In the previous chapter, Job recounted the days before his tragedies when he not only was respected, but had the ability to help those in need. Chapter 30, on the other hand, begins with “but now…,” as he enumerates many of the ways his life has changed for the worse.
Now the losses that Job refers to involve his relationship with God, as well as the relationships he longs to have back with his fellow-man. Once again, Job’s character shines through his suffering and his mourning. Indeed, verses 9 and 16 begin recounting more of these reversals in fortune with “and now…” and “but now,” with verses 16-17 demonstrating some of the chapter’s most poetic, if pathetic, verses:
“And now my soul is poured out within me;
days of affliction have taken hold of me.
The night racks my bones,
and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest”
Verses 1-9 describe the lot of those who refused to work and were too proud too beg. This left them scrounging in the desert for sustenance, shunned by society. Even these looked at Job in disdain. But verse 24 demonstrates his deepest despair, as Job mourns his perceived loss of relationship with God: “Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand, and in his disaster cry for help?” Job retains his love for God, though he believes that the Lord has abandoned him.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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