OUR STUDY of the Bible continues as we conclude the Book of Job this morning. Talk about your big finish — Yahweh Himself appears to rebuke Job and his three friends, and we get a fascinating description of two creatures usually identified by commentators as the hippopotamus and the crocodile, but we disagree.
The descriptions of Behemoth and Leviathan do not adequately fit hippos and crocs. Behemoth, with its tail like a cedar tree, sounds more like a sauropod than anything else. And Leviathan, “king over all the sons of pride”, is more likely, in our view, none other than Helel ben Shachar, “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world”.
After Yahweh makes clear to Job that it is not the place of humans to question His ways, Job repents and is forgiven. Yahweh then commands the three friends of Job to offer sacrifices and to ask Job to pray on their behalf. The story of Job concludes with his fortunes not only restored but magnified by Yahweh, and Job lives out his days in peace and surrounded by his family.
Artist’s depiction of the “Tower of Babel” – the temple of Enki at Eridu
WE CONTINUE our study of the Book of Genesis, picking up in chapter 10, the Table of Nations, and continue through the Tower of Babel episode and down the generations to the beginning of the story of Abraham.
Key questions: Who was Nimrod, and what was so important about the Tower of Babel that Yahweh was compelled to personally intervene?
Please note: This week, we are changing the fellowship from a live video stream to a live webcast via BlogTalkRadio. BTR’s chat room is easier to use than Google’s, and we hope this will make it easier to engage in real time virtual discussion of the text.
WE PICK up the story of Noah just before the waters of the Flood sweep over the land. We compare the biblical account of the Flood with the Mesopotamian epics featuring Atra-Hasis, Utnapishtim, and Ziusudra. Was Noah a Sumerian king? And why, after the Flood, was Noah so angry with Ham that he cursed Ham’s son, Canaan?
Further reading: See Peter Goodgame’s intriguing studies The Giza Discovery, in which Peter equates the biblical Nimrod with the Sumerian king Enmerkar and the first Egyptian pharaoh, Narmer, and then makes the case that this person is to be identified as the Egyptian god Osiris. We also recommend Peter’s excellent essay Against World Powers: A Study of the Judeo-Christian Struggle in History and Prophecy, which explains the Genesis 6 event as one battle in the ongoing rebellion against Yahweh by members of the Divine Council. These will factor into our discussion next week of the Tower of Babel incident.
Also see this map that shows the limits of the ancient kingdom of Urartu (Ararat).