Have you understood the Expanse? How the Lord might answer Job today

At the end of the epic poem Job the Lord answers the main character Job with a series of questions that help establish his perspective on his Creator.

Have you understood the expanse of the earth? Tell Me, if you know all this.

Job 38:18 (NASB95)

In chapters 40 and 41 he asks Job to consider the Behemoth and the Leviathan which seem to be large creatures that we could equate with “pre-historic” dinosaurs like the Brachiosaurus and the Mosasaurus (made famous in Jurassic Park).

In the intervening millennia, we may not be able to behold the Behemoth nor the Leviathan as it seems Job was. However, we have been afforded the great privilege of living during a time of great discoveries about the universe. What we are able to behold is perhaps even more incredible than these creatures were.

Living in the Bronze Age, Job would have had a very limited understanding of the universe. For most of mankind’s existence the universe was viewed as a relatively small place with the earth at the center surrounded by the sun, moon and stars. This general understanding prevailed (under the models proposed by Aristotle and Ptolemy) until the 17th century. Did you know that it wasn’t until the early 20th century that we were able to establish that the universe was larger than the Milky Way galaxy? With incredible advances in telescopes and the ability to send probes into space we are able to see and study the universe in ways unimaginable even 100 years ago.

This got me thinking. How might the Lord respond to a person today that struggles with the problems of evil, justice and the vastness of the universe. This exploration relies on various scriptures and replaces the Behemoth and the Leviathan with some of the majestic images from the farthest reaches of the universe.

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What is the Expanse?

No not the sci-fi series on Syfy and Amazon Prime Video that is based on the books by James S.A. Corey. But the matter created on day 2 in the Genesis account.

In Genesis 1:6 (NASB20) we read:

Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”

Depending on your translation the Hebrew word rāqîa may be translated as “expanse” (NASB, NET, ESV, Holman), “firmament” (KJV, NKJV) or “vault” (NIV). The NLT translates the word as “space”.

In order to understand what the expanse is we will read through the rest of the Genesis account. Examining the account and listing out what the text says about the entity that was created on day two. We will focus on both its description and function.

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An ethical dilemma in Hosea (part 7)

This is part of a series. I recommend starting with the first installment.

We started this series examining an ethical dilemma that was presented in the opening of the book of Hosea. Over several posts we explored numerous solutions that are offered by various commentators and scholars to handle the challenge. In the last post a solution was offered as the most likely, as it was the only one that seems to fit all of the available information. However, that solution requires us to accept an uncommon translation of Hosea 1:4 that is not used in modern translations.

Here are the two possible translations of the passage, with the more common one on top:

  • in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel
  • in just a little while I will visit the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu

A short overview of the second translation, which is required for the preferred solution to the dilemma, is offered in this post. It should be noted that I do not know Hebrew and am indebted to the work of other scholars in examining this solution.

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