Sunday, May 31, 2009

Job 27

It does not seem necessary to me either to attribute the last verses of this speech to Zophar (Cheney) or to think that Job is telling the friends what he used to believe (Tur Sinai). I think there is a sufficient clue to add a colon : and a pair of quotation marks and let the last verses be ill-fitting dogma that Job will not submit to based on the argument so far. So Job summarizes the traditional religious doctrine of recompense of the wicked - a doctrine that he considers empty of truth.

and Job continued to lift up his parable and he said

the One lives
he has turned away my judgment
and the Sufficient has embittered my being
for all the while my breath is in me
and the spirit of God in my mouth
have my lips spoken injustice
and my tongue, has it uttered deceit?

A curse on me if I justify you
till I expire I will not turn away my completeness from me
in my righteousness I hold fast and will not let go
my heart does not reproach me in my day
let it be that my enemy is as the wicked
and one rising against me as unjust

for what hope has a hypocrite that he will gain?
for God extracts his being
his cry will the One hear
when upon him trouble comes?
if on the Sufficient he delights
he would call on God at all times

I will instruct you in the hand of the One
that with the Sufficient I will not hide
lo you, all of you, you have discerned
and how in this vanity will you vainly continue:

this "portion of a wicked human with the One
and inheritance of oppressors from the Sufficient that they take

if his children are multiplied for the sword
and his offspring not satisfied with bread
what's left of him in death will be buried
and his widows will not weep

if he piles up silver like dust
and like clay prepares clothing
he prepares but the just one will be clothed
and silver the innocent will apportion

he builds as a moth his house
and as a booth the keeper makes
the rich lies down and is not gathered
his eyes he opens and he is not

destructions take hold of him like water
storm steals him by night
the east wind lifts him up and he goes
and he is whirled from his place

and he casts away and shows no mercy
from his hand to flee he flees
they will clap their open palms at him
and hiss at him from his place"

What is the nature of Job's completeness that he will not turn away from? Such that he will swear by the living God that he has? Why would God say that Job has spoken truth about him? It seems to me that Job finds the role of the complete individual outside of any reference to a redemptive covenant whereas the psalms stress the redemptive acts of God for all.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Job 26

Sorry to be going so fast. I thought this chapter would give me more difficulty - and perhaps it should. Job's reaching for words around the character of God is stunning to me. It anticipates the reaction of the heavens to the way in which we have treated God's chosen. And to the mercy of God in response.

Job begins with a series of sarcastic words for Bildad and concludes with a condemnation of his physicians and all who are with them in their religious and merciless seas. Then he finds words - not unconnected to the sarcasm and also picking up and giving meaning to a word from the mystical meanderings of Eliphaz in chapter 4.

And Job answered and said

how you help one of no strength!
you have saved the arm of no might
how you have counseled one of no wisdom
and the success of many you have made known!
to whom have you told speeches
and whose breath exits from you?
the physicians writhe
under the waters
and those living with them

Naked is Sheol before him
and there is no covering of Abaddon
he stretches out the north over the formless
hanging earth on nothing whatever
he troubles waters in his clouds
and mist is not divided beneath them

he grasps the face of a throne
to extend over it his mist
a decree circled on the face of the waters
till the consummation of light with darkness
the pillars of heaven shake
and are astounded at his rebuke

In his strength he splits the sea
and with acumen he wounds Rahab
in his spirit the heavens are beautified
his hand has writhed the fugitive serpent

Lo-these things are the extremities of his way
and how frightful a word is heard in him
but the thunder of his power who can understand?

Note: Cheney attributes the last two strophes of this chapter to Bildad. This would change the pattern of speeches radically. Job interrupts Bildad and makes no response or Bildad interrupts Job out of turn. I see that Tur Sinai explains the later part of chapter 27 as Job's former acceptance of the religious framework of the friends whereas Cheney attributes it to Zophar.

A taste of close reasoning

I am part way through chapter 24. Chapter 25 is done - being only 6 verses, I attacked it before chapter 24. Chapter 24 is quite difficult and seems to have some structure - but I have not finished seeing. I thought you might get a kick out of a diagram I threw together this morning that shows how close almost to rigidity my translation is. The whole diagram is here.

The colours show repeated words - note how 'and not' is repeated in chapter 23 and 'not' by itself in chapter 24. Also note how sometimes a single word gathers all prepositions and pronouns into itself - and sometimes not (e.g. verse 6). I suspect that stylistically, where both possibilities were open to the author, that he chose separate words for a reason.

I left chapter 24 as an exercise if you want one. You can print out this diagram and fill in the blanks. - hmm... a good flashcard exercise - I might even try it myself.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Job 25

Bildad has little to add - Zophar seems not to have a formal role in the third cycle - perhaps later...

Then answered Bildad the Shuhite and he said
to rule and dread are with him
he makes peace in his high places
is there number to his troops
and on whom does his light not arise?

And how can a mortal be just with the One
or how clean is one born of woman?
lo of the moon it does not radiate
and the stars are not bright in his eyes
indeed for the mortal worm
and the maggot child of humus

Job 24

Job continues his speech. The subject changes with the first verse of this chapter. Its meaning on first attempt is difficult to hear. Literally -

for what purpose from the Sufficient are times not hidden?
do those knowing him not discern his days?

Tur Sinai suggests that מִשַּׁדַּי לֹא is really one word (just drop the space) from the Syriac meaning hypocrite. That certainly solves one immediate problem. Rather than dropping the 'not' and imaging God as blind to the days of the hypocrite, (which would agree with some of what Job has already implied), we attach the 'not' to the Sufficient and ask why is the hypocrite ('the Sufficient-not' by what is almost a letter game) blind to the times (of punishment)?

Well all this is religiously possible - but is it true? And forget the addition of the words 'of punishment' because the vengeance of God is revealed in time in the death of Jesus. This is an annihilation deeply to be sought (I should be glad of another death), a partaking of (something stronger than) the Hawking radiation around that black hole in time.

for what purpose are times not hidden from the Sufficient?
do those knowing him not discern his days?
for what purpose are times hidden from the not-sufficient i.e. the hypocrite?
do those knowing him not discern his days?

(whose days?)

I must still struggle with it - but not necessarily make it make sense in my religious or meaning framework. Times are hidden. Reality is hidden. Perhaps in 'not knowing', God makes possible our 'knowing' - even as those who are not sufficient.

Update: hidden - must be changed to treasured - to note the usage of צפן everywhere else in the poem and to reserve the hide metaphor for another word - it actually works better here too.

for what purpose from the Sufficient are times not treasured?
do those knowing him not discern his days?

They take hold of landmarks
they despoil flocks while they are grazing
the orphan's donkey they drive away
they pledge the ox of the widow
they stretch out the poor from the way
as one the needy of earth withdraw themselves

lo wild asses in the wilderness go out to their work seeking their prey
the plain is to him food - and to his lads
in the field his corn they reap
and the vineyard of the wicked they gather

the naked they make lodge without clothing
so there is no covering in the cold
from the rain of the mountains they are moist
and without refuge they embrace the rock

they despoil the orphan from the breast
and the needy they pledge
the naked are made to go about without clothing
and from the famished they lift the sheaf

within their walls they press oil(1)
they tread the wine-press and go thirsty
from the city males groan
and the being of the wounded shouts out
but God does not set them as fickle

they - they are those who rebel against light
they do not recognize his ways
and they do not sit in his tracks
with the light rises a slayer of needy and poor
and in the night there is a thief
and an eye of adultery watches for twilight saying
"no eye will look on me" and covering faces he sets out

they burgle in the darkness into houses
that in the day they had sealed for themselves
they do not know light
for morning is as one to them as obscurity
for he recognizes the destruction of obscurity
swift is he on the surface of the waters(2)
slandered is their portion in the land
he is not present to the way of the vineyards

"drought indeed heat despoils the snow water
Sheol his sin"
forget him will the womb
suck sweetly the worm
time will not remember
and injustice will be maimed like a tree

he grazes on the barren that does not give birth
and the widow he does no good
he drags the mighty in his strength
he rises and is not faithful with their lives
it is given to him to trust and he is supported
but his eyes are on their ways
they are high for a little
but he is gone and they are humiliated
as are all they will be shut up
as the head of the grain they will be cut off

and if not now who will set me up as a liar
and who will set as nothing my speech?(3)

(1) the image is opaque - TS suggests with much elaboration a parallel to the following cola as: they pass the noonday between deceptive palm-trees - following the Vulgate. It is too much to take note of at the moment and will have to remain enigmatic.
(2) perhaps referring to the greased swimmer of chapter 15 - I think I read in TS that he is too slippery to escape from the sea and come to the dry land of the vineyards. (Tongue in cheek?) The word קלל is multiply glossed: swift (as in email), or curse or slander. It is what job does to 'his day' in chapter 3:1 at the double beginning of his first speech. It is what God moves Job to say of himself in chapter 40:4 and it is used four times in the middle of the book: twice in this verse (swift and slander where both meanings fit taken one at a time) and twice as a metaphor for speed - re the swifter than a weaver's shuttle (7:6) and swifter than a blog post (9:25). Maybe I should have rendered chapter 3:1 as "and Job opened his mouth and swift-kicked his day!" But here is the warning - do not be in a hurry. The best time to post an email or a blog post is God's time!
(3) to make something of his speech as a diatribe against the lack of punishment for the wicked, all one needs is a single set of quotes. Note that being maimed like a tree means evil will easily regrow. What shall we read between the lines here about God?

Update: a little colouring - there are clusters of repeated words but no obvious recurrence structures here as we find more frequently in the psalms. Note also the repetition of fickle - my gloss three months ago for the last verse about Job 1 where Job does not ascribe fickleness to God.

Job 23

I can scarcely believe what I am reading. Yes I have adjusted a few words here and there in prior posts for the sake of as much concordance of sound as I can muster, and still this is a difficult and slow process. But here as in chapters 10 and 14 - Job has more and more to say that is new and that extends his tender appreciation for God. Again he intimates the necessary character of God. And one can even feel a little sympathy for the dilemma of the Sufficient.

The phrases of this chapter are almost unconnected - modalities are incomplete, prepositions and interjections lacking. Should I fill them in? Will you check my work? Will you see the new thing too or is it my imagination that Job has more to say that is worth hearing even given the state he is portrayed in?

And Job answered and said

Even today bitter is my complaint
my hand heavy on my sighing
that it was given me to know
and I would find him
come to his establishment
I would order before his face my judgment
and fill my mouth with reasons

I would know the speeches he would answer me
and understand what he would say to me
will he in great strength contend against me?
no - but he himself would set me out
there the upright could reason with him
and I would be delivered in perpetuity from my judge

lo forward I go and he is not there
and back and I do not understand him
to the left in his doings and I cannot discern
he is faint on the right but I do not see
for he knows a way against me
he has scrutinized me
as gold I will come out

in his paces my foot has grasped
his way I will preserve and not stretch
the command of his lips - such I have not ignored
from his decree I have treasured the words of his mouth

but he is in one and who will turn him?
and his being longs
so he does
for he makes peace my decree
and like these are many with him

therefore from his face I am dismayed
I am understanding - and I have dread from him
for the One makes tender my heart
and the Sufficient dismays me
for I did not vanish from the face of darkness
and from my face he covered gloom

Ruth - a promise to go on

The story is read here - it is good. (Of course in the midst there may be the odd touch of that parochial word - conversion - I have not yet listened to the whole 14 episodes. But I don't see Ruth as a 'convert'. More like a touchdown.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Job 22 - Eliphaz' last stand

Eliphaz (my opinion contra TS) has reached exasperation and accuses Job of sin in all its forms. TS thinks Eliphaz has been quoting big chunks of Job. This conversation includes some quotes from Job, turned around on him, but not such large chunks as several verses in a row. There are just too many for it to be heard effectively.

It is confusing to the reader that there are no discourse markers - so an aurally creative reading approach is required. How does one 'see' emotion, exasperation, irony, confrontation and so on in an unmarked text? It must be acted and heard - not seen. (Companion psalms 2 and 24 - the ancients knew how to use the mythological framework of creation.)

Note I have had to play with שלם (shlm) between the negative or ambivalent aspect of compensation (recompense/repay) and the positive wholeness or peace - easier glosses to associate with this word. So in this and the last post, 'pay' provides the aural link, where peace may in fact be the result anyway.

My glosses and my glossolalia are far from perfect. I wonder what to do when a verb has to be found for 'setting' a heart on someone (Job 7:17), and setting a hand for correction or the role of intermediary (9:33), and also setting gold (or whatever it is) as dust (22:24), and setting someone by (10:20), and setting a time (14:13) - and you can't use 'set' because you have already overused it! So I 'fixed' these places in chapters 7, 9, 10, 14 after some fixation on them (that word 'fix' and related English roots will stand out in the poem where the effect of 'set' quickly evaporates).

And Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said
Will a warrior be profitable for the One
as insight is profitable to itself?
Is it the desire of the Sufficient that you be just
or is it gain that complete are your ways?
will he from your fear reprove you
will he come with you to judgment?
is not your wickedness great
and is there no termination to your iniquities?

for you have bound your brother for nothing
and the cloak of the naked you have stripped
no water to the weary do you give for moistening
and from the famished you withhold bread

but a man of arms to him is the earth
and one whose face is lifted up sits there
widows you have sent away empty
and the arms of the orphan are crushed

therefore on your every side are traps
and dread dismays you suddenly
or darkness you do not see
and abundance of waters covers you

Is not God high in heaven
and see the head of the stars so exalted
and you say - "how does the One know
how through murk can he judge?
clouds concealing him so he does not see
and the circle of heaven he walks"

the path of the age - have you watched it
that iniquitous males walk?
seized out of time
a stream poured on their foundation

"Who said to the One - turn from us"
- so what can the Sufficient do for them?
"yet he filled their houses as good"
and the counsel of the wicked is far from me?

The just see and rejoice
and the innocent "deride" them
why is our rising not cut off
while their uniqueness fire consumes?

Find profit please with him and be at peace
with these good will come to you
take please from his mouth instruction
and set his words in your heart

If you return to the Sufficient you will be built
let injustice be far from your tents
and fix treasure as dust
and in the stones of the torrents, Ophir

And the Sufficient will become your treasure
and silver from great effort will be yours
for then in the Sufficient is your delight
and you will lift up your face to God

You will supplicate him and he will hear
and your vows you will pay
then you will decree a word and it will arise for you
and on your ways light will shine

For they cast down and you will say "esteem"
and the downcast of eye he will save
he will allow escape of the land of the innocent(1)
and he is made to escape by the purity of your open hands

(1) Perhaps TS has it with 'the innocent delivers the land'. To do this one must ignore the Masoretic markings. There could be many more notes - but I must press on. The dialogue only gets more fractured if I anticipate Cheney's conclusions...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Are we hot!!! will be surprised at this.... wow what a backup choir!

...and this....

....and this!!! (close-up of us at around 4:10) - I am 4th from the left

...and I'm sure there are others.

Are we hot, or are we hot!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Job 21:16-34

continuing from the prior post...

Lo not "in their hand is their good"(1)
The counsel of the wicked is far from me
For how is the candle of the wicked extinguished
and their burden come upon them
their bindings apportioned in his anger?

"They are as straw before the wind
and as chaff that the storm stole
God treasures for his children his iniquity"
Let him repay him so he knows
Let his eyes see his cup(2)
and from the wrath of the Sufficient let him drink
what is his pleasure in his house after him
when his numbered months are erased?

"Who will impart knowledge to the One
when he the exalted judges?"
This one dies with bones complete
all of him tranquil and secure
his pail is full of milk
and the marrow of his bones moistened
and this one dies in bitter being
and does not eat in the good
as one in dust they lie
and worms cover them

Lo I know your machinations
and thoughts of expulsion against me
for you say - "where is the house of the noble
and where the tent of the dwellings of the wicked?"
have you not asked them that pass by the way
and their signs do you not recognize?

"for to the day of burden one who is evil is spared
to the day of rage he is brought forth"
who will tell his way to his face
and what he has done - who will repay him?

but he to the tombs will be brought
and in a "heap" he will stay(3)
"sweet" to him will be the clods of the flood(4)
and after him drags every human
and before him without number

So why do you comfort me in vain
when your answers retain offense?

(1) the quotes mark where Job is citing the words of prior speeches.
(2) cup - following Pope - כִּיד is a hapax I wonder if there is an error for כפור - close to the idea of atonement where cup is quite appropriate as an image.
(3) A heap of corn (as in 5:26) or a heap of bodies. The KJV 'tomb' for גדיש in this verse is justified by an appeal to the burial mound. In this case the similar sound might perhaps pick up the echo of Eliphaz' first speech with a twist of irony as the 'sweet' picks up an echo of Zophar in the previous chapter. So first and last speeches are tied together at this, the end of the second cycle.
(4) TS does not consider this line a reflection of the sweet in chapter 20. He translates the stream metaphor as
The moisture of the river suckles him
while behind him it sweepeth away all men
and innumerable before him

Job 21:1-15

And Job answered and said
hear - hear my speech
and this will be your comfort
Lift me up that I myself may speak
and after I speak, continue your derision

As for me, is it to a human my complaint
and if so, for what purpose is my spirit not short?

Be present to me and be appalled
and set a hand to your mouth
even if I remember and am dismayed
and shuddering grasps my flesh

For what purpose do the wicked live
and are removed - though great in wealth?
their seed is prepared before their faces and with them
and their offspring in their eyes
their houses are at peace from dread
and the staff of God is not on them

his ox makes pass and it does not fall
his cow delivers and is not bereaved
they bring forth like sheep their unweaned
and their children skip

they lift up tambourine and harp
and rejoice at the voice of the pipes
they decay in the good of their days
and in a moment to Sheol, they are broken(1)

and they say to the One, turn from us
and the knowledge of your ways we do not desire(2)
who is Sufficient that we should serve him
and what is the benefit that we should meet him?(3)

(1) TS has to the quiet of Sheol they go down - nice idea - but I lose the sound that replies to e.g. Job 20:5
(2) here is a deep psychological insight reaching to the bootstrap of our being.
(3) I leave you with this question - note the word is not 'pray to him' - prayer follows encounter.

Job 21:13 - an example of a primitive decision

Choosing the alternate reading - a first exercise in textual criticism. As the BLB records here יבלו in verse 13 has an alternative reading.

The Qere readings are corrections made to the Hebrew text around the tenth century AD by the Masoretes. Because of their reverence for the biblical texts, these corrections were originally noted in the margin of the text so as to leave the original content undisturbed.
The alternative reading is כ (kaph) for (bet) ב. One can see how easy it could be to copy one for the other. How would one choose a reading?

[Update: TS says the Qere reading is correct - there is no room for a form of בלה, whose sense in the Bible is always the negative one of destruction. Guess what - I would fail an exam with TS, 'cause I don't hear it this way. The question for me is - how diametrically opposed to his friends does Job have to be to gain their eventual concurrence with his view? - A little subtlety is appropriate, I think.]

I like the original since it does not leave Job 13:28 as the lone occurrence of this word בלה in the poem. It is suitable for Job to compare what he said about himself in chapter 13 with what he says of the wicked here. The sense could be just that he gets old rather than that he completes his days - and one could sidestep the issue by choosing a gloss that blends the two meanings. בלה (balah) is relatively rare in the Bible, כלה (kalah) relatively common. The first can have a non-confrontational meaning - grow old, or a more pointed meaning decay, consume, waste away. The second word 'means' to accomplish, cease, consume, determine, end, fail, finish, be complete, be accomplished, be ended, be at an end, be finished, be spent.

As you can see, you can make it 'mean' just about anything from destroy to accomplish!

Just what is 'meaning' that we take it so seriously?

My choice for you, dear reader, is to determine 'meaning' from usage and from the tone of the passage. But the 'meaning' is more in the overall feel of the poem rather than the individual word. At the same time, I try - and I could toil for ever in this trial, to make the English 'sound like' the Hebrew - so my English is often awkward and strained so that you can hear connections between parts of the text where there might have been heard connections in the original story as told.

Suppose that I chose 'Consumed' for both these words! It would obscure possible tones in the music. Or that I chose 'Spent' for one instance and 'Completed' for another. Again, there would be less music. In this case - what should I do with the more positive tone of Job 21:13 and the more negative tone of Job 13:28. Since I have chosen 'decay' in chapter 13, does 'decay' work here? It does - because in the surrounding text, we know that we all decay - but the wicked does not decay in the stocks or as a moth-eaten garment (chapter 13), i.e. in 'pain' but rather in 'good' (chapter 21). Or if I chose a less negative gloss - say - 'ages' for this verse . Would this work in the more negative context?

Here's 13:28
You put my feet in the stocks
and watch all my paths
you pierce the roots of my feet
and this as rot decays (or ages)
as a moth-eaten cloak

Here's 21:13
Their days decay (or they age or their days age) in good
and in a moment they are broken in (or go down to) Sheol

There is a second alternative in the next stich - is it 'broken' חתת (five occurrences in Job) or 'goes down' נחת (unique in Job). I don't know yet what I will choose, but stay tuned, I will eventually make a decision. I am sure you can see that such word studies are endless - and since I am myself decaying and not endless, I must limit my reading and analysis.

If I am also both good and wicked, Beloved, let my good be in that uncreated light, and my wickedness in the redemption treasured for all as wrath turns Job 14.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Job 20 - rain on picnic

Then answered Zophar the Naamathite and he said
therefore my thought makes me turn
and as such, haste is in me(1)
mentoring of my insult I hear
and the spirit of my understanding makes me answer

do you know this from old
from the setting of the human on earth?
for the joyful cry of the wicked is near-term
and the gladness of the hypocrite but a moment
though his rising ascend to heaven
and his head touch the cloud
like his own dung, in perpetuity he perishes
they who saw him say - where is he?

as the dream he will fly away and they will not find him
and he is chased off as a night vision(2)
eye sighted him but not again
and his place will no longer look on him
his children will seek acceptance of the deprived
but his hands will return their vigor
his bones are full of youth
but with him in the dust they will lie down

if evil is sweet to his mouth
he hides it under his tongue
he shows it mercy and does not abandon it
but holds it among his tastes
his bread is turned in his intestines
the bitterness of asps within him

wealth he has swallowed and he will disgorge it
from his belly the One will cast it out
the head of the asp he will suck
the viper's tongue will slay him
he will not drink from rivers of oil(3)
streams of honey and butter(4)
from returning toil and not swallowing wealth
he will recompense and will not be a peacock(5)

for he has bruised - he has abandoned the deprived
a house he despoils that he did not build
for he will not know his loot in his belly
and in his desire he will not escape
there is none left to eat
therefore none will writhe for his good
in the fullness of his abundance he is short
every hand of misery comes upon him

he is to fill his belly
and he casts on him the heat of his anger
and he will rain on his picnic
he will flee from the kiss of iron
and the brazen bow will pass through him
it is drawn and comes out from the back
as the flash from his bitterness goes out
on him are horrors

all darkness is hidden in his treasures
fire not blown consumes him
one left in his tent will tremble
heaven will reveal his iniquity
and earth rise up against him
revealed is the increase of his house
poured out in the day of wrath
this is the portion of the wicked human from God(6)
and the inheritance spoken for him from the One (7)

(1) Clines and Tur Sinai have a lot of emendations to the first part of Zophar's speech but none of them seems necessary. TS is very complex, continuing to refer back to his attribution of the night vision of 4:12 to Job. Clines cites a number of problems and solutions with verse 2, a verse that seemed, for once, understandable for me with what is a close to literal translation. All I have admitted to (following TS who adds 'this' and translates 'in order to' as 'because of') is that freedom to allow a preposition to mean what it seems to need to mean. I have no problem with the opening 'therefore'. It anticipates the reason for Zophar's desire to correct quickly the perceived insult implied by Job's words (paying no attention at all, like many righteous whom I know of, to his own insulting words). He is muttering to himself and his thoughts come out as if in mid stream. All this relates to his defense of the continuing harangue over the fate of the wicked.
(2) This repetition might support TS - or Zophar is belittling Eliphaz by giving his own opinion on such 'visions'. There is little interaction among the friends themselves.
(3) Following TS whose reading of drink makes much sense in the context.
(4) This verse caused revisions to all my uses of נהר - stream, river, and נחל wadi, torrent in prior chapters. I had been mixing them up in my loosely-coupled mind. It may be that they are quite mixable. After all they are both water related.
(5) TS has 'cannot swallow' - the MT appears here to be incomprehensible without adjustment - I chose peacock to rhyme with a subsequent use of the same word later on - but if the text is 'wrong' through corruption of copying and pointing, then anything goes - right?
(6) אלהים rare in Job (6 times in the speeches)
(7) אל which I have now rendered as the One

A New Blog Subject

I have decided to move a little back into the New Testament but will not start or continue a new blog - just add the subject of Matthew to this blog - eventually... I hope to concentrate on the poetic sections of Matthew and compare them with the Hebrew poetry I have learned about these last three years.

Job 19:25-26 again

It is not surprising that with only half the doorway framed, I cannot yet see the shape of the whole building, i.e. the meaning of these verses, or why they were not used in the NT (or if they were, why the allusion is so hidden).

My first post on Job shows the stimulus for this series. We are about 1/2 way in the journey. And it would be foolish to make premature decisions on the translation of the last half of this chapter. My two main sources are completely at odds in their translations:

TS: Yes I, I want to know my redeemer while alive -
but he who cometh later will stand at my dust
After my body let them break it up!
Out of my flesh I want to see (my) God

Clines: But I know that my champion lives
and that he will rise last to speak for me on earth
even after my skin has thus been stripped from me
Yet to behold Eloah while still in my flesh - that is my desire

Clines has many pages of notes. Unfortunately, he will not be my companion for the last 22 chapters since his commentary ends at chapter 20.

The raw data:

וַאֲנִי יָדַעְתִּי גֹּאֲלִי חָי וְאַחֲרֹון עַל־עָפָר יָקֽוּם
וְאַחַר עֹורִי נִקְּפוּ־זֹאת וּמִבְּשָׂרִי אֶחֱזֶה אֱלֹֽוהַּ

Ultra literal:
and I I know one redeeming of me life and last on soil he shall arise
and after skin of me they encompass this and from flesh of me I shall perceive Eloah

my current trial:
And I - I know my vindicating of life
and at the last on dust it will rise
and after this my skin stripped
and from my flesh I will see God

So holding these extremes and uncertainties in tension, let's continue.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Job 19 - second pass

Job's answer to Bildad in cycle 2. I have changed many words from my first pass in order to continue maximizing concordance with the previous 18 chapters and the 23 chapters yet to come. [pressed the wrong button - this will likely change some more since I only got half-way through the revision!]

And Job answered and said

How long will you grieve my being
and crush me with speeches
Ten times you humiliate me(1)
Are you not ashamed to slight me?

And indeed truly I have strayed
my straying lodges with me
If truly against me you gloat
and determine against me my reproach
know this indeed - that God bends me
and in his stronghold against me strikes

Lo! I cry out - violence! and I am not answered
I shout and there is no judgment
my path he has shut off and I pass not
and in my tracks he puts darkness
my glory from me he has stripped
and he removed the halo of my head

He demolished me on every side and I am gone
and he pulled out as a tree my hope
And he burns against me his wrath
and counts me as his troubler
As one come his troops
and raise against me their way
and camp on every side of my tent

My brothers he has put far from me
and who know me indeed are estranged from me

Ceased are those near me and
whom known by me have forgotten me
Those who abide in my house
and my maids count me as a stranger
an alien I have become in their eyes
To my servant I call and he does not answer
with my mouth I entreat him

My breath is strange to my wife
and I entreat the children of my belly
Even the unweaned reject me
I rise and they speak against me
All my intimate friends abhor me
and those I love turn from me

To my skin and to my flesh my bones cling
and I am stuck in the skin of my teeth
Be gracious, be gracious, you my friends
for the hand of God has touched me
Why do you hound me as if the One
and with my flesh are not satisfied?

If only it was now my sayings were written
if only it was in a book they were inscribed
With a pen of iron and lead
for ever in the rock engraved
And I - I know my vindicating of life
and at the last on dust it will rise(2)
and after this my skin stricken
and from my flesh I will discern God
whom I - I will discern for myself
and my eyes will see and not a stranger
fired my own fires within me

For you should say - why do we hound him?
For the root of the thing is determined in me
Take care, for you are in the presence of the sword
for wrath is the effect of the sword
so you know there is a judge

(1) the Hebrew תכלימוני almost sounds like calumny but there is only one word so my earlier paraphrase will not stand. The word occurs only twice - here and in chapter 11.
(2) with completion of draft 17 I changed this to
And I - I knew my redeemer is living [the verb know is qal perfect]
and at the last on dust he will rise

Job 18

In the macro structure, this is Bildad's second response to Job - mid way through the second cycle of speeches.

As I continue, with blessing in my heart to you who read with me, I am occasionally revising prior posts to reflect the wording as I look at every instance in this saga of usage for each word. For example - in this chapter 'firstborn' is used - and I think it must reflect chapter 1 - when they were eating in the house of the firstborn. So eldest must not be used in chapter 1 or the reader of the translation will miss the possible allusion.

In this chapter also we need 6 different words for trap - a second challenge. (I avoided gin as an obsolete synonym- gin and tonic being a favorite drink.)

As far as verbal patterns and 'seeing' them, I seem to be noting that there are words that are used only in the earlier chapters or only in the later chapters. I imagine another kind of Jobean self-portrait but a way of presenting it is eluding me. A single diagram such as I did for Song of Songs or Romans is too confusing, and individual portraits such as work well for short poems like the psalms do not work for a long poem of this nature.

Then answered Bildad the Shuhite and he said
How long will you set wrenches in speeches?
Understand and afterward we will speak
For what purpose are we counted as the beast
Impure in your eyes?
He tears his being in his anger
On account of you should earth be abandoned
And the rock be removed from its place?

Even the light of the wicked will be extinguished
and the spark of his fire will not shine
light is darkness in his tent
and his candle with him will be extinguished
the steps of his vigor will be shortened
and his own counsel will cast him down

For he is sent into a net by his own feet
and onto a lattice he walks
a trap will grasp by the heel
famine will prevail against him
hidden in the earth his binding
and a snare on a track

On every side destructions terrify him
and scatter his feet
famished is his vigor
a burden prepared for his rib(1)
he will eat the solitude of his skin
the firstborn of death will eat his solitude(2)

Uprooted from his tent is his trust
and it will slow-march him to the king of destructions
it will dwell in his tent from his lack
and pitch will winnow his home
from beneath his roots dry up
from above cut off is his harvest

His memory will perish from earth
and he is nameless on the face of the street
thrust from light into darkness
and from the world chased
no child left to him
nor progeny among his people
and there is none left in his lodging

At his day those who come after will be appalled(3)
And those who came before were grasped with a whirling tempest
Such are the dwellings of injustice
And this is the place without knowledge of the One

(1) help-meet, wife, partner
(2) TS makes more sense of this - firstborn of death is the subject also of the previous line by proleptic ellipsis and means the famished and doomed firstborn. בד solitude (my guess) occurs only here and in chapter 17. My gloss is awkward - I wonder at the significance.
(2) or west and east (Clines) instead of after/before (but not the same word as in chapter 1)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Job 17

Job 17 is the second part of Job's response to the second speech of Eliphaz.

my spirit is bound
my days are extinguished
it's the tombs for me
are there not jesters against me?
and in their provocation do my eyes not lodge?

Set out please - you be my guarantor
who is he that will strike my hand?
(for their heart you have treasured from intelligence
you will not lift them up)
flattery he tells to friends(1)
and the eyes of his children are consumed

He has exhibited me as a parable of the peoples
and spittle in the face I am become
weak from grief is my eye
and my features as a shadow - all of them

the upright will be appalled at this
and the innocent will rouse the hypocrite
the just one will grasp his way
and the clean of hands will add strength
nevertheless for all of them(2)
you return and you come please
for I will not find among you a wise one

my days are passed
my plans are uprooted
the possession of my heart
night to day they set out
light near from the face of darkness
if I expect Sheol my house
in the darkness I spread my bed

to the pit I called - my father are you
my mother and my sister - to the worm
and where now is my hope?
and my hope - who will look on it?
in the solitude of Sheol they will descend
in unity
in the dust

(1) Traditionally translated 'flattery'. We will see the word 4 more times, finally at the beginning of the youthful Elihu's speech - let's wait. I think it is the partial truths that are taught that cause the failure of the children's eyes.
(2) TS and Clines both amend to you. TS reforms the words from כלם תשבו ובאו נא to כל מת שבו ובאו נא. But ye, whenever (ye want) come back again.
(3) I think it is fitting instead of reconstructing the last stichoi to leave the fragmentation where it seems to be. There are aspects of this part that are disconnected.

I notice a review of a new book on Job David B. Burrell, Deconstructing Theodicy: Why Job Has Nothing to Say to the Puzzle of Suffering Reviewed by F. Rachel Magdalene - the review is interesting. Augustine, Aquinas, and Wittgenstein go up in my estimation. But I am sure the book itself would leave me behind. I dig in the primary sources even with a dull shovel. I remember a book title from the 50s by Buckminster Fuller - No more Secondhand God. Great title. If I read the whole book, I don't remember a word of it - but the title stayed.

Romans 6:19

BBB posted a series of translations and then withdrew the post. I was intrigued and so repeat the question here: How do you translate Romans 6:19 with "special attention to the last few words of the verse"?

Here's their post as it appeared on my Google Reader -

Begin post>>

Read the following translations of Romans 6:19. Pay special attention to the last few words of the verse. Then comment on which wordings of the end of the verse you consider to be more accurate and which you consider to be less accurate. Feel free to explain your choices or to comment on any aspect of this exercise.

1. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

2. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

3. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

4. I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification.

5. I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.

6. I am putting it in human terms because you are still weak human beings: as once you surrendered yourselves as servants to immorality and to a lawlessness which results in more lawlessness, now you have to surrender yourselves to uprightness which is to result in sanctification.

7. (I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.) For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

8. (I use everyday language because of the weakness of your natural selves.) At one time you surrendered yourselves entirely as slaves to impurity and wickedness for wicked purposes. In the same way you must now surrender yourselves entirely as slaves of righteousness for holy purposes.

9. I am using these everyday examples, because in some ways you are still weak. You used to let the different parts of your body be slaves of your evil thoughts. But now you must make every part of your body serve God, so that you will belong completely to him.

10. I’m speaking in a human way because of the weakness of your corrupt nature. Clearly, you once offered all the parts of your body as slaves to sexual perversion and disobedience. This led you to live disobedient lives. Now, in the same way, offer all the parts of your body as slaves that do what God approves of. This leads you to live holy lives.

11. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.

12. I’m using this freedom language because it’s easy to picture. You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?

>>end post

The first thing I notice when I review this section of Romans is that it is peppered with 'you'. I take these to be you plural severally and individually - i.e. not primarily as collective.

The next thing I notice is the shift from the first part of the chapter which is 'we' and 'him' to the middle of the chapter (Romans 6:10) which is 'him' alone to this 'you' section. I highlighted these grammatical features here. Verse 15-16 is in the middle of this long 'you' section. Verse 19 above is in the middle of the second half of the 'you' section.

When I look at the original it seems to me to have a teeter-totter type of feel - to whom do you yield? And how? Do I want my memory of teeter-totters - a bloody nose. Translations that miss the yield by using synonyms spoil the effect. That rules out 9, 11, and 12 above. But present, offer, etc are nice in fact better than RSV's 'yield' - since RSV fails to use the same verb in chapter 12. Yield is hardly suitable for a priestly offering which is what Paul already has in mind.

Next cavil is with the translator's fear that his readers will misunderstand Paul's use of flesh. It seems to me that translations which attempt to protect us from the flesh-spirit metaphor in Paul risk mummifying us. Flesh is not synonymous with sex. This is a conclusion that so many readers seem to jump to. In this verse in particular, Paul already uses humanly speaking, so the usual euphemisms about corrupt nature or human weakness that may be used elsewhere are strained. So that eliminates 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10.

That leaves only 1, 4, 7 as acceptable so far. Of these I think I like 7 best. It retains impurity which is I think part of Paul's base as a Jew. The Torah continues in spite of all those lawless tendencies in Corinth. Everything is lawful - but not everything builds up. What builds up is what is presented at the altar in the offering of Christ Jesus once for all - so we present in him our members - every one of them - the lesser and the greater through his self-offering, and we in so offering ourselves by the Spirit will know something new of the life of the Spirit in our mortal bodies now. This is the substance of hope that comes through the faith of obedience. It is quite striking what 5 minutes a day of vocalization will do for an old voice that had been tossed out by the world.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Job - another unrevealing portrait

The image is Job 12 to 14 automatically written to diagramming software. The width of the border for each word is the number of times that word repeats in this concluding speech for cycle 1. The colour is derived from the gematria of the word - so the same word has the same color - but of course so do some others! Like אלה and הלא - but that's arithmetic eh since I did not use positional values in the calculations.

The result does not reveal frames and threads as I thought it might - but it's pretty.

I did not use roots but full words since these results are accurate even if there are similar usages in sight - my automated root algorithm needs too much work - it only works at about 70% because of words like NTN which drop the n and yod type verbs where the yod disappears. When I learn my grammar better I may see some rule refinements.

But I need some probability analysis too and that's not something I have adequate software for. I leave that to the real techies.

To see the detail at a readable pitch click here.

I am working on chapter 16. The whole process is harder and harder - I think I am like a mole who has reached the ceiling and does not know how to gnaw through the drywall and make it into the spacious attic.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Job 16

And Job answered and said
I have heard many such things
miserable comforters - all of you
Will they terminate - these windy words
or what grieves you that you answer?

Even I myself as you could speak
if your lives were in the place of mine
I could cobble speeches about you
and wag my head over you
I would uphold you with my mouth
and the flutter of my lips would spare you

If I speak my pain is not spared
I cease - what goes from me?
But now he has made me able to do nothing
You have appalled all my company
You have seized me - it becomes witness

rising in me is my lie - answering in my face(1)
its wrath tears - it opposes me (2)
it grinds its teeth at me
my trouble sharpens its eyes on me

They gape on me with their mouths
with reproach they strike my cheek
as one against me they are filled

the One has shut me up with injustice
and to the hand of the wicked he has surrendered me
I was at ease(3) and he has frustrated me
he has grasped by the scruff and scattered me to bits
and has set me up as his target

His archers surround me
he pierces my fires without mercy
he pours out on the earth my gall
he bursts upon me, bursts upon bursts in my face
he runs on me like a warrior

Sackcloth I have sewed over my skin
and abused in the dust my horn(4)
my face is streaked from weeping
and on my eyelids is obscurity
and not for violence in my open palms
also my prayer is pure

Earth cover not my blood
and let there be no end of place for my outcry(5)
even now behold in heaven is my witness
and my testimony is in the heights
my friends interpret me(6)
to God my eye tears
that a warrior might reason with God
and a child of a human with his friend
for numbered years are come upon me
and the path of no return I will go

(1) verses 7 and 8 get a lot of comment from TS and Clines. Several reconstruct the text and at first sight it could stand it. If I was to paraphrase:
But now he has made me helpless (do nothing is - probably unnecessarily -reflecting the paired use of this verb in Job 4)
By seizing me you have appalled all my company (including his friends)
Your seizing of me becomes a witness against me
It is so close to me it becomes my inescapable lie in my own face. TS goes so far as to suggest 'his lie' as an emendation - but it is not needed, see note 2 below.
(2)The subject of the following verbs is Job's trouble, not his enemy. Only indirectly is God his enemy here - it is rather the accusation which his friends impute against him and the accusation that rises in himself that is his direct 'enemy'. So I stick with my usual gloss for tsar - trouble. For tear טרף it would be nice to have a gloss in 4.11 and later places still to come that sounded like tearing instead of prey - identical form of course. This is work for a poet.
(3) I revised tenses and glosses at the end of chapter 3 to eliminate a possible self-contradiction
(4) Five of the six words in this verse occur only once in the poem
(5) place is too important a word to be tossed out - it brings to mind the place where they laid him and the place where the name dwells. But the sense of the parallel must allow for an idiomatic reversal of the meaning of no place - i.e. there is nowhere that the outcry will cease.
(6) or my thoughts or desires interpret me (BDB
רע III p 946)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Body, law, and Spirit

Rachel Barenblatt has a lovely post on this week's portion of Torah. It is a creative use of the priestly sacrificial rules. Old Testament 'religion' is very concrete. In Romans 12 Paul in effect invites all to a similar concreteness through the perfect offering of Jesus to present our own bodies as a wholly acceptable living sacrifice. That would include bodies that do not meet minimum requirements concerning wholeness and being without blemish. The metaphor is very complex - clearly.

I was in a conversation about Paul today and I noted that his legal opinions concerning the facts of the body (1 Corinthians 6 and 7 - all about sex) could well have been derived from his knowledge and experience of Torah and specifically these sacrificial sections. And I think it takes a 'religious' turn in most people's minds instead of the turn of a faithful metaphor that Rachel has exhibited in her post.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Job 15:17-35

I will declare to you - hear me
this I have discerned and will recount
which the wise have made known
and their fathers did not hide it from them(1)
to them, to them alone the earth was given
and no stranger passed among them

All the days of the wicked he himself writhes(7)
and the number of years is treasured from the ruthless
a sound of dreadful things in his ears
in peace a robber comes upon him
He does not believe that he himself will return from darkness
and being watched he himself is for the sword
chased, he himself is bread for the vulture(2)

he knows that prepared in his hand is the day of darkness
trouble and anguish terrify him
they will prevail against him
even as a king-hero ready for battle
for he stretched out his hands against the One
and against the Sufficient made himself great

He runs on him in armored-neck(3)
with the thick body of his shield
he covers his face with fat and greases the flank(4)
and he dwells in hidden cities
houses where they sit not
which are ready to be rubble

He will not be rich and his wealth will not arise
nor will he stretch out on the earth his contribution
he will not turn away from darkness
flame will dry his branches(5)
and he will turn away by the breath of his mouth

Let not the wanderer have faith in emptiness
for emptiness will be the recompense
not in his day will it be filled
and his branch will not be green
he will expel like the vine his sour grape
and he will cast off as the olive his blossom

for the company of a hypocrite is barren
and fire consumes the tents of bribery(6)
to conceive misery - to birth iniquity
and their belly prepares deceit

(1) TS says to read כחדום אבותם for כחדו מאבותם just moving the space.
(2) the next two verses are impossible. If I should live so long as to approach this poem a second time - say when I am 6, then maybe I will be able to justify another guess. The list of suggestions and emendations is as long as an arm, even in the few books I have. It seems, with TS, good to link this to chapter 3 and the revolution of Leviathan. But Clines has a simpler resolution to the odd 'where'? in the middle of the sentence - reading it with the LXX as vultures.
(3) There some sense in this parallel to shields - suggested by TS. I want to keep the sound 'neck' since there are necks to come.
(4) for swimming to get to the battle
(5) compare Song 8:6 - there is one flame
(6) TS has 'unbelievers' - he considers bribery a mistranslation of an original Aramaic word in the text
(7) see the previous post for the recurrence

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Job 15:1-16

I am really curious to find out what happens, aren't you? Is there progress in this dialogue? Can they keep it up? Is there any observable micro pattern to the speeches?

And Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said
Should one who is wise answer windy knowledge
and fill his belly with the east wind(1)
to reason with a word without profit
and from speeches where he will not benefit?

Indeed you! You frustrate fear
and diminish prayer before God
for your mouth teaches iniquity
and you chose the tongue of the subtle
your own mouth condemns you and not I
and your own lips answer you

Are you the first human to be born
or before the hills were you writhing?(5)
the intimacy of God have you heard
and do you diminish to yourself wisdom?
what do you know that we do not know
what do you understand that it is not in us?

Both gray-haired and aged
with us are more in years than your father!(2)
Are the comforts of the One of little account in you -
and a word of gentleness with you?(3)
Why does your heart take you away
and why do your eyes scowl(4)
that you turn against the One your wind
and let forth from your mouth such speeches?

What is the mortal that he be clean
or just who is born of woman?
Lo he puts no faith in his holy ones
and the heavens are not bright in his eyes
how much more abhorrent and corrupt is a man drinking injustice like water(6)

(1) This phrase per Clines may be quite rude.
(2) How often have we heard this excuse in place of reason - "I am older than you"?
(3) TS has this as a comment on the dream sequence in chapter 4:12 which he attributes to Job. So he translates: has the god concealed anything from you? I find the reconstruction too perplexing to follow. Clines has 'speech that deals gently with you'. I would have liked to hear the 'sigh' in parallel with 'consolation' - but for the moment I cannot see it. I don't see gentle here either - it seems out of character for Eliphaz.
(4) scowl - from scripture4all - one of my cheat sheets. TS has weakened which Clines likes also. But I can understand a scowl. It is also an excuse for chiding from Eliphaz.
(5) see the next post for the recurrence
(6) strange hyphen joining man to drinking here - I note also that I no adequate words yet for ish, enosh, geber, and adam in the poem - man, each, human, mortal, warrior?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Words, words, words, unparalleled words

Words - we reconsider. Two different words meaning word, speech, thing, saying or the like are in Job - and I find I have ignored the differences. דבר is very common - 1439 times in the Bible, 20 in Job. A thing or word. מלה is rare - 38 times in the Bible but 34 of them in Job. When דבר and מלה are both used in the same verse as parallels - I must respect their differences and I find I have not. So - slow down - he says and go back and check your work. This I will do.

Behold - it is done. Henceforth
מלה is speech - rare enough in my language and quite suitable for Job which is full of speeches!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Job and worship

April Deconick is asking the question 'How did a Jewish Rabbi become God?' She has had some commendation for asking this question. See the comment threads for details. Her intent is to look again at the Jesus of history "to determine from the written evidence what likely happened all those years ago".

I am not convinced - but I am not a historian. I like the approach in her first post. Leave the high and low Christologies - we need something new. The remaining 6 posts have left me shiverless. It seems impossible to lay down ground-rules without arguments arising.

Can one boil down reality to the answer to a set of questions? Here's my try: The end of our reality is for one thing only: worship. Reality can be boiled down to one word but why would we be interested? From a purely pragmatic point of view, we are or we become what we worship. (See Psalm 115.)

April finds in the second and third posts three triggers for the 'How' of her question. All three are located in the inferred minds of the followers of Jesus.

  1. That they had visions of Jesus
  2. They wanted meaning in the face of his death
  3. There were failed expectations with respect to his 'Anointing'
Is this sufficient to make a Jewish Rabbi into God? No - he is God only if we worship him. But why would we or how could we worship a man? We would worship if we loved him and if we were moved by him to an otherwise-inconceivable life of similar love, a life that would itself be given the name 'eternal'.

If we were so moved, it would not be
  1. by hallucination (or explicable visionary mysticisms), but by joy.
  2. nor by argument (or precise confession of unalterable inerrancies), but by presence.
  3. nor by failed expectations (we really didn't know we could expect what we got at all - a bridegroom of blood) but by a similar Anointing of hope.
This reaches back to the Anointed king and the saints of the Psalms (e.g. see this movement in the psalter from psalms 1-2 to 149). It reaches to the tabernacle of Moses and the Song of Songs. Effectively we would be moved in the same way that the psalmist or the prophet or the patriarch or the law-giver (or even those dysfunctional kings).

Joy, presence, and hope are measurable by their fruits. The fruits could be songs and psalms, declarations of revealed consequences in present injustice, care for the family, and the inspiration to law and order. The rest of us also judge these fruits.

If the Anointed Jesus is the promised monarch and we are monarchs and priests with him, where are the fruits of his redemption in us? This is a good question (posed to me by Mark Nanos in the halls of St Andrews in 2006.) If the fruits are hidden, they had better come to light, or those who say 'Lord, Lord' will find themselves on the receiving end of a 'Huh? Who are you?'

Suppose we are not so moved?
  1. Perhaps we prefer anger - I know about this
  2. Perhaps argument triumphs - it's everywhere
  3. Perhaps there is no response from the whirlwind - who can deal with that silence!
Perhaps that is why that death was so necessary. Job eventually found such an encounter - and that was largely through science and mythology! Not at all from the religious theory of his comforters.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The first cycle - a mechanical summary

Job gets the last three chapters (12-14) of the first cycle of speeches. It is moot whether 14 is part of cycle 1 or a stimulus to cycle 2. Here is the summary of who gets what by character so far:

Narrator 1:1 to 3:2 (568 words) - the opening frame for the whole story
Job 3:3-26 (192) - Job's uncreation of self
Narrator 4:1-1 (4)
Eliphaz 4:2 to 5:27 (349) - the lion metaphor; the vision in the night (not a desirable theological explanation); note in chapter 5 the frame link to 14:01 'human is born to misery' reinforcing 14 as part of cycle 1 - or at least carrying on a trope into cycle 2.
Narrator 6:1 (3)
Job 6:2 to 7:21 (397) - Job's first defense against innuendo and minimization of suffering - also his first confession of sin, transgression and iniquity (really Bob?)
Narrator 8:1 (4)
Bildad 8:2-22 (162) - retributive justice and promises of restoration
Narrator 9:1 (3)
Job 9:2 to 10:22 (424) - Job's rejection of 'the obvious' and his prayer stating his case
Narrator 11:1 (4)
Zophar 11:2-20 (143) - restates retributive justice and the benefits of penitence
Narrator 12:1 (3)
Job 12:2 to 14:22 (176+203+176) - quotes and rejects the advice of his friends; he prays his case again in confrontation; restates the human condition with a request for a treasured portion; second confession!

Narrator so far: 589
Eliphaz: 349
Bildad: 162
Zophar: 143 (total for the three 654)
Job: 1568 - Job's book it is!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Children come to honour

Two beautiful things arrived in a parcel yesterday.

The first is a new recording of the shorter choral works of Paul Spicer, Come out Lazar, directed by Sarah MacDonald and sung by the critically acclaimed Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge.

The second is a new book by Dr. Marcus Tomalin, Romanticism and Linguistic Theory, described as innovative and ground-breaking.

Finally I will learn a bit of grammar - and not taught by the 'brethren of the rod'. (That does not refer to fishing but to teachers).

The title of this post is from Job 14:21