Sunday, April 12, 2015

Skipping ahead, skipping around (Job 28)

I simply can't go from one flower to the next in sequence. Have you ever seen a bee work that way? So I've skipped ahead to Job 28, the praise of wisdom. I did say wisdom, not shrewdness, but as I reread this, I am struck that it is not a generic hymn to wisdom, or an abstraction about God as wise, or a 'spiritual' exercise.

In fact, it is about human shrewdness in managing the things of the created order, like stopping rivers from weeping (well maybe overflowing, but weeping is picturesque). Think of the great hydro projects. If it isn't the mortal that has this skill, it certainly isn't the birds or the lions except as metaphor. This is the question, a very modern question concerning consciousness and capacity. The recounting of these aspects of the created order anticipates Yahweh's speeches too. In effect Yahweh is encouraging this human technical knowledge. But such technique also must be exercised in 'the fear of the Lord'. A strange conclusion for our technical age. Note that the personal name of God is not used here. The Name, Yahweh, is used only in Job 12:9, only once in the cycle of speeches outside of the frame story (chapters 1, 2, and 42) and the final speeches of Yahweh chapters 38-41.

Anyway I have to have more experience before I take on the speeches of the argumentative cycle for the nth time - specifically more 'Deuteronomic' experience - so Deuteronomy 28 will be done sooner rather than later. (I'm working on it.) Besides I was curious about the music in this wisdom passage. While I think this may be the narrator's voice, the passage uses the poetic accents. If it is the narrator's voice, it is the only time that that voice uses poetic accents. This can be seen from the pdf in the usual place or directly.

There is a mysterious 'he' without antecedent up to the appearance of the female wisdom. This he is the technological mortal - engaged in mining and damming of rivers. Then there is the revelation of wisdom, and instruction is given to the human in the last verse. Is this the marriage of the mortal and wisdom, to create a new human, who might be wise even to fear -- itself?

And where is this place of discernment? Perhaps at this season we can recall the rebuilding of the destroyed temple, the body of that human who gave himself for the life of the world, "Behold the place where they laid him."

This is definitely poetry, with tight short thoughts. Perhaps framed by the word I have rendered examine in verses 3 and 27, one of 32 words occurring exactly twice. If there is any antecedent for 'he' in verse 3, it is the wicked of the previous chapter. In contrast then is the one who examines wisdom. Yet the two are not invited to remain separate.

PS. Verse 4 is incomprehensible - but I see the REB has made good sense of it (I don't always like what they do). I will take this dynamic equivalent under advisement and struggle to figure out what they have done with the Hebrew or the Greek.
Foreigners cut the shafts, forgotten, suspended without foothold,
they swing to and fro, far away from anyone. [several commentators follow this image of men dangling in mid air - I can't get there yet from the words that are on the page.]
Job 28
כִּ֤י יֵ֣שׁ לַכֶּ֣סֶף מוֹצָ֑א
וּ֝מָק֗וֹם לַזָּהָ֥ב יָזֹֽקּוּ
1 For there is for silver an emergence
and a place for them to purge gold.
7
9
בַּ֭רְזֶל מֵעָפָ֣ר יֻקָּ֑ח
וְ֝אֶ֗בֶן יָצ֥וּק נְחוּשָֽׁה
2 Iron from dust is taken
and stone infuses into brass.
7
8
קֵ֤ץ ׀ שָׂ֤ם לַחֹ֗שֶׁךְ וּֽלְכָל־תַּ֭כְלִית ה֣וּא חוֹקֵ֑ר
אֶ֖בֶן אֹ֣פֶל וְצַלְמָֽוֶת
3 An end he set up for darkness and to all consummation he himself examines
a stone of gloom and shadow of death.
12
8
פָּ֤רַץ נַ֨חַל ׀ מֵֽעִם־גָּ֗ר הַֽנִּשְׁכָּחִ֥ים מִנִּי־רָ֑גֶל
דַּ֖לּוּ מֵאֱנ֣וֹשׁ נָֽעוּ
4 A torrent breaches with terror. The forgotten ones, for a portion of a stride,
they are brought low from a mortal, wavering to and fro.
14
7
אֶ֗רֶץ מִמֶּ֥נָּה יֵֽצֵא־לָ֑חֶם
וְ֝תַחְתֶּ֗יהָ נֶהְפַּ֥ךְ כְּמוֹ־אֵֽשׁ
5 Earth - from her comes forth bread
and under her he is overturned, like fire.
9
9
מְקוֹם־סַפִּ֥יר אֲבָנֶ֑יהָ
וְעַפְרֹ֖ת זָהָ֣ב לֽוֹ
6 A place of sapphire her stones
and gold dust for him.
8
6
נָ֭תִיב לֹֽא־יְדָ֣עוֹ עָ֑יִט
וְלֹ֥א שְׁ֝זָפַ֗תּוּ עֵ֣ין אַיָּֽה
7 A pathway a bird of prey does not know
and a raptor's eye has not glanced on.
8
9
לֹֽא־הִדְרִיכֻ֥הוּ בְנֵי־שָׁ֑חַץ
לֹֽא־עָדָ֖ה עָלָ֣יו שָֽׁחַל
8 The cubs of the pride have not been directed to it.
No fierce lion has given testimony about it.
8
7
בַּֽ֭חַלָּמִישׁ שָׁלַ֣ח יָד֑וֹ
הָפַ֖ךְ מִשֹּׁ֣רֶשׁ הָרִֽים
9 On the flint he extends his hand.
He overturns hills from the root.
8
7
בַּ֭צּוּרוֹת יְאֹרִ֣ים בִּקֵּ֑עַ
וְכָל־יְ֝קָ֗ר רָאֲתָ֥ה עֵינֽוֹ
10 Among the rocks he splits canals
and every precious thing his eye sees.
9
9
מִ֭בְּכִי נְהָר֣וֹת חִבֵּ֑שׁ
וְ֝תַעֲלֻמָ֗הּ‬ יֹ֣צִא אֽוֹר פ
11 From weeping he bandages rivers,
and obscure things he brings to light. P
7
9
וְֽ֭הַחָכְמָה מֵאַ֣יִן תִּמָּצֵ֑א
וְאֵ֥י זֶ֝ה מְק֣וֹם בִּינָֽה
12 But that wisdom, from where is it found,
and where is this place of discernment?
9
7
לֹא־יָדַ֣ע אֱנ֣וֹשׁ עֶרְכָּ֑הּ
וְלֹ֥א תִ֝מָּצֵ֗א בְּאֶ֣רֶץ הַֽחַיִּֽים
13 A mortal does not know her arrangement
and she is not found in the land of the living.
7
11
תְּה֣וֹם אָ֭מַר לֹ֣א בִי־הִ֑יא
וְיָ֥ם אָ֝מַ֗ר אֵ֣ין עִמָּדִֽי
14 Abyss says, Not in me is she,
and sea says, There is none with me.
6
8
לֹא־יֻתַּ֣ן סְג֣וֹר תַּחְתֶּ֑יהָ
וְלֹ֥א יִ֝שָּׁקֵ֗ל כֶּ֣סֶף מְחִירָֽהּ
15 She will not be given for a gold bar in exchange,
and silver will not be assessed for her hire.
8
10
לֹֽא־תְ֭סֻלֶּה בְּכֶ֣תֶם אוֹפִ֑יר
בְּשֹׁ֖הַם יָקָ֣ר וְסַפִּֽיר
16 She is not suspended in the fine gold of Ophir,
with precious onyx or sapphire.
9
8
לֹא־יַעַרְכֶ֣נָּה זָ֭הָב וּזְכוֹכִ֑ית
וּתְמ֖וּרָתָ֣הּ כְּלִי־פָֽז
17 Her arrangement is not by gold or crystal
nor is she exchanged for vessels of pure gold.
10
7
רָאמ֣וֹת וְ֭גָבִישׁ לֹ֣א יִזָּכֵ֑ר
וּמֶ֥שֶׁךְ חָ֝כְמָ֗ה מִפְּנִינִֽים
18 Of coral and pearls no remembrance,
and the trail of wisdom is above rubies.
9
8
לֹֽא־יַ֭עַרְכֶנָּה פִּטְדַת־כּ֑וּשׁ
בְּכֶ֥תֶם טָ֝ה֗וֹר לֹ֣א תְסֻלֶּֽה פ
19 She is not arranged by the topaz of Cush
nor in fine lustrous gold is she suspended. P
8
10
וְֽ֭הַחָכְמָה מֵאַ֣יִן תָּב֑וֹא
וְאֵ֥י זֶ֝֗ה מְק֣וֹם בִּינָֽה
20 But that wisdom - from what does she come?
And where is this place of discernment?
8
7
וְֽ֭נֶעֶלְמָה מֵעֵינֵ֣י כָל־חָ֑י
וּמֵע֖וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם נִסְתָּֽרָה
21 And she is obscured from the eyes of all living
and from the fowl of the heavens she is hid.
9
9
אֲבַדּ֣וֹן וָ֭מָוֶת אָ֣מְר֑וּ
בְּ֝אָזְנֵ֗ינוּ שָׁמַ֥עְנוּ שִׁמְעָֽהּ
22 Abaddon and death say
With our ears we have heard of her fame.
8
9
אֱ֭לֹהִים הֵבִ֣ין דַּרְכָּ֑הּ
וְ֝ה֗וּא יָדַ֥ע אֶת־מְקוֹמָֽהּ
23 God understands her way,
and he himself knows her place.
7
8
כִּי־ה֭וּא‬ לִקְצוֹת־הָאָ֣רֶץ יַבִּ֑יט
תַּ֖חַת כָּל־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם יִרְאֶֽה
24 For he himself took note to the extremities of the earth.
Under all the heavens he sees,
9
8
לַעֲשׂ֣וֹת לָר֣וּחַ מִשְׁקָ֑ל
וּ֝מַ֗יִם תִּכֵּ֥ן בְּמִדָּֽה
25 to make for the wind an appraisal,
and the waters he balances by measure.
8
7
בַּעֲשֹׂת֣וֹ‬ לַמָּטָ֣ר חֹ֑ק
וְ֝דֶ֗רֶךְ לַחֲזִ֥יז קֹלֽוֹת
26 When he made for the rain a decree
and a way for the thunderbolt voices,
8
8
אָ֣ז רָ֭אָהּ וַֽיְסַפְּרָ֑הּ
הֱ֝כִינָ֗הּ וְגַם־חֲקָרָֽהּ
27 then he saw her and recounted her.
He prepared her, and even examined her.
6
8
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר ׀ לָֽאָדָ֗ם הֵ֤ן יִרְאַ֣ת אֲ֭דֹנָי הִ֣יא חָכְמָ֑ה
וְס֖וּר מֵרָ֣ע בִּינָֽה ס
28 And he said to the human, Lo, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to depart from evil is discernment. S
15
7




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