Thursday, May 12, 2022

Eliphaz is Back

Some people have claimed, Job was a "narcissist" and God put him on a cure against this disorder.

If his "narcissism" was not damnining him (and it seems it wasn't, see God's words to Satan in chapter one) and if it wasn't plaguing the life of his family and friends (the sons and daughters seem to have had a good time before dying and his friends seem free to speak their mind to him) it would seem this procedure involved a cure worse than the disease.

The idea that "narcissism" = "vanity" = "pride" = "sin" doesn't take into account that sins differ between venial and mortal. Venials don't damn.

So, was Job a sinner?

In chapter 4 we have a discourse from Eliphaz, and now we can see the comment from Haydock after it:

[12] Now there was a word spoken to me in private, and my ears by stealth as it were received the veins of its whisper. [13] In the horror of a vision by night, when deep sleep is wont to hold men, [14] Fear seized upon me, and trembling, and all my bones were affrighted: [15] And when a spirit passed before me, the hair of my flesh stood up.

[16] There stood one whose countenance I knew not, an image before my eyes, and I heard the voice as it were of a gentle wind: [17] Shall man be justified in comparison of God, or shall a man be more pure than his maker?

Ver. 12. Private. Heretics pretend such obscure visions, rather to get credit than to edify others. S. Greg. v. 18. W. --- Many suppose that Eliphaz was guilty of feigning: but the greatest part think that he had truly seen a vision, but did not draw the proper conclusion from it. C. --- Prot. "Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof." H.

Ver. 13. The horror. Heb. "thoughts," while I considered the cause of thy distress. C.

Ver. 15. Spirit: angel, or gentle breeze. C.

Ver. 16. And I. Prot. "there was silence, and I heard a voice." Marg. "a still voice." Sept. "But I heard a breeze and a voice." H.

Ver. 17. Maker. It is thought that these were the words of the angel. If God punish without cause, may not the sufferer esteem himself the better of the two? You must therefore be guilty. C. --- Job would never dispute; but God was infinitely more pure than man, who may nevertheless be free from grievous sins. W. --- The highest angel has nothing but what he has received from God, in comparison with whom he is still as a mere nothing. But this does not prove that Job was a criminal, or that he pretended to arrogate to himself any excellence, independent of the giver of all good gifts. He did not assert that he was impeccable: yet, with God's grace, he might be innocent. C.

So, the theory God was curing a narcissist and that that one was Job can be laid to rest. How about God was using Job to cure a toxic narcissist and that one was Eliphaz, instead?

And after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Themanite: My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends, because you have not spoken the thing that is right before me, as my servant Job hath.

No wrath kindled against Job. But Job did penance? Yes, even in dust and ashes. But if you ask me, for a venial sin in relation to God, which nevertheless had been toxic to himself. Doubting - if only in secret - that God would deliver him.

The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. ... I have spoken unwisely.

He confessed with his lips, I know my deliverer liveth. But his heart whispered, where is God now?

No, not a case of narcissism.

Hans Georg Lundahl
third day after St. Job

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