I'm reading the Bible through again but art journaling and writing poetry inspired by what I'm reading. I'm also trying to do a close reading. Close reading, according to Duke Divinity School is:
A close reading involves a careful balance of argument and evidence, all centered rigorously on the text at hand. Like biblical exegesis, a close reading begins with a careful study of what the text actually says, word by word and line by line.
I think it also involves putting preconceived notions away for a while. For my reading, I do that. For my poetry, I sometimes borrow notions from other places. I did that today to delve into the symbolism of a tree that is cut down. Going through Job has me putting away the notion of the perfect Job and the imperfect friends. For now. We'll see what comes up as I travel through it. I hope you enjoy today's offering.
Trees facing the axe
New shoots will be born
Jesse's tree is cut
Roots are torn
Sheol holds us all
A Kelly Lune Duo (5-3-5 pattern)
Most of today's reading is Job ranting and raging. He says some odd things about God...
-You even write bitter things about me (13:26)
I don't know what was happening, but apparently, news was traveling fast. But most of all, the whole verse is this:
You even write bitter things about me
make me inherit my youthful indiscretions.
There is no appreciable difference to this verse across English translations. I read this and totally thought of Kavanaugh. Being made to account for his "youthful indiscretions." I wonder what Job was actually guilty of? He even goes on to say "You now number my steps and would not keep a record of my sin" (14:16) and "My rebellion is sealed in a bag" (14:17). OK. Didn't someone say Job was faultless? blameless? of high integrity? From Job's own lips, he is not.
Eliphaz cements this with "What are humans that they might be pure...and innocent?" (15:14)
Re-reading with fresh eyes, I'm not unconvinced that God isn't pulling a fast one on ha-Satan. He didn't give him a pure, righteous dude. He gave him a very human one. Full of foibles and faults.
Maybe a leadership lens might ask us to question the perfect. There is a phrase "Don't let the good be the enemy of the perfect." And it's true. A perfect person, perfect plan, perfect program ... they don't exist. Sometimes, you just have to do the best you can do.