Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Job 3 Interpreted

Well, that is an extreme title - I am not sure I can interpret anything yet.

What is Job's opening salvo about? How rough can we be in our interaction with God and not be impolite to the point of no return? Is God's commendation of Job (Job 42:7) ultimately supportable?

I divided the prior post into 8 sections. I noticed that several words recur in later passages and I wondered if they are structurally significant. I noted this with the reference to Leviathan. Also potentially implicated in the structure is the word סכך that may be a euphemism for defecating. I originally had God dumping on Job but there is no way I could use this gloss in Job 38:8 or Job 40:2. So it cannot stand in Job 3. Besides, it is impolite and therefore distracting.

The 8 sections:

  1. introduction: day and night,
  2. day: the wish that his birthday had not been,
  3. night: the wish that the night of his conception had not been included in the calendar. This section invokes Leviathan. Also this section contains two instance of 'come' a bracket closed in section 8. (This is an argument for reordering the lines.)
  4. belly: neither night nor day closed his belly - i.e the home that nurtured him before birth
  5. rest: the rest of death that includes kings, counselors, rich
  6. abortion: there is a missing thought, if day and night had to see me, why wasn't it short - then there are additional examples of rest including the wicked, the weary, the prisoner, small and great, servant free from his lords
  7. question: why give light to the miserable?
  8. admission: the reality of threat - here TS and the Aramaic interpretation of the word traditionally translated as 'bread' makes good sense. Here too Job shows his Achilles' heel. He worshiped in the days of his wholeness out of fear. We close the opening section with a threefold repetition of 'come' and a recurrence of quiet and rest. Life just is not quiet and rest, even for the upright.
Is this all true? Or is this all rhetoric of a sort? What do you think?

For other Job related posts, click here.

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