Michael V. Fox, «God's Answer and Job's Response», Vol. 94 (2013) 1-23
The current understanding of the Book of Job, put forth by M. Tsevat in 1966 and widely accepted, is that YHWH implicitly denies the existence of divine justice. Retribution is not part of reality, but only a delusion. The present article argues that the book teaches the need for fidelity in the face of divine injustice. The Theophany shows a God whose care for the world of nature hints at his care for humans. The reader, unlike Job, knows that Job's suffering is important to God, as establishing the possibility of true human loyalty.
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GODâ€™S ANSWER AND JOBâ€™S RESPONSE
they are nevertheless no more disruptive to an orderly worldview than
Deutero-Isaiahâ€™s insistence that God creates light and darkness, well-
being and evil (Isa 45,7). Lest you think it might be, Deutero-Isaiah
soon insists that God did not create the world as chaos (45,18).
Leviathan is not said to do anything destructive or even hostile.
Behemoth was created like Job (40,15) 36, implying affinity not en-
mity. These beasts were presumably created before humans (thus in
Gen 1,21, and perhaps implied in Job 40,19a), but their precedence
in creation does not show the world to be chaotic and disorderly.
Sea serpents come before humans in Genesis 1, but that account is
unquestionably describing a realm of order and goodness. The same
is true of Ben Siraâ€™s description of the frightful powers in creation
(including sea monsters), which culminates in a call to praise God
in awe and wonder (Sir 43,28-33).
Behemoth is based on the hippopotamus 37. The only inaccuracies
are the huge size of his tail (40,17) 38, and the notions that the produce
of the mountains comes to it 39. These inaccuracies may have come
from a traveler, who would, after all, not get too close to the strange
beast. For the Egyptians, the hippopotamus was the embodiment of
Seth, who represented chaos, and he was annually defeated by Pharaoh,
the Living Horus. There is no evidence that this myth was known in
Israel, but perhaps it too was brought by a traveler 40. This mythic back-
ground would explain Behemothâ€™s pairing with Leviathan. In any case,
what is significant is not Behemothâ€™s mythic origins but the fact that
he too has been naturalized and tamed, so much so that all he does is
stand in the river and graze imperturbably. He is explicitly a herbivore
(40,15b). The beast portrayed in Job does not fight. We learn that â€œhis
makerâ€ â€” alone â€” can â€œbring his sword nearâ€ (40,19b) 41. It is unclear
This is the consensus; see the survey and discussion in CLINES, Job 38-
Herodotus (History, 2.71) and Diodorus Siculus (Bibliotheca historica,
VIII 95) made the same error, though both had visited Egypt.
Unless we emend ~yrh to ~yrhn. See CLINES, Job 38-42, 117.
Behemoth is identified as Seth by E. RUPRECHT, â€œDas Nilpferd im Hiob-
buchâ€, VT 21 (1971) 209-231, and O. KEEL, Jahwes Entgegnung an Ijob.
Eine Deutung von Ijob 38-41 vor dem Hintergrund der zeitgenÃ¶ssischen Bild-
kunst (GÃ¶ttingen 1978) 127-141.
The emphasis on â€œhis makerâ€ is supported by the frontal positioning of
the subject. We should emend wf[h la to wf[ `hla to eliminate the un-
grammatical article of wf[h.
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