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.

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