Monday, June 29, 2009

Job 36

Again in this chapter are a number of words that remind me of the frame story - in addition to the use of incite noted in the prior post, there is substance, offering (one of Job's words) and from afar. All this is

... indication that Elihu knows what is going on behind the scenes. The use of סות - incite used twice here in verses 16 and 18 reflects the words of God in chapter 2 - וַתְּסִיתֵנִי בוֹ לְבַלְּעוֹ חִנָּם "though you incited me against him to swallow him for nothing". I noted earlier a command to Job to present himself (33.5).
With respect to עלה offering, I may be reading for sound only. This chapter also has many words meaning clamour, noise, or other aural effect. Elihu anticipates the gifts of creation to be noted later in the whirlwind - perhaps these are figurative and suggest a greater gift.

The core for me are these simple words: they will expire without knowledge. What knowledge is he referring to? Can one be conscious of it? Is it hidden from the damaged? There are many of those who are displaced - thrown into confusion without cause. The parents have sinned and the children's teeth are set on edge.

In my opinion, there is again much that is new in this speech - perhaps incomprehensible, but it is new.

Morph - data - into English of a sort.

And Elihu continued and he said

Encircle me a little and I will declare to you
for still of God there are speeches
I will lift up my knowledge from afar
and to the one whose work I am I will give justice
for in truth my speech is not a lie(1)
complete knowledge is with you

lo the One is great and will not refuse
the great of strength of heart
he will not maintain the life of the wicked
and judgment of the needy he gives
he does not diminish from the just one his eyes
and kings on the throne - he seats them(2)
in perpetuity and they are high

and if those bound in fetters
are captured in ropes of affliction
then he tells to them their works
and their transgressions that they allow to be great over them
and he reveals to their ear his mentoring
and he says that they should turn from iniquity(3)

if they hear and serve
they will consume their days in the good
and their years in pleasantness
but if they do not hear
into death they will pass on
and they will expire without knowledge(4)

but hypocrites in heart are set in wrath
they do not call for he binds them
their being dies in youth
and their life among the holy(5)
he rescues the needy from his affliction
and reveals oppression to their ears

and indeed he incites you from the mouth of your affliction
instead of her, broad, no outpouring, and rest(6)
your table he fills with fatness
but the adjudication of the wicked you have filled
adjudication and judgment sustain
for wrath lest he incite you with wealth
and a great ransom cannot be stretched out for you

will he array in order your noise not to treasure it(7)
and all the upholding of strength?
do not long for the night
of the offerings of the peoples under them(8)
be upright - do not look on iniquity
for against this you chose from affliction

lo the One exalts in his strength
who teaches like him?
who visits his way to him?
or who is to say "you have worked iniquity"?
remember that you increase his work
of which mortals sing

every human discerns in him
a mortal attends from afar
lo the One is increase and we do not know him
the number of his years is past finding out
for he diminishes dripping water
to refine rain to humidity
which the skies distill
and trickle much on the human

indeed if one understand the spreading of a cloud
the clamour from his booth
lo - he spreads on it his light
and the root of the day he covers
for in them he adjudicates the peoples(9)

he gives meat from greatness
on open palms he covers light
and he commands her in meeting
a sound tells him
there is substance indeed for offering(10)

There is such variation and such confusion in this chapter - I scarcely imagine I could add notes on this first reading. Just a few things that occur to me.
(1) no anointing is a lie
(2) many kings one throne - not their thrones
(3) such a gentle command from on high
(4) let it not be so who reads these words - be known, beloved
(5) בקדשים - usually rendered prostitutes - seems out of place in Elihu's speech.
(6) Job has admitted his longing.
(7) noise ? wealth ? treasure ? I don't think this is a straightforward moral question on wealth and the temptations thereof. I have read it as a speech to Job about Job's suffering and longing.
(8) this is a reference to Job's longing for un-creation
(9) Pope has nourishes - nice, but a rewrite. Why not the judgment of a shower! "that love, joy, hope, like flower, spring in his path to birth"?
(10) substance (from chapter 1), we intimate here the offering of substance that is complete and acceptable.

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