Eliphaz Loses his Stuff

I taught Job 22-31 today, a fun set of chapters in a fun book.  By the end of chapter 21, Job has entirely destroyed his three friends’ arguments, and it shows in the third round of speeches.  Eliphaz, unable to marshal any more intelligent arguments or even speculations, simply starts accusing Job of stuff that, according to the narrator, never actually happened.  Then in chapter 25 Bildad gets about six verses into a formulaic speech-beginning and trails off before he can offer any new material.  Then Zophar just doesn’t show up.  As far as offering arguments goes, these chapters could just as easily have been omitted, but for literary effect, watching them crash and burn is quite fun.

We focused a fair bit of class time on chapter 28, which I read as a narrator’s intrusion, and its long-running mining metaphor.  Then we talked about chapter 31, Job’s final defense, and the ethical code that the chapter implies.  We also wondered whether ancient women actually baked bread with men kneeling over them or whether verses nine and ten are a bit of crude humor:

If my heart has been enticed by a woman,

and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door;

then let my wife grind for another,

and let other men kneel over her.

Some of my students suspected that some sort of sexual reference might be going on there.

Tuesday we wrap up Job and J.B., and then we’re off to the movies.  I know that the groups are starting to sweat about the impending presentations, but I also know that a number of them are planning to have meetings over the weekend.  My hope is that the added pressure of doing this for a grade will make for some good movie proposals.


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