9780060969592

The Book of Job

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780060969592

  • ISBN10:

    0060969598

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 5/27/2010
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

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Summary

The theme of The Book of Job is nothing less than human suffering and the transcendence of it: it pulses with moral energy, outrage, and spiritual insight. Now, The Book of Job has been rendered into English by the eminent translator and scholar Stephen Mitchell, whose versions of Rilke, Israeli poetry, and the Tao Te Ching have been widely praised. This is the first time ever that the Hebrew verse of Job has been translated into verse in any language, ancient or modern, and the result is a triumph.

Excerpts

The Book of Job

The Legend

Once upon a time, in the land of Uz, there was a man named Job. He was a man of perfect integrity, who feared God and avoided evil. He had seven sons and three daughters; seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred donkeys; and also many slaves. He was the richest man in the East.

Every year, his sons would hold a great banquet, in the house of each of them in turn, and they would invite their sisters to come feast with them. When the week of celebration was over, job would have them come to be purified; for he thought, "Perhaps my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts." Job did this every year.

One year, on the day when the angels come to testify before the Lord, the Accusing Angel came too.

The Lord said to the Accuser, "Where have you come from?"

The Accuser answered, "From walking here and there on the earth, and looking around."

The Lord said, "Did you notice my servant job? There is no one on earth like him: a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and avoids evil."

The Accuser said, "Doesn't job have a good reason for being so good? Haven't you put a hedge around him -- himself and his whole family and everything he has? You bless whatever he does, and the land is teeming with his cattle. But just reach out and strike everything he has, and I bet he'll curse you to your face."

The Lord said, "All right: everything he has is in your power. Just don't lay a hand on him."

Then the Accuser left.

That same day, as job's sons and daughters were feasting in the house of the eldest brother, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing and the Sabeans attacked and took them and killed the boys and only I escaped to tell you." Before he had finished speaking, another one came and said, "Lightning fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and boys and only I escaped to tell you." Before he had finished speaking, another one came and said, "Chaldeans attacked the camels and took them and killed the boys and only I escaped to tell you. " Before he had finished speaking, another one came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and a great wind came out of the desert and knocked down the walls of the house and it fell on them and they're dead and only I escaped to tell you."

Then job stood up. He tore his robe. He shaved his head. He lay down with his face in the dust. He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken; may the name of the Lord be blessed."

Once again, on the day when the angels come to testify before the Lord, the Accusing Angel came too.

The Lord said to the Accuser, "Where have you come from?"

The Accuser answered, "From walking here and there on the earth, and looking around. "

The Lord said, "Did you notice my servant job? There is no one on earth like him: a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and avoids evil. He is holding on to his innocence, even after you made me torment him for no reason. "

The Accuser said, "So what? A man will give up everything he has, to save his own skin. But just reach out and strike his flesh and bones, and I bet he'll curse you to your face."

The Lord said, "All right: he is in your power. Just don't kill him."

Then the Accuser left.

He covered job with boils, from his scalp to the soles of his feet. job took a piece of broken pottery to scratch himself with, and sat down in the dust.

His wife said to him, "How long will you go on clinging to your innocence? Curse God, and die."

Job said, "Foolish woman, have you lost your mind? We have accepted good fortune from God; surely we can accept bad fortune too."

Now job had three friends -- Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Namathite. When these friends heard of all the calamities that had come upon him, each of them left his own country to mourn with Job and to comfort him, They met at an appointed place and went on together. When they arrived and saw job from a distance, they could barely recognize him.

They cried out, and tore their clothing, and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat with him for seven days and seven nights. And no one said a word, for they saw how great his suffering was.

The Book of Job. Copyright © by Stephen A. Mitchell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from The Book of Job by Stephen Mitchell
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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