Dialectic and the Wisdom of Listening: Reflections on the Book of Job

“You’re not listening.”  This simple phrase is one of the most cliché, but poignantly true, sentences concerning human existence.  Just a Kohelet stated that there is time for everything under the sun, it is important, then, to know when the time is to speak and when the time is to listen.  This is especially true in the Book of Job, where the most prescient and reflective advice, as well as insights about wisdom, come at the hand of the listener rather than the boastful and dogmatic.

Was Elihu Listening and for How Long?

Why, God, have you cast us off forever? (Psalm 74:1)

While it is widely considered that Elihu’s inclusion and speeches in the Book of Job was a later redaction,[1] this is an otherwise evanescent concern for us.  The speeches of Elihu, in this analysis, are not concerned with the authenticity of Elihu but with the content of his speeches in intertextual relation with the preceding conversations between Job and his three friends: Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.  When we are introduced to Elihu, there are two immediate points to notice.  First, Elihu declares that he has “given ear to [the] arguments,” indicating to the reader the idea that Elihu has been present for some time and has quietly waited for his turn to present what he considers to be his wisdom over the matter.  Second, Elihu attempts to be nearer to Job when addressing him directly; he is the only friend to address Job by name, “Therefore, O Job, hear my discourse” (Job 33:1).

Elihu begins his soliloquy by addressing, first, Job’s initial claims to Eliphaz.  In Job 6, in response to Eliphaz, Job protests his innocence and eventually considers the possibility that God has come to view him as an enemy, “Why do you hide your face and consider me an enemy?” (Job 13:24).  This is the first issue that Elihu addresses in his speech to Job.  Elihu proclaims that in order for transgression to be done upon someone there must be guilt on part of the individual being transgressed upon (Job 33:9) and that God is not inverting any pretexts to count Job among the enemy since, it logically follows from Elihu’s point of view, that Job’s suffering is the result of some guilt on the part of Job (33:10).  Elihu bluntly states, “In this you are not just [Job], let me tell you” (33:12), from which Elihu soliloquizes into a predictable defense of God being greater than humanity and that it is therefore improper of “mortals” to lodge such protestation against the mighty one.  It is interesting, then, that after proclaiming to have listened to the conversation between Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, that Elihu begins by rebuking Job before turning attention to the statements of the other three.

Here, Elihu is reminding Job, implicitly, of his place in the created order—which is beneath that of God and therefore it is unbefitting to be cursing God.  Elihu is even, in a sense when read in canonicity, reaching back to Job 28, “the ode to wisdom,”[2] and attempting to remind Job of the humility of fearing the Lord (which is wisdom).  After all,  if one is protesting Divinity and making slanderous accusations it stands to reason that such a person (in this case, Job) does not “fear the Lord.”  This theme of understanding one’s place in Creation in comparison is a theme running throughout Elihu’s speech, a product of a sort of naturalistic theology that he will later come to extrapolate in detail at the end of Chapter 36 and beginning of 37, “See, God is great beyond our knowledge, the number of his past searching out.  He holds in check the waterdrops that filter in the rain from his flood…God thunders forth marvels with his voice…The wild beasts take to cover and remain quiet in their dens” (Job 36:26-37:8).  Indeed, the focus on God and his’s actions in the world are recurring throughout Elihu—all of which reflect, in some manner, an attempt to (re)install the fear of the Lord in Job (which is associated with wisdom).

This comes out most explicitly in verses 12-18.  “In this you are not just, let me tell you; for God is greater than mere mortals.  Why, then, do you make complaint against him that he gives no reply to their words?” (Job 33:12-13).  As Elihu finishes, “By turning mortals from acting and keeping pride away from a man, He holds his soul from the pit, his life from passing to the grave.”  God is so great, according to Elihu, that he even holds the wicked from falling into the pit of death that they deserve.  God’s majesty and benevolence, which outweighs humanity by every imagination, is so great that he even allows those who deserve death to still experience (some) life.

Additionally, the remarks made by Elihu here seem to retroject back to Job’s second reply where he acknowledges how miniscule any human would be in comparison to God if they were to ever meet (Job 9:1-5).  Michael Lyons states, ironically, that Elihu is trying to temper Job’s expectations and desires to come face-to-face with God for an answer for his suffering.  Lyons writes, “Elihu transforms Job’s concern about his inability to conduct a lawsuit against God into a statement that Job has no reason to expect an answer from God” (because God is so great in comparison to humans).[3]  This means that not only is Elihu attempting to restore the majesty of God and “fear of the Lord” to Job (which is wisdom), he is also very well-aware of Job’s desire to bring forth a lawsuit against God to get an answer as to why he is suffering but Elihu is attempting to persuade Job out of it.  (Indicating, again, that Elihu has not only been listening to the conversation but is digesting what is said to give a more thoughtful—albeit still blunt and predictable—response.)   Why does Elihu attempt to temper Job’s want to see God?  It is reasonable to infer that Elihu is either defending God’s superiority to humanity (as already stated hitherto), or attempting to prevent Job from feeling greater dejection that if he does, somehow, get that illusive appointment with the Divine that God owes no mere mortal an answer so all of Job’s protesting would have been for not.  (Which may have even further negative effects upon Job; thus, there is a certain compassion toward Job that Elihu is attempting, rather poorly however, convey to him.)

Elihu then continues his critique of Job, this time by referring back to Eliphaz’s second speech.  Eliphaz remarks Job should be softer spoken with his tongue so as to not affront God, “Because your wickedness instructs your mouth, and you choose to speak like the crafty.  Your own mouth condemns you, not I” (Job 15:6-7).  Here, Eliphaz rebukes Job that he is not patronizing him but that Job has brought some of his misfortunes upon him by speaking ill of God.  Elihu agrees with Eliphaz but goes the next step by explicitly calling Job a blasphemer for his words.  “What man is like Job?  He drinks in blasphemies like water, keeps company with evildoers and goes along with the wicked” (Job 34:7-8).  So here, Elihu is harkening back to Eliphaz’s remarks that Job’s suffering must be because of things Job has said and done—to which Elihu agrees, and rather than dance around the issue of whether Job is being blasphemous like Eliphaz does (since Eliphaz never directly states it but implies it), Elihu simply calls it as he sees it: Job is a blasphemer and this is part of the reason why Job is suffering.  (We return to full circle with Elihu’s starting axiom that Job is suffering because he is guilty of something.)

Lastly, Elihu disagrees with Job that God does not know, or hear, the crying plight of the suffering.  “Though thus they cry out [(the wicked)], he does not answer because of the pride of the wicked.  But it is idle to say God does not or that the Almighty does not take notice” (Job 35: 12-13).  This fits Elihu’s earlier comments concerning the conventional wisdom that the suffering are those who have deserved some form of punishment for their wrongdoings.  Even though the suffering cry out, in pride, it is not that God does not hear but that the wicked suffering do not deserve a response.  This harkens back to Job’s comment “In the city the dying groan, and the souls of the wounded cry out.  Yet God does not treat it as a disgrace” (Job 24:12).  It is important to understand that Elihu equates the calling out for God by the suffering (the wicked) as deceitful and one of pride.  The crying out to God is one of cursing and vanity, rather than honest repentance and that wisdom that is the “fear of the Lord.”   It is not that God does not hear, rather, it is that he doesn’t need to answer to deceitful and prideful cries of false help; Elihu is therefore defending a prescribed divine omniscience at the possible expense of divine benevolence.

Again, in a double-sense that is visibly apparent in the syllogisms of Elihu’s speeches and allusions to earlier comments from the text, Elihu is still attempting to reinforce back to Job the importance of the fear of the Lord as wisdom.  Far from just criticizing Job, Elihu is attempting to diagnose Job’s problem (a lack of wisdom on the part of Job that stems from this lack of fear of the Lord and want to be equal with God—hence the desire to have a covenant lawsuit), and also provide the remedy at the same time (re-installing that fear of the Lord which is the source from which all other wisdom flows).  While Elihu is, perhaps, doing a poor job in convey the awkward compassion he has toward Job, it is evident from a careful reading of Elihu’s long soliloquy that Elihu’s primary goal seems to be an attempt to temper Job’s want to meet with God and restore the fear of the Lord in him.  (Elihu clearly seems to think Job has forgotten his place in the divine hierarchy of things, and that this elevation of himself to be equivalent to God, in some respect, is the root cause of Job’s problems.)

Job Meets God: Was God Listening?

No one is as deaf a man who does not listen. – Jewish proverb.

Toward the end of Elihu’s speeches, as we already noted, Elihu rebuts Job’s claim that God does not hear the cries of the suffering (who must be sinful in the understanding of Elihu).  Instead of not hearing, God simply doesn’t answer their deceitful and prideful calls for their suffering to end since they only have themselves in mind.  To this end, then, Elihu was correct when Job meets God in the whirlwind.  As Job finally receives his opportunity to press God, God begins to demonstrate that he had been listening all along.  In many ways, one can—in canonicity—read Elihu as having prepared Job for his encounter with God.

Beginning in Chapter 38, God builds upon the naturalistic theology of Elihu when he questions whether Job can ever comprehend the work of God and what God has to do as a manager and sustainer of the Cosmos as a whole.  To begin, God references back to Eliphaz’s comments to Job’s about being Job condemning himself with his mouth (Job 15:6-7), “Who is this who darkens counsel with words of ignorance?” (Job 38:2).  God’s first words also reinforce what Elihu remarked to Job (incorrectly on the part of Elihu however).  God’s first words re-iterate the undercurrent theme that Job is saying things that he has no comprehension of; even though the friends did not equally speak the truth about God.

Additionally, God almost immediately afterwards builds upon the strong naturalistic theological speech offered by Elihu in Chapters 36-37.  “Where were you when I founded the earth?  Tell me if you have standing?” (Job 38:4).  As God proceeds in a long soliloquy here, in which Job is reminded of his place in the Cosmos, God is equally reaching back to Job 28.  Throughout God’s soliloquy in Chapter 38, “Who determined its size…who shut within doors the sea when it burst forth from the womb…have you ever entered into the sources of the sea, or walked about on the bottom of the deep…Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?” (v.5-18), God reminds Job of why he is wise and how he (God) knows the ways of wisdom.  In every rhetorical question posed to Job, the language of the sentences indicates an action of engagement on the part of God with the created order as the means by which God received wisdom and knowledge.  As Samuel Balentine correctly notes, “More importantly, the grammar of these verses indicates that it is ‘in the act of’ engaging these forces and determining their role in the world that God obtains wisdom.”[4]  So in God reminding Job of his place, God is also informing Job of Job’s success of seeking out wisdom (through the act of engagement, “Gird up your loins”), but also the entirety of Job 28.

In Job 38, befitting of God, God’s speech to Job deftly weaves together Eliphaz, Elihu, and the “ode to wisdom” as a coherent and integral whole.  While humans can only speak of singular subjects at a time (implying singular comprehension at a time), God has the capacity to weave a multiplicity of seemingly disparate subjects together and show how they harmonize together in a sort of henosis, or what Latin philosophers called intentio unionis.  This indicates that not only was God listening, but he was bringing together all of the arguments and speeches throughout the dialogues between Job and his friends to make a fuller and more poignant expression than any of Job’s human interlocutors could.   Just as Elihu noted that it is God who “holds in check the waterdrops” (37:27), to which God informs Job that it is indeed he who “shut within doors the sea” (38:8), and that God is responsible for parting the clouds and allowing the rains to fall (37:28-29), to which God tells Job that he is the one “garments” the clouds and commands the morning to appear (38:9, 12), God’s speech in Chapter 38 enhances and builds upon the entire argument of Elihu in Chapters 36 and 37 to remind Job of just how he is engaging in, and with, the world.

In a way, then, God somewhat vindicates Elihu in that Job had lost sight of his place in the Cosmos.  However, God equally rebukes Elihu and vindicates Job at the same time because it is Job’s seeking out engagement (the very thing that God himself does to obtain wisdom) that has brought Job closest to God and for Job to understand what God does and how little humans can do to match God’s creative and engaged capacities.  In of itself, God’s appearance to Job explicitly makes clear to the reader that God was listening to Job’s cries of anguish and suffering and desire to meet with God to inquire (or prosecute) about his suffering.  (Again, this is both a vindication and rejection of Elihu insofar that God was listening to the cries of the suffering all along, but whereas Elihu informs Job that God never needs to appear before the sinful, let alone answer them, God does precisely the opposite of Elihu’s inclinations—God does appears before Job and esoterically gives Job the secrets to unlocking wisdom (engagement), thereby answering Job’s questions indirectly.

Can Humans Attain Wisdom, And Did Job Obtain Wisdom?

Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed. (Isaiah 6:10)

The most important aspect of the poem about wisdom in Job 28 is that the poem itself is a protest—much like Job’s prolonged suffering.  It is in this suffering, through protest, that one is moved to gain an understanding as to why (rather than fatalistic accept one’s disposition).  Thus, the art of protest is what moves the poem to search for the root of wisdom.  Implicit in this is the claim that wisdom can be found in suffering and protest (because suffering and protest is an action).  After all, it is only through suffering and protest that this quest to find wisdom emerged (though it will end on a more sobering and somber note for those on the quest).

When the poem shifts to state, “God understands the way to it, and he knows its place” (Job 28:23), the poem continues forth to describe the manner by which God understands wisdom and “knows its place.”  “For he looks to the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens” (Job 28:24, emphases my own).  Here, God looks and sees—words indicating actions of engagement or doing.  As Samuel Balentine points out, “More importantly, the grammar of these verses indicates that it is ‘in the act of’ engaging these forces and determining their role in the world that God obtains wisdom.”[5]  Hence, God knows wisdom because he is in the act of engaging in the search for wisdom itself.  Wisdom is not something that is inherently given to people, not even inherent to God, but is found “in the act of engaging these forces and determining their role in the world” from which God understands the ways of wisdom.   (Again, the admission of the sentence indicates that wisdom is to be found in the world and is not something mystical or otherworldly.)

The poem continues, “When he gave to the wind its weight, and apportionedout the waters by measure; when he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the thunderbolt; then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched it out.” (Job 28:25-27, emphases my own).  Here, wisdom is associated with the act of creation itself—and therefore wisdom is, in fact, embedded in the world through creation.  God comes to know wisdom through the creation of the World which implies that wisdom is bound to, and within, creation.  As Balentine again states, “The implication is that wisdom is not something in God…rather [it is] something God acquires in the very act of creative engagement with the world.”[6]  God knows the ways of wisdom not because God intrinsically possessed wisdom from the very beginning, but because God acts and engages with creation—whereby God comes to acquire wisdom as a result from this engagement with creation.  As the final stanza states, God “searched [wisdom] out” (v. 27).

The language of the development of how God acquires wisdom through engagement is also something prescient and logical, and altogether empirical.  First, God “looks,” and “sees.”  Sight, as a human sense, then, is critical to the acquisition of wisdom in this analogy.  Upon these empirical observation God proceeds to “g[i]ve,” “apportion,” and “ma[k]e.”  The language here serves to invoke the creative acts that stem from engagement.  From looking and seeing, to giving, apportioning, and making.  The language of the text, therefore, indicates that “God understands the way of [wisdom]” (Job 28:23) through engagement, rather than passive observance, of the created order.  (More importantly, wisdom is not established and codified dogma given to humans or to God.)  Wisdom, therefore, is not something preordained to humans—let alone to God.  One must be engaged with the world, seeing and looking, giving, apportioning, and making, in order to understand the way of wisdom.

Apart from the engagement in, and with, the world, the sentences themselves have another aspect that must be brought forth.  “For he looks to the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens” (Job 28:24, emphases my own).  The double-side to verses 24-27 indicates materiality as integrated with wisdom.  Earth and “under the heavens” (e.g. land) give indication that wisdom is not only attained in the prescribed act of engagement as already annunciated, but that the wisdom to be attained is found in creation as materiality.  Wisdom, then, is not something illusive and otherworldly (or idealistic), but integrally tied to the world itself in materiality.  Related to the sense of sight is the corporeality of wisdom that waits to be discovered in “earth” and “under the heavens.”  The language used only reinforces the existent embedding from the text that wisdom is of the world and not apart from it, and that wisdom has an embedded material quality to it.  (Wisdom, then, is found in material phenomenon opposed to abstract and idealistic phenomenon apropos Plato.)

The rest of the poem contains the same double meaning.  “When he gave to the wind its weight, and apportioned out the waters by measure; when he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the thunderbolt; then he saw it and declared it; he established it, and searched it out” (Job 28:25-27, emphases my own).  In verses 25-27, we see the completion of the second side to wisdom that consummates the ebb and flow of how God knows the ways of wisdom.  Wind is an earthly phenomenon, water an earthly substance, and rain and thunder other constructive (and destructive) forces within nature and the created order.  Here, God engages with creative forces of nature that exist in the world.  For if God could not engage with actual substance that exists in the world, God would not have the capacity to come to know the ways of wisdom.  Therefore, as already stated, wisdom is bound to, and found in, the world itself.  But wisdom requires engagement from the part of the wisdom seeker to understand it; through this engagement the duality to wisdom is brought together by which wisdom can be ascertained.

The duality to wisdom that is presented here is important to understand and should not be easily glossed over or dismissed.  Wisdom does not exist in solitude but has a cyclical duality to it as the sentences indicate.  Wisdom exists in the world, but in order to know the ways of wisdom one must be engaged with the material forces of the world in order to understand it. (And that understanding of material phenomenon is clearly indicated as the root of wisdom; this led to the largest break between Greek Platonism and Hebraic theology, especially in Christianity’s development of the theology of secundum carnem, “of the flesh,” principally by St. Augustine, where wisdom’s sights are set in this world rather than up in the heavens; or world of forms per Plato and Plotinus).  As Balentine again notes, “In each of these deeds God interacts with the forces in nature.”[7]  But these forces must exist, first, in nature in order for God to interact with them.  Again, we see the ebb and flow of wisdom that is presented in the Joban text.  Wisdom exists in the world, but to know wisdom one must be engaged and interacting with it.  And from this standpoint and taken in the context of the larger Joban narrative, wisdom is not found in acceptance of one’s disposition, but in protest and engagement.  Insofar that Job protests what has been happening to him and seeks to find the causes, he becomes engaged rather than detached and accepting of his apparent fate and acts, in a way, like God—seeking and searching for wisdom through his actions of engagement (this is what leads him to appear before God toward the end of the book).

The most important question that Job 28 raises is whether humans, or only God, have access to the ways of wisdom.  The poem itself ends by stating, “And he said to humankind, ‘Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding’” (Job 28:28).  Earlier in the poem it was said, “Miners put an end to darkness, and search out to the farthest bound the ore in gloom and deep darkness” (Job 28:3).  Ellen Wolde states, “most of the verbs suggesting a description of the mining activities can be interpreted as wisdom-seeking activities: people ‘extract’ something from the provided material.”[8]  Likewise, Balentine writes “it suggests that the miner’s God-like capacity and God’s human-like capacity are near mirror images of the same.”[9]

That humans are searching for wisdom through engagement with the world is a promising sign since it is clearly expressed in the poem (v. 20-28) that God’s knowledge of wisdom comes from the same engagement with the world.  It is all the more intriguing, and puzzling, that the poem ends with the remark that the “fear of the Lord…is wisdom.”   The meaning of the sentence itself implies that wisdom can be known to humans.  At the very least, by searching and engaging with the forces in, and of, the world, humans will come to some understanding of the “fear of the Lord” after all.  By definition, and by the language of the saying, that means wisdom is not contained only to God, as many commentaries suggest, but that some aspect of wisdom can be mined and accessible to humans.  (For in order to “fear the Lord,” that must be, in some way, accessible to humans.)  James Crenshaw notes that this process of engagement by which wisdom is found is a common theme in Israelite wisdom narrative, and that humans have an inherent capacity to reflect the same qualities and capacities of God.[10]   (This is akin to the concepts of imitatio Dei and participatio Trinitatis in traditional forms of Christianity that result from the anthropology of imago Dei.)

The closing of the poem, after highlighting how the human quest for wisdom is like metallurgy, and that God knows the ways of wisdom through engagement in, and with, the created order (which extends to how humans can come to know wisdom), does not seem to indicate that wisdom is only for God.  Instead, the closing of the poem is a sobering reminder that the mortality of humanity naturally limits any wisdom that humans can come to possess.  As James Kugel explains, wisdom is like a graph “[s]ince the graph is basically hidden, no one can ever hope to survey its entirety.  But here and there, individual sages have caught a glimpse of one little part of it, one little square on the graph paper.”[11]  Kugel’s explanation makes the most sense considering the language of the preceding verses that explain how God comes to know wisdom through engagement, which logically extends to humans as well.

The ending, then, that states that the “fear of the Lord” is wisdom is more a comment on the impossibility of humans, in their finitude, to come to have a fullness of wisdom (which is only accessible to God).   To return to Kugel, “no one can ever hope to survey its entirety.”[12]  The statement “Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28) is a reminder of the gulf between divinity and humanity and that the ultimate form of wisdom (and humility) is the recognition that humans are not God, though humans certainly have some aspect to acquiring the very wisdom that God has acquired.[13]  As Kugel once again states, “the fear of the Lord—rooted in a respect for the great gap between God and man—and that for mere mortals, departing from evil is at least the start, perhaps the start, the beginning of understanding.”[14]  From this we can rightly conclude from the language of Job 28 that wisdom is accessible to humans through engagement and empirical observation of the natural forces of the world; the remark that God knows the ways of wisdom is not a statement that only God knows wisdom, but that only God can know the entirety and fullness of wisdom.  It is therefore a mark of wisdom that humans acknowledge that gap between humanity and divinity, and not blur the lines between divinity and humanity.  (And in this recognition, wisdom is therefore had by humans.)

This view of Job and the meaning of wisdom (and, by extension, Job’s protesting against his own suffering which we have concluded has led Job to the fountain of wisdom and has become wiser as a result), stands in contrast with Stephen Mitchell’s interpretation.  Mitchell, of course, leaves out Job 28.  This stands in fitting symmetry with Mitchell’s take on the importance of Job, “A third possibility is not even thinkable: Suffering comes from God.  God is just.  Job is innocent.  (No therefore.)”[15]

For Mitchell, the wisdom that Job received in his encounter in the whirlwind was a reaffirmation of the “two-dimensional [world of] divinities [and] very small potatoes.”[16]  (In some ways, we once again return to Elihu in Mitchell’s analysis, though Elihu was still wrong in proscribing guilt to Job instead of conceiving of the unthinkable third possibility.  The yin and yang worldview of cyclical symmetry in Mitchell is telling, especially when one notes of the quote by Tao Te Ching in his opening introduction.[17]  For Mitchell, it seems, the wisdom in the Book of Job is the recognition of an absolute God of monotheism who is, by that extension, responsible for everything that occurs in the world.  But the world is good and beautiful, if only one realizes his or her place in the divine harmony between divinity and small potatoes.  As Mitchell concludes:

A man who hungers and thirsts after justice is not satisfied with a menu.  It is not enough for him to hope or believe or know that there is absolute justice in the universe: he must taste and see it…it must be now; must always have been.  From this point of vision, the idea that there are accidents or victims is an optical illusion.  This statement may seem cruel.  Certainly it is a difficult statement.  How could it not be?  Paradise isn’t handed out like a piece of cake at a Sunday school picnic.  But the statement is not cruel.  It is the opposite of cruel.  Once the personal will is surrendered [like Job does at the end of the book], future and past disappear, the morning stars burst out singing, and the deep will, contemplating the world it has created, says, ‘Behold, it is very good.’  Job’s comfort at the end is in his mortality.[18]

Mitchell’s view, then, agrees that there is wisdom to be found for humans, but it is not necessarily the empirical and intellectual wisdom of the empiricists and philosophers that find comfort in the textual syllogistic analysis of Balentine and Kugel.

The truth is, however, that wisdom does come to the listener—and the attentive reader.  The ultimate wisdom to be had in Job is the realization that humans have the creative and engaging capacity to ascertain wisdom in much the same way that God does.  But humans are not God.  They can never be God.  The “fear of the Lord” is the reminder of this poignant fact that Mitchell is right to bring forth.  The worst mistake humans can make is to elevate the self as being equal, or superior, to God.  Job, then, by the end of the book, received the most wisdom that any mortal can hope of ever achieving.  And this is why, as Mitchell notes, Job’s death besides a loving and caring family was the “happiest ending [there could] be.”[19]  Through Job’s protesting engagement, and his recognition of his place in the Cosmos, Job achieved the fullness of wisdom that is available to any attentive reader of the text of Job itself.  Have we mistaken Job as a book about justice and theodicy instead of a book telling us the secrets to wisdom and the happy life?


[1] Wisdom and Torah: The Reception of ‘Torah’ in the Wisdom Literature of the Second Temple Period, eds. Bernd Schipper and D. Andrew Teeter (Boston: Brill Publishing, 2013), 94-95.

[2] Herbert Basser, “Kabbalistic Teaching in the Commentary of Job by Moses Nahmanides (Ramban),” in Biblical Interpretation in Judaism and Christianity, eds.  Isaac Kalimi and Peter J. Haas (New York: T & T Clark, 2006), 104.

[3] Michael Lyons, “I Also Could Talk as You Do (Job 16:4): The Function of Intertextual Quotation and Allusion in Job,” in Reading Job Intertextually, eds. Katherine Dell and Will Kynes (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 174.

[4] Samuel Balentine, Job (Macon: Smyth & Helwys, 2006), 426.

[5] Balentine, 426.

[6] Ibid., 427.

[7] Ibid., 426.

[8] Wolde, 30.

[9] Balentine, 427.

[10] James Crenshaw, Education in Ancient Israel: Across the Deadening Silence (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 217.

[11] Kugel, 112.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid., 128.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Stephen Mitchell, The Book of Job (New York: Harper, 1992), xiii.

[16] Ibid., xi.

[17] Ibid., viii.

[18] Ibid., xxviii.

[19] Ibid., xxx.


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