Last week (on Wednesday) I posted Job I - Job's First Speech and was pretty excited to do so as I thought it turned out pretty OK. Later that evening, I flew to Florida in order to visit some family. Interestingly, this was the first time in nearly forty years that my parents, my sisters and I were in the SAME state at the same time.
Anyway, last Thursday and Friday was taken up with visiting and no writing took place. Friday night, I couldn't stand it any longer (not writing) and looked at the first few verses of Job 4 to get a feel for things. Like, what sort of rhyming scheme would be the best fit. I wrote down a couple of lines and set the alarm for 5a.
Saturday was a travel day, so I got up at 5a and was able to write 3 solid verses before I left my sister's place. I had a 3-hour drive to see my Dad in southern Florida and was ahead of schedule, so I pulled into a Rest Area on I-95 for an hour and wrote another 3 verses.
Between Sunday and Wednesday, the rest of the verses were written. Some fast and some slow. I'm currently going thru a period of really enjoying the writing process and am wishing I was retired already so that I could write all day long! As it is, I'm writing early and late and anytime I can find in between and its a little overwhelming.
Part of me wants to jump out of Job and move on, but another part wants to keep going to see what happens next. I have no schedule to keep as I am reading thru the Bible, so if I spend the next year stuck in Job — that's alright with me.
When I started thinking about these "Job" poems, I wasn't planning on re-writing every verse into poetry. I anticipated that it would be some highlighted verses in the chapters; the more familiar ones or the ones that really grabbed me. After all, I didn't do that for the first one, Job I - Job's First Speech. There were a few verses that I didn't pick up.
In this one, I realized that I couldn't decide what NOT to use. So, going forward — as long as I'm able to do so — I would anticipate proceeding verse by verse. Which really makes me think about re-doing the first one.
Another thing: in several of my blogs I've included corresponding scripture along with my poems to "show" you the parallels between my writing and the Bible passages. I've decided not to do that for Job and possibly no more — period. It seems like its a little overkill sometimes — and especially with a project like this where most of Job will be set to rhyme.
I've listed the references I'm using and I would hope that if you read a line that I've written and you think — Hmmm, I don't remember the Bible saying anything like that! — then you would open up your Bible and take a look for yourself.
My prayer is that your interest might be piqued enough to take another look at Job and to see it in a new light. I can tell you, I'm seeing Job in a very different light as I write these verses.
Eliphaz's First Response to Job
Based on Job 4-5
Will you find my words too distressing?
Regardless — I really must speak.
For you've been to many a blessing,
and strengthened the hands of the weak.
Your words have upheld those who've stumbled;
encouraged the frail and afraid.
But, now that your world has crumbled,
you're troubled and greatly dismayed.
But have you not feared God and cherished
your hope and your blameless of ways?
Have innocent lives ever perished?
Or righteous lives shortened of days?
I've noticed that those who sow trouble
are those who will harvest the same.
God's breath can turn all things to rubble,
consumed by the blast of his flame.
The lion who's roaring has spoken,
the fierce lion growls as he may;
but teeth of the young cubs lay broken,
while older ones die without prey.
A secret was whispered in silence,
for into my dreams did it creep;
devolving those dreams into violence
when men should be deep in their sleep;
the dread made me tremble and fear it —
my bones rattled once and again.
A breath brushed my face like a spirit,
and all of my hair stood on end.
It stood there before me — this being,
as formless and strange as could be.
Still shocked at the sight I was seeing,
it suddenly whispered to me:
Can man be more righteous and fervent?
Is anyone purer than God?
If God doesn't trust his own servant,
nor messenger he sends abroad,
how much more for those who are living
in houses built simply of dust;
their own fragile frames less forgiving
than moths who are easily crushed!
Announcing, Hello, in the morning;
by evening, unnoticed, Goodbye.
Their tent cords pulled up without warning,
without any wisdom they die.
Cry out, but will anyone answer?
For which of your saints could explain?
Resentment will kill fools like cancer;
from envy the simple are slain.
I've seen a fool's stock start ascending,
when, quickly, his house has been cursed.
His children — in court — need defending,
but none get the ruling reversed.
The hungry consume what he's planted,
though guarded with brambles and stealth.
The thirsty have endlessly panted
and coveted after his wealth.
Affliction springs not from the soil;
from earth, neither trouble nor pain.
Man's born to a lifetime of toil
as surely as sparks from the flame.
For me, I'd appeal to God's wonder
and place my concerns in his hand;
his marvelous deeds without number,
and greatness we can't understand.
He waters the world's four corners,
sends water down into the field.
He lifts the disgraced and the mourners
and covers their pain with his shield.
He frustrates the plots of the scheming,
defeating the work of their hands.
He catches the wise in their dreaming,
while quickly destroying their plans.
Their days will be dark and they'll stagger,
like groping as midnight — at noon.
He rescues the poor from the dagger:
the slander the mighty impugn.
There's hope for the poor and neglected;
when jaws of injustice are barred.
How blessed are those God's corrected;
endeavor when he makes life hard.
He wounds, still his arms can surround you;
he strikes, yet his hands make you whole.
Six hardships, but none will confound you;
in seven, he'll safeguard your soul.
In famine, he'll keep you from dying;
in battle, the tip of the spear.
He'll hide you from tongues that are lying;
when facing destruction, no fear.
You'll snicker at drought and disaster;
of beasts in the wild, unafraid.
Communing with stones in the pasture
and animals, peace will be made.
Your tent will be solid and steady,
possessions will be safe and sound.
Your offspring — you know will be many,
descendants like grass on the ground.
You'll come to your graveside full-seasoned,
as ripe as the harvested sheave.
For, these are the facts and well-reasoned.
So, listen to me and believe.