This article focuses on the second divine speech in the book of Job (chapter 40-41). In this second speech of God the authors describe the ability of God to sustain and safeguard His creation and keep cosmic order. The first divine speech (38-39:33) lists a number of animals known to the ancient Israelite and thus paints a portrait of nature as perceived by ancient man. These animals can be described in categories of cultic cleanness or uncleanness. Cultic cleanness and uncleanness can be understood as cultural thought processes that links cultic cleanness to cosmic order and the presence of God. The absence and wrath of God are then linked to cultic uncleanness or impurity. Both Behemoth and Leviathan can be described in categories of cultic cleanness or uncleanness. The space where cleanness abounds is associated with Gods presence and order and for argument sake is called “society”. The antithesis of “society” is “wilderness”. “Wilderness” is associated with the absence of God and death and is therefore unclean. The borders between “society” and “wilderness” are determined by the presence or absence of God and are communicated through cultic language of being clean or unclean. The Behemoth and Leviathan is cast into moulds of animals known to the ancient Israelite, namely the Hippopotamus and crocodile. Both the Behemoth and the Leviathan transcend the natural world and is described as animals living on the border between the natural and super-natural. In this regard the Behemoth and the Leviathan are mythological animals. They are transformed into paradoxical epitomes of God’s care for His creation. In the book of Job new perspectives are provided in terms of undeserved suffering. What once seemed to be unfair, wrong (unclean) and out of control is now described as being apart a complex and truly sovereign God, broadening our horizons and filling us with awe.
Hierdie is die disseminasie van ‘n deel van die MA verhandeling in Ou-Testamentiese Studies aan die Universiteit van Pretoria onder leiding van prof. D.J. Human.