Creation Proclaiming Knowledge about God: Animals and Ironical Critique in Job 12:7–10
Festschrift for Willie van Heerden
Keywords:Job 12: 7–10, animals, knowledge about God, creation, irony, parody
According to Job 12:7–10, the friends of Job should realise that creation can communicate what “the hand of God has done”: animals and the earth can teach or instruct; the birds of the air can tell you and the fish of the sea can inform you. The question remains: what do these animals, birds, and fishes communicate to the friends of Job and readers of the book of Job? It is argued that verses 7–9 are framed by ambiguous references to the “hand of God/YHWH” in verses 6 and 10: creation can either affirm the reassuring presuppositions of the friends that there is order in creation and that God is just or it can point out that creation presents many examples of how an unjust God is reflected in a disorderly creation—from personal experience in verses 4–6 and from creation in general from verses 11–25. It is also pointed out that there are no nominal or verbless clauses in verses 7–9 and that numerous examples of nominal and verbless clauses are found in the preceding and subsequent sections of Job 12. This provides a further indication that 12:7–9 might be a sapiential quotation that seems to affirm the presuppositions of the friends but is now used by the author of Job to counter these presuppositions by means of ironical critique.
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