Friday, February 27, 2009

Job & the Wind

As a previous post pointed out, the structure of Job is itself Job's transition from a priest-king to a prophet. This is the process of being welcomed into the heavenly council of Yahweh which readers glimpse in the prologue. Job does finally enter this council when Yahweh speaks to him out of the whirlwind, but the dialogue leading up to the whirlwind is full of allusions to this climax. Frequently, the words of the rhetorical combatants are referred to as "wind" (6:26, 8:2, 15:2, 16:3) which is the word RUACH, the same word for breath or spirit. And that word is used prolifically throughout the book, frequently to refer to the life-breath of man and the shortness of life which is quickly blown away with the "wind" (21:18, 27:21). And of course one of the disasters that befell Job was the great RUACH-wind that struck the house his children were feasting in and killed them (1:19). Similarly, other terms are also employed such as the "east wind" referring to the words of Job's accusers (15:2), and the wicked are described as being stolen away in the "storm" (21:20).

The story of Job is the drawing of Job into the whirlwind. The narrative, the argument, the dialogue itself is Job's transition into the wind/spirit/breath of Yahweh.

Addendum: Towards the end of Job's final defense, he describes God’s opposition to him as being lifted up to the wind and being made to ride on it (30:22). The story of Job is Job being drawn up into the tornado of God's presence.

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