Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Book Of Job

... was the straw that broke the camel's back, causing me to quit reading the Old Testament.

Having said that, it had some interesting things to say. Up to that point, the rule of thumb was that if you were a righteous man, God would pay off with good fortune. When a king was upright and moral, his troops won battles. When he was a pig, his troops lost. Not much was said about the troops who died in combat and their widows, but, hey, we're talking about the kings here, OK?

Job is the answer to the question, Why do bad things happen to good people? It takes five dudes to hash this out. Job, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, Zophar the Naamathite and Elihu the Dude What's Got the Answers.

The scene starts with Job knocking back cheap whisky because his life has gone to pieces despite having been righteous and good and moral and returning all of his library books on time. Eliphaz shows up with a case of Pabst, Bildad with a pair of fifths of Seagrams and Zophar with a loaf of bread. The other three then ask Zophar, "What are we going to do with all that food?"

The four of them proceed to complain about their wives, kids, jobs and the Cleveland Browns. "Why do bad things happen to good people?" they ask. Bildad maintains that the people of Cleveland suck and they deserve it. Eliphaz says the people of Detroit suck worse, yet the Lions have had some decent seasons lately. Job starts talking about the Cavaliers and King James, but has a coughing fit and no one can understand him. Zophar stuffs his mouth full of bread in a fit of pique.

Elihu then shows up, ticked off because he thought the party started at 7 instead of 6 and by now most of the booze is gone. He kicks the dog and then goes on a rant about how no one can understand the ways of God because he's all-powerful and does amazing things we can't explain like oceans, wind and Michael Jordan. "Give it up, you guys. You'll never understand it. And Job, would it kill you to have some orange juice in this dump? I brought a bottle of vodka and there's nothing to mix it with."

"You ended your schentensche wif a preposchistion, you loser. No juische for you," replies Job who then falls off his chair onto the floor.

Or it went something like that. I have to admit I was tuning in and out as the thing droned on and on and on. In any case, that was the conclusion: How the heck should we know why bad things happen to good people? It's all way too hard to understand, kind of like algebraic topology.

So now you don't have to read the beastly thing. You're welcome.


Jedi Master Ivyan said...

Job is a tough slog. I've never made it through.

Ilíon said...

I can't even imagine how much worse Job is as something else is reading *to* you.

Anonymous said...

Job is one of my favorites. The beginning and the end were tacked on at later dates to make it a little less, uh, potentially problematic. God comes off terribly callous.

Archibald Macliesh write a play, J.B., based on Job.

K T Cat said...

Anon, I know several people who like Job. Maybe it just came at the end of hours and hours of tedium for me. Or maybe I'm just shallow.


Anonymous said...

Same Anon here again: My favorites, in no particular order are: Genesis, Exodus, 1&2 Samuel, Esther, Job, Psalms, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Judges.

Judges, Exodus, and 1&2 Samuel have some great story lines. Job reads like a play. One theory is that Song of Songs may have been a play -- three characters (king, woman, her love) and a chorus (the king's women,) so it reads like a play, too. Ecclesiastes is wonderfully cynical. ANd Esther is another good story.

Daniel is also pretty good reads.

K T Cat said...

Anon, I think if I was reading it instead of listening, it would have fared much better.

Ilíon said...

^ That's what I meant above. Due to the way it's written, Job is "a tough slog" to read; listening to it has got to be even worse.