Job Repents in Dust and Ashes & Afterlife

I think more people believe in Mythology and bizarre creatures then they do the Loch Ness Monster.  Why is that I wonder?

For example, the people in Iceland believe in Gnomes, do they exist?

A mastaba is a type of ancient Egyptian tomb in the form of a flat-roofed, rectangular structure with outward sloping sides that marked the burial site of many eminent Egyptians of Egypt’s ancient period.

Mastabas were constructed out of mud-bricks (from the Nile River) or stone.

In the Old Kingdom, kings began to be buried in pyramids instead of mastabas, although non-royal use of mastabas continued for more than a thousand years.

“Then Job answered the LORD, and said,

I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee” (Job 42:1-2).

Job’s last recorded words are his response to the Lord’s second discourse.

Job finally sees that God and His purposes are supreme.

“Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.

Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee” (Job 42:3-5).

Job and his friends and Elihu had only heard of God, but now Job has seen God (see Is 6:5) with the eyes of faith and spiritual understanding.  He can therefore accept God’s plan for his life (see v 2) – which includes suffering.

“Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).

 I abhor myself…repent – to his humility (see 40:4-5) Job adds repentance for the presumptuous words he had spoken to God.

Ammit was a female demon in ancient Egyptian religion with a body that was part lion, hippopotamus and crocodile—the three largest “man-eating” animals known to ancient Egyptians.

A funerary deity, her titles included “Devourer of the Dead”, “Eater of Hearts”, and “Great of Death”.

Ammit lived near the scales of justice in Duat, the Egyptian underworld.

In the Hall of Two Truths, Anubis weighed the heart of a person against the feather of Ma’at, the goddess of truth, which was depicted as an ostrich feather (the feather was often pictured in Ma’at’s headdress).

If the heart was judged to be not pure,

Ammit would devour it, and the person undergoing judgement was not allowed to continue their voyage towards Osiris and immortality.

Once Ammit swallowed the heart, the soul was believed to become restless forever; this was called “to die a second time”.

Ammit was also sometimes said to stand by a lake of fire.

In some traditions, the unworthy hearts were cast into the fiery lake to be destroyed.

Some scholars believe Ammit and the lake represent the same concept of destruction.

Ammit was not worshipped; instead she embodied all that the Egyptians feared, threatening to bind them to eternal restlessness if they did not follow the principle of Ma’at.

Ammit has been linked[who?] with the goddess Tawaret, who has a similar physical appearance and, as a companion of Bes, also protected others from evil.

Other authors[who?] have noted that Ammit’s lion characteristics, and the lake of fire, may be pointers to a connection with the goddess Sekhmet.

The relation to afterlife punishment and lake of fire location are also shared with the baboon deity Babi.

“And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.

Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.

So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord also accepted Job” (Job 42:7-9).

Despite Job’s mistakes in word and attitude while he suffered, he is not commended and the counselors are rebuked. 

Why?  Because even in his rage, even when he challenged God, he was determined to speak honestly before Him.  The counselors, on the other hand, mouthed many correct and often beautiful creedal statements, but without living knowledge of the God they claimed to honor.

Only Job spoke to God; his friends only spoke about God.  Even worse, their spiritual arrogance caused them to claim knowledge they didn’t possess.  They presumed to know why Job was suffering.

Underworld goddess (thea), whose name is not uttered.

6522: Relief dedicated by the priest Lakrateides and his family to the Eleusinian deities.

Detail: nameless goddess (thea) 100-90 B.C.

“And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).

Job’s prayer for those who had abused him is a touching Old Testament illustration of the high Christian virtue our Lord taught in Matt 5:44.  Job’s prayer marked the turning point back to prosperity for him.

“Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.

So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses” (Job 42:11-12).

The cosmic contest with the accuser is now over, and Job is restored.  No longer is there a reason for Job to experience suffering – unless he was sinful and deserved it, which is not the case.

God doesn’t allow us to suffer for no reason, and even though the reason may be hidden in the mystery of His divine purpose (see Is 55:8-9) – never for us to know in this life – we must trust in Him as the God who does only what is right.

“He had also seven sons and three daughters.  

And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Keren-happuch” (Job 42:13-14).

Jemima means dove, Kezia means cinnamon, and Keren-happuch means container of antimony, a highly prized eye shadow.

“And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. 

After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. 

So Job died, being old and full of days” (Job 42:15-17).

Afterlife

In philosophy, religion, mythology, and fiction, the afterlife (also referred to as life after death or the Hereafter) is the concept of a realm, or the realm itself (whether physical or transcendental), in which an essential part of an individual’s identity or consciousness continues to exist after the death of the body in the individual’s lifetime.

9130: Bertel Thorvaldsen 1770-1844: Cupid in the Underworld, as the Tamer of Cerberus, with Pluto’s Pitchfork, 1828.

According to various ideas of the afterlife, the essential aspect of the individual that lives on after death may be some partial element, or the entire soul, of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity.

Anubis is the Greek name of a god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion, usually depicted as a canine or a man with a canine head. Archeologists have identified Anubis’s sacred animal as an Egyptian canid, the African golden wolf.

Like many ancient Egyptian deities, Anubis assumed different roles in various contexts. Depicted as a protector of graves as early as the First Dynasty (c. 3100 – c. 2890 BC), Anubis was also an embalmer. By the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055 – 1650 BC) he was replaced by Osiris in his role as lord of the underworld.

One of his prominent roles was as a god who ushered souls into the afterlife. He attended the weighing scale during the “Weighing of the Heart,” in which it was determined whether a soul would be allowed to enter the realm of the dead. Despite being one of the most ancient and “one of the most frequently depicted and mentioned gods” in the Egyptian pantheon, Anubis played almost no role in Egyptian myths.

Belief in an afterlife, which may be naturalistic orsupernatural, is in contrast to the belief in oblivion after death.

In some popular views, this continued existence often takes place in a spiritual realm, and in other popular views, the individual may be reborn into this world and begin the life cycle over again, likely with no memory of what they have done in the past.

In this latter view, such rebirths and deaths may take place over and over again continuously until the individual gains entry to a spiritual realm or Other world. Major views on the afterlife derive from religion, esotericism and metaphysics.

Some belief systems, such as those in the Abrahamic tradition, hold that the dead go to a specific plane of existence after death, as determined by a god, gods, or other divine judgment, based on their actions or beliefs during life.

In contrast, in systems ofreincarnation, such as those in the Dharmic tradition, the nature of the continued existence is determined directly by the actions of the individual in the ended life, rather than through the decision of another being.

The Afterlife in Different Metaphysical Models

Weighing the Heart
This detail scene from the Papyrus of Hunefer (ca. 1375 B.C.) shows Hunefer’s heart being weighed on the scale of Maat against the feather of truth, by the jackal-headed Anubis.

The ibis-headed Thoth, scribe of the gods, records the result.

If his heart is lighter than the feather,

Hunefer is allowed to pass into the afterlife. If not, he is eaten by the waiting Ammit.

Vignettes such as these were a common illustration in Egyptian books of the dead.

In metaphysical models, theists generally believe some sort of afterlife awaits people when they die. Members of some generally non-theistic religions such as Buddhism, tend to believe in an afterlife, but without reference to a God.

The Sadducees were an ancient Jewish sect that generally believed that there was a God but no afterlife.

Many forms of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as Catholics believe that one’s status in the afterlife is a reward or punishment for their conduct during life.

Reincarnation

Reincarnation refers to an afterlife concept found among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Rosicrucians, Theosophists, Spiritists, and Wiccans.

Reincarnation is also a belief described in Kabbalistic Judaism as gilgul neshamot.

In reincarnation, spiritual development continues after death as the deceased begins another earthly life in the physical world, acquiring a superior grade of consciousness and altruism by means of successive reincarnations.

Limbo

Despite popular opinion, Limbo, which was elaborated upon by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, yet, at times, the Church incorporated the theory in its ordinary belief.

Limbo is a theory that unbaptized but innocent souls, such as those of infants, virtuous individuals who lived before Jesus Christ was born on earth, or those that die before baptism must wait before going to heaven.

Therefore, neither merit the beatific vision, nor yet are subjected to any punishment, because they are not guilty of any personal sin although they have not received baptism, so still bear original sin.

Purgatory

The notion of purgatory is associated particularly with the Catholic Church. In the Catholic Church, all those who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven or the final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.

Ancient Egypt

The afterlife played an important role in Ancient Egyptian religion, and its belief system is one of the earliest known in recorded history.

When the body died, parts of its soul known as ka (body double) and the ba (personality) would go to the Kingdom of the Dead.

A depiction of purgatory by Venezuelan painter Cristóbal Rojas (1890) representing the boundary between heaven and hell.

While the soul dwelt in the Fields of Aaru, Osiris demanded work as restitution for the protection he provided. Statues were placed in the tombs to serve as substitutes for the deceased.

The Styx is a river in Greek mythology that formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld (often called Hades which is also the name of this domain’s ruler).

The rivers Styx, Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe, and Cocytus all converge at the center of the underworld on a great marsh, which is also sometimes called the Styx.

Arriving at one’s reward in afterlife was a demanding ordeal, requiring a sin-free heart and the ability to recite the spells, passwords and formulae of the Book of the Dead.

In the Hall of Two Truths, the deceased’s heart was weighed against the Shu feather of truth and justice taken from the headdress of the goddess Ma’at.

If the heart was lighter than the feather, they could pass on, but if it were heavier they would be devoured by the demon Ammit.

Egyptians also believed that being mummified and put in a sarcophagus (an ancient Egyptian “coffin” carved with complex symbols and designs, as well as pictures and hieroglyphs) was the only way to have an afterlife.

Only if the corpse had been properly embalmed and entombed in a mastaba, could the dead live again in the Fields of Yalu and accompany the Sun on its daily ride.

Due to the dangers the afterlife posed, the Book of the Dead was placed in the tomb with the body as well as food, jewelry, and ‘curses’. They also used the “opening of the mouth”.

Ancient Greek and Roman

The Greek god Hades is known in Greek mythology as the king of the underworld, a place where souls live after death.

The Greek god Hermes, the messenger of the gods, would take the dead soul of a person to the underworld (sometimes called Hades or the House of Hades).

Hermes would leave the soul on the banks of the River Styx, the river between life and death.

Charon, also known as the ferry-man, would take the soul across the river to Hades, if the soul had gold: Upon burial, the family of the dead soul would put coins under the deceased’s tongue.

Persephone supervising Sisyphus in the Underworld, Attis black-figure amphora, c. 530 B.C.

Tartarus (/ˈtɑrtərəs/), or Tartaros (Greek: Τάρταρος), in ancient Greek mythology, is the deep abyss that is used as a dungeon of torment and suffering for the wicked and as the prison for the Titans.

As far below Hades as the earth is below the heavens, Tartarus is the place where, according to Plato in Gorgias (c. 400 B.C.), souls were judged after death and where the wicked received punishment.

Like other primal entities (such as the earth and time), Tartarus was also considered to be a primordial force or deity.

Once crossed, the soul would be judged by Aeacus, Rhadamanthus and King Minos. The soul would be sent to Elysium, Tartarus, Asphodel Fields, or the Fields of Punishment.

The Elysian Fields were for the ones that lived pure lives. It consisted of green fields, valleys and mountains, everyone there was peaceful and contented, and the Sun always shone there.

Tartarus was for the people that blasphemed against the gods, or were simply rebellious and consciously evil.

The Asphodel Fields were for a varied selection of human souls: Those whose sins equaled their goodness, were indecisive in their lives, or were not judged.

The Fields of Punishment were for people that had sinned often, but not so much as to be deserving of Tartarus.

In Tartarus, the soul would be punished by being burned in lava, or stretched on racks. Some heroes of Greek legend are allowed to visit the underworld.

The Romans had a similar belief system about the afterlife, with Hades becoming known as Pluto.

In the ancient Greek myth about the Labors of Heracles, the hero Heracles had to travel to the underworld to capture Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog, as one of his tasks.

In Dream of Scipio, Cicero describes what seems to be an out of body experience, of the soul traveling high above the Earth, looking down at the small planet, from far away.

In Book VI of Virgil’s Aeneid, the hero, Aeneas, travels to the underworld to see his father. By the River Styx, he sees the souls of those not given a proper burial, forced to wait by the river until someone buries them.

While down there, along with the dead, he is shown the place where the wrongly convicted reside, the fields of sorrow where those who committed suicide and now regret it reside, including Aeneas’ former lover, the warriors and shades, Tartarus (where the titans and powerful non-mortal enemies of the Olympians reside) where he can hear the groans of the imprisoned, the palace of Pluto, and the fields of Elysium where the descendants of the divine and bravest heroes reside.

He sees the river of forgetfulness, Lethe, which the dead must drink to forget their life and begin anew. Lastly, his father shows him all of the future heroes of Rome who will live if Aeneas fulfills his destiny in founding the city.

Jehovah and Job, Part 4 of 4 & Leviathan

Years ago when I didn’t believe in You I had believed in the Loch Ness Monster, but then I realized that it was a hoax and of course I thought You were a hoax too.

Facts About Leviathan, the Giant Prehistoric Whale
The biggest prehistoric whale that ever lived, and a pound-for-pound match for the giant shark Megalodon, Leviathan did its Biblical namesake proud. Below, you’ll discover 10 fascinating Leviathan facts according to our archaeologists/scientists, not God’s.

Leviathan Is More Properly Known as “Livyatan”
The name Leviathan–after the fearsome sea monster in the Old Testament–seems more than appropriate for a giant prehistoric whale. The trouble is, shortly after researchers assigned this name to their discovery, they learned that it had already been “preoccupied” by a genus of Mastodon erected a full century before. The quick fix was to substitute the Hebrew spelling Livyatan, though for all practical purposes most people still refer to this whale by its original name.

Leviathan Weighed as Much as 50 Tons
Extrapolating from its 10-foot-long skull, paleontologists believe that Leviathan measured upwards of 50 feet from head to tail and weighed as much as 50 tons, about the same size as a modern Sperm Whale. This made Leviathan by far the largest predatory whale of the Miocene epoch, about 13 million years ago, and it would have been secure in its position at the top of the food chain if not for the equally ginormous prehistoric shark Megalodon (see next slide).

Leviathan May Have Tangled with the Giant Shark Megalodon
Because of the lack of multiple fossil specimens, we’re not sure exactly how long Leviathan ruled the seas, but it’s a sure bet that this giant whale occasionally crossed paths with the equally giant prehistoric shark Megalodon. While it’s dubious that these two apex predators would have deliberately targeted one another, they may well have butted heads in the pursuit of the same prey, a scenario explored in depth in Megalodon vs. Leviathan – Who Wins?

Leviathan’s Species Name Honors Herman Melville
Fittingly enough, the species name of Leviathan–L. melvillei–pays homage to the 19th-century writer Herman Melville, creator of Moby Dick. (It’s unclear how the fictional Moby measured up to the real-life Leviathan in the size department, but it would likely have caused its distant ancestor to at least take a second look.) Melville himself, alas, died long before the discovery of Leviathan, though he may have been aware the existence of another giant prehistoric whale, the North American Basilosaurus.

Leviathan Is One of the Few Prehistoric Animals to Be Discovered in Peru
The South American country of Peru hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of fossil discovery, thanks to the vagaries of deep geologic time and continental drift. Peru is best known for its prehistoric whales–not only Leviathan but other “proto-whales” that preceded it by tens of millions of years–and also, oddly enough, for giant prehistoric penguins like Inkayacu and Icadyptes, which were roughly the size of full-grown human beings (and presumably a lot tastier).

Leviathan Was an Ancestor of the Modern Sperm Whale
Leviathan is technically classified as a “physeteroid,” the family of toothed whales that stretches back about 20 million years in the evolutionary record. The only physeteroids extant today are the Pygmy Sperm Whale, the Dwarf Sperm Whale and the full-sized Sperm Whale that we all know and love; other long-extinct members of the breed include Acrophyseter and Brygmophyseter, which looked positively petite next to Leviathan and its Sperm Whale descendants.

Leviathan Had the Longest Teeth of Any Prehistoric Animal
You think Tyrannosaurus Rex was equipped with some impressive choppers? How about the Saber-Toothed Tiger? Well, the fact is that Leviathan possessed the longest teeth (excluding tusks) of any animal living or dead, about 14 inches long, which were used to tear into the flesh of its unfortunate prey. Amazingly, Leviathan even had bigger teeth than its undersea arch-enemy Megalodon, though the slightly smaller teeth of this giant shark were considerably sharper.

Leviathan Possessed a Large “Spermaceti Organ”
All physeteroid whales (see slide #7) are equipped with “spermaceti organs,” structures in their heads consisting of oil, wax and connective tissue that served as ballast during deep dives. To judge by the enormous size of Leviathan’s skull, though, its spermaceti organ may also have been employed for other purposes; possibilities include echolocation of prey, communication with other whales, or even (and this is a long shot) intra-pod head-butting during mating season!

Leviathan Probably Preyed on Seals, Whales and Dolphins
Leviathan would have needed to eat hundreds of pounds of food every day–not only to maintain its bulk, but also to fuel its warm-blooded metabolism (let’s not lose sight of the fact that whales were mammals!) Most likely, Leviathan’s preferred prey included the smaller whales, seals and dolphins of the Miocene epoch–perhaps supplemented with small servings of fish, squids, sharks, and any other undersea creatures that happened across this giant whale’s path on an unlucky day.

Leviathan Was Doomed by the Disappearance of its Accustomed Prey
Due to lack of fossil evidence, we don’t know precisely how long Leviathan persisted after the Miocene epoch. But whenever this giant whale went extinct, it was almost certainly because of the dwindling and disappearance of its favorite prey, as prehistoric seals, dolphins and other, smaller whales succumbed to changing ocean temperatures and currents. (This, not-so-incidentally, is the same fate that befell Leviathan’s arch-nemesis, Megalodon.)

 

Now that I know You are real, I’m not sure what to think of the Loch Ness Monster because You made Leviathan.

The Loch Ness Monster can’t be Leviathan because You killed it.  So is the Loch Ness Monster real or not?

Jehovah and Job
Part 4 of 4

“Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?

Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?

Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.

Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.

Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.

Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret.

Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee” (Job 40:6-14).

The prologue to the second divine discourse, which ends at 41:34 Unlike the first discourse, God here addresses the issues of His own justice and Job’s futile attempt at self-justification.  In chs 21 and 24, Job had complained about God’s indifference toward the wickedness of evil men. 

Here the Lord asserts His ability and determination to administer justice – a matter over which Job has no control.  Therefore by implication Job is admonished to leave all this, including his own vindication (see v 14), under the power of God’s strong arm (see v 9).

“Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.

Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.

He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.

Leviathan’s skull was clearly more robust and toothy than that of today’s sperm whale, which feeds through suction.

Like a modern killer whale, it would have grabbed its prey with a powerful bite, but one that was at least three times bigger.

Its temporal fossa – the shallow depression on the side of the skull – was enormous and could old huge jaw-closing muscles. (Photo by O.Lambert)

Today’s sperm whale has no functional teeth in its upper jaw and only small ones in its lower jaw (which are mostly used in fights). It feeds through suction, relying on a rush of water to carry its prey into its open mouth.

But Livyatan’s mouth was full of huge teeth, the largest of which were a foot long and around 4 inches wide.

This was no suction feeder! Livyatan clearly grabbed its prey with a powerful bite, inflicting deep wounds and tearing off flesh as killer whales do, but with a skull three times bigger.

His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.

He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.

Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.

He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.

The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.

Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.

He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares” (Job 40:15-24).

The first two poems (ch 41 constitutes the second) in this discourse, each describing a huge beast an d resuming the animals theme of ch 39.

reed, and fens…willows…Jordan – The area described is probably the Huleh region, north of the sea of Galilee.

The second of two poems in the Lord’s final discourse.

Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? (Job 41:1).

leviathan – The Old Testament uses the word in both a figurative and a literal sense.  Literally, the leviathan (meaning coiled one) was a large sea creature.  His description in ch 41 indicated that he’s even more terrifying than the behemoth in ch 40

Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?

Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee?

Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever?

Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?

Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants?

Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?

Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more.

Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him?

None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me? (Job 41:2-10).

The leviathan is mighty, but God is infinitely more powerful.

Who hath prevented me that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine (Job 41:11).

Perhaps alluded to, though not directly quoted, by Paul in Rom 11:35.

I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion.

Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle?

Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about.

His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.

One is so near to another, that no air can come between them.

They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.

By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.

Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.

Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.

His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth (Job 41:12-21).

leviathan – the face looks similar to that of a crocodile with the features of a mythical dragon.

In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him.

The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved.

His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.

When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.

The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.

He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.

The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble.

Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.

Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire.

He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.

He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.

Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.

He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride (Job 41:22-34).

King over all the children of pride – The Lord alone can humble such creatures.  Job cannot be expected to do so, thought God challenges him to attempt it – if he so desires (see 40:11-12).

Leviathan 

The modern sperm whale is very different to its ancient cousin. It grow sto about the same size as Leviathan but it hunts squid rather than other whales.
It has no functional teeth in its upper jaw and only small ones in its lower jaw that are probably used for fighting. (Image by NOAA). The skull also creates a mystery Sperm whales have a unique organ in their heads called the spermaceti, and Livyatan’s was particularly large. The spermaceti is full of a waxy substance that was originally thought to be the animal’s sperm (hence the name). Its purpose isn’t clear although there are many theories, all of which must now be considered in the light of Livyatan’s very different lifestyle.

The sperm whale might use it to control its buoyancy during a dive by pumping in cold water, solidifying the wax and increasing the density of its head. At the depths, the energy expended during a hunt heats up the wax and melts it again.

But Livyatan probably didn’t hunt for squid and probably wasn’t a deep-diver like the modern sperm whale. In light of this, other explanations become more intriguing. The case containing the spermaceti could be used as a battering ram during fights. It could also boost the sperm whale’s echolocation, allowing it to stun its prey with sound, or woo females (the male’s organ is particularly big).

Leviathan is a sea monster referenced in the Tanakh  or the Old Testament.

The word has become synonymous with any large sea monster or creature. In literature (e.g., Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick) it refers to great whales, and in Modern Hebrew, it simply means “whale”.

It is described extensively in Job 41 and mentioned in Is 27:1.

Tanakh

The Leviathan is mentioned six times in the Tanakh, with Job 41:1–34 being dedicated to describing him in detail.

Psalm 74 –  God is said to “break the heads of Leviathan in pieces” before giving his flesh to the people of the wilderness.

Psalm 104 – God is praised for having made all things, including Leviathan.

Isaiah 27:1 – he is called the “wriggling serpent” that will be killed at the end of time.

Ancient Middle Eastern Origins

Sea serpents feature prominently in the mythology of the Ancient Near East, attested as early as the 3rd millennium B.C. in Sumerian iconography depicting the myth of the god Ninurta overcoming the seven-headed serpent.

Examples of the storm god vs. sea serpent trope in the Ancient Near East can be seen with Baʿal vs. Yam (Canaanite), Marduk vs. Tiamat (Babylonian), and Atum vs. Nehebkau (Egyptian) among others, with attestations as early as the 2nd millennium as seen on Syrian seals.

In the Ugaritic texts Lotan, or possibly another of Yam’s helpers, is given the epithets “wriggling serpent” and “mighty one with the seven heads”.

Leviathan’s teeth (A-C) could grow up to a foot long and were around 4 inches wide.
Similarly sized teeth had been found as early as 1877, providing tantalising hints of a giant, predatory sperm whale.

But the skull that matched those teeth has only just been found. (Photo by G. Bianucci, O.Lambert, P.Loubry)

Livyatan was at the very top of the food chain and it must have needed a lot of food.

While modern sperm whales mainly eat squid, Lambert thinks that Livyatan used its fearsome teeth to kill its own kind – the giant baleen whales.

At the same point in prehistory, baleen whales started becoming much bigger and they were certainly the most common large animals in the area that Leviathan lived in.

Lambert thinks that the giant predator evolved to take advantage of this rich source of energy.

He says, “We think that medium-size baleen whales, rich in fat, would have been very convenient prey for Livyatan .”

It’s perhaps no coincidence that the biggest shark in history – the mighty Megalodon – also appeared at the same time in the same part of the world.

It too was thought to have hunted whales and many of its teeth have also been found at Cerro Colorado.

For the moment, it’s hard to say if the two predators were direct competitors, since they may have swum in different parts of the Peruvian seas.

Lambert speculates that the adults of either species could have eaten the young of the other but there’s no evidence for this yet.

In the last few years, other smaller prehistoric sperm whales have been found in Peru and Italy.

Their powerful teeth told us that these predators bit their prey in the manner of killer whales.

The teeth were generally quite small but, as early as 1877, fossil hunters have found much larger teeth that looked very much like those of a sperm whale.

The teeth provided tantalising hints of a much bigger animal but they were never accompanied by an actual skull.

Their owner remained an enigma.

Is 27:1 – uses the first of these phrases to describe Leviathan (although in this case the name “Leviathan” may refer to an unnamed historical/political enemy of Israel rather than the original serpent-monster).

Psalm 104 – Leviathan is not described as harmful in any way, but simply as a creature of the ocean, part of God’s creation.

It is possible that the authors of the Job 41:2–26, on the other hand, based the Leviathan on descriptions of Egyptian animal mythology where the crocodile is the enemy of the solar deity Horus (and is subdued either by Horus, or by the Pharaoh). This is in contrast to typical descriptions of the sea monster trope in terms of mythological combat.

Later Jewish Literature

Leviathan the sea-monster, with Behemoth the land-monster and Ziz the air-monster.

And on that day were two monsters parted, a female monster named Leviathan, to dwell in the abysses of the ocean over the fountains of the waters. But the male is named Behemoth, who occupied with his breast a waste wilderness named Duidain (1 Enoch 60:7–8).

Later Jewish sources describe Leviathan as a dragon who lives over the Sources of the Deep and who, along with the male land-monster Behemoth, will be served up to the righteous at the end of time.

When the Jewish midrash (explanations of the Tanakh) were being composed, it was held that God originally produced a male and a female leviathan, but lest in multiplying the species should destroy the world, he slew the female, reserving her flesh for the banquet that will be given to the righteous on the advent of the Messiah.

Rashi’s commentary on Gen 1:21 repeats the tradition:

“God created the great sea monsters—taninim.  According to legend this refers to the Leviathan and its mate.

God created a male and female Leviathan, then killed the female and salted it for the righteous, for if the Leviathans were to procreate the world could not stand before them.”

The Leviathan of the Middle Ages was used as an image of Satan, endangering both God’s creatures—by attempting to eat them—and God’s creation—by threatening it with upheaval in the waters of Chaos.

In LaVeyan Satanism, according to the author of The Satanic Bible, Anton Szandor LaVey, Leviathan represents the element of Water and the direction of West.

The element of Water in Satanism is associated with life and creation, and may be represented by a Chalice during ritual.

In The Satanic Bible, Leviathan is listed as one of the Four Crown Princes of Hell. This association was inspired by the demonic hierarchy from The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage.

The Church of Satan uses the Hebrew letters at each of the points of the Sigil of Baphomet to represent Leviathan.

Starting from the lowest point of the pentagram, and reading counter-clockwise, the word reads “לִוְיָתָן”. Translated, this is (LVIThN) Leviathan.

In demonology, the Leviathan is one of the seven princes of Hell (envy) and its gatekeeper.

Jehovah and Job, Part 3 of 4 & Book of Enoch

Nobody understands why You allow things to happen.  I don’t know why and I’m starting to get to know You.

Jehovah and Job
Part 3 of 4

Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,

Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it (Job 40:1-2).

The conclusion of the first divine discourse.  Once again, God challenges Job to answer Him.

The Book of Enoch (also 1 Enoch; Ge’ez: መጽሐፈ ሄኖክ mäts’hafä henok) is an ancient Jewish religious work, ascribed by tradition to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah, although modern scholars estimate the older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) to date from about 300 B.C., and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably to the end of the first century B.C.

It is not part of the biblical canon as used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel.

Most Christian denominations and traditions may accept the Books of Enoch as having some historical or theological interest or significance, but they generally regard the Books of Enoch as non-canonical or non-inspired.

It is regarded as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, but not by any other Christian group.

It is wholly extant only in the Ge’ez language, with Aramaic fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls and a few Greek and Latin fragments.

For this and other reasons, the traditional Ethiopian belief is that the original language of the work was Ge’ez, whereas non-Ethiopian scholars tend to assert that it was first written in either Aramaic or Hebrew; E. Isaac suggests that the Book of Enoch, like the Book of Daniel, was composed partially in Aramaic and partially in Hebrew.

No Hebrew version is known to have survived.

The book itself claims to be written by Enoch himself before the Biblical Flood.

The authors of the New Testament were familiar with the content of the story and influenced by it:

a short section of 1 Enoch (1 En 1:9 or 1 En 2:1 depending on the translation) is quoted in the New Testament (Letter of Jude 1:14–15), and is attributed there to “Enoch the Seventh from Adam” (1 En 60:8).

The text was also utilised by the community that originally collected the Dead Sea Scrolls.

“Then Job answered the LORD, and said,

Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. 

Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.

Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?

Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?

Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.

Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.

Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.

Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret.

Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.

Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.

Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.

He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.

His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.

He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.

Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.

He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.

The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.

Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.

He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares” (Job 40:3-24).

Book of Enoch

Question: “What is the book of Enoch and should it be in the Bible?”

Answer: The Book of Enoch is any of several pseudepigraphal (falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed authorship is unfounded) works that attribute themselves to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah; that is, Enoch son of Jared (Gen 5:18).

Enoch is also one of the two people in the Bible taken up to heaven without dying (the other being Elijah), as the Bible says

And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him (Gen 5:24; see also Heb 11:5).

Most commonly, the phrase “Book of Enoch” refers to 1 Enoch, which is wholly extant only in the Ethiopic language.

The biblical book of Jude quotes from the Book of Enoch:

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 14-15).

But this does not mean the Book of Enoch is inspired by God and should be in the Bible.

Cave 4 at Qumran, Israel, where 15,000 fragments from over 200 books were found.
Four copies of the Astronomical Book were found (4Q208-211).

Seven manuscripts contain fragments of the other sections of the Book of Enoch.

4QEna and 4QEnb (4Q201, 202) only contain fragments of the Book of the Watchers.

4QEnd and 4QEne (4Q205, 206) combine fragments of the Book of the Watchers, the Book of Dreams, and the end of the Epistle and the Book of Noah (104-107), 4QEnf (4Q207) contains a fragment of the Book of Dreams, and 4QEng (4Q212) consists of fragments of the Epistle.

There were also two fragmentary copies of the Book of Giants found in cave 1 (1Q23-24), one from cave 2 (2Q26), and five from cave 4 (4Q203, 530-33).

Jude’s quote is not the only quote in the Bible from a non-biblical source.

The Apostle Paul quotes Epimenides in Tit 1:12 but that does not mean we should give any additional authority to Epimenides’ writings.

The same is true with Jude, vv 14-15. Jude quoting from the book of Enoch does not indicate the entire Book of Enoch is inspired, or even true.

All it means is that particular verse is true. It is interesting to note that no scholars believe the Book of Enoch to have truly been written by the Enoch in the Bible.

Enoch was seven generations from Adam, prior to the Flood (Gen 5:1-24). Evidently, though, this was genuinely something that Enoch prophesied – or the Bible would not attribute it to him,

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men… (Jude 14).

This saying of Enoch was evidently handed down by tradition, and eventually recorded in the Book of Enoch.

We should treat the Book of Enoch (and the other books like it) in the same manner we do the other Apocryphal writings.

Some of what the Apocrypha says is true and correct, but at the same time, much of it is false and historically inaccurate.

If you read these books, you have to treat them as interesting but fallible historical documents, not as the inspired, authoritative Word of God.

The above information came from “Got Questions.com.”  I personally have no knowledge of the Book of Enoch, other than the many places I have read about it.

I do agree with the above article due to other studies I have done of similar matters, but also because I have checked many different subjects with this site and never once did they give an incorrect or even partially correct answer.

Therefore, they know God well, as I do, or we are both lunatics and haven’t a clue who God is.

Jehovah and Job, Part 2 of 4 & The Sippar Cylinder of Nabonideus

It’s amazing how people, still today, worship foolish idols and false gods, like Buddha and Allah.

Jehovah and Job
Part 2 of 4

Cuneiform cylinder: inscription of Nabonidus describing work on Ebabbar, the temple of the sun-god Shamash, at Sippar.
The Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar is a long text in which Nabonidus describes how he repaired three temples: the sanctuary of the moon god Sin in Harran, the sanctuary of the warrior goddess Anunitu in Sippar, and the temple of Šamaš in Sippar.

The Nabonidus Cylinders from Ur contain the foundation text of a ziggurat called E-lugal-galga-sisa, which belonged to the temple of Sin in Ur.

Nabonidus describes how he repaired the structure. It is probably the king’s last building inscription and may be dated to ca. 540 B.C.

The text is interesting because it offers a full syncretism of Sin, Marduk, and Nabu.

Nabonidus cylinders from Ur are also noteworthy because they mention a son named Belshezzar, who is mentioned in the Book of Daniel.

The Cylinders State:
“As for me, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, save me from sinning against your great godhead and grant me as a present a lifelong of days, and as for Belshazzar, the eldest son -my offspring- instill reverence for your great godhead in his heart and may he not commit any cultic mistake, may he be sated with a life of plenitude.”

Excavation
In 1854, J.G. Taylor found four cuneiform cylinders in the foundation of a ziggurat at Ur.

These were deposited by Nabonidus; all four apparently have an identical inscription.

In 1881, Assyriologist Hormuzd Rassam made an important find at Sippar in Babylonia (now called Abu Habba), where he discovered the temple of the sun.

There he also found a clay cylinder of Nabonidus.

This cylinder, excavated in the royal palace, is now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

A copy is in the British Museum in London. The text was written after Nabonidus’ return from Arabia in his thirteenth regnal year, but before war broke out with the Persian king Cyrus the Great, who is mentioned as an instrument of the gods.

The Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar contains echoes from earlier foundation texts, and develops the same themes as later ones, like the better-known Cyrus Cylinder: a lengthy titulary, a story about an angry god who has abandoned his shrine, who is reconciled with his people, orders a king to restore the temple, and a king who piously increases the daily offerings. Prayers are also included.

“Canst thou number the months that they fulfil? or knowest thou the time when they bring forth?

They bow themselves, they bring forth their young ones, they cast out their sorrows.

Their young ones are in good liking, they grow up with corn; they go forth, and return not unto them.

Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass?

Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings.

Nabonidus Chronicle
The Nabonidus Chronicle is an ancient Babylonian text, part of a larger series of Babylonian Chronicles inscribed in cuneiform script on clay tablets.

It deals primarily with the reign of Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, covers the conquest of Babylon by the Persian king Cyrus the Great, and ends with the start of the reign of Cyrus’s son Cambyses, spanning a period from 556 B.C. to some time after 539 B.C.

It provides a rare contemporary account of Cyrus’s rise to power and is the main source of information on this period;

Amélie Kuhrt describes it as “the most reliable and sober [ancient] account of the fall of Babylon.”

Analysis

The Nabonidus Chronicle appears to have been composed by the (Babylonian) priests of Marduk, the chief god of Babylon. It has been characterised as “a piece of propaganda at Cyrus’s service” and as possibly “the result of the propaganda of the priesthood of Marduk to vilify Nabonidus”.

Julye Bidmead attributes the priests’ hostility to Nabonidus’s unsuccessful attempts to introduce the worship of the moon god Sîn.

In particular, the chronicle repeatedly asserts that the Akitu festival could not be held because of Nabonidus’s absence.

This is dubious, as others could have participated in the celebration in Nabonidus’s place.

The chronicle is seen as part of a series of pro-Persian documents, including the Cyrus cylinder and Verse Account of Nabonidus, that attack Nabonidus for alleged religious infidelity and contrast his actions with those of Cyrus and Cambyses.

He scorneth the multitude of the city, neither regardeth he the crying of the driver.

The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searcheth after every green thing.

Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?

Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?

Wilt thou trust him, because his strength is great? or wilt thou leave thy labour to him?” (Job 39:1-11).

strength is great – In the Old Testament, the wild ox (now virtually extinct aurochs) often symbolizes strength (see e.g., Num 23:22; 24:8; Deut 33:17; Ps 29:6).  Next to the elephant and rhinoceros, the wild ox was the largest and most powerful land animal of the Old Testament world.

“Wilt thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed, and gather it into thy barn?

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?

Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust,

And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them.

She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not her’s: her labour is in vain without fear;

Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding.

What time she lifteth up herself on high, she scorneth the horse and his rider(Job 39:12-18).

vv 13-18 is unique in the discourses because in it the Lord asks Job no questions.  Could it be because the ostrich is so amusing?  The oddity of the ostrich highlights God’s wisdom – what human would ever think of creating such a strange bird, even if man could create?

“Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?

Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible.

He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men.

He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword.

The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield.

He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet.

He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?

Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?

She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.

From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off.

Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she”(Job 39:19-30).

The Sippar Cylinder of Nabonideus

The conclusion to Chronicles describes the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of the Judahites under the Babylonian King Nebuchadnez­zar in 586 B.C.

Nabonidus
Nabonidus was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, reigning from 556–539 BC. He seized power in a coup, toppling King Labashi-Marduk. He also angered the priests and commoners of Babylon by neglecting the city’s chief god, Marduk, and elevating the moon god, Sin, to the highest status. In fact, Nabonidus left the capital for ten years to build and restore temples – mostly to Sin – leaving his son, Belshazzar, in charge. While leading excavations for the restoration effort, he initiated the world’s first archaeological work.

Meanwhile, the Persian Achaemenid Empire to the east, led by Cyrus the Great, had been gaining strength. King Cyrus had become popular among the residents of Babylon by posing as the one who would restore Marduk to his rightful place in the city.

As the Persians advanced to Babylon, Nabonidus returned. He was captured by the Persians in 539 BC and Babylon was occupied, thus ending the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Cyrus was welcomed into the city, where he performed the rites of Marduk. Nabonidus’ fate is uncertain, though it is believed he was exiled to Iran and allowed to occupy a government post.

Cylinders of Nabonidus
The Cylinders of Nabonidus refers to cuneiform inscriptions of king Nabonidus of Babylonia (556-539 BC). These inscriptions were made on clay cylinders. They include the Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar, and the Nabonidus Cylinders from Ur, four in number.

The Nabonidus Cylinder from Sippar is a long text in which Nabonidus describes how he repaired three temples: the sanctuary of the moon god Sin in Harran, the sanctuary of the warrior goddess Anunitu in Sippar, and the temple of Šamaš in Sippar.

The Nabonidus Cylinders from Ur contain the foundation text of a ziggurat called E-lugal-galga-sisa, which belonged to the temple of Sin in Ur. Nabonidus describes how he repaired the structure. It is probably the king’s last building inscription and may be dated to ca. 540 BC. The text is interesting because it offers a full syncretism of Sin, Marduk, and Nabu.

Nabonidus cylinders from Ur are also noteworthy because they mention a son named Belshazzar, who is mentioned in the Book of Daniel. The cylinders state:

“As for me, Nabonidus, king of Babylon, save me from sinning against your great godhead and grant me as a present a life long of days, and as for Belshazzar, the eldest son -my offspring- instill reverence for your great godhead in his heart and may he not commit any cultic mistake, may he be sated with a life of plenitude.”

The exiles served Nebuchad­nezzar and his successors “until the kingdom of Persia came to power” (2 Chr 36:20), at which time

Cyrus conquered Babylon and subsequently declared that the Jewish exiles could return to their native land and rebuild their temple (vv 22-23).

An inscription discovered in the Ebabbar temple in Sippar (a Babylonian city) briefly mentions the rise of the Persian Empire and its king, Cyrus. It consists of several copies on clay cylinders, celebrating the rebuilding of three temples by Nabonidus (556-539 B.C.), the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.

In the account Nabonidus receives a dream from the gods Sin and Marduk, requesting that he rebuild Sin’s temple in the city of Harran.

When Nabonidus protests that Harran is still under the control of the pow­erful Medes and therefore beyond his reach, the deities assure him that the Median Em­pire will fall to a subordinate king named Cyrus.

Cyrus proceeds to defeat the great Median army and take captive the Median king. Thus Nabonidus is able to complete his rebuilding project through divine interven­tion, with his gods using Cyrus to remove the Median obstacle.

Although the Sippar Cylinder recounts nothing beyond the rebuilding of the three temples during the latter part of Nabonidus’s reign, other historical records complete the picture.

The Babylonian Chronicle states that Cyrus’s army took control of Babylon itself in 539 B.C., thereby ending the reign of Nabonidus and the ascendancy of the Neo- Babylonian Empire.

Later Persian sources attribute the fall of Nabonidus to his neglect of the supreme Babylonian deity, Marduk, in favor of the foreign god Sin.

 

Jehovah and Job, Part 1 of 4 & The Hittite Storm Gods

I was just thinking, why are people so stupid not to believe in You?  I wonder about that because I didn’t always believe in You and now that I know You I think, “Wow, I was that stupid at one time.”

Jehovah and Job
Part 1 of 4

Ivriz Rock Memorial (Hittite Relief)
The memorial, the Storm-God is depicted Tarhundas and Varpalavas king of the region. (Tuvana the Kingdom).

38:1-42:6 – The theophany (appearance of God) to Job, consisting of two discourses by the Lord (38:1-40:2; 40:6-41:34), each of which receives a brief response from Job (40:3-5; 42:1-6).

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, “(Job 38:1).

the LORD – The Israelite covenant name for God.

whirlwind – See 40:6.  Elihu had imagined the appearance of the divine presence as a display of terrible majesty (37:22). 

He also had anticipated the storm or whirlwind from which Job would hear the voice of God.  Job had said his wish was that the Almighty would answer me (31:35).

“Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2)

See 35:16 In 42:3, Job echoes the Lord’s words.  God states that Job’s complaining and raging against Him are unjustified and proceed from limited understanding.

“Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me” (Job 38:3).

Repeated in 40:7.  The format of God’s response is to ply Job with rhetorical questions, to each of which Job must plead ignorance. 

God says nothing about Job’s suffering, nor does He address Job’s problem about divine justice.  Job gets neither a bill of indictment nor a verdict of innocence. 

But, more important, God doesn’t humiliate or condemn him – which surely would have been the case if the counselors had been right.  So by implication Job is vindicated, and later his vindication is directly affirmed (42:7-8). 

The stele of Buğulu (Baal) discovered in 1929, identified as the “storm-god of Ugarit”.

One can see the horns on his helmet and a spear that he plants to the earth.

The spear has taken root since leaves have emerged from its top end.

He also lifts a specter as a sign of power and threat.

The symbolism in this image tells us the following:

“I am here to stay and am ready to defend this territory”.

The divine discourses, then, succeed in bring Job to complete faith in God’s goodness without his receiving a direct answer to his questions.

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding” (Job 38:4).

Inanimate creation testifies to God’s sovereignty and power (the earth, vv 4-7, 18; the sea, vv 8-11, 16; the sun, v 12-15; the netherworld, v 17; light and darkness, vv 19-20; the weather, vv 22-30, 34-38; the constellations, vv 31-33).

“Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 

Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:5-7).

When the earth was created, the angels were there to sing the praises of the Creator, but Job wasn’t (vv 4-5).  He should therefore not expect to be able to understand even lesser aspects of God’s plans for the world and for mankind.

Neo-Hittite orthostat from Karkamis – Turkey.
The meeting of the “Storm God” on right and a King on the left.

“Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 

When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it,

And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,

And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?” (Job 38:8-11).

The defeat of the sea and the forces of chaos represented by the sea is a major motif in ancient Near Eastern myths (see 7:12; Ps 74:13-14).  The sea was a formidable foe, but here God’s power is such that the sea is nothing more than a helpless baby.  God wraps a cloud around the sea as a diaper (v 9) and confines the sea so that it is unable to cross its boundaries and wreak havoc (vv 10-11), except when God chooses for it to do so.

And said – God the Father controls the sea by speaking to it, as does God the Son (see Lk 8:24-25), because they are one and the same (Jn 10:31), but then again, even though they are one God, they are different people (1 Jn 5:7).

“Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;

In Celtic mythology Taranis was the god of thunder worshiped essentially in Gaul, the British Isles, but also in the Rhineland and Danube regions amongst others.

Taranis, along with Esus and Toutatis as part of a sacred triad, was mentioned by the Roman poet Lucan in his epic poem Pharsalia as a Celtic deity to whom human sacrificial offerings were made.

He was associated, as was the cyclops Brontes (“thunder”) in Greek mythology, with the wheel.

That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? 

It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. 

And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken” (Job 38:12-15).

their light – The night is when the wicked are active (see Jn 3:19; for the imagery cf Lk 11:35).

“Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?

Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?

Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.

Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,

That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?

Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,

Indra Riding Airaawat – Indra is the god of rain and thunder, and the weather is at his command supplying rains in the universe.

As controller of the megha (cloud), he is master of the clouds and is also known as Maghavan.

Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?” (Job 38:16-23).

hail…Against the day of battle – God stores the natural elements as ammunition against his enemies.  See e.g., Josh 10:11, Is 28:2.

“By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?

Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;

To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man;

To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?

Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?

Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?

The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.

Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?” (Job 38:24-32).

ca. 1500 B.C. Hittite, Bearded, helmeted, skirted striding figure.
Detailed cast bronze, hammered over with silver sheets on the body, electrum on the face.

Inlaid eyes, arms attached by rivets one raised.

Perhaps Teshub, god of storms.

Strongly resembles the Syro-Canaanite Baal, god of the thunderbolt, but rendered with greater sophistication.

The Hittites of Anatolia, the earliest attested Indo-European speakers, used chariots.

They overcame the Hattites ca. 2000 B.C.

Pleiades…Orion…Arcturus – Arcturus = the Bear.  These three constellations were mentioned in Job 9:9, and the last two are mentioned in Amos 5:8.  Despite their limited knowledge of astronomy, the ancient Israelites were awed by the fact that God had created the constellations.

Mazzaroth – A word used only here and meaning unclear: likely a name for one of the constellations.

“Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?” (Job 38:33)

 

Karatepe
“Sometimes known as Aslantaş, the Lion Stone, Karatepe has an advantage for the visitor over many of the larger, more frequented sites.

Troy, for example, is famously complex.

The earliest remains date back to 3600 B.C., but it was a thriving city and part of the Roman Empire as late as A.D. 300.

This breadth of history is fascinating but bewildering — is this section of city wall during the Bronze Age, Hellenistic, Classical Greek — or Roman?

Karatepe’s delight is that its history is so succinct.

Confined to the 9th and 8th centuries B.C., archaeologists have found nothing either pre or post dating this brief period.

ordinances of heaven – The principle controlling the movements of the stars and planets.

 

set the dominion thereof – Is Job able to determine how the heavenly bodies regulate life on earth?

“Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? 

Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? 

Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?” (Job 38:34-36).

inward parts…heart – It is possible that the first word should be translated ibis and the second rooster, two birds whose habits were sometimes observed by people who wished to forecast the weather.  If so, the words would serve as a transition to the next major section of the first divine discourse.

“Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven,

When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together? 

Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions” (Job 38:37-39).

Animate creation testifies to God’s sovereignty, power, and loving care (the lion, 38:39-40; the raven, 38:41; the wild goat, 39:1-4; the wild ass, vv 5-8; the unicorn (wild ox), vv 9-12; the ostrich, vv 13-18; the horse, vv 19-25; the hawk, v 26; the eagle, v 27-30.

“When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? 

Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat” (Job 38:40-41).

The Hittite Storm Gods

Teshub (also written Teshup or Tešup; cuneiform dIM; hieroglyphic Luwian (DEUS)TONITRUS, read as Tarhunzas) was the Hurrian god of sky and storm.
Taru was the name of a similar Hattic Storm God, whose mythology and worship as a primary deity continued and evolved through descendant Luwian and Hittite cultures. In these two, Taru was known as Tarhun / Tarhunt- / Tarhuwant- / Tarhunta, names derived from the Anatolian root *tarh “to defeat, conquer”.

Taru/Tarhun/Tarhunt was ultimately assimilated into and identified with the Hurrian Teshub around the time of the religious reforms of Muwatalli II, ruler of the Hittite New Kingdom in the early 13th century BCE.

These reforms can generally be categorized as an official incorporation of Hurrian deities into the Hittite pantheon, with a smaller number of important Hurrian gods (like Teshub) being explicitly identified with preexisting major Hittite deities (like Taru). Teshub reappears in the post-Hurrian cultural successor kingdom of Urartu as Tesheba, one of their chief gods; in Urartian art he is depicted standing on a bull.

The speeches of God in Job 38-41 present him as absolute and unrivaled in his power over nature.  The stars, storms, seasons, and wild animals all submit to and depend upon Him.  He even controls Leviathan, the sea monster that symbolizes chaos and evil (ch 4).  In polytheism, on the other hand, the gods are often depicted as weak and dependent.

Hittite texts of myth and ritual illustrate this.  For example, the Telepinu myth recounts an incident in which the storm god Telepinu was reported to have become angry and deserted his post.  In his absence the crops ceased to grow and the livestock to calve. 

Even the other gods began to panic at the prospect of starvation.  Although the gods were unable to loate Telepinu, a bee found him asleep under a tree and wakened him with a sting.  A goddess of magic and a human priest then performed expiatory rituals that assuaged Telepinu’s anger.

Other Hittite myths tell of the storm god’s conflict with the dragon Illuyanka.  Unlike Yahweh’s domination of Leviathan in Job 41, however, the storm god can scarcely handle Illuyanka.

In one version the storm god is at first defeated by the dragon, but the tables turn after the goddess Inarka enlists the aid of a mortal, Hupashiya, by sleeping with him.  She then hosts a feast; after Illuyanka gorges himself on food, Hupashiya binds the dragon with ropes so that the storm god can managed to slay him.

Anu-God of the sky
Anu was known as Lord of the Heavens, he was the ruler of the sky. “AN” translated as “Heaven” he had association with thunder rolling across the skies and the cause of storms, having complete control of the skies.

Anu was the highest god and the father to all gods, including to all the demons, and evil spirits. He was the god of kings. His symbol was him depicted in a headdress with horns which represented strength.

Anus’ symbol was associated with the bull and was seen as the bull of heaven. Although he is the king of gods he had very little role play in cults, stories and mythology of Mesopotamian. The holy city of Anu was Uruk (Erech). a Sumer civilization. T

his city was the main force of civilization during the period of (4000-3200 B.C). This city was constructed of temples that served as a religious function and showed gratitude and worship to their gods.

Canal systems connected to the Euphrates River, evidence shows this city was once alive and is was known as Anus’ holy city. Anu is the same relation and role play as Zeus the king of the skies in Greek mythology.

In another version the storm god loses his heart and eyes to the dragon in their first battle, but the god’s son marries Illuyanka’s daughter and persuades Illuyanka to return his father’s eyes and heart.  The storm god resumes the battle, slaying both the dragon and his son.

The profound moral and theological debate of Job could not have arisen from such pagan myths.  The gods, as depicted in these tales, were simply too weak to control events in a meaningful way; they needed the assistance of other gods and even of humans and animals. 

There would also be no problem of evil if God were too weak to control the world; such a theological dilemma can only exist in a setting in which God is understood to be omniscient and omnipotent.

Elihu Declares His Opinion, Part 5 of 5 & The Gathering Storm

It appears that all four of Job’s friends aren’t really concerned about Job, they’re just trying to impress You with the wisdom they think they have.  They should run for political office, I can’t think of one politician that isn’t arrogant.

Elihu Declares His Opinion
Part 5 of 5

Weather God
A weather god is a deity in mythology associated with weather phenomena such as thunder, lightning, rain and wind. They feature commonly in polytheistic religions, frequently as the head of the pantheon.

Storm gods are conceived of as wielding thunder and lightning. They are typically male, powerful and irascible rulers. Notable examples include the Indo-European deities derived from the Proto-Indo-European Dyeus. The Indo-European storm god is sometimes imagined as distinct from the ruling sky god. In these cases, he has names separate from the Dyeus etymon, either Perkwunos or Taran.

“For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:

Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.

Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?

Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea “(Job 36:27-30).

noise of his tabernacle…spreadeth his light – Thunder and lightning.

Hurricane Season began in 2013 and scientists had predicted an above-average season with as many as 17 named storms, 5-10 of which would be hurricanes.

A number of climate factors were taken into consideration and studied closely in order to come up with these predictions, including the fact that we continue to be in a high-activity era since 1995.

Scientists track storm data from the past in order to predict the future weather and you may be surprised how far back they go for their data.

Some scientists believe that ancient storms provide important clues about our present and future weather.

Paleotempestology is the study of past tropical cyclone activity by means of geological proxies (any geological phenomena that provides information about the contemporary climate) as well as historical documentary records.

It saw a huge growth in popularity 1995 when the earth entered the current period of high hurricane activity and scientists began searching for a way to explain what was happening.

In 2004, one researcher in Australia found that looking into the ancient past could help predict storms that might otherwise be missed.

Dr. Jonathan Nott from the Centre for Disaster Studies at James Cook University reviewed the geological evidence of storms that occurred up to 5,500 years ago in Western Australia, Queensland and the United States and predicted that “major cyclones bigger than any ever recorded in Australia will hit in the future.

Just as we use weather patterns such as El Nino to make predictions, there are weather patterns from the ancient past that can tell us even more about how the weather behaves over hundreds and even thousands of years.

Perhaps most importantly, it allows us to see how human beings are potentially affecting our weather patterns and helping to produce a climate in which bigger storms are more common.

Studying ancient storms not only improves our ability to predict future storms, it also gives us a window into the kind of weather past generations had to endure.

For example, in 2009 Michael Mann, director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, authored a study showing that conditions along the Atlantic coast during the Middle Ages were perfect for hurricanes, and there is evidence that several hit the coast.

This means Native Americans living in these areas at the time probably experienced several very strong storms.

His team studied medieval sediments taken from lagoons between Massachusetts and Puerto Rico and concluded “it was probably a lot like the 2005 season, which was the busiest hurricane season in the Atlantic in recorded history.”

It is possible they even witnessed a storm similar to Katrina.

While we do not have first-hand accounts of these Atlantic storms, it is clear from ancient texts that our ancestors around the world were no strangers to violent weather.

Myths are full of tempests, with each author eager to outdo the other with descriptions of more and better storms.

For example, the Greek ships returning from Troy were famously destroyed by a sudden storm that shipwrecked nearly the entire fleet.

And then there are the terrible floods written about in various texts.

“Many ancient cultures, the Babylonians, the Mesopotamians, the Sumerians, had stories that involve a great flood sent by a deity, indicating to historians that there was perhaps a (or several) great flood(s) and these myths rose around to explain it (them).”

The ancient Greeks tried to explain all weather by assigning each element to a specific god.

As long as that particular god was happy, the weather would remain fair.

If the skies opened up with lightening, thunder, rain or wind, it was due to an angry deity.

All of this is evidence that ancient civilizations had first-hand experience with extreme weather including storms, floods and wind.

Today, we know that this hurricane season won’t be caused by a displeased god, and that no amount of sacrificing to Zeus, Notos or Poseidon will keep the winds, waves and rain away.

However, we can rely on the lessons we’ve learned from the ancient past in order to predict and prepare for the storms of the future.

covereth the bottom of the sea – The lightening God sends is so powerful that it even lights up the depths of the sea.

“For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance.

With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.

The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour” (Job 36:31-33).

With clouds he covereth the light – Lit. he lifts up the lightning with both hands.  God is a powerful warrior who works with equal effectiveness with either hand (cf 1 Chr 12:2).

commandeth it not to shine…betwixt – God hurls the lightning with such precision that it strikes the exact mark he has chosen.

“The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapor” (Job 36:33).

A continuation of Elihu’s hymnic description of God’s marvels exhibited in the earth’s atmosphere, beginning in 36:27. His heart pounds at the awesome display (see v 1)

The passage reveals a sophisticated observation of atmospheric conditions and their effects: the evaporation and distillation of water for rain (see 36:27), the clouds as holders of moisture (see 36:28; 37:11), and the cyclonic behavior of clouds (see v 12)

Ancient 10,000-year-old trees revealed by island storms
The remains of 10,000-year-old trees have been uncovered on a beach in the north of the Isle of Man after recent storms battered the Manx coastline.

Experts said a “chaotic” collection of trunks, branches and pine cones had been discovered in the cliffs at Cranstal, just north of Bride Village.

The pine woodland had been covered by about 16ft (5m) of sand and clay.

Andrew Johnson, Manx National Heritage archaeologist, says the find “opens a window on an ancient landscape”.

“The epic weather has meant the sea washed away a considerable part of the cliff and knocked it back about 5m,” he said. “This has exposed an extensive area of pine woodland, including pine cones, which is part of a landscape that existed about 10,000 years ago.

“Because the peat has preserved it so well, we are now able to get some samples together and get to work in the laboratory.” Experts believe the ancient pine forest would have been around at the same time people began to inhabit the Isle of Man after the Ice Age.

“At this time, we believe people were starting to move around the island, it wouldn’t have been a very warm place at that time but it would have been possible to exist,” Mr Johnson said. “A few thousand years earlier though, it would have been more like Siberia.”

Mr Johnson said work was now being done to secure permission to remove samples of the woodland to help identify other parts of organic material. Tests will then be taken on animal and plant life found in the clay.

Such forces originate from God’s command and always perform His will for mankind, whether for good or for ill (v 13).

“At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place.

Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.

He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.

After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.

God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.

For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.

He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work”  (Job 37:1-7).

 

Heavy rain or snowfall forces men to cease from their normal activities, giving them a chance to reflect on God’s power revealed in the storm.

“Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.

Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.

By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened” (Job 37:8-10).

breath of God – a metaphor for a chilling wind.

“Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:

And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.

He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.

Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?

Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?

How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?

Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?” (Job 37:11-18).

Job is challenged to ponder God’s power over the elements.  The question format is also used in the divine discourses (chs 38-41).

Weather God
A weather god is a deity in mythology associated with weather phenomena such as thunder, lightning, rain and wind. They feature commonly in polytheistic religions, frequently as the head of the pantheon.

Storm gods are conceived of as wielding thunder and lightning. They are typically male, powerful and irascible rulers. Notable examples include the Indo-European deities derived from the Proto-Indo-European Dyeus. The Indo-European storm god is sometimes imagined as distinct from the ruling sky god. In these cases, he has names separate from the Dyeus etymon, either Perkwunos or Taran.

“Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness” (Job 37:19).

we cannot order our speech – Job had dared to sign his defense and call for an audience with God (see 31:35).  For this, Elihu seeks to shame him.  But he softens his tone by including himself as one equally vulnerable to God’s majesty.

“Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up. 

And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them. 

Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.

Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in Judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict. 

Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart” (Job 37:20-24).

He respecteth not any…wise of heart – God decisions and actions aren’t influenced by people like Job, or anyone, who think they are wise enough to argue with Him.

The Gathering Storm 

While Elihu appears to be continuing his preceding discourse in this section, the fact that an actual storm occurred is confirmed in Job 38:1. 

God of the Sky
Jupiter (from Latin: Iūpiter [ˈjuːpɪtɛr] or Iuppiter [ˈjʊppɪtɛr], from Proto-Italic *djous “day, sky” + *patēr “father”, thus “sky father”), also known as Jove gen. Iovis [ˈjɔwɪs]), is the god of the sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology.

Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as offering, or sacrifice.

Jupiter is usually thought to have originated as an aerial god. His identifying implement is the thunderbolt and his primary sacred animal is the eagle, which held precedence over other birds in the taking of auspices and became one of the most common symbols of the Roman army (see Aquila). The two emblems were often combined to represent the god in the form of an eagle holding in its claws a thunderbolt, frequently seen on Greek and Roman coins.

As the sky-god, he was a divine witness to oaths, the sacred trust on which justice and good government depend. Many of his functions were focused on the Capitoline Hill, where the citadel was located. In the Capitoline Triad, he was the central guardian of the state with Juno and Minerva. His sacred tree was the oak.

The Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, and in Latin literature and Roman art, the myths and iconography of Zeus are adapted under the name Iuppiter. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto, the Roman equivalents of Poseidon and Hades respectively.

Each presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, the waters, and the underworld. The Italic Diespiter was also a sky god who manifested himself in the daylight, usually identified with Jupiter. Tinia is usually regarded as his Etruscan counterpart.

Therefore it is logical to treat these verses as describing the on setting squall. While they accurately describe a thunderstorm coming in from the north, the words may also be typical of the time of trouble with which the present dispensation shall come to an end.

The soft early drops of rain and the distant sound of thunder are noticed first. The oncoming clouds obscure the sun and the cattle are discontent. Then the lightning flashes in the sky as the thunder become a crashing roar.

He notices the beasts take cover and the cold turn the rain into sleet and hail. His sharp eye catches the balance of the clouds – the one high and overhanging with the lower clouds filled with moisture. Contrasting the usual warm southerly winds, with this fast charging storm from the north, he is awestruck by the power and majesty of the scene.

Even so, in the times of harvest, it was the early rains of truth which foretold of God’s coming judgments. As the enlightenment from the Lord became more clear, the noise of the progressing trouble was distinctly heard. Men could not see this as the Lord’s dealings because this troublous time hid them from the Lord.

Adad in Akkad
In Akkadian, Adad is also known as Rammanu (“Thunderer”) cognate with Aramaic: רעמא‎ Raˁmā and Hebrew: רַעַם‎‎ Raˁam, which was a byname of Hadad. Rammanu was formerly incorrectly taken by many scholars to be an independent Akkadian god later identified with Hadad.

Though originating in northern Mesopotamia, Adad was identified by the same Sumerogram dIM that designated Iškur in the south. His worship became widespread in Mesopotamia after the First Babylonian dynasty. A text dating from the reign of Ur-Ninurta characterizes Adad/Iškur as both threatening in his stormy rage and generally life-giving and benevolent.

The form Iškur appears in the list of gods found at Shuruppak but was of far less importance, probably partly because storms and rain were scarce in Sumer and agriculture there depended on irrigation instead. The gods Enlil and Ninurta also had storm god features that decreased Iškur’s distinctiveness. He sometimes appears as the assistant or companion of one or the other of the two.

When Enki distributed the destinies, he made Iškur inspector of the cosmos. In one litany, Iškur is proclaimed again and again as “great radiant bull, your name is heaven” and also called son of Anu, lord of Karkara; twin-brother of Enki, lord of abundance, lord who rides the storm, lion of heaven.

In other texts Adad/Iškur is sometimes son of the moon god Nanna/Sin by Ningal and brother of Utu/Shamash and Inanna/Ishtar. Iškur is also sometimes described as the son of Enlil.

The bull was portrayed as Adad/Iškur’s sacred animal starting in the Old Babylonian period (the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE).

Adad/Iškur’s consort (both in early Sumerian and the much later Assyrian texts) was Shala, a goddess of grain, who is also sometimes associated with the god Dagānu. She was also called Gubarra in the earliest texts. The fire god Gibil (named Gerra in Akkadian) is sometimes the son of Iškur and Shala.

He is identified with the Anatolian storm-god Teshub, whom the Mitannians designated with the same Sumerogram dIM. Occasionally Adad/Iškur is identified with the god Amurru, the god of the Amorites.

The Babylonian center of Adad/Iškur’s cult was Karkara in the south, his chief temple being É.Kar.kar.a; his spouse Shala was worshipped in a temple named É.Dur.ku. In Assyria, Adad was developed along with his warrior aspect. During the Middle Assyrian Empire, from the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115–1077 BCE), Adad had a double sanctuary in Assur which he shared with Anu. Anu is often associated with Adad in invocations. The name Adad and various alternate forms and bynames (Dadu, Bir, Dadda) are often found in the names of the Assyrian kings.

Adad/Iškur presents two aspects in the hymns, incantations, and votive inscriptions. On the one hand he is the god who, through bringing on the rain in due season, causes the land to become fertile, and, on the other hand, the storms that he sends out bring havoc and destruction. He is pictured on monuments and cylinder seals (sometimes with a horned helmet) with the lightning and the thunderbolt (sometimes in the form of a spear), and in the hymns the sombre aspects of the god on the whole predominate. His association with the sun-god, Shamash, due to the natural combination of the two deities who alternate in the control of nature, leads to imbuing him with some of the traits belonging to a solar deity.

According to Alberto Green, descriptions of Adad starting in the Kassite period and in the region of Mari emphasize his destructive, stormy character and his role as a fearsome warrior deity, in contrast to Iškur’s more peaceful and pastoral character.

Shamash and Adad became in combination the gods of oracles and of divination in general. Whether the will of the gods is determined through the inspection of the liver of the sacrificial animal, through observing the action of oil bubbles in a basin of water or through the observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, it is Shamash and Adad who, in the ritual connected with divination, are invariably invoked.

Similarly in the annals and votive inscriptions of the kings, when oracles are referred to, Shamash and Adad are always named as the gods addressed, and their ordinary designation in such instances is bele biri (“lords of divination”).

God’s true message noted the contrast of the warm winds of God’s favor with the harsh north winds of his judgments. Both were necessary to accomplish their individual tasks. The Christian profits from both, as the wise man poetically said:

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.  Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits (Song 4:16).

 

 

 

Elihu Declares His Opinion, Part 4 of 5 & Josiah, Zechariah and Neco II

People today are just like Job’s friends, they assume they understand You and nobody can tell them anything different.

I’ve noticed that Job is the only one that actually addressed You directly.  I wonder why Job’s friends, and most people today don’t ask You anything?  Don’t they now that You’ll answer their questions?

Elihu Declares His Opinion
Part 4 of 5

Zechariah was a person in the Hebrew Bible and traditionally considered the author of the Book of Zechariah, the eleventh of the Twelve Minor Prophets.

He was a prophet of the two-tribe Kingdom of Judah, and like Ezekiel was of priestly extraction.

According to Ezra 5:1; 6:14 Iddo is the father of the prophet Zechariah, according to Zech 1:1 Berechiah is the father of Zechariah, and Iddo is his grandfather.

“This discrepancy is best explained on the supposition that the words ‘the son of Berechiah’ did not form part of the original text of 1:1 – had they done so, it is very improbable that they would have been omitted in the Ezra passages – but that they are an insertion on the part of someone who identified the prophet Zechariah with Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, who is mentioned in Is 8:2, Berechiah in Zech 1:1 being a corruption of Jeberechiah.”

His prophetical career began in the second year of Darius, king of Persia (B.C. 520), about sixteen years after the return of the first company from their Babylonian exile.

He was contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).

Not much is known about Zechariah’s life other than what may be inferred from the book.

It has been speculated that his ancestor Iddo was the head of a priestly family who returned with Zerubbabel (Neh 12:4), and that Zech may himself have been a priest as well as a prophet.

This is supported by Zechariah’s interest in the Temple and the priesthood, and from Iddo’s preaching in the Books of Chronicles.

Possibility of Martyrdom

In the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is quoted as stating that Zechariah son of Barachiah was killed between the altar and the temple.

A similar quotation is also found in the Gospel of Luke.

Although there is an indication in Targum Lamentations that “Zechariah son of Iddo” was killed in the Temple scholars generally understand this as a reference to the death of a much earlier figure, Zechariah ben Jehoiada.

As Abel was the first prophetic figure killed in the Hebrew Scriptures, and Zechariah ben Jehoiada was the last figure killed in those Scriptures, which conclude with 1 and 2 Chr, they represent the full historical scope of prophetic martyrdom.

By using their names Jesus brings to bear on the Jewish establishment of his day the cumulative guilt for killing those prophets, to which within a few days they would add his own death.

The logic of the accusation means that the reference is almost certainly to Zechariah ben Jehoiada.

The second of Elihu’s four speeches, divided into three sections:

(1) addressed to a group of wise men (vv 2-15), doubtless including the three friends;

(2) addressed to Job (vv 16-33); and

(3) addressed to himself (vv 34-37).

“Furthermore Elihu answered and said,

Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.

For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.

Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.

For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.

Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.

What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?

Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.

For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God” (Job 34:1-9).

Job hath said…For he hath said – Elihu again quotes Job and then goes on to defend God’s justice against what he considers to be Job’s false theology.

The substance of the quotation in v. 5 is accurate, and much of v 6 represents Job fairly – though Job had never claimed to be completely guiltless.  Verse 9 is not a direct quotation form Job, who had only imagined the wicked saying something similar. 

But perhaps Elihu derives it from Job’s repeated statement that God treats the righteous and the wicked in the same way, leading to the conclusion that it doesn’t pay to please God.  [Of course, that is incorrect, but it does matter how you please God].

“Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity” (Job 34:10).

Far be it from God, that he should do wickedness – See Gen 18:25 [this part of one of the conversations God has with Moses].  Elihu’s concern that Job was making God the author of evil is commendable.  Job, in his frustration, has come perilously close to charging God with wrongdoing. 

He has suggested that this is the only conclusion he can reach on the basis of his knowledge and experience.

“For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.

Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.

Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?

If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;

All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust” (Job 34:11-15).

Tomb of Zecharia
This grand monument is built into the rock on the foothills of Mount of Olives. According to tradition it is the tomb of the Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest.

The Tomb of Zechariah is a grand monument in the upper Kidron valley (Yehoshafat valley), on the foothills of Mount of Olives, and facing the temple mount. It is cut into the rock and made entirely from that rock.

Location
The tomb is built on the lower western foothills of Mount of Olives, facing the old city of Jerusalem, on the eastern side of Kidron valley.

This entire area is a large cemetery with thousands of tombs. It is located south to the tomb of Absalom, and adjacent to the Bnei-Hezir tombs cluster.

According to tradition, this tomb is named after Zecharia the prophet.

Who was Zecharia?
Zechariah was the son of Jehoiada the priest, who lived in the 9th C B.C. during the period of the first temple.

He was a priest and a prophet who delivered God’s message against the deviation from the Lord’s commandments.

The Bible tells us (2 Chr 24) that he was killed, stoned to death, in the temple by the orders of King Yoash (King of Judah, son of Ahaziah). There is no certainty, nor documentation, that certifies that this monumental tomb is indeed the tomb of Zechariah son of Jehodia.

The Jewish tradition of the name of the tomb is from the middle ages; it is first described in 1215 A.D. by Menachem Hachevroni (according to Z. Vilani).

The tomb was a site of Jewish prayers, especially in 9th of the month of Av – the day of the destruction of the temple.

There were some documented stories that told of prayers for rain on dry winters (such as in years 1651 and 1690) which succeeded and stopped the drought.

Prophet Zecharia (son of Berechiah)
There is another prophet Zecharia who lived 300 years later – a prophet in Judea in the second temple period (6th C B.C.), the son of Berechiah.

According to the Biblical dating his prophets were from 520-518 B.C. at the time Darius, as described in the book of Zechariah.

This book was written by the prophet, although the second part of the book (Chapters 9-14) may have been compiled earlier.

The place of the prophet’s tomb is not known and is not linked to this site. According to tradition, he is buried on Mount of Olives, in the nearby cluster called the tombs of the Prophets.

Elihu is zealous for God’s glory as the sovereign Sustainer who demonstrates His grace every moment by granting life and breath of man.

“If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.

Shall even he that hateth right govern? and wilt thou condemn him that is most just?

Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? and to princes, Ye are ungodly?

How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands.

In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.

For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.

There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.

For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.

He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.

Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.

He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;

Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways:

So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted” (Job 34:16-28).

God’s omniscience guarantees that He will not make any mistakes when He punishes evildoers.  It is not necessary for Him to set times to examine people for Judgment (see v 23).

When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:

That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.

Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:

That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.

Should it be according to thy mind? he will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest” (Job 34:29-33).

First indirectly (vv 31-32) and then more directly (v 33) Elihu condemns Job and calls for his repentance.

“Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me.

Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom.

My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men.

For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God” (Job 34:34-37).

Necho II (sometimes Nekau, Neku, Nechoh, or Nikuu; or Νεχώ Β’of Kemet was a king of the Twenty-sixth dynasty of Egypt (c. 610 B.C.– c. 595 B.C.).
Necho undertook a number of construction projects across his kingdom. In his reign, according to the Greek historian Herodotus, Necho II sent out an expedition of Phoenicians, which in three years sailed from the Red Sea aroundAfrica to the mouth of the Nile. His son, Psammetichus II, upon succession may have removed Necho’s name from monuments.

Necho played a significant role in the histories of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Kingdom of Judah. Necho II is most likely the pharaoh mentioned in several books of the Bible.

The second campaign’s aim of Necho’s campaigns was Asiatic conquest, to contain the Westward advance of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and cut off its trade route across the Euphrates. However, the Egyptians were defeated by the unexpected attack of the Babylonians and were eventually expelled from Syria.

The Egyptologist Donald B. Redford observed that although Necho II was “a man of action from the start, and endowed with an imagination perhaps beyond that of his contemporaries, Necho had the misfortune to foster the impression of being a failure.”

Elihu’s third speech is addressed to Job.

“Elihu spake moreover, and said,

Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God’s?” (Job 35:1-2)

My righteousness – Elihu thinks that it’s unjust and inconsistent for Job to expect vindication from God and at the same time imply that God doesn’t care whether we are righteous.  But allowance must be made for a person to express his feelings. [3 Elihu is not completely wrong, but he certainly isn’t correct because God has always wanted us to be righteous.]

“For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?

I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.

Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.

If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?

If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?

Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.

By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty.

But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;

Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?

There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men” (Job 35:3-12).

God doesn’t listen to arrogant men (see v 13).  Job himself might not be wicked, but he shares the arrogance of most men.  He too receives no answer, because he doesn’t ask rightly (see v 14).

“Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.

Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.

Ruins atop Tel Megiddo
Megiddo is a tell in northern Israel near Kibbutz Megiddo, about 30 km south-east of Haifa, known for its historical, geographical, and theological importance, especially under its Greek name Armageddon.

In ancient times Megiddo was an important city-state. Excavations have unearthed 26 layers of ruins, indicating a long period of settlement. Megiddo is strategically located at the head of a pass through the Carmel Ridge overlooking the Jezreel Valley from the west. The site is now protected as Megiddo National Park and is a World Heritage Site.

History
Megiddo was a site of great importance in the ancient world. It guarded the western branch of a narrow pass and trade route connecting Egypt and Assyria. Because of its strategic location, Megiddo was the site of several historical battles.

The site was inhabited from approximately 7000 B.C. to 586 B.C. (the same time as the destruction of the First Israelite Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and subsequent fall of Israelite rule and exile), though the first significant remains date to the Chalcolithic period (4500-3500 B.C.).

Megiddo’s Early Bronze Age I (3500-3100 B.C.) temple has been described by its excavators as “the most monumental single edifice so far uncovered in the EB I Levant and ranks among the largest structures of its time in the Near East.” The first wall was constructed in the Early Bronze Age II or III period.

However, the town experienced a decline in the Early Bronze-Age IV period (2300-2000 B.C.), but the city was somewhat revived around 2000 B.C. Following massive construction, the town reached its largest in the Middle Bronze-Age, at 10-12 hectares. Though the city was subjugated by Thutmose III, it still prospered, and a massive and incredibly elaborate palace was constructed in the Late Bronze Age.

The city was destroyed around 1150 B.C., and the area was resettled by what some scholars have identified as early Israelites, before being replaced with an unwalled Philistine town. When the Israelites captured it, though, it became an important city, before being destroyed, possibly by Aramaean raiders, and rebuilt, this time as an administrative center for Tiglath-Pileser III’s occupation of Samaria.

However, its importance soon dwindled, and it was finally abandoned around 586 B.C. Since this time it has remained uninhabited, preserving ruins pre-dating 586 B.C. without settlements ever disturbing them. Instead, the town of Lajjun (not to be confused with the el-Lajjun archaeological site in Jordan) was built up near to the site, but without inhabiting or disturbing its remains.

Megiddo is mentioned in Ancient Egyptian writings because one of Egypt’s mighty kings, Thutmose III, waged war upon the city in 1478 B.C. The battle is described in detail in the hieroglyphics found on the walls of his temple in Upper Egypt.

“But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:

Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge” (Job 35:13-16).

The reference here to Job in the third person doesn’t necessarily mean that someone other than Job is being addressed.

Elihu’s fourth and final speech is mostly addressed to Job.

“Elihu also proceeded, and said,

Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.

I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with the” (Job 36:1-4).

perfect in knowledge – Here Elihu applies the phrase to himself, while in 37:16 he applies it to God – thus appearing to make himself equal to God [which is what Satan had done – Is 14:13].  But the Hebrew for knowledge is not quite the same here as in 37:16.  Elihu is probably referring to his ability as a communicator, i.e., he claims perfection in the knowledge of speech.

“Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom. 

He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor” (Job 36:5-6).

preserveth not the life of the wicked – A classic statement of God’s justice in rewarding the righteous and punishing sinners (in contrast to what Job has been claiming).  In v 7 Elihu perhaps has in mind Job’s complaint that God will not leave him alone (see 7:17-19), and in v 9 he may be thinking of Job’s charge that God will not present His indictment against him (see 31:35-36).

“He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.

And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction;

Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded.

He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.

If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.

But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.

But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them.

They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.

He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression” (Job 36:7-15).

Ruins atop Tel Megiddo
Megiddo is a tell in northern Israel near Kibbutz Megiddo, about 30 km south-east of Haifa, known for its historical, geographical, and theological importance, especially under its Greek name Armageddon.

In ancient times Megiddo was an important city-state. Excavations have unearthed 26 layers of ruins, indicating a long period of settlement. Megiddo is strategically located at the head of a pass through the Carmel Ridge overlooking the Jezreel Valley from the west. The site is now protected as Megiddo National Park and is a World Heritage Site.

History
Megiddo was a site of great importance in the ancient world. It guarded the western branch of a narrow pass and trade route connecting Egypt and Assyria. Because of its strategic location, Megiddo was the site of several historical battles.

The site was inhabited from approximately 7000 B.C. to 586 B.C. (the same time as the destruction of the First Israelite Temple in Jerusalem by the Babylonians, and subsequent fall of Israelite rule and exile), though the first significant remains date to the Chalcolithic period (4500-3500 B.C.).

Megiddo’s Early Bronze Age I (3500-3100 B.C.) temple has been described by its excavators as “the most monumental single edifice so far uncovered in the EB I Levant and ranks among the largest structures of its time in the Near East.” The first wall was constructed in the Early Bronze Age II or III period.

However, the town experienced a decline in the Early Bronze-Age IV period (2300-2000 B.C.), but the city was somewhat revived around 2000 B.C. Following massive construction, the town reached its largest in the Middle Bronze-Age, at 10-12 hectares. Though the city was subjugated by Thutmose III, it still prospered, and a massive and incredibly elaborate palace was constructed in the Late Bronze Age.

The city was destroyed around 1150 B.C., and the area was resettled by what some scholars have identified as early Israelites, before being replaced with an unwalled Philistine town. When the Israelites captured it, though, it became an important city, before being destroyed, possibly by Aramaean raiders, and rebuilt, this time as an administrative center for Tiglath-Pileser III’s occupation of Samaria.

However, its importance soon dwindled, and it was finally abandoned around 586 B.C. Since this time it has remained uninhabited, preserving ruins pre-dating 586 B.C. without settlements ever disturbing them. Instead, the town of Lajjun (not to be confused with the el-Lajjun archaeological site in Jordan) was built up near to the site, but without inhabiting or disturbing its remains.

Megiddo is mentioned in Ancient Egyptian writings because one of Egypt’s mighty kings, Thutmose III, waged war upon the city in 1478 B.C. The battle is described in detail in the hieroglyphics found on the walls of his temple in Upper Egypt.

Elihu understands that the basic spiritual need of man stems from his harness of heart – his refusal to yield to God, to cry out to God in his distress (see Ps 107), or to hear the voice of God in suffering.

“Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness.

But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee.

Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.

Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.

Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place.

Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction” (Job 36:16-21).

Elihu warns Job to respond to God’s discipline by turning away from evil (see v 21).  Verse 16 shows that the still views Job as a man of whom there is hope.

“Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?  Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?  Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.

Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off” (Job 36:22-25). 

God’s power and glory as reflected in creation are evident to all people (cf Ps 19:1-6; Rom 1:18-32).

“Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out” (Job 36:26).

we know him not – See 37:5That 4 God’s ways and thoughts are infinitely higher than ours is an important theme in chs 38-41.

1 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (Jas 1:5).

2 The only way to please God is to have faith in Jesus, and if you do He does bless you:

“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I swear unto their fathers to give them.

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Spouted vessel, Pottery Middle Chalcolithic period (c.3000 B.C.).
Chalcolithic Ceramics Cypriots expanded their ceramic expertise enormously, producing sophisticated pieces decorated with vivid designs in red and white. Ownership of these elegant wares was a mark of high status in Chalcolithic villages. They often served as grave goods.

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest“(Josh 1:5-9)

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Ps 1:1-6).

3For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will Judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Act 17:28-31).

Funerary mask, Middle East, Chalcolithic period
Throughout recorded history, masks have been part of the human experience.

In nearly every culture, age, and inhabited region of the world, they have functioned as mediums of expression and transformation.

As works of art, masks embody dynamic visual energy; as cultural icons, they present the rich panoply of diversities and commonalities in mankind.

The need to mask, so vividly emphasized in this exhibition, reveals a human desire to transcend earthly limitations, penetrate alien environments, and be reinvented, renewed, strengthened, and protected.

4 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall nor return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the things whereto I sent it” (Is 55:8-11).

Josiah, Zechariah and Neco II

When Josiah, king of Judah (640-609 B.C.),made arrangements for celebrating the Passover, he and his administrators donated vast numbers of animals to be sacrificed (2 Chr 35:7-9).

One of the administrators was Zechariah, a temple official (v. 8). An ostracon (broken piece of pottery with writing on it), purchased on the antiquities market and now in a private collection, includes the names of both Josiah and Zechariah.

Josiah or Yoshiyahu (literally meaning “healed by Yah” or “supported of Yah”) was a king of Judah (641–609 B.C.),

According to the Hebrew Bible, who instituted major reforms.

Josiah is credited by most historians with having established or compiled important Hebrew Scriptures during the Deuteronomic reform that occurred during his rule.

Josiah became king of Judah at the age of eight, after the assassination of his father, King Amon, and reigned for thirty-one years, from 641/640 to 610/609 B.C.

He is also one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

Josiah is only known through biblical texts.

No reference to him exists in surviving texts of the period from Egypt or Babylon, and no clear archaeological evidence, such as inscriptions bearing his name, has been found.

Apparently an order for a royal temple offering, it reads, “As Ashyahu the king has commanded you to give in the hand of Zakaryahu silver of Tarshish for the House of Yahweh: three shekels.”

The name Josiah is the English equivalent of Ashyahu in the inscription, and Zechariah is the equivalent of Zakaryahu.

In 609 B.C., when Josiah was in his 31st year of rule and still a young man of 39 (2 Kgs 22:1), the Egyptian army under Pharaoh Neco II (610-595 B.C.) marched north to aid the Assyrians in their attempt to stave off the Babylonians.

Neco II, known from both Egyptian and Bab­ylonian records, was among the stronger of ancient Egypt’s later rulers. The Assyrians were holding out at Carchemish, a prominent city on the Euphrates River (2 Chr 35:20).

Josiah, in an effort to undermine this force, which were dominant in the region, tried to head off Neco at Megiddo. Tragically, the Judahite army was defeated and Josiah lost his life (vv.21-24).

Judah then became subject to Neco until 605 B.C., when the Babylonians defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish (Jer 46:2). Following Josiah’s demise, his son Jehoahaz was made king.

After three months Neco removed Jehoahaz and imposed a hefty tribute on Judah (2 Chr 36:1-3). The Egyptian king placed Josiah’s eldest son, Jehoiakim, on the throne and banished Jehoahaz to Egypt, where he lived out the rest of his days (36:4).

Elihu Declares His Opinion, Part 3 of 5 & The Sennacherib Prism

 

Taylor Prism
This clay cylinder was probably made in 691 B.C. and translated by Sir Henry Rawlingson in Persia while he was working for the Brittish museum in 1851.

It describes six years of the Assyrian king “Sennacherib” and his life as a bloody conqueror.

The translation of this cylinder was the first to actually confirm in detail an event in Bible History (2I Kgs 19:36-37 and Is 37:36-37).

Part of what the Assyrians did was to relocate conquered peoples to a new region.

In the case of these captured Judeans it was six hundred miles north and east (Susa Area).

I know You talk to people, like Moses for example, You spoke to him as though it was face-to-face (Ex 33:11-23). 

When You talk to me, even though I understand it, I am unable to explain it to others.  It’s like You are speaking a foreign language that I understand, but can’t speak, nor can I interpret it. 

Aren’t You going to talk to Job?

Elihu Declares His Opinion
Part 3 of 5

Having emphasized the importance of the chastening aspect of suffering, a point mentioned only briefly by Eliphaz (see 5:17), Elihu now moves on to the possibility of redemption based on a mediator.  He further allows for God’s gracious response of forgiveness where sincere repentance is present.

But Elihu is still ignorant of the true nature of Job’s relationship to God, known only in the divine council (chs 1-2).

“If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: 

Sennacherib Prisim
Sennacherib’s Annals are the annals of the Assyrian king Sennacherib.

They are found inscribed on a number of artifacts, and the final versions were found in three clay prisms inscribed with the same text: the Taylor Prism is in the British Museum, the Oriental Institute Prism in the Oriental Institute of Chicago, and the Jerusalem Prism is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The Taylor Prism is one of the earliest cuneiform artifacts analysed in modern Assyriology, having been found a few years prior to the modern deciphering of cuneiform.

The annals themselves are notable for describing his siege of Jerusalem during the reign of king Hezekiah.

This event is recorded in several books contained in the Bible including Isaiah chapters 33 and 36; 2 Kgs 18:17; 2 Chr 32:9.

There are three known clay prisms in which Sennacherib mentions Hezekiah, king of Judah.

The invasion is mentioned by Herodotus, who does not refer to Judea and says the invasion ended at Pelusium on the edge of the Nile delta.

The prisms contain six paragraphs of cuneiform written Akkadian.

They are hexagonal in shape, made of red baked clay, and stand 38.0 cm high by 14.0 cm wide, and were created during the reign of Sennacherib in 689 B.C. or 691 B.C.

Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.

His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth.

He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.

He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;

He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light” (Job 33:29-28).

“Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living” (Job 33:29-30).

To bring back his soul from the pit – Elihu teaches that God’s apparent cruelty in chastening human beings is in reality an act of love, since man is never punished in his life in keeping with what he fully deserves (see v 27).

light of the living – Spiritual well-being (see Ps 49:19).  In some contexts the phrase refers to resurrection.

“Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.

If thou hast anything to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.

If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom” (Job 33:31-33).

I desire to justify thee – But this will happen, Elihu insists only if Job repents.

The Sennacherib Prism

The Jerusalem Prism mentioning Hezekiah. Sennacherib admits in the prism-account that Hezekiah did not submit to his yoke, but was “shut up in Jerusalem” like a caged bird.The Jerusalem Prism, now displayed in the Israel Museum, is perhaps the least well-known of the three documents.


Upon his ascension to the Assyrian throne, Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) had to quell numerous revolts throughout his domain.

The Sennacherib Prism, a monumental text recorded in Akkadian, recounts his campaign to the region now known as Palestine in 701 B.C.

Comparing Biblical accounts (2 Kgs 18:13-22; 2 Chr 32:1-22; Is 36-37) to Assyrian annals and other archaeological data helps us to make sense of the sequence of events:

*Second Chronicles records a massive invasion against the cities in Judah (32:1, 9), and Sennacherib, in his prism, claims to have laid siege to 46 of Hezekiah’s fortified, walled cities and surrounding towns.

*Archaeological data supports these ac­counts, with evidence of widespread destruc­tion throughout Judah (e.g., at Beersheba and Lachish.

+The prism describes, in general terms, Sennacherib’s advance through the coastal cities of Phoenicia and Philistia toward Jerusalem. This ferocious assault, in which he “slew… nobles who had provoked rebellion to and hung their bodies on watchtowers,” vividly illustrated the threats made by the Assyrian messengers (vv. 13-19).

Even so, Sennacherib never claimed to have captured Jerusalem but rather to have “shut up Hezekiah in Jerusalem like a bird in a cage.”  This boast tacitly admits his failure to capture Jerusalem and agrees with the Biblical account.

Elihu Declares His Opinion, Part 2 of 5 & The Babylonian Theodicy

Since Elihu thinks that everyone was wrong in their conclusions of Job’s situation, I’m anxious to hear what he thinks the correct answer is.

Elihu Declares His Opinion
Part 2 of 5

This clay tablet lists the victories of Rimush, king of Akkad, upon Abalgamash, king of Marhashi, and upon Elamitemonumental inscription, ca. 2270 BC.

n the Ancient Near East, clay tablets were used as a writing medium, especially for writing in cuneiform, throughout the Bronze Age and well into the Iron Age.

Cuneiform characters were imprinted on a wet clay tablet with a stylus often made of reed (reed pen). Once written upon, many tablets were dried in the sun or air, remaining fragile. Later, these unfired clay tablets could be soaked in water and recycled into new clean tablets.

Other tablets, once written, were fired in hot kilns (or inadvertently, when buildings were burnt down by accident or during conflict) making them hard and durable. Collections of these clay documents made up the very first archives. They were at the root of first libraries. Tens of thousands of written tablets, including many fragments, have been found in the Middle East

Elihu turns to Job and speaks directly to him.  Unlike the three friends, he addresses Job by name.

‘Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words” (Job 33:1).

hear my speeches – He is thoroughly convinced of the importance and wisdom of the advice he’s about to give).

“Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.

My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.

The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up” (Job 33:2-5).

If thou canst, answer me – He opens and closes his speech with the same plea to refute any flaws in his thinking.  His attitude of superiority shows through.

“Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay” (Job 33:6).

I am according to thy wish…stead – Lit. I am like your mouth before God.  My words carry just as much weight with God as yours.

“Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee” (Job 33:7).

shall my hand be heavy upon thee – The idiom is elsewhere used only of God (see 23:2).

“Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying” (Job 33:8).

Surely thou hast spoken – Elihu’s method is to quote Job (vv 9-11; 34:5-6, 9; 35:2-3) and then show him where and how he’s wrong.  The quotations aren’t always verbatim, which indicates that Elihu is content simply to repeat the substance of Job’s arguments.

“I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.

Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,

He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.

Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man” (Job 33:9-12).

The Babylonian Map of the World is a diagrammatic labeled depiction of the known world from the perspective of Babylonia.

The map is incised on a clay tablet, showing Babylon somewhat to the north of its center; the clay tablet is damaged, and also contains a section of cuneiform text.

It is usually dated to the 5th century B.C.

It was discovered at Sippar, southern Iraq, 60 miles (97 km) north of Babylon on the east bank of the Euphrates River, and published in 1899.

The clay tablet resides at the British Museum (BM 92687).

It is conjectured that the island locations, though possibly referring to real areas, may also represent a mythological interpretation of the world.

Description of the mapped areas

The map is circular with two outer defined circles.

Cuneiform script labels all locations inside the circular map, as well as a few regions outside.

The two outer circles represent water in between and is labelled as “‘river’ of ‘bitter’ water”, the salt sea.

Babylon is in the center of the map; parallel lines at the bottom seem to represent the southern marshes, and a curved line coming from the north, northeast appear to represent the Zagros Mountains.

There are seven small interior circles at the perimeter areas within the circle, and they appear to represent seven cities.

Seven triangular sections on the external circle (water perimeter), represent named islands, but the damaged clay tablet has lost the three islands on the tablet’s lower edge.

thou art not just – Elihu feels that Job needs to be corrected.  Certainly Job’s perception of God as his enemy is wrong, but Elihu is also offended by what he considers Job’s claim to purity.

Job, however, had never claimed to be clean without transgression, though some of his words were also understood that way by Eliphaz.  Job admits being a sinner (7:21; 13:26) but disclaims the outrageous sins for which he things he’s being punished.

His complaints about God’s silence are also an offense to Elihu.  But he imputes to Job the blanket statement that God never speaks to man, whereas Job’s point is that God is silent in his present experience.

Valley of Hinnom (or Gehenna), c. 1900.
The former site of child-sacrifice and a dumping-ground for the bodies of executed criminals, Jeremiah prophesied that it would become a “valley of slaughter” and burial place; in later literature it thus became identified with a new idea of Hell as a place where the wicked would be punished.

“Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.

For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.

In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;

Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,

That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man” (Job 33:13-17).

withdraw man from his purpose – God speaks to men in order to deter them from their sinful intentions.

“He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword” (Job 33:18).

from the pit…by the sword – Listening to God’s warnings will protect against an early death.

“He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain” (Job 33:19).

He is chastened also with pain upon his bed – Dreams and visions are not the only ways that God speaks.  He can talk to us in ways we don’t perceive (v 14).  Elihu rightly states that God speaks to man in order to turn him from sin.  But he overlooks Job’s reason for wanting an audience with God: to find out what sins he is being accused of.

The Babylonian Theodicy is a lengthy dialogue between two learned men, the “Sufferer” and the “Friend,” taking the form of an acrostic poem divided into 27 stanzas.

Each stanza is exactly 11 lines long and represents a speech by one of the two speakers mainly on social injustice and piety, those of the Sufferer alternating with counterarguments of the Friend.

The text unquestionably is a literary masterpiece and, as one of the most important pieces of Mesopotamian wisdom literature, a must for every aspiring Assyriologist.

Because of its many affinities with the biblical book of Job, it also is of obvious interest to biblical scholars, theologians, and students of Ancient Near Eastern religions.

“So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.

His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.

Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers” (Job 33:20-22).

The Babylonian Theodicy

An Akkadian text from approximately 1000 B.C. has striking similarities to the book of Job.  Commonly called the “Babylonian Theodicy,” it is a dialogue between a sufferer and his friend.  In this text a hurting individual bemoans his fate and the treatment he has received at the hands of the gods.

Like Job, he had been generous and devout, but now he is driven about in destitution, like a beggar (see Job 30:1-11).  He complains that the wicked strut around, secure in their wealth (see Job 21:1-21).

A friend responds that the sufferer doesn’t fully understand the ways of the gods.  He doesn’t accuse the man of grievous sin in the manner of Job’s friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (e.g., Job 22:4-5).

However, in much the same vein as Eilhu in Job 33, he concedes that the ways of the gods are mysterious.

The Babylonian Theodicy doesn’t wrestle with questions of God and evil as profoundly as does the book of Job, but it does demonstrate again that this kind of literature had parallels elsewhere in the ancient Near East.

The date of the Babylonian Theodicy isn’t far removed from the golden age of wisdom under Solomon (latter tenth century B.C.), and the similarities in genre suggest that Job may have been written at about the same time.

 

Elihu Declares His Opinion, Part 1 of 5 & Uzziah, King of Judah, and Jeroboam II, King of Israel

It appears that all has been said and done, and now Job just has to wait for the jury to complete the deliberation, which is You of course.  Is that correct, or is something else going to occur?

Elihu Declares His Opinion
Part 1 of 5

Jeroboam II was the son and successor of Jehoash, (alternatively spelled Joash), and the fourteenth king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, over which he ruled for forty-one years.

His reign was contemporary with those of Amaziah (2 Kgs 14:23) and Uzziah (15:1), kings of Judah.

History
William F. Albright has dated his reign to 786 B.C. – 746 BC, while E. R. Thiele says he was coregent with Jehoash 793 B.C. to 782 B.C. and sole ruler 782 B.C. to 753 B.C.

He was victorious over the Syrians (2 Kgs 14:26, 27), conquered Damascus (14:28), and extended Israel to its former limits, from “the entering of Hamath to the sea of the plain”.

In 1910, G. A. Reisner found sixty-three inscribed potsherds while excavating the royal palace at Samaria, which were later dated to the reign of Jeroboam II and mention regnal years extending from the ninth to the 17th of his reign.

These ostraca, while unremarkable in themselves, contain valuable information about the script, language, religion and administrative system of the period.

Archaeological evidence confirms the biblical account of his reign as the most prosperous that Israel had yet known.

By the late 8th century B.C. the territory of Israel was the most densely settled in the entire Levant, with a population of about 350,000.

This prosperity was built on trade in olive oil, wine, and possibly horses, with Egypt and especially Assyria providing the markets.

According to the prophet Amos, the triumphs of the king had engendered a haughty spirit of boastful overconfidence at home (Amos 6:13).

Oppression and exploitation of the poor by the mighty, luxury in palaces of unheard-of splendor, and a craving for amusement were some of the internal fruits of these external triumphs.

Under Jeroboam II, HaShem was worshiped at Dan and Beth-el and at other old Israelitish shrines, but through actual images, such as the golden calf.

These services at Dan and Beth-el, at Gilgal and Beer-sheba, were of a nature to arouse the indignation of the prophets, and the foreign cults (Amos 5), both numerous and degrading, contributed still further to arousing of the prophetic spirit.

Jeroboam’s reign was the period of the prophets Hosea, Joel, Jonah and Amos, all of whom condemned the materialism and selfishness of the Israelite elite of their day:

“Woe unto those who lie upon beds of ivory…eat lambs from the flock and calves…[and] sing idle songs…”

The book of Kings, written a century later condemns Jeroboam for doing “evil in the eyes of the Lord”, meaning both the oppression of the poor and his continuing support of the cult centers of Dan and Bethel, in opposition to the temple in Jerusalem.

A fourth counselor, named Elihu and younger than the other three, has been standing on the sidelines, giving deference to age and listening to the dialogue-dispute. 

But now he declares himself ready to show that both Job and the three other counselors are in the wrong.  Elihu’s four poetic speeches (32:5-33; ch 34; ch 35; chs 36-37) are preceded by a prose introduction (32:1-4) written by the author of the book.

“So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes” (Job 32:1).

righteous in his own eyes – He insisted on his  innocence in spite of the terrible suffering that he was experiencing.

“Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.

Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job” (Job 32:2-3).

wrath – Elihu considers Job’s emphasis on vindicating himself rather than God reprehensible, but he also believes that the friends’ inability to refute Job was tantamount to condemning God.  Elihu felt compelled to speak up for two reasons:

(1) Job justified himself and

(2) his friends had no answer.  Neither had properly understood what was really at stake in this discussion.

The golden calf shrine in Dan.
This is the shrine set up when Jeroboam set up a golden calf in Bethel and Dan.

The calf stood on the platform in the middle.

To the left you can see an outline showing where the altar sat.

“Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.

When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.

And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.

I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.

But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.

Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.

Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.

Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:

Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.

Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches” (Job 32:4-14).

Neither will I answer him with your speeches – Elihu feels that something important has been left out and where the wisdom of age has failed, he has the understanding to supply the right answers.

“They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.

When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)

I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.

For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.

Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.

I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.

Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.

For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away” (Job 32:15-22).

 

Elihu delivers a soliloquy to himself, but it is also for the benefit of those who may be listening.

Uzziah (meaning “Yahweh is my strength”), also known as Azariah, was a king of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, and one of Amaziah’s sons, whom the people appointed to replace his father; (2 Chr 26:1).

(According to James F. Drsicoll, the second form of his name most likely results from a copyist’s error.)

He is one of the kings mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.

Uzziah was sixteen when he became king of Judah and reigned for fifty-two years.

William F. Albright has dated his reign to 783–742 B.C.

Edwin R. Thiele’s chronology has Uzziah becoming coregent with his father Amaziah in 792/791 B.C.

Uzziah, King of Judah, and
Jeroboam II, King of Israel

Uzziah, called Azariah in 2 Kgs 14:21 and 15:1 -7, ruled Judah for 52 years, from approximately 792 to 740 B.C.

He “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kgs 15:3), and God blessed him both militarily and economically. Uzziah’s name appears on two seals of unknown origin and in a later inscription.

The seals read, respec­tively, “Belonging to Abiah Servant of Uzziah”  and “Belonging to Shebaniah Servant of Uzziah.” The inscription, also of unknown ori­gin, states, “Hither were brought the bones of Uzziah king of Judah—do not open!”

Jeroboam II was a contemporary of Uzziah, ruling the northern kingdom for some 41 years, from around 793 to 753 B.C. His career is summarized in just seven verses in 2 Kgs 14:23-29.

There is only one known reference to Jeroboam II outside the Bible— the famous  “Shema Seal,” found in excava­tions at Megiddo in 1904. It was sent to the Turkish Sultan in Istanbul and unfortunately lost.

Magical ceremonies
Archaeologists think that the sun stones, field stones and plant stones were used in a magical ceremony to bring a blessing of good weather to particular crops or particular pieces of land.

Most of the stones have been broken, which may be the result of ceremonially destroying the stones at the end of the ceremony, to seal the magical ceremony by consigning the symbols to the spirit world.

Before it was sent, how­ever, a bronze cast was made. Now on display at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem, it depicts a roaring lion along with the owner’s name, “Belonging to Shema,” and title, “Ser­vant of Jeroboam.”

The style of the lettering dates the seal to the early eighth century B.C. This is the earliest of a number of seals and seal impressions bearing the names of Bibli­cal figures.