Satan and Job Again & The Kirta Epic

Four HandsWow!  Sorry, but I have to say that’s pretty brutal of You to sick the devil on Job.  I mean, You knew he would do that, is there a 1 reason behind this?

1. The Sons of God Saw the Daughters of Men That They Were Fair by Daniel Chester French
The Sons of God Saw the Daughters of Men That They Were Fair, by Daniel Chester French
“When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive.

And they took as their wives any they chose.
Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them.

These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:1-5).

There are several competing theories on this admittedly peculiar text, a few of them fantastic, at least one of them rather pedestrian, ordinary.

Some suggest, for instance, that what is happening here is that angels, typically fallen angels or demons, are intermarrying with human women.

My position is the far more pedestrian one, but one that carries with it an important lesson.

First, why I reject this more fantastic view. Angels, whether fallen or not, and though I am happy to concede they can appear in human form, are spirit beings.

They have no bodies. Most of the time most of us remember this, though here some seem to forget.

Because angels are spirit beings they are not equipped to consummate a marriage and to sire offspring.

Demons can do all sorts of shocking and even frightening things. This, however, is not one of them.

They can’t bring forth giants because they simply can’t bring forth.

When we consider the context of this text we can better understand what Moses is explaining. In previous chapters we are given a glimpse of two competing lines, the godly line of Seth and the wicked line of Cain.

Having established the antithesis in the garden, after affirming that there would be a constant struggle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent we are given snapshot pictures of each of these armies.

We see Seth’s line about the business of exercising dominion, in submission to the Lord.

We see Cain’s line dishonoring the law of God and making names for themselves. But the future is not mere co-existence between the two lines. The drama builds toward the great crisis of Noah’s flood right here in chapter 6.

The great change, what creates the great downward spiral of humanity on the earth is that the two lines come together as one.

That is, the godly line of Seth, the sons of God, seeing how attractive are the daughters of men, the wicked line of Cain, decide to take them as wives. The end result, however, isn’t mere dilution.

It’s not that the now joined line becomes morally lukewarm, but that evil spreads, grows, deepens.

This shouldn’t surprise as for as Chuck Swindoll reminds us, if you drop a white glove in the mud, the mud doesn’t get all glovey.

What we see is salt losing its savor. We see what becomes of intermarrying not with a different race, but a different covenant, or a different faith.

What we see is what happens when we are unequally yoked.

Nothing, of course, has changed. When the children of God find the world attractive, when we determine to yoke ourselves to it, calamity comes.

The world does not get any better, but the church, no longer a light on the hill, becomes much worse, and darkness falls upon the land.

We are no longer useful for anything and find ourselves trampled upon the ground.

“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.

And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.

But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.

So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:1-13).

1 What God did to Job is the same thing He did to Abraham when he told him to sacrifice Isaac.  He was testing Job, and it may seem unfair and unloving, but actually it’s a blessing for God to test you.

“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

2. The Epic of Keret
The Epic of Keret
Kirta is a legendary Hurrian king.

He is thought to have founded the dynasty of Mitanni, but no contemporary inscriptions from his time are known to exist. He may have lived around 1500 B.C.

The Epic of Keret or “Legend of Keret” from the clay tablets of Ugarit tells the story of the near-extinction of the royal house of Keret.

All of his children died and his wife “departed.” In a dream, the creator god, El, instructs him to appeal for help from the rain god, Baal, and then launch an expedition to find a new wife.

He journeys and on the way comes to the shrine of the mother goddess Asherah.

He promises to give the goddess an offering of a golden statue if he finds a wife.

Kirta finds a wife and has several children, but forgets his promise to Asherah.

Asherah punishes Kirta with a debilitating illness, but El once again comes to the rescue.

His other children are happy to have him back on the throne, but his eldest son, Yassib, had gained popularity while Kirta was ill and attempts to overtake the throne.

Kirta curses Yassib, and there the text ends.

The Ugaritic language, spoken and written on the coast of Syria during the Late Bronze Age, provides modern scholarship with one of the best available windows into the world of ancient Northwest Semitic culture outside of the Hebrew Bible.

Since the religious and literary texts preserved in Ugaritic deal, among other things, with the god Baal and his heroic exploits, they provide insight into the mythological ideas of Northwest Semitic cultural spheres other than the Israelite one(s).

They have also proven some of the most important comparative evidence for analyzing the literary and linguistic structures of the Old Testament.

The modern study of the Ugaritic language began after the rediscovery of the ancient city state of Ugarit in 1928 and has been highly important for comparative Semitic philology.

Ugaritic was written on clay tablets in an innovative combination of alphabetic writing and cuneiform that was perfectly suited for the language.ilology and contemporary transcriptions into other languages (mainly Akkadian).

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” (Heb 12:6-12).

The Kirta Epic

In 1930 Excavators at Ras Shamra discovered the fragments of an epic poem among the writings of Ugarit.

The text, called Kirta (or Keret) after the name of its hero, is sometimes compared to the story of Job or to that of David.

There are similarities, but we are wise to exercise caution not to make too much of these correlations.

The poem depicts Kirta as a king who loses all of his wives and children to various disasters.

He weeps bitterly, but in a dream the God El tells him what to do: He must make a sacrifice to El and then lead his army in an assault on the city of Udmu.

He complies, with the result that Paul, king of Udmu, submits to Kirta and allows him to take his daughter Hurraya as his wife.

Hurraya bears Kirta many children, after which he falls seriously ill, apparently because of a failure to keep a vow to the goddess Ashera.

Hurraya proceeds to prepare a banquet to mourn her husband’s grave condition, and his son lluhau and daughter Thitmanatu especially grieve the prospect of his death.

El then fashions a female healer, who re­stores Kirta’s health. After this, however, another of Kirta’s sons, Yassubu, declares that Kirta is no longer fit to reign and asks him to abdicate so that he, Yassubu, may take his place.

The tale ends somewhat inconclu­sively, with Kirta cursing Yassubu.

The Epic of Kirta at least superficially recalls the story of Job: It portrays a hero who loses his children (Job 1) and his health (ch. 2) but who also moves toward restora­tion (ch. 42).

And the rebellion of Yassubu recalls Absalom’s attempt to usurp the throne (2 Sam 15-18) in the story of David.

Even so, the difference between Kirta and the Biblical narratives are enormous, and we can hardly suggest that either Scriptural account may have been derived from Kirta.

Even the similarities are apparently coincidental: The account of Absalom’s rebellion, for example, has nothing in common with that of Yassubu beyond the fact that both concern a son who desires to overthrow his father (hardly an unusual theme in ancient monarchical societies).

While Kirta is a pagan tale of myth and magic that follows the ups and downs in the career of its hero, the Bib­lical texts focus on the repercussions of human behavior and the theological prob­lem of evil.

Job in particular wrestles with the questions of justice, suffering and divine involvement in the world on a profound level, while Kirta does none of this.

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