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eTeacherBiblical Official Newsletter
Issue #126 - 04/13
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Eli Dahan

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The connection between Job 38 and Genesis 1

When you read the beginning of Job, it’s difficult to understand why God gave Satan the permission to test Job's faith. Even though Job lost his family, his property and was physically and mentally tested, the only thing that Job did, which Jeremiah also did, was to curse the day he was born.

Job 38 is often considered the chapter in which God answers Job’s questions, which can be quickly summed up in the question- "Is there any justice in this world?"

In order to explain to Job that he lacked a full understanding, God took us back to the story of creation. God also asked Job a number of rhetorical questions. For that reason, Job of course didn’t answer God, since the answer was already revealed in the question. Let's see the verses:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?Tell Me, if you have understanding, Whoset its measurements? Since you know.Or who stretched the line on it?On what were its bases sunk?Or who laid its cornerstone?" (Job 38:4-6)

"אֵיפֹה הָיִיתָ בְּיָסְדִי-אָרֶץהַגֵּד אִם-יָדַעְתָּ בִינָה. מִי-שָׂם מְמַדֶּיהָ כִּי תֵדָע;    אוֹ מִי-נָטָה עָלֶיהָ קָּו. עַל-מָה אֲדָנֶיהָ  הָטְבָּעוּ; אוֹ מִי-יָרָה אֶבֶן פִּנָּתָהּ."

Job

These questions show us that only God had the answers, since God always was, is and will be here. Mere humans can't possibly challenge Him because they simply lack Divine experience and wisdom. Moreover, we learn here that the world of God is like a building and only God knows how it should be built. This description is very similar to the description of creation in the first chapter of Genesis. First, God created the space to live in this world (sea, land) and the time (sun, moon and stars). Only after God had finished these two “floors” did He create creatures (animals and humanity.)

However, when we speak about the creation of the sea there's a difference that must be acknowledged. In Genesis 1:9, the creation of the sea occurs in harmony. God gave His command and the water stopped spreading, leaving space for dry land. Let's see what happened in Job:
 

"Or who enclosed the sea with doors When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; When I made a cloud its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band, And I placed boundaries on it And set a bolt and doors,And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther;And here shall your proud waves stop"(Job 38:8-11)

"וַיָּסֶךְ בִּדְלָתַיִם יָם;  בְּגִיחוֹ מֵרֶחֶם יֵצֵא. בְּשׂוּמִי עָנָן לְבֻשׁוֹ; וַעֲרָפֶל חֲתֻלָּתוֹ וָאֶשְׁבֹּר עָלָיו חֻקִּי;    וָאָשִׂים בְּרִיחַ וּדְלָתָיִםוָאֹמַר עַד-פֹּה תָבוֹא וְלֹא תֹסִיף;   וּפֹא-יָשִׁית בִּגְאוֹן גַּלֶּיךָ."

According to Job, God actually needed to limit the water with rocks and partitions in order to prevent the water reaching land. This sounds like a battle, far removed from the gentle picture described in Genesis 1. Furthermore, God needed to set locks and doors and said to the water that it must not cross specific boundaries.

One last thing that's incredible to note is the function of the man in this world of Job 38. Whether it's related to the ways of God to deliver His words or whether it's stark reality, we can see how different the world was at that time. If in Genesis 1 man and woman ruled the planet and they simply needed to multiply in order to populate the Earth, in Job 38 times have certainly changed, as written:

"To bring rain on a land without people,On a desert without a man in it" (Job 38:26)

"לְהַמְטִיר עַל-אֶרֶץ לֹא-אִישׁ  מִדְבָּר לֹא-אָדָם בּוֹ".

In Genesis we learn that man was the most important creature; in Job 38 we see how God cares for every place in the world, even a place where man can’t possible live, the desert. That suggests that perhaps man is not the most important being that there is; that in fact, all living things are important. As well, we understand that man hasn’t yet populated ever corner of the world as was described in Genesis 1.

For me, Job 38 and Genesis 1 are the two sides of the same coin. The first side describes the ideal world – this is Genesis 1. The second is more modern reality – this is Job 38. Still, I can’t help but notice that God didn't fully answer Job…but we’ll leave this subject for another newsletter!

Have a blessed week,

Eli

 
Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

 

English

Transliteration

Hebrew

Desert

midbār

מִדְבָּר

Man

'ādām

אָדָם

Sea

yām

יָם

Here

pōh

פֹּה

Stone

'even

אֶבֶן

Where

'êfōh

אֵיפֹה

Who

מִי

 
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