Friday, April 16, 2010

Blessing Meaning Cursing

William Henry Green suggests that the euphemistic use of the word "bless" to mean "curse" running through the prologue (1:6, 11, 2:5, 9) is actually drawn from the more casual use of the word as departing farewell. To "bless" in this sense is to say "goodbye" and leave someone behind (Gen. 31:55, Josh. 22:6). Green says that this is what Job feared his sons may be doing while feasting in their houses. They may have been feasting and forgetting God, leaving Him behind. They may have dismissed God in their hearts.

While this seemed initially like quite a stretch to me. I realized that we actually do this in English. The word "goodbye" contains the word "good" in it, and yet we are not afraid to use it in rather harsh or derogatory ways. An enraged and jealous spouse may slam the door on her unfaithful husband shouting "goodbye!" And though she uses the word "good" there's nothing cheery about it. We see the word BARAK, and simplistically get hung up on its usual usage and meaning. But we do the same thing with the word "good." We use sarcasm and intonation and facial expression to frequently mean the opposite of what our words actually "say."

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