October 28, 2012
Job 42:1-6, 10-17
In today’s reading, we have Job’s reply to God, who has been screaming at him for three chapters. Look at what I am and have done! God has been saying. Who do you think you are! Job’s reply is heart-breaking. Like a tragic hero, he has persisted in saying the truth, that God has been unjust. His miserable “comforters” present every man-made argument that he is wrong; but job will not change his mind. Then God shows up in a whirlwind and lets out this long blast against him. The text doesn’t say it, but Job had to be scared out of his wits. What would you do if God showed up in a whirlwind yelling at you? You would do what Job does. He says you’re right, God. “I despise myself.” It’s heart breaking.
Then God is again proud of his servant Job. He heals his sores and gives him a new ranch and new herds and new children. I personally think God can’t undo damage he has done. It’s nice to get a new family, but they cannot banish the grief for beloved children who have been violently taken away.
Nevertheless, Job loved his three replacement daughters and gave them each an inheritance along with their brothers (the only place in the Bible where such a thing is done). Yet one cannot but wonder if there is some meaning in the names he gave to these three girls. One is named Jemimah, which means dove. (Yes, let us have peace.) The next he named Keziash, meaning cinnamon. (That’s nice.) The youngest he named Keren-happuch, which means eye shadow.
Hebrews 7: 23-28
In our final reading from the Epistle to the Hebrews, the author draws two lessons from his presentation. Christ holds his priesthood forever and is able generation after generation to “save” those who ask for his intercession with the judge, who is God. These individual intercessions will not be sacrificial, for there is not further need of the cult practices. Christ our high priest, in sacrificing himself, had done away with any need for sacrificial offerings.
In practical terms, this meant that Christian colonies had no need of the sacrificial cult. Since in Hebrews the allusions to the cult practices are to the tabernacle rather than the Temple, I wonder whether certain Christian Jews, having fled Jerusalem as the walls and Temple were destroyed by the Romans, might not have tabernacles in which they continued the cult. If so, Hebrews would probably have been addressed to them.