"Let me tell you, Job, why I had to take a break. In a nutshell, it is because I couldn't contain my emotions. That verse, 41:5 (in English, of course) hit me so hard that I just choked. I sort of burst out with a mingled indignation and sadness that I couldn't go on. Why? Because not only is God taunting you with your impotence, with your inability to tame the creature that HE had a rough time getting under control. What God is doing here is insulting you, rubbing your face in your loss. He is asking you if you can tame this creature for your little girl--yep, your dead daughters. Oh, I can now see the cruelty of this verse, the utterly artistic cruelty. It is like asking a parent of a strangled child if their son ever wore ties or got tangled up in telephone wire. It is bringing attention to your loss, Job, in the most inhumane, shameful way. It is utterly unforgivable. It means that God is so shoving it into your face that you have no possible way of reacting but to collapse internally, don't you Job? When you are dealing with a God who is not above resorting to this kind of technique, AND that this God is the most powerful being in the universe, AND that you have dedicated your life to this God and served him faithfully all of your life AND he does this to you, what can you do? Everything you have has been lost, Job, has been taken from you, and now the God of the universe, the one you know is just, on whom and in whom you banked all your spiritual gold, so to speak, is more concerned to humiliate you completely than to give you even an answer to your questions.
O Job, you were so right. You knew that even if you washed yourself with the strongest cleansing agent on earth, God would still dip you into the muck (9:30-31). And, he did it. Right on cue. You called it, Job. Those who were skilled in calling up Leviathan (3:8) were reputed to be able to, by their magical powers, invoke this creature and compel it to do things. But you, Job, as it were called up God and compelled him to answer you, and he shat in your face. I am sitting her trying to imagine, Job, how it was that this must have hit you.
And it must have hit you with such incredible power because you had been just listening to Elihu and had tried to open yourself up to receive this God whom Elihu said was coming in ch.37. Yes, that intensifies the agony, Job. Elihu led you to believe that through this distress God was going to bring you to freedom, into the broad place that you knew you needed so much, into a place laden with rich foods (36:15-16). You harkened unto Elihu, and you even opened your heart anew, didn't you Job? You thought that maybe you could either be wrong or could begin to see your distress differently. Hope dawned for you, maybe for the first time in a long time. And then God spoke and obliterated you. Oh, he did. It is as if God dropped a pile of steel girders onto you from 20 stories high without even a warning sign. Just buried you. Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes. You know, Job, you can fight with a God who will fight fair, even though it is pretty daunting. But when he pulls a trick like this, you not only are devastated, but you have to lose all respect for God. How can you ever forget or forgive what God has said?
You know it is true, don't you Job, that sometimes people can say things to us that are so incredibly cruel that we remember them for the rest of our lives? And, you could not get those words out of your mind, could you Job? They took away your will to live, didn't they? You just had to submit. You had no choice. The proud voice of Job was stopped. The waves and billows had fully gone over you. God reduced you to cinders finer than cinders. You were utterly undone.
And, you know, Job the final indignity? It is the scholars. Yep. Modern biblical scholars. You know what they do with this passage? Well, I didn't survey them all, because why should I waste my time with them on their nonsense when I can get things directly from you? Oh, just to show that nonsense is not strong enoug a word, Professor Good, who is actually a pretty smart guy, completely ignores this verse in his commentary. He ends up talking about whether Leviathan was a crodocile or not. And, Professor Newsom, who is really facile with deconstructionist criticism, which probably gets her all kinds of academic kudos, talks about this verse as if it was a general reference of God to a child's having Leviathan as a pet. Oh, she also talks about our contemporary ignorance of ancient hunting and fishing practices. But nary a word from either on the emotional effect that hearing 41:5 had on you, Job. How can we even read those scholars any longer? Oh, I will go to them because they occasionally have a nice translation or connect some words with other biblical words that are illuminating, but they have just sacrificed their sense to have anything to say in understanding you in ch.42, Job, because they didn't pause on the right things in 41. Well, perhaps they were weary when they got to 41. It is a long chapter.
So, here is where I am, Job, at the end of 41. I see you figuratively lying on the ground with all the stuffing kicked out of you. You, a once proud and strong person, have been torn down and dehumanized by God. But, even though all this is true, you have no strength to do anything but to despise and confess and admit that you know nothing. God took away the last vestige of your humanity, didn't he?
I can't take this any more, Job. I have to leave. Sorry.