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Key Passages in Job’s Back and Forth

 

As waters fail from a lake

                And a river wastes away and dries up

So mortals lie down and do not rise again;

                Until the heavens are no more , they will not awake

                Or be roused out of their sleep. (14:11-12)

At times God’s attacks on Job are portrayed in extremely violent and graphic terms.

                I was at ease, and he broke me in two;

                                He seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces;

                He set me up as his target;

                                His archers surround me.

                He slashes open my kidneys, and shows no mercy;

                                He pours out my gall on the ground.

                He bursts upon me again and again;

                                He rushes at me like a warrior. (16:12-14)

 

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Suffering in the Poetic Section of Job
The Poetic Section of Job

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    Scott F  July 21, 2013

    Is Job repenting here not for any sins he committed prior to his Series of Unfortunate Events but rather for demanding a accounting by God. It still doesn’t excuse God or explain suffering in any meaningful way but it might make sense of the text.

  2. Avatar
    Wilusa  July 21, 2013

    This isn’t directly relevant to this post, but I want to mention it. NBC’s news website reported yesterday that archaeologists are studying the recently discovered ruins of an ancient “palace,” which some researcher claims was associated with King David – proving his importance. Others vigorously dispute there being a connection.

    The website had a little “poll,” where you could choose from three answers regarding your opinion of “the Bible.” “Every word is literally true,” “It’s mostly true, with some fiction,” or “It’s mostly fiction.”

    I was sorry they didn’t differentiate between the Old and New Testaments. But since they didn’t, my choice was “it’s mostly fiction.”

    The results, at the time I was looking at it: 43% of respondents thought every word was literally true! 27% thought it was mostly true, 30% thought it was mostly fiction.

    Obviously, this was just a bunch of people who were interested enough to read the article and indicate their opinion. But I’m sort of shocked that 43% of *any* group could view the entire Bible as literally true!

    • Avatar
      EricBrown  July 23, 2013

      Probably was linked from some fundamentalist website(s)

  3. Avatar
    Jim  July 21, 2013

    One thing that puzzles me in Job is the “roused Leviathan” who appears a couple of times. I don’t even know when Leviathan mating season is!

    You mentioned Eloihim/YHWH differences between the two sections and I’m wondering if the use rare words like Leviathan can also help in establishing an approximate date range for this middle section?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  July 22, 2013

      Not really. Leviathan comes from some very old material; but authors living centuries later could have used it….

  4. Avatar
    Jdavis3927  July 21, 2013

    I have always heard that Job was “one” of the oldest books in the bible. Being that the idea of the resurrection was an idea that did not evolve until later on, These verses seem to reflect that idea, maybe.

    As waters fail from a lake

    And a river wastes away and dries up

    So mortals lie down and do not rise again;

    Until the heavens are no more , they will not awake

    Or be roused out of their sleep. (14:11-12)

    I mean if someone is thinking that mortals will lie down, not to rise again, or until the heavens are no more, they will not awake or rise from their sleep, then the idea of an alternative to these options were being contemplated.

    What do you think Bart?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  July 22, 2013

      I don’t think it helps that he doesn’t have a view of resurrection. Even in the days of Jesus (and still today) there were plenty of Jewish authors who didn’t believe in resurrection….

  5. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  July 22, 2013

    How in the world can Christians “spin” such a story of horrors into being the Word of God? Either they do not actually read this stuff or they have a tremendous capacity to see what they want to see no matter what.

  6. Avatar
    Xeronimo74  July 22, 2013

    Isn’t the essence of the Book of Job God telling Job to STFU when Job asks him why he has to suffer?

  7. Avatar
    Adam0685  July 22, 2013

    Thoughts:
    “King David-Era Palace Found in Israel, Archaeologists Say”
    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/king-david-era-palace-found-israel-archaeologists-141207932.html

  8. Avatar
    Steefen  July 25, 2013

    Job is innocent but uneducated, and God is not giving him a lesson in the cause of the effects Job is experiencing.
    This is a good lesson for people who are wrongfully superstitious.
    Job and his friends need to know that bad conditions are not always the result of personal guilt.

  9. Avatar
    shakespeare66  August 7, 2015

    Has the writing of Job been dated? What is the scholarly concensus?

    • Bart
      Bart  August 8, 2015

      It is very hard to date a text like this, which makes no references to external events that themselves are reliably dated. So it is hugely debated among experts

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