the book of Job



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Job - A Mortal Disputes

by James Vasquez

Now in the land of Uz there lived,
A man of certain fame,
And like him was no other man,
So honored was his name.

And he was said by all to be,
Upright in every way,
Who, shunning evil, worshipped God,
Nor from his path did stray.

For midst the people of the East,
Whose land he daily trod,
There never was another man,
Who held such fear of God.

He had ten children with his wife,
Who feasted commonly,
His sons no less than seven were,
Of daughters there were three.

His family, next to God, of course,
Meant everything to him,
He felt himself in all things blessed,
His cup filled to the brim.

But quite aware was he that sin,
Was ever at the door,
And knocking daily at each life,
Admission did implore.

So when his children gathered for,
A party here or there,
He offered up a sacrifice,
And with an earnest prayer,

Petitioned God that he would look,
Upon each foolish deed,
With mercy and, forgiving each,
Would not their trespass heed.

And Job, aware of all the good,
That filled his happy life,
Was sure that things would never change,
For him and his dear wife.

He prayed each day, he sacrificed,
He walked with honor and,
Was ready when the poor approached,
To lend a kindly hand.

But life for him then took a turn,
One day a servant came,
And then another and one more,
Whose message was the same,

For Job that day had lost his wealth,
To raiders swift and skilled,
Who drove off all his livestock when,
His servants they had killed.

But worse, far worse was he to know,
Beyond what he had heard,
From yet another servant who,
Pronounced this chilling word,

"Your sons, your daughters, blessed sire,
With little fear or care,
Within the home of elder son,
Together feasted there,

"When winds from yonder desert rose,
And struck it on its side,
With such a force the house collapsed,
And all within it died!

"But I alone escaped the place,
And, weary, gaunt and pale,
Must now, dear master, bring to you,
This tragic, woeful tale."

Then Job arose and tore his robe,
He bowed with shaven head,
And falling to the barren ground,
He worshipped and he said,

"They bore me naked on the day,
I left my mother's womb,
And naked will I be again,
When they my flesh entomb.

"The Lord this life has given me,
Which now he takes away,
And may his name be ever praised,
On this and every day."

And Job no charge of wrong he made,
Of God for all his part,
Allowing him this loss to know,
This dagger through his heart.

But yet he wondered, - could he not?
Just why it had to be,
His worship and his trust lacked naught,
Nor yet complacency.

But trials were not over for,
This battered, forlorn man,
For still another part there was,
In God's mysterious plan.

He woke one day, his form beheld,
And gave a frightful cry,
For sores from head to swollen foot,
He noted with his eye.

And choosing then a pile of ash,
He sat and with a shard,
His painful sores he scraped until,
His flesh was cleansed and scarred.

His wife, of little help was she,
"Curse God and die!" she said,
For she had quite renounced her faith,
And thought him better dead.

"You talk from ignorance," he said,
"And like a foolish wife,
Should God bring only good to us,
And not our share of strife?"

And thus did Job his honor keep,
In every word and deed,
In grief avowing not to sin,
Or mercy stoop to plead.

Now friends came by to comfort Job,
But from a distance saw,
His wretched likeness and just sat,
In silence and in awe.

Each tore his robe and wept aloud,
And dust threw on his head,
And little comfort did they bring,
But anguished cries, instead.

And Job then finally from his heart,
Did speak what deep within,
He'd harbored ever silently,
With noble discipline.

"The day that I was born," he wailed,
"And from my mother nursed,
A day of darkness and of night,
A day forever cursed!

"And may its clouds hang heavy and,
Its stars be ever dark,
And may no shout of joy be heard,
Nor song of meadow lark.

"For were it so I'd be at sleep,
And rest at last I'd find,
In death abiding well with kings,
With rulers and their kind.

"The thing I feared has come at last,
The thing I viewed with dread,
And quietness of soul I'll know,
When I am finally dead.

"But why is life so freely giv'n,
To those who seek it not,
Who long for welcome death in vain,
While mourning is their lot?

"Does Eliphaz speak truth when he,
Entreats I not forget,
No man whose soul is innocent,
Has ever perished yet?

"For God, he says, does wound indeed,
But shows his face more kind,
Neglecting not the need to heal,
And then to gently bind.

"And this word, too, did Eliphaz,
Speak wantonly to me,
That those who trouble freely sow,
Its ends will surely see.

"And with these words did he appear,
That comfort I might gain?
Though spoken from an honest heart,
He brought me only pain.

"My life is but a breath and soon,
To dust I shall return,
No meaning in my days I see,
For life no longer yearn."

to continue to part 2


from the September 2003 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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