One of the most respected dictionaries of ecclesiastical Greek tells us this is often used as a foil to the “fragmentary and frail” life of this world, that it’s something you seek to acquire now as much as in the future. It’s sort of an exchange you make, where you give up attachment to the “time is money” economy and are given power over the forces of death and sin, in this life and the “life to come.”
God made sky and water and earth and heaven and birds and fish and beasts and creeping things and plants and called all of it good. Then, to top it all off, God made humans. God said “let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness, and they shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the the creeping things that creep on the earth.” God says “just like I rule the earth, I want these humans to rule it.” God names humans like, Assistant Regional Managers of the planet.
The book of Job has something of a reputation for being a book about suffering, but I think that’s not the whole picture.
I can see why people think of Job and think of suffering. Suffering is both the inciting incident and the setting of the book. I just don’t think it’s about suffering. I think it’s about prayer.
The passage Joe just read is the opening to the book of Ruth, a short story found in the portion of the Hebrew Scriptures that Christians have adopted as canon. In Jewish canon, it’s grouped with the five megillot, or scrolls—a collection of books that, liturgically, accompany Jewish festivals. The book of Ruth accompanies the festival of Shavuot, a fall harvest festival that celebrates the giving of the Torah and the blessings of harvest. It’s also sometimes shared as the story of the first “convert” to Judaism–Ruth.