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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


PINKER, Aron. The fate of undesirables (Job 24:5-12). Old testam. essays [online]. 2014, vol.27, n.3, pp.960-991. ISSN 2312-3621.

Job 24:5-12 present a metaphor that is based on the life of the onager (wild ass) in the desert. Verses 5-12 have been viewed as addressing various entities (robbers, victims, oppressors, vagrants, outcasts and city-dwellers) and evoked a considerable range of interpretations. These diverse interpretations also garnered a fair amount of acceptance, reflecting the ambiguity of the metaphor, its linguistic articulation, and referential framework. In this study a new perspective is adopted regarding the individuals that are the subjects of vv. 5-12. It suggests that Job points to the fate of the undesirables in a community of humans. This perspective fully corresponds to the metaphor of the free, independent, solitary, untamable, food searching, onagers in the desert, and has considerable support in the text (vv. 5-12 and 30:2-8). It also enables a uniform thematic treatment of vv. 5-12. Job charges that God is oblivious to the obviously miserable fate of the undesirables. In this charge one can sense Job's personal accusation that God is not concerned with the fate of the suffering just.

Keywords : Job; metaphor; onagers; undesirables; suffering.

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