Updated: Feb 25, 2022
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Job answered Yahweh:
“I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you declare to me.’
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”
And Yahweh restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and Yahweh gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that Yahweh had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. Yahweh blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this Job lived for one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.
This is the Track 1 Old Testament selection to be read aloud on the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 25], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If an individual church is on the Track 1 path, this will then be accompanied by a reading from Psalm 34, which sings, “Look upon him and be radiant, and let not your faces be ashamed.” That pair of readings will precede a reading from Hebrews, where Paul wrote, “Jesus holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.” All will accompany the Gospel reading from Mark, where it is written, “Jesus and his disciples came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”’
I wrote about this reading selection the last time it came up in the lectionary cycle (2018), and I posted my views on my website at that time. I have made this commentary available for your reading pleasure by clicking on this link. I feel this writing is a good interpretation of this reading; and, I stand behind is completely. I feel there is little more I can add to what I wrote in 2018, as an explanation of why it is chosen to be read on this Sunday. I will add some observations that expand this reading to a relationship with the other readings for this Sunday now. I welcome all readers to read what I wrote three years ago, as they are very valid points that should be understood. I welcome your input, if you feel a need to comment.
In 2018, I was not concerned with looking at the places where the Hebrew shows “Yahweh” and forms of “elohim” and “adonay” written, all which end up being obliterated in translations into English. I now see it important to point out those blinding factors. In this reading, there are five places where “Yahweh” was written; but all five were translated as “the Lord.” Because the story of Job is about his test by Satan, who is a “lord” [one of the "sons elohim" who met with Yahweh] that seeks to turn believers away from the named God Yahweh, God of all gods. It becomes Job-like to refuse to say “the Lord” when “Yahweh” is written, as the translators act as the 'friends' of Job who came to him telling him to turn away from Yahweh. Job knew Yahweh; and, it was his soul’s “blameless and upright” state of being that Yahweh knew could not be turned by Satan and his minions.
The place where Job 42 changes from song verses to prose is where four of the five uses of Yahweh are found. In those uses, we find that Job had his fortunes restored, so Job received in return twice what he had lost. Those who tried to sway Job away from Yahweh each gave Job worldly things of value. Job was blessed with all the wonderful things life in the material realm can afford. It is this relationship with Yahweh that has to be seen as the greatest gift any soul can ever receive; so, the moral of the story is Job passed his test and rejoiced forever after.
In the accompanying Psalm 34, there are twelve verses selected to be sung aloud (with four of those optional). In nine of those verses the name of “Yahweh” is specifically listed. In the twenty-two verses that total Psalm 34, there are sixteen times “Yahweh” is written, with only six verses not stating that name. That propensity is why Psalm 34 is accompanying the Job 42 reading, because it is David praising his experience with the presence of Yahweh in him. That was the value Job realized.
In the Track 2 optional Old Testament reading from Jeremiah 31, rather than hear Job respond to Yahweh, Jeremiah spoke the words of Yahweh (in the three verses read). This reflects on the ability to communicate with Yahweh, as a soul that has married with His Spirit. Job’s whole story was knowing his soul was married to Yahweh, but when he questioned his Husband, he could hear no response. Jeremiah sings delightfully about hearing the voice of Yahweh and letting that voice be heard by others. That is the value of Job's reward.
The accompanying Psalm 126 is then David praising the restoration of Yahweh to Zion. This is like a return of life to that which had gone dormant. In the same manner that Job was restored by the voice of Yahweh being clear and open to him, David knew the value of that direct line of communication.
In Paul’s Hebrew letter, he continued his thoughts on Jesus being a high priest. When Paul wrote, “Jesus holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever,” that is the same eternal soul that existed in Job. Job, if not another name for Adam, was a “high priest” whose altar (his own body of flesh) was limited by the attacks by Satan. When Paul wrote of Jesus, “For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens,” this was what kept Job from being swayed by evil elohim. Just like Jesus, Job was “a Son who has been made perfect forever.” Jesus and Job both knew the value of Yahweh’s presence was far greater than any worldly returns.
In the Gospel reading from Mark, where the blind man named Bartimaeus calls upon Jesus for his sight to be returned, there is more to that story than meets the eyes. Bartimaeus reflects how Job knew Yahweh was surrounding his soul, but his inability to hear the voice of Yahweh is symbolic of Bartimaeus being blinded, when once he could see. Bartimaeus cried out to see again, just as Job had cried out to hear the voice of Yahweh again. Both Job and Bartimaeus had faith that restoration would come; so, the arrival of Jesus to restore Bartimaeus’ sight is reflected in Job being restored all that he had lost in his test of faith.
As a reading for the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson of Job is to have the faith that allows one’s soul to freely talk with Yahweh and hear His voice in return. The Holy Bible is not a collection of fairy tales created to fool the mentally weak and make them believe in a God that is make-believe. The stories read week after week are all telling one’s soul to open up one’s heart and receive the Spirit. That is a marriage proposal that only oneself can answer.
Oneself has to hear the voice of Yahweh speaking to oneself alone; and, oneself must answer Yahweh by saying, “I do.” One must submit one’s soul to Yahweh, which means dying of self-ego. Dying of self-ego means being a high priest with no one seeing one’s inner value. Dying of self-ego means being blinded, just as was Saul, before he changed his name to Paul. Dying of self-ego means seeing how everything one once had is of no value, as far as eternal life is concerned. One has to sacrifice to the Will of Yahweh and serve Him for the remainder of one’s life on earth. That is the prose story of Job 42, as it tells of the beauty of ministry as a high priest of Yahweh, who finds the blind seeking to see again and passes on the messages Yahweh sends.