rvining at log.on.ca
Tue Sep 7 09:25:55 EDT 1999
Lael Ceasar and George Athas agree that the "go'el" of Job 19:25 refers
to God as Job's Vindicator. Lael writes: "The deity whom Job
apparently insults is also the one before whom he is confident that he
would be vindicated if only he could have his day in court".
"However "vicious" the supreme
God may have been to him (for he knows nothing of an adversary), Job
insists that 1) God knows his treatment is unfair; 2) God would
acknowledge as much if so required".
All true, bearing in mind no one can require God to do something He
does not want to do.. There will be no court hearing. If there had
been, after hearing Job's case, God, as Judge, would have to be Job's
At Job's never-to-be, fantasized court hearing, he dreams at times of
four different kinds of helpers: 1. An arbiter, 2. An advocate, 3. A
witness, and 4. An avenger. God, Who is his Foe, is a formidable
opponent, Who is not above hiding, and twisting the evidence. Given His
omniscience; His prerogative to avoid and deny the coveted hearing;
these pipe-dream enablers will never come to life.
"Vicious", unjust treatment combined with the Tormentors unwillingness
to face up to it, produce rage in the author's Job-character. He wants
to strike back in revenge. Recalling the avengers of Num. 35:19 and
Deut. 19:6&12, he fantasizes such a one avenging him- yes, against God.
"As for me, I know .that my avenger (go'el) lives". Job, of course,
doesn't know his avenger lives, but, to fantasy it, helps him deal with
The poetic genius who penned these timeless verses was a perceptive
observer of the human condition, and, had the courage to portray it as
he knew it to be. The Psalmist wrote lyrically of the deep sadness of
the devastated exiles in their crisis of faith. But, what of their
avoided anger. Psychologically, it is not a good idea to deny and
suppress anger. Further, it is not healthy to deny that anger oftens
manifests itself in a desire for revenge. Our skillful author gives
vent to (or at least he tries, see below) the pent-up, suppressed
feelings of intense anger that he, and some of his people felt toward
the deity that had so mistreated and betrayed them.
While there was considerable latitude in the acceptable expression of
thought about the deity, there were some ideas that were beyond the
pale. While anger could be acknowledged, to want an avenger to reap
revenge, was an inadmissible idea. Predictably, the dangerous insights
of the audacious author was met with fear and consternation. The
corruptedness of the text bears silent witness to the fact that this
challenger of conventional wisdom went too far.
Robert Vining, Owen Sound, Ontario rvining at log.on.ca
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