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The Bible In A Year: Day 53

Numbers 8
Job 11-14
Psalm 50

Just as the sons of Aaron were consecrated and ordained to the priesthood, the men of the whole tribe of Levi are consecrated and ordained to service in the tabernacle. This order of ordination is similar in many ways to the diaconate that we have today. Even down to the fact that all priests were Levites, but not all of the Levites are priests. And today all priests are first ordained as deacons, but not all deacons become priests.

Job 11-14

Now it’s Zophar’s turn to try and take a crack at why all this has happened. He’s the sharpest critic of Job’s claim to be not guilty of some hidden and serious sin. He goes too far in accusing Job and claims he mocked God and that he claimed to be completely pure. Job has never claimed to be perfect, but he has made the case that so much calamity would have to be the punishment for a major offense, not some petty sin, and of that category he claims to be completely unaware of anything he’s done.

He advises Job to stop asking God for a reason, because his sin may be a lot bigger than they even imagine and God may increase his punishments. Essentially he’s telling Job to let sleeping dogs lay, as the saying goes.

By this point Job is very frustrated with his friends, especially with their doubting his claims of innocence. He is just as well versed in conventional wisdom as them and probably of a similar age. Job calls them worthless physicians because they’ve told him things he already knows, but have failed to diagnose root of what’s happening.

He insists that he would like to try his case before God because he’d rather risk his life in being slain by almighty God than to go on living without knowing why this is happening. Job finishes his response by mentioning the “iniquities” of his youth, showing that he doesn’t consider himself absolutely pure, but only innocent of transgressions that he hasn’t made atonement for. He regularly sacrificed for himself and his children, thus seeking forgiveness for things he had done, but here he is completely at a loss because he has no known sin.

Youth is commonly unsteady with respect to sin. Unlike the innocence of childhood and the prudence of old age, youth is weak in strength, scornful of counsel, and vulnerable to the seduction of pleasures. It is a heedless season of life when the passion of the flesh is inflamed.

Saint Ambrose

In chapter 14 Job explores the frailty of humanity and how short our days are. He theorizes about a possible resurrection from the dead, and perhaps wishes to go that route as a kind of restart of his life, but then he shoots down his own idea because he feels it’s unlikely. We have to remember that Job is set long before the days of Moses, when God revealed much of himself to Israel, its set either in the age of the patriarchs or even earlier. So divine revelation is almost nonexistent and complex ideas like afterlife and salvation are completely speculative. So considering that, and his state of mind, it’s no wonder that Job is pessimistic about a possible resurrection from the grave.

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Numbers 9
Job 15-17
Psalm 51
Mark 12:1-12

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