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.
See more by the same author
8 MICHAEL V. FOX
that human culture is all that counts or that the city is the essence of
civilization. Job would have to be extraordinarily self-centered were
he to feel an abasement of human faculties in the description of Godâ€™s
providence for animals. In Gen 1,30, Godâ€™s care for wild creatures
is an expression of the worldâ€™s goodness, and nothing indicates a rad-
ically different valuation here.
The ostrich (39,13-18) is an interesting case. Not only is she free
of human control, she hardly controls herself. She is senseless, aban-
doning her eggs to chance and racing off erratically. For Greenstein,
this shows divine cruelty 23. But there are ostriches. Someone cares
for their young, and this can only be God, who takes over as guardian
of the helpless 24. For Newsom, the celebration of the ostrich â€œseems
unnervingly to place God in considerable sympathy with the emblems
of the chaoticâ€ 25. If that is so, the effect is only to tame the chaotic.
Can anyone really be made uneasy by the ostrichâ€™s â€œanarchic joyâ€, as
Newsom so aptly puts it 26. On the contrary, the reader is invited to
appreciate the flight to freedom of one of Godâ€™s zanier creations.
When God asks, â€œDo you give the horse its might?â€ (39,19a),
the answer is obviously â€œNo, but you doâ€. The point of the extended
description of the horse (39,19-25) cannot be to expose human
helplessness, since humans can and do control this beast, a fact that
could only demonstrate a competence. Moreover, there is no mys-
tery in the horse that might be thought to confound Jobâ€™s wit. What
is said about the horse is that he is mighty and glorious. This elicits
awe at Godâ€™s creative powers.
Likewise in Psalm 104 God gives drink and food to all the animals
of the field, including the wild ass, the gazelle, and other animals that
live beyond human control. Even predators are under Godâ€™s care and
thus they turn to him for nourishment (Ps 104,21). So frequent are
the correlations between this psalm and Job 38-41, that the depen-
dence of the latter on the former is likely. And the priority of the psalm
is assured by its dependence on the Greater Hymn to the Aton 27.
GREENSTEIN, â€œProblem of Evilâ€, 355.
In other words, God is for abandoned animals what he is for human or-
phans â€” their provider (Deut 10,18; Jer 49,11), â€œhelperâ€ (Ps 10,14), and â€œfa-
therâ€ (Ps 68,6).
NEWSOM, Book of Job, 247.
NEWSOM, Book of Job, 247.
The specificity of the parallels between Ps 104,20-30 and the Hymn to the
Â© Gregorian Biblical Press 2012 - Tutti i diritti riservati