Beards Get the Green Light
Job 27: Until I Die I Will Not Renounce My Integrity

Job 29-30: Taking Delight in Another’s Downfall

Why do I think of that Billie Halliday song”

‘And when you’ve got money, you’ve got lots of friends, crowding round your door. When the money’s gone, and all your spending ends, they won’t be round anymore.’

It’s a lot worse than that for Job. They do come around—to spit on him. What is it with people who take delight in another’s downfall?

“They mock me even in their songs; I have become an object of scorn to them.  They detest me and keep their distance from me; They do not hesitate to spit in my face.  Because God has disarmed me and humbled me, They throw off all restraint in my presence. On my right they rise up like a mob; They put me to flight And put up barriers of destruction in my path. They tear up my roadways And make my calamity worse, Without anyone to stop them.  (Job 30:10-13)

Not like in the old days at all when Job “used to go out to the city gate And take my seat in the public square, The young men would see me and step aside, And even the old men would rise and remain standing. Princes refrained from speaking; They would put their hand over their mouth. The voices of the prominent men were silenced; Their tongue was stuck to the roof of their mouth. Whoever heard me would speak well of me, And those who saw me would testify for me. For I would rescue the poor who cried for help, (29:7-12)

It was a big deal to be at the city gate. Here the JW Library footnote links to Insight Book coverage:

“Because of the important usages of the city’s gateway, it was a high honor to sit down with the older men of the land in the gates.” The point is then illustrated with several references to scripture:

The capable wife’s husband “is well-known in the city gates, Where he sits among the elders of the land,” (Proverbs 31:23) which is no place for a fool: “True wisdom is unattainable for a fool [who] has nothing to say in the city gate.” (Proverbs 24:7)

David, when he is on the run, frets over being the “talk of those sitting in the city gate.” (Psalm 69:12)

To ‘crush the afflicted one in the gate’ meant judicial corruption: legal cases were handled there: “Do not rob the poor man because he is poor, And do not crush the lowly man in the city gate,” (Proverbs 22:22) something Job never did (see above). “For I know how many your revolts are And how great your sins are,” said Amos to a later people: “You harass the righteous, You take bribes, And you deny the rights of the poor in the city gate.”

and several others.

Cheering over a respected one’s downfall. What’s with that? I think of Davey the Kid’s talk, many years ago, on how love does not rejoice over unrighteous (1 Corinthians 13:6) No, it does not. But, he asked, might we even take a secret delight in the troubles of another? Then he illustrated, with ‘So and so was reproved,’ (hooking his thumb in his belt and thrusting himself forward—it was a memorable gesture) ‘But I wasn’t!’


******  The bookstore

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'


The comments to this entry are closed.