Yahweh saves (Ps 34:19-34:22)

Resh   

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous.

However, Yahweh rescues them from all.

Shin   

He keeps all their bones.

Not one of them will be broken.

Tav     

Evil brings death to the wicked.

Those who hate the righteous

Will be condemned.

Vav     

Yahweh redeems the life of his servants.

None of those who take refuge in him

Will be condemned.”

The righteous ones are not without trouble and afflictions, but Yahweh saved them from all their troubles. He kept their bones from being broken. Death would fall upon the wicked. Those who hated the righteous would be condemned. Yahweh saved the lives of his servant. Anyone who took refuge in Yahweh would not be condemned, while those who hated the righteous will be condemned.

Job is condemned by his own language (Job 15:1-15:6)

“Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered.

‘Should the wise men answer with windy knowledge?

Should the wise men fill themselves with the east wind?

Should they argue in unprofitable talk?

Should they argue in words with which they can do no good?

But you are doing away with the fear of God.

You are hindering meditation before God.

Your iniquity teaches your mouth.

You choose the tongue of the crafty.

Your own mouth condemns you!

Not I!

Your own lips testify against you.’”

This is now a second round of discourses, like a work of the Greek philosopher Plato. This time Eliphaz began again by ripping into Job, claiming that Job should be condemned by his own words. Wise men do not answer with windy knowledge. This was an unprofitable east wind talk that does no good. Job was doing away with the fear of God, hindering mediation about God. There was iniquity in the mouth of Job with his crafty tongue. He was condemned by his own mouth and lips. This was very harsh about Job after his original kind words in the first discourse.

Job complains to God (Job 10:1-10:7)

“I loathe my life.

I will give free utterance to my complaint.

I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

I will say to God.

‘Do not condemn me.

Let me know why you contend against me.

Does it seem good to you to oppress?

Does it seem good to you to despise the work of your hands?

Does it seem good to you to favor the schemes of the wicked?

Do you have eyes of flesh?

Do you see as humans sees?

Are your days like the days of mortals?

Are your years like human years?

Do you seek out my iniquity?

Do you search for my sin?

You know that I am not guilty.

There is no one to deliver me out of your hand?’”

Once again, the depressed Job hated his life. He was going to complain from the bitterness of his soul. He did not want to be condemned. He wanted to know why God was against him. Why was he favoring the schemes of the wicked? Did not God have eyes to see? His days and years are not like humans. He could look into his heart since he knows all things. He knew his sins and iniquities, but who would deliver him from the hand of God?

The king searches for a new queen (Esth 2:1-2:5)

“After these things, the anger of King Artaxerxes abated. He remembered Queen Vashti. He remembered what she had done, and what had been decreed against her. Then the king’s servants said.

‘Let beautiful and virtuous girls be sought out for the king.

Let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom.

They shall select beautiful young virgins.

Let them be brought to the harem in Susa the capital.

Let them be entrusted to the king’s eunuch.

He is in charge of the women.

Let ointments be given them.

Let whatever else they need be given to them.

Let the woman who pleases the king

Let her be queen instead of Queen Vashti.’

This pleased the king. Thus he did so.”

Now we get to the practical problem. King Artaxerxes is no longer upset. He had condemned Queen Vashti, without saying what her punishment was. King Henry VIII of England started beheading his queens that he did not like. Nothing is mentioned here by way of punishment except that she will be dethroned. The king’s servants or advisors came up with an idea. Like Donald Trump, they would have a Miss Universe pageant. He appointed officers in all the provinces to select beautiful young women to send to the capital city of Susa. They would then be in the king’s harem, under the supervision of a eunuch, a castrated man. There they would be given perfume and whatever else they needed. Finally, the king would be a panel of one, like “The Bachelor” to decide who should take the place of Queen Vashti. The king as usual said that this was a good idea.