[reaction to OYB’s Aug. 27 to Sep. 1 readings]
Today’s selection is supersized to get to the end of the book of Job. So, throughout the book, Job has been crafting this idea that if he could just make his case to God, he would be found guiltless and be vindicated. Finally, he rests his case, which he has really been making to his friends, with these words from chapter 31:
35 (“Oh, that I had someone to hear me!
I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me;
let my accuser put his indictment in writing.
36 Surely I would wear it on my shoulder,
I would put it on like a crown.
37 I would give him an account of my every step;
I would present it to him as to a ruler.)
Just as a note of curiosity, one of the Psalms in my reading for today seems to ask for something similar, but with a much different tone.
I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
Psalm 42. Anyway, after Job has convinced his friends that he doesn’t deserve what God has given him, he has to endure the scorn from some kid, Elihu, which includes these ironic lines, “Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight. Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man!” Yeah, that’s what Job deserves is to be tested, like for instance in some game between YHWH and Satan.
Job comes to a close first with Job getting what he has been asking for. YHWH responds, not by declaring that Job was guilty of anything–which the story tells us he was not–but by asking, “Who the hell are you to question me?” Or, more precisely, “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” God Rant. Not exactly comfort. Then we have the super weird ending where everything is alright for Job after after. I was pretty sure this was added later, but Fundamentalists rule internet searching for theology, so I’ll have to address this when I have my own books in front of me. In any case, I’ve never studied Job without people being trouble by this idea. So what, he got new kids, that doesn’t replace the ones he lost. The book of Job wonderfully illuminates the problem of evil and unjust suffering. Does it provide any answers?