‘Behold Now Behemoth’

What was the powerful beast God showed Job? And what was its point? /

I don't understand the Behemoth.

I suppose that's largely the point. "Can one take him by his eyes, or pierce his nose with a snare?" God asks Job (40:24, ESV).

Indeed, God's response to Job undermines Job's demands for more information. Job declares that he's righteous enough and has suffered enough for a divine explanation. God responds by essentially saying, "Look at all the cool animals! They're crazier than you think!"

The answer avoids the question, frustrating readers for millennia. But God consistently refuses to answer questions about the reasons for suffering, especially when people assume they don't "deserve" it. Did the Galileans whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices suffer because they were more sinful than other Galileans? No, says Jesus, but unless you repent, you'll perish too (Luke 13). Was the beggar blind from birth because he or his parents sinned? Neither, Jesus says, but I will heal him to display the works of God in him (John 9). Was Job bereaved because he sinned? No; who provides food for the raven? And this: "Behold, Behemoth."

What does that have to do with anything? More than we think at first glance.

"Pointless" Animals

The Behemoth would make a lousy therapy animal. When God places the Behemoth before Job, it's not to make him feel better about losing his property, family, and health. The Behemoth isn't a flannelgraph object lesson on "no pain, no gain." It seems completely unconnected to Job's repeated plea, "Haven't I been righteous?" The Behemoth just lies there: huge, intimidating, lumbering, grazing.

He (along with his similarly awesome, confusing ...

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Also in this Issue

Issue 1 / July 24, 2014
  1. Inconceivable Grace

    God’s remarkable response to our impossible situation. /

  2. Cranmer's Beautiful Moment

    The little-known, last-minute act of courage and faith. /

  3. Hitting a Major League Pitch

    Looking at the physics, you'd have to say it can't be done.

  4. Wonder on the Web

    Links to amazing stuff

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