I started out feeling a little unenthusiastic for a longish book with just one idea: the problem of suffering. Barely a few chapters in and my problem is too many ideas. I’m getting a little overwhelmed by Job!
He is apparently a bit of a legendary character, a byword for goodness, a little like an ancient Middle East Santa or maybe mother Teresa. He’s sort of a thought experiment of a person without original sin.
The original is in Hebrew, and scholars thought for ages it was a translation from another language because of its idiosyncratic phrasing.
But the latest theory is that it affected an idiomatic style in the original Hebrew to imply an exoticism. Which adds another layer to its already considerable cultural remoteness, literary sophistication and style. And for all that its still amazingly fresh and approachable. As yoda would say ‘in 900 years, look as good you will not!’
Job begs comparison to Jesus, another innocent man accused and punished. Today though he seems also to conclude that he needs a mediator between him and God.
In a two chapter answer to Bildad’s forthright attack Job, for this chapter at least, seems to say… ‘YES’! He doesn’t really push back on Bildad’s assessment that he is just blustering wind.
Wrong or right, Job concludes he’s on the losing side of the argument because his argument is with God.
He kicks off describing the majesty of God, and boy, does he. I won’t attempt to convey the poetry.
Key verse: “who can say to Him ‘what are you doing?'” In the context of the creator God’s majesty, any mortal’s case against him is hopelessly unequal. Who can tell truth what is true or justice what is just?
Another implication of God’s ubiquitous majesty Job draws out is that everything: – times of injustice, disasters that kill innocents randomly, etc. Everything is God. He won’t subscribe to some theology of limited divine power. Key verse: ‘if it is not He, then who is it?’
He toys with just acting happy and normal, but this devastating experience means he realises being good means nothing, turning over a new leaf is a waste of time. It gets you no leverage with God. Why bother?
This leads him in the last to long for a mediator, a priest, an advocate and barrier between him and God.
And so the first half ends. The only implicit refutation of Bildad is that Bildad told him to reconnect with old wisdom, but Job longs for new wisdom, for more.
Some good signs for my sons. Ren really enjoyed his first learn to row class at glebe rowing club last Sunday, and Lewes is being proactive and positive, relatively. He’s found an anti depressant he likes, still going to counseling. On you lads!
Kelly’s working crazy hard, a literal all nighter for an end of year presentation/assessment today, I couldn’t do it.
I’m still panicky about the end of the year naturally. I deal with pressure with either admirable calm, or by burying my head in the sand, depending on how you spin it.
I’m vaguely aware that others in my situation would be drawing attention to themselves, currying favour and trying to look good, because they want a job.
But I’m not capable of that. I’m more like, frozen. I fear I give off a useless blob vibe. Not the best timing.
But at least I have the words of Job, eh? …don’t even try, no matter what you do, you’re stuffed. Words to live by! Sigh.