Monday, August 14, 2017

Reading #38: Babylonian Theodicy and Job

The Babylonian Theodicy and Job

Compare this to the book of Job.  

1.  What is the difference in the sufferers and the comforters?  
2.  What does the Babylonian sufferer want out of life?  What does Job want?
3.  What does Job conclude about his condition, God, and good and evil?  
4.  What does the Babylonian Job conclude about his condition, the gods, and good and evil?
5.  How is God different than the gods?  How do the works of God the Creator differ from the works of the gods?  In what way do all mankind see these works and what is the consequence for having failed to understand them?

Sufferer VII
33~Can a life of bliss be assured? I wish I knew how!
67~Your mind is a north wind, a pleasant breeze for the peoples.
68~Choice friend, your advice is fine.
69~Just one word would I put before you.
70~Those who neglect the god go the way of prosperity,
71~While those who pray to the goddess are impoverished and dispossessed.
72~In my youth I sought the will of my god;
73~With prostration and prayer I followed my goddess.
74~But I was bearing a profitless corvée as a yoke.
Friend VIII
78~My reliable fellow, holder of knowledge, your thoughts are perverse.
79~You have forsaken right and blaspheme against your god’s designs.
80~In your mind you have an urge to disregard the divine ordinances.
135~I will ignore my god’s regulations and trample on his rites.
219~Follow in the way of the god, observe his rites,
244~The god does not impede the way of a devil.
251~How have I profited that I have bowed down to my god?
255~In your anguish you blaspheme the god.
264~Though a man may observe what the will of the god is, the masses do not know it.
Friend XXVI
276~Narru, king of the gods, who created mankind,
277~And majestic Zulummar, who dug out their clay,
278~And mistress Mami, the queen who fashioned them,
279~Gave perverse speech to the human race.
280~With lies, and not truth, they endowed them for ever.
281~Solemnly they speak in favour of a rich man,
282~"He is a king," they say, "riches go at his side."
283~But they harm a poor man like a thief,
284~They lavish slander upon him and plot his murder,
285~Making him suffer every evil like a criminal, because he has no protection.
286~Terrifyingly they bring him to his end, and extinguish him like a flame.
295~May the god who has thrown me off give help,
296~May the goddess who has [abandoned me] show mercy,
297~For the shepherd Šamaš guides the peoples like a god.

Job 28:28 (Job)

And to man He said,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
And to depart from evil is understanding.’”

Job 32:26-28 (Elihu)

"Then that person can pray to God and find favor with him, they will see God's face and shout for joy; he will restore them to full well-being.  And they will go to others and say, 'I have sinned, I have perverted what is right, but I did not get what I deserved.  God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life'."

Job 35:9-13 (Elihu)

"People cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful.  But no one says, 'Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?'  He does not answer when people cry out because of the arrogance of the wicked."

Job 36:24-26 (Elihu)

"Remember to extol his work, which people have praised in song.  All humanity has seen it; mortals gaze on it from afar.  How great is God--beyond our understanding!  {follows a consideration of God as creator}

Job 38:1-5 and 38 (God)
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
 “Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
 Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.

 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
 Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Who has put wisdom in the mind?
Or who has given understanding to the heart?

Job 42: 1-6

Then Job answered the Lord and said:
 “I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’

Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
 Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’
 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.

Therefore I abhor myself,

And repent in dust and ashes.”