Job 1-2: Why is God betting with Satan? also, Leviathan (Job 40)

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Does God hang out with Satan elsewhere in the Bible?

What is Leviathan in Job 40? The description is nothing like a whale.

Noted for the tag list. Will work to adjust that UI element.

Can't summon you directly, but please see my last comment.

1 Answers

Marc Zvi Brettler, "How to Read the Jewish Bible " (2007), discusses the set-up of Job's framing story on p.247. First, it must be pointed out that the Hebrew "ha-satan" is not a proper name as it later came to be understood in Christian interpretations, but "the adversary" in this Post-exilic work, modeled on the Persian royal spy who went around testing the loyalty of the king's subjects in the far reaches of the empire.

So in chapters 1 and 2 of Job, God is presiding over his heavenly court, and the adversary (maybe think of him as prosecuting attorney) joins the session. In response YHWH's pride in his virtuous subject Job, the adversary decides to stir up trouble and find out just how loyal Job really is. The story of the woes that befall him is a later example of an ancient Near Eastern genre, the righteous sufferer and his complaint. Samuel Noah Kramer, "History Begins at Sumer" (1988), contains an early example of this.

Leviathan, in Chapter 40, like God's heavenly court in the framing story, and Behemoth in the same chapter, is borrowed from ancient Ugaritic mythology. These sea monsters represent primordial watery Chaos, which YHWH has conquered (like Ugaritic Ba'al) in the process of creation, and subdued. The NABRE note on Leviathan points out that Psalms 74:13-14; 104:26; and Isaiah 27:1, also refer to these Ugaritic myths.

Robert Graves, "Hebrew Myths" (1964), expands on these chaos monsters on pp.29-32, and lists Leviathan and Behemoth along with Rahab, Tannin, and Nahash, who also personify the ancient water, which the Hebrew of Genesis 1 renders as Tohu and Bohu, usually translated as without form and void in English, and related conceptually and linguistically to the Babylonian sea monster Tiamat.