Exegetical Reflection Of The Book Of Job

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It was another moment of transition for Job in his constantly dynamic thinking, only to be interrupted by
Bildad who failed even more miserably than before to make a meaningful contribution. Job pounced on
Bildad’s brief allusion to God’s peace-making presence in the heavens (25:2). After a sarcastic jab about how helpful Bildad’s counsel was, Job unleashed a vibrant description of what God actually does in those heavenly realms. Some of his discourse described the visible heavenly realms – the sky – but he ventured much farther. “The dead are in deep anguish, those beneath the waters and all that live in them” (26:5). Sheol and Abbadon, the abode of the dead, were exposed and vulnerable in the blinding light of God’s presence (26:6). The sea,
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Nevertheless, scholars differ in their assessments. For an overview of possible reconstructions of the third cycle of speeches, see S.R. Driver and George Buchanan Gray, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary of the Book of Job (vol. 1; ICC; New
York: Scribner’s Sons, 1921), xxxvii-xl; John E. Hartley, The Book of Job, 24-26, and H.H. Rowley, Job,
170-179. Because chapter 27 sounds like a recapitulation of orthodoxy, some suggest that it was originally spoken by Zophar but the designation was lost. It could also be that Job was so vexed by the friends that he pretty much co-opted both Bildad’s and Zophar’s speeches. Knowing what they would say, he sarcastically took their words and lobbed them in their face(s). From a literary perspective, perhaps the author deliberately dissolved the last cycle into a “confused tangle of incoherent voices – a formal way of paralleling the argument of Job that the hedge against chaos had given way and that disorder and evil in the world make clear understanding impossible” (J. Gerald Janzen, Job [IBC; Atlanta:
John Knox, 1985], 172).
An Addendum: Job’s Conviction Regarding His Own
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The questions always come up – how could
Job be “blameless” as he is described in the prologue? No human being is without sin; what is the point of that description? And how did Job view himself if he protested so much about his innocence? The
Hebrew word translated “blameless” is tam. We have already seen that it does not imply sinless perfection. It may better be understood as “person of integrity.”
The best approach is to summarize what Job himself said. He cast about searching for the reasons for his predicament, repeatedly returning to the possibility of his own sin (cf.13:23-26). In fact, he agonized over it, mindful that God was watching. After the “parody” on Psalm 8, which he started with “What

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