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February 11, 2011 – Job 10

Click here to read Job 10 on BibleGateway.com

It’s a funny thing for those of us who grew up in church, but we often don’t realize how racy the Bible can be. Those of us raised on the good ole James the King version were shielded from the more scandalous aspects of the Bible thanks to the modesty of the translators. However, these days we have access to interlinear versions and multiple paraphrases, so we get a more rounded, and more accurate, version of what the Bible actually says. In some cases, this can lead to some surprises in familiar passages.

So, let all who enter here be warned: today’s lesson is a little on the graphic side, so read at your own risk.

In chapter 10, Job is responding to Bildad, and he seems to be getting increasingly roiled up as he speaks. He says that he will “give free rein” to his feelings and his complaining. He’s apparently been holding back, but Bildad’s stinging accusations spur him to respond in kind. In particular, Job is asking what kind of God would create him just to torture him like this. He says in verse 3 “does it please You to oppress me…while You smile on the works of the wicked?” Many of us have asked the same thing when we feel like everything is working out for everybody else, especially those who have wronged us.

DAIRY ED CLASS

In verse 10, the passage that we’ll highlight today, Job says “did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese?” Now, when we first read this, we may just bypass it as a strange saying of the ancient Near East. What does Job mean he’s been curdled like cheese?

However, if we turn to our handy-dandy Message Bible (available on Biblegateway.com at the link above), we read a different translation: “Oh, that marvel of conception as you stirred together semen and ovum – what a miracle of skin and bone, muscle and brain!” This is actually what Job is getting at. Milk and curdled cheese are the (slightly disturbing) euphemisms that he uses to describe the procreative act, and he is saying God was there at the very act of his conception; why then did He wait till this moment to start torturing him with this suffering? Seen in the context, this verse makes a lot more sense, though it may cause us to blush a little more.

ISN’T THIS A HOLY BOOK?

As we’ve said before, the Bible is nothing if not real, and today’s passage highlights how surprisingly real and graphic it can be sometimes. However, the real story is that Job is venting more and more of his frustration, and as we go through Job we’ll see how his restraint breaks down even more over the course of his conversations with his “friends.”  Showing the rawness of human emotion is what Job’s all about.

How much more real can we get?

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