“If I have rejected the cause
Of my male or female slaves,
When they brought a complaint against me,
What then shall I do when God rises up?
When he makes inquiry?
What shall I answer him?
Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
Did not one fashion us in the womb?”
In an odd sort of way, Job maintained that he was respectful to his male and female slaves. There never was a question of the right or wrong of slavery itself. This is about the idea, that slave or free persons, they were all God’s children. One should be a benevolent slave owner. Even in the height of American segregation in the USA in the 1960s, people like George Wallace always maintained that the Negro was a child of God, just a different kind of child. Did Job listen to his slave complaints? He said that God could look into it and find that he tried his best. He treated them like fellow humans who came from the womb like himself.
“If it is well told and to the point, that is what I myself desired. If it is poorly done and mediocre, that was the best I could do. Just as it is harmful to drink wine alone or to drink water alone, but wine mixed with water is sweet and delicious. It enhances one’s enjoyment. So also I hope the style of this story delights the ears of those who read the work. Here will be the end.”
This biblical author is somewhat apologetic for not writing a better book. This was rare and even rarer today. If you like it fine, but otherwise it was the best that I could do, a rare hint of humility. It was the custom to read aloud even when reading alone because so few people had books anyway. Thus the hearing of the story is so important. The illusion to wine and water may be an attempt to speak about the Greek language of his work. Despite the opposition to Hellenization, the book was written not in Hebrew, but in Greek. Nevertheless, a little Hebrew water would add to the taste and enjoyment of all.
“We have heard of your wisdom and skill.
It is reported throughout the whole world
That you are the best in the whole kingdom,
The most informed,
The most astonishing in military strategy.”
Judith then turned to the general himself. She knew of his wisdom and skill. Everyone knew about it. He was the best in the whole kingdom. He was the most informed and the most astonishing military strategist. Flattery will get you everywhere.