Archive for the ‘Job 17’ Tag

Eliphaz the Temanite’s Second Speech and Job’s Answer   Leave a comment

READING THE BOOK OF JOB

PART VI

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Job 15:1-17:16

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The best-crafted lies include objectively accurate material; it lends credibility to the lies.  This generalization, adapted for honest yet inaccurate statements, applies.  Eliphaz, for example, accuses Job of flouting piety and having a guilty conscience.  Eliphaz is rude, also.  Eliphaz, not Job, is full of hot air.

Job’s retort to Zophar the Naamathite in 13:5 applies here, too, as well as elsewhere in the Book of Job:

If you would only keep quiet

It would be considered wisdom on your part.

TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

Does Eliphaz imagine that he is defending God?  Probably.  Yet God requires no human defense.  Any deity who does require a human defense is unworthy of human worship.

Job’s opening lines in his answer to Eliphaz summarizes my reaction to the alleged friends:

I have heard much of this sort,

wretched consolers are you all.

Is there any end to words of hot air,

or what compels you to speak up?

–16:1b-2, Robert Alter

What compels Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar to spew hot air and to call it wisdom?  What compels anyone alive to do the same?  Depending on each circumstance, the answer may vary.  In the bst-case scenarios, the answer is the delusion that one is (a) correct, and (b) helping.  In the worst-case scenarios, the answer is cynical self-interest.

Job’s anguish is evident in his reply.  He needs consolation, not lectures that could come from a hand dryer in a restroom.  His so-called friends are spiteful mockers who have shut their hearts to his plight and their minds to reason.

One need not be spiteful to make unhelpful statements to people in anguish.  Unhelpful statements may come from the desire to console, too.  When one’s life has collapsed, one needs consolation.  One needs for kind people to listen and to be present.  One needs shoulders on which to cry.

In my experience, cats have modeled the ideal response.  When needed, they have been present.  Cats have curled up and been nearby.

Job’s alleged friends should have been real friends.  They should have been like consoling cats.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2022 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, CIRCA 241

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM COOKE AND BENJAMIN WEBB, ANGLICAN PRIESTS AND TRANSLATORS OF HYMNS

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Advertisement

The First Oracle of Haggai   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of Haggai

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

READING HAGGAI-FIRST ZECHARIAH, PART II

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Haggai 1:1-15

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

King Cyrus II of the Persians and the Medes (r. 559-530 B.C.E.) conquered the Chaldean/Neo-Babylonian Empire in 539 B.C.E.  The following year, he issued a decree permitting Jewish exiles to return to their ancestral homeland (Ezra 1:1-4).  The first wave of exiles to return to the ruined homeland (Ezra 1:5-2:70; 1 Esdras 2:8-30; 1 Esdras 5:1-73).  The old, prophetic predictions of the homeland being a verdant paradise of piety and prosperity did not match reality on the ground.  Grief and disappointment ensued.  The land was not as fertile as in the germane prophecies, and the economy was bad.

As of 520 B.C.E., proper worship, as had occurred before the Fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.E.), had not resumed.  People had set up an altar–most likely in 520 B.C.E. (as 1 Esdras 5:47-55 indicates, not in 538 B.C.E. (as Ezra 3:1-8 indicates).

Construction of the Second Temple began (Ezra 3:10-13; 1 Esdras 5:56-65a).  Yet opposition to that effort caused a pause in construction (Ezra 4:1-23; 1 Esdras 5:65b-73).

Haggai 1:1-15 establishes two dates and three names:

  1. The first date (1:1), converted to the Gregorian Calendar, is August 9, 520 B.C.E.
  2. The first name is Haggai, who prophesied from August 9 to December 18, 520 B.C.E.
  3. The second name is Joshua ben Zehozadak, the chief priest.
  4. The final name is Zerubbabel ben Shealtiel (of the House of David), the satrap (governor).   Notice the lack of the Davidic monarchy, O reader.
  5. The final date (1:15) is September 21, 520 B.C.E.

Haggai offered a simple explanation of why the drought was severe and the economy was poor.  He blamed everything on the lack of a completed Temple in Jerusalem.  The prophet argued that such disrespect for God was the culprit, and that the poverty and drought were punishment.  Work on the construction of the Second Temple resumed.  Surely resuming construction of the Second Temple ended the drought and revived the economy, right?  No, actually, hence Haggai 2:10-10.

Haggai’s heart was in the right place, but he missed an important truth that predated Jesus:

[God] makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”

–Matthew 5:45b, The New American Bible–Revised Edition (2011)

Haggai could have recalled certain laments from Hebrew literature.  He could have remembered Psalm 73, for example.  Why did the wicked flourish and the righteous falter?  Haggai could have recalled the Book of Job, in which the innocent, titular character suffered.

I make no pretense of being a spiritual giant and a great spring of wisdom, O reader.  However, I offer you a principle to consider:  God is not a vending machine.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 11, 2021 COMMON ERA

PROPER 10:  THE SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF NATHAN SODERBLOM, SWEDISH ECUMENIST AND ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSULA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DAVID GONSON, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR, 1541

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN GUALBERT, FOUNDER OF THE VALLOMBROSAN BENEDICTINES

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THOMAS SPROTT AND THOMAS HUNT, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS, 1600

THE FEAST OF SAINT VALERIU TRAIAN FRENTIU, ROMANIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR, 1952

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Job and John, Part XIV: The Power of Words   1 comment

Above:  Pebbles

Image Source = Steve Shattuck of Canberra, Australia

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pebbles_on_beach_at_Broulee_-NSW_-Australia-2Jan2009.jpg)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Assigned Readings:

Job 16:1-22 (February 21)

Job 17:1-16 (February 22)

Psalm 143 (Morning–February 21)

Psalm 86 (Morning–February 22)

Psalms 81 and 116 (Evening–February 21)

Psalms 6 and 19 (Evening–February 22)

John 7:1-13 (February 21)

John 7:14-31 (February 22)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Some Related Posts:

A Prayer for Those Who Have Harmed Us:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/a-prayer-for-those-who-have-harmed-us/

John 7:

http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/twenty-seventh-day-of-lent/

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Why do you want to kill me?

–Jesus speaking in John 7:19b, The New Jerusalem Bible

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What afflicts you that you speak on?

–Job speaking in Job 16:3b, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Job 16 and 17 consist of Job’s reply to the second speech of Eliphaz the Temanite.  The speaker has no patience with anything he has heard so far, nor should he.  Whoever speaks of “the patience of Job” as if Job were patient, does not understand the Book of Job.

Jesus, in John 7, is living under death threats.  He is trying not to die just yet because

for me the time is not ripe yet (verse 8, The New Jerusalem Bible).

The words of our Lord’s adversaries afflicted him.

Words have power.  According to Hebrew mythology God spoke the universe into being.  What realities do we create with our words?  What realities do we create with our silences?  There is a time to speak.  And there is a time to remain silent.  There is also a time to say a certain amount and nothing more.  May we know the difference and act accordingly.

Until the next segment of our journey….

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS REMACLUS OF MAASTRICHT, THEODORE OF MAASTRICHT, LAMBERT OF MAASTRICHT, HUBERT OF MAASTRICHT AND LIEGE, AND FLORIBERT OF LIEGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; LANDRADA OF MUNSTERBILSEN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS; AND OTGER OF UTRECHT, PLECHELM OF GUELDERLAND, AND WIRO, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARIES

THE FEAST OF CHRISTINA ROSSETTI, POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Adapted from this post:

http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/devotion-for-february-21-and-22-in-epiphanyordinary-time-lcms-daily-lectionary/

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++