Job 24-27: Will you have faith in your suffering?
JOB ARTWORK USED BY PERMISSION COURTESY OF KINGSTONE COMICS (https://kingstone.co/)
If you’ve been reading Job up to this point and come to Job 24–27, you will likely start getting mixed up here. I’ll skip quoting from commentaries that refer to editing problems, which there probably are in this section. Where before it was clear who was speaking, now in some places we’re not sure who is speaking. Why is this?
However we got to the scramble, Bible scholar Carol Newsom says the confusion in the text here reflects the brokenness of Job’s soul. Kushner quotes Newsom saying, “One of the frequent consequences of traumatic experience is an initial loss of language,” exemplified by Job’s seven days of silence in chapter 2, followed by “a more permanent estrangement from language.”
Then Kushner extends Newsom’s point saying, “By this time, it is not only Job whose mind is exhausted by the effort to make sense of the inexplicable. His friends, too, seem to feel compelled to make arguments they may not fully believe in . . .”
Kushner, Harold S.. The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person (Jewish Encounters Series) (pp. 112-113). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Has your soul ever felt scrambled when you are suffering or have gone through something traumatic? I talk with people daily who have forms of PTSD, people suffering long-term effects of the “scramble” symbolized in the mess of words here from Job’s friends. Sometimes we try too hard to make sense with words and need to exercise the ministry of presence, and return to the silence that characterized the first days of Job’s friends’ visit.
Exercise silent prayer today. Pray silently with someone or alone.
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.