Saturday, January 15, 2011

Job, Chapters 32-35: A new frenemy

Chapter 32

Job's friends finally realise they aren't going to get the last word and give up. But then Elihu, a hotheaded young fellow from the area gets angry at Job's refusal to admit his sins, and his friends inability to get him to, and speaks up, first with a long speech about how sometimes, even young people can be intelligent. No they aren't Elihu, they're just arrogant. Shut up.

Chapter 33

Elihu, in love with the sound of his own voice, speechifies for 9 more verses before he finally starts challenging Job. Then he reminds us of Job's insistence that he's innocent and god is just fucking with him. He says god is so perfect we don't always notice when he speaks. You would think a perfect being would be able to devise a way to communicate with the imperfect in a way they understand then, no? According to Elihu, that way is through dreams, visions, whispering in our ears and appearing in oil slicks. I may have misquoted that last one. Also, I was thinking talking to us might be easier if he used this little device I've heard of called a 'telephone.'

Anyway, god also keeps us from doing bad, being prideful or dying and punishes us with illness, arthritis, loss of appetite and weight loss. In other words, the punishment for sin is... getting old. Just when we're at death's door, however, an angel may show up and save him, just like happened to Susan Boyle or Ted Williams! Then he'll be young again, start praying, and brag to his friends about how awesome god is. Does anyone actually believe this? Then he encourages Job to speak up like all the other sinners.

Chapter 34

Elihu won't let anyone get a word in edgewise (or they've dismissed the ignorant whippersnapper) and repeats Job's assertions of his innocence. With no self awareness whatsoever, he accuses Job of blathering on about it. Then, without a shred of evidence, he informs us that Job keeps evil company and doesn't see the point of trying to please god. Moving on, he states that god can't sin and he only treats people the way they deserve. He tells us that if god ever left the world, we'd all die. I don't know, we've been doing pretty well since he wrote this book and stopped talking to us (unless you count burning his image into a piece of toast).

Elihu next queries whether a being that hates justice can govern, and insists that god tells kings and nobles wicked and unjust. Why didn't he say that to Dick Cheney? He also says god doesn't discriminate against poor people. God watches us all the time, so we have no right to appeal his sentences. Punishment is swift and public. However if he chooses to stay silent, we shouldn't complain, either. He also claims that asking for forgiveness is up to Job, but calls for the maximum punishment. He's a Republican!

Chapter 35

Elihu winds up his long lecture by asking Job if he's correct to ask for an appeal to god at the same time as he's asking why he should be good. He asks how our sins affect god, or our good deeds, then answers that neither of them affects god. He says people are oppressed all the time, but they don't demand an audience with god, but that's not to say god isn't listening, and promises god will dispense justice in this case.

1 comment:

  1. "god can't sin and he only treats people the way they deserve."

    Basically there is no way for god to do anything wrong. Since he makes the rules about what is good or bad, whatever he does is by definition good.

    Typical dictator. Reminds me of Saddam Hussein on trial. "You can't try me for the crime of murder. I'm the sovereign power who gets to decide what is legal or not, so whatever I do is by definition legal" (If you don't like that example, try Charles I's response to being put on trial by Cromwell for treason.)