The Cruel God: Job's Search for the Meaning of Suffering

By Margaret Brackenbury Crook | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Channels in Drought . . . Job 6-8

Job denies that he is bringing upon himself the terrors of
God, and maintains that God is treating him unjustly. His
suffering is too heavy to bear. He pleads with God to let
him alone. Bildad declares that Job is presuming too far; he
should recognize the authority of the fathers and avoid
impiety.

Nothing that Eliphaz has said meets the case for Job. He has asked why he was ever born, and it is no reply to say that God controls the universe and watches over human destiny. When Job's only desire is to lie down in the grave in peace, he is enjoined to look forward to a long and prosperous life. Job becomes keenly aware that he must try again to state his plight to the three wisemen who sit before him, eager to give him the benefit of their learning.

If Job can show the nature of the force arrayed against him, Eliphaz and the others may be moved to understanding. In chapters 6 and 7 he makes the attempt. He suggests that, if his vexation and his calamity were placed together on one side of the scale, they would weigh down the sands of the sea, placed on the other. The weight of his burden is immeasurable, and of course his words have been strong. He states once more the truth to which his friends object:

6:4 The arrows of the Almighty are piercing me,
My spirit drinks their poison.
The terrors of God are arrayed against me,

Job is not bringing these terrors upon himself with his charge against God, as Eliphaz suggested. God is assaulting him, rushing upon him as a warrior in battle. Job is not raising a protest without cause. The dainties served by Eliphaz sicken him; they are loathsome food [5-7]. If only God would crush him, as

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