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The Third Sunday Before Advent

Job 19.23–27a
2 Thessalonians 2.1–5, 13–17
Luke 20.27–38

The overall theme (‘resurrection’) is obvious, but the detail is daunting.

It seems a shame, as the translators’ footnotes say, that the Hebrew of Job 19.26 is ‘incomprehensible’. The old version (‘and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God’) is engraved on innumerable minds and hearts, courtesy of George Frederick Handel. But, though the passage doesn’t predict the Christian doctrine of resurrection quite as the older translators supposed, the modified account is in some ways more moving. Job, at the end of his tether, affirms that justice will be done; that a defending counsel will live and arise (the word, in the Hebrew and the Septuagint, would have suggested ‘resurrection’ to readers of Jesus’ day) to plead his cause; and that God himself, who for so long had seemed to be his adversary, would be on his side at the last. Take Job as an icon of the whole world, groaning in travail, longing for justice and new life, and you can translate his confidence directly into the cosmic hope of Romans 8...

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