Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The patience of....

Job isn't that patient, actually. Through the whole book he is railing at God. Complaining, basically, that he didn't do anything to deserve this torture.

The book of Job fascinates me.

It is essentially a dialogue between Job and his friends. He bitterly denies that he ever did anything wrong and his friends reply that he must have because God only punishes the wicked. There is so much to wrestle with theologically.

Up to this point, we have understood God's actions based on his pronouncement to Moses: If you are righteous, you will be blessed... if you do evil you will be punished. It stood to reason, then, that anyone who suffered was assumed to be wicked. God wouldn't be punishing them if they were righteous, now, would he?

Job is the first instance where the innocent suffers. And he gets mighty pissed off about it.

What is so fascinating is that the issue really isn't ever resolved. Job's youngest friend Elihu, timidly pipes up and suggests that Job has no idea what it is like to be God. (an incredibly poetic monologue, if you ask me.) and says that only the son of God could truly be righteous. Then the Big Guy himself comes along and basically reaffirms what Job's friends have said before. AND tells him to quit being a whiny pants or he'll get really medieval on his ass.

All of which finally humbles Job and all is forgiven. By God, I mean.

And one last fascinating detail: Job's new DAUGHTERS are described and named and his new sons are not. I believe that might be the first time in the Hebrew Scriptures that the emphasis is on the women folk.

I think the book of Job would make an amazing play. It is already written in dialogue form. Staging it would bring so much power to these words. It is an amazing book.

I know that it would be a simple matter to pick up my Oxford Bible Companion and see what the liberal eggheads have to say about this book... when it was written and by whom... but I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying reading these things within the context of the scriptures themselves. I'll save the history of the work for later, after I have finished the whole bible.

And on to the Psalms, which I have read many times before... but never having read the history of King David before. What a difference it makes to read them in THEIR context. Even psalm 22, which is one of the most wrenching pieces of writing I have ever read has a different nuance when reading it as one of David's songs.

A copy of the Zondervan Bible in 90 Days- $19.00
Reading the bible straight through: Priceless.


Songbird said...

You might enjoy reading Robert Frost's "A Masque of Reason," a short play about Job in poetry.
Job is wonderful.

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

I'll check it out, Songbird. In April, LOL!