nothing now that God contends with me.)"

7Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.

8He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.

9He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.

10He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.

11He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.

Puts me in mind of what it might mean to feel "forsaken."

12His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle.

13He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.

14My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.

15They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.

16I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.

17My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body.

18Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me.

19All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.

20My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.

Though his councillors are still with him, Job describes what it is to be shunned or driven into exile.

21Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.

22Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?

"Can't you see that my suffering is complete?"

23Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!

24That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!

Interesting, given that we are reading this story some 2-3500 years later. But I think also this is Job trying to say that his words (his testimony) are true for all time (that's truth for you).

25For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

26And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

27Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Who is this Redeemer (the HEB capitalises the name) Job keeps talking about (not a trick question)?

Verse 26 suggests that Job will receive a new body in death [after his present body dies and he is with God]. In the HEB Verse 26 reads: "And when after my skin this is destroyed, then without my flesh shall I see God;" Like the KJV this suggests that Job knows he will go to be with God, but without his present earthly body.
**It is not clear to me if this means "without my present body nor with a new [pure, clean, incorruptible] body" or if it means "outside of [apart from] my present body as an essence or spirit." Anyone?**

28But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?

29Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.

Job is suggesting that their persecution of him is part of the problem.

"Root of the matter" (in this case "problem," "sin," "uncleanness," "corruption") is cited in Deut 29:18 "Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison."(NIV) The meaning is clear: idolaters should be banished from among the people lest their ways spread to others.

In the context of Job, it may be that in this simple line Job is suggesting that, at least in its application to his case, his friends are making an idol out of their religious ideas. That would be a fairly harsh criticism, though not completely without reason based on what we have read so far (imho) For the record, this is an observation about religion in general and more specifically a comment on the unintended consequences of relying too heavily on dogma or tradition to the point where you cannot respond to things even as God might want you to (for instance with mercy).

Actually "root" imagery appears in Job quite a bit and is quite common throughout the Hebrew and Christian Bibles. Its use (like most images I guess) relies greatly on context; even in Job it is not always describing something negative.

V. 29 is like Matt 7:1-2 " “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."(NIV) Related to this is that line from the Lord's Prayer: Forgive me according to how I have forgiven others. (my paraphrase).


EDIT: Though a bit of a digression, I returned to the part marked ** (in green) to take another run at it. What follows are sleepy, not necessarily coherent, or even well expressed thoughts. Is anyone able to shed some light on v. 26,27 before I look at a commentary?

Is it a case that ALL the details of death are purposefully left as a mystery? If so, imho it is an honest way to leave it... as a mystery I mean. If I said x, y, and z all happen to your being when you die it is not altogether convincing because it is not falsifiable: Nobody, not I, you nor anyone can test it.

If this indeed is what is going on, what does that say about the many definitive statements that are made in the text?

In other words when someone in the text says for instance, "I know that God is my Redeemer," they were making an observation in the now, and with confidence. Whereas if they say "I will know He is my Redeemer [when I die]" -- as if to suggest that the test of their claim will have to wait -- that would seem, to me, not very helpful, if not dishonest. In any event, unless I am just having trouble understanding the construction of the verse in the HEB, leaving it as incomprehensible is significant.


ETAA my edit cross-posted with Ax below


Last edited by SirDennis on Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:23 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:29 pm 
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Quote:
yet in my flesh shall I see God


This is a very difficult verse to translate, as I understand it.

Within the context of Job proper, I see the Redeemer as the counterpoint to the Accuser. Job seems to imagine a figure at the heavenly court, as proposed earlier, who argues on his behalf, who takes his side.

The one thing that becomes more and more striking as the argument between the afflicted and his purported friends go on is that the friends keep arguing for a model of individual dispensation that simply has no compelling evidence to back it up. Saying:" you're suffering and thus must be wicked" is easy, as one can imagine secret wickedness in an apparently virtuous person. Unfortunately, for all Job's pals proclaim it otherwise, the overtly wicked often do quite well and always have, and no one raises the possibility that somehow they may be secretly virtuous.

If they really believe what they say they have extreme selection bias. ;)

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Thanks Ax... I returned to that verse in my edit (above).

To your other point, I do not think it is simply a case of rooting for the underdog but Job's argument, along the lines of what you say, seems the more rational (to me). The rest of the text features other virtuous characters; none (apart from One) who are not touched by secret and/or open "wickedness" Regardless, you are right: outward appearances are not always a reliable basis for judging virtuousness or wickedness, an error Job's friends seem to be making.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:32 pm 
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This is really the central theological struggle of the Hebrew bible in a way: Proverbs and its ilk vs. Job and Ecclesiastes. A non-believer might argue ;) that the concept of reward and punishment in the afterlife can be traced to the blatancy with which the system fails in this one. In any case, that's what I see Job groping for here: a promise that somehow there will be vindication, if not in this life, in the next, before God.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 2:51 pm 
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axordil wrote:
A non-believer might argue that the concept of reward and punishment in the afterlife can be traced to the blatancy with which the system fails in this one.


No kidding.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:44 am 
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vison wrote:
axordil wrote:
A non-believer might argue that the concept of reward and punishment in the afterlife can be traced to the blatancy with which the system fails in this one.


No kidding.


I agree with both of you that life sucks sometimes. It really does. On the surface my life is one big ball of mierda. Being able to trust God -- not for a reward some day down the road (or in death) but now -- is the only thing that makes life bearable for me. That is something I have right now.

Similarly, I do not believe that the story of Job is about reward or punishment in the afterlife. Leaving aside whether he is being punished or not, he is seeking solace (or vindication) now. That is why he said in 17:16 (paraphrasing here) "what good is it if a person has to die to realize hope?" His refusal to curse God but rather trust Him is the only thing sustaining him, as far as I can see.

Job's is not a trust that God will deliver on some future hoped for event (ie that things will get better or that he'll get a cookie in heaven in the afterlife) it is a knowing that no matter what, God is good. That is what he means when he says "Even if he kills me, I will continue to trust him." The story itself is useful in that even though Job has the kind of trust that only the truly broken can understand, and even though God himself called him righteous, he still bounces between hope and despair -- keeping his eyes on God and keeping his eyes on his condition -- and that makes him all the more human, believer or not.


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