Friday, December 10, 2021

Advent readings 2021 : Day 13


In which the exiles cry out for mercy


Genesis 4:25-26

And Adam again knew his wife and she bore a son and called his name Seth, as to say, “God has granted me other seed in place of Abel, for Cain has killed him. As for Seth, to him, too, a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. It was then that the name of the LORD was first invoked.


Job 42:7, 8

And it happened after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath has flared against you and your two companions because you have not spoken rightly of Me as did My servant Job. And now, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams and go to My servant Job, and offer a burnt offering for yourselves, and Job My servant will pray on your behalf. To him only I shall show favor, not to do a vile thing to you, for you have not spoken rightly of Me as did my servant Job.”


In place of Abel, Seth, a new seed. An exiled community brought home, in order that they might invoke the name of the LORD, rebuild the Temple as a house of prayer for all nations.

Job’s companions are companions, not enemies. And yet they bristle at the tenacity with which he insists on his place before the LORD. In the end, that place is to stand and intercede, not on Job’s own behalf but on behalf of those very companions who have not spoken rightly. Here, again, we see the relationship between the exiles, here represented by Job the righteous man from whom everything has been taken, and the surrounding nations, represented by Job’s companions. Enmity between them is absent, but empathy becomes stretched.

Advent is that renewed call to empathy towards others, that returns our heart to pray for them. For whom will you pray today?


Biblical texts: Robert Alter, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary


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