In this passage, Job seems to suggest that Gods severity on human beings is unjustified. He asserts over and over again that he is innocent and free of sin and challenge’s God’s decision to make him suffer. He questions God and even accuses him of torturing him, irrespective of whether he is virtuous or evil: “Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me” (King James Bible. Job. 8.17).
This passage works both integrally in the Old Testament narrative of The Book of Job; as well as a standalone piece. This is because it falls within the dialogue between Job and his friends and is still a complete speech in itself. This particular passage is a distinct part of Job’s reply to Bildad, beginning from Chapter 9, where continues to assert his own innocence against the severity of God. Bildad had previously been appalled at Job’s suggestions and claimed that God does not reject a blameless man: “Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers” (Job. 8.20).
This is followed directly with Zophar the Naamathite’s speech, beginning from Chapter 11, which scolds and criticizes Job for attempting to understand God’s mysterious ways of working: “Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?” (Job. 11.7-8).
But the shift between speakers is not the only reason behind the autonomy of this passage. Chapter 8 is marked by a change in tone also. Job’s arguments get more fervent and demanding. He accuses God of unjustly punishing him, ignoring his friends and their cautious admonitions. Job goes as far as to wish death upon himself, asserting time and again that he would rather be dead than undergo such suffering.
Structurally, The Book of Job has a “poetic core surrounded by a prose ...
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