Jehovah and Job, Part 1 of 4 & The Hittite Storm Gods

I was just thinking, why are people so stupid not to believe in You?  I wonder about that because I didn’t always believe in You and now that I know You I think, “Wow, I was that stupid at one time.”

Jehovah and Job
Part 1 of 4

Ivriz Rock Memorial (Hittite Relief)
The memorial, the Storm-God is depicted Tarhundas and Varpalavas king of the region. (Tuvana the Kingdom).

38:1-42:6 – The theophany (appearance of God) to Job, consisting of two discourses by the Lord (38:1-40:2; 40:6-41:34), each of which receives a brief response from Job (40:3-5; 42:1-6).

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, “(Job 38:1).

the LORD – The Israelite covenant name for God.

whirlwind – See 40:6.  Elihu had imagined the appearance of the divine presence as a display of terrible majesty (37:22). 

He also had anticipated the storm or whirlwind from which Job would hear the voice of God.  Job had said his wish was that the Almighty would answer me (31:35).

“Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2)

See 35:16 In 42:3, Job echoes the Lord’s words.  God states that Job’s complaining and raging against Him are unjustified and proceed from limited understanding.

“Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me” (Job 38:3).

Repeated in 40:7.  The format of God’s response is to ply Job with rhetorical questions, to each of which Job must plead ignorance. 

God says nothing about Job’s suffering, nor does He address Job’s problem about divine justice.  Job gets neither a bill of indictment nor a verdict of innocence. 

But, more important, God doesn’t humiliate or condemn him – which surely would have been the case if the counselors had been right.  So by implication Job is vindicated, and later his vindication is directly affirmed (42:7-8). 

The stele of Buğulu (Baal) discovered in 1929, identified as the “storm-god of Ugarit”.

One can see the horns on his helmet and a spear that he plants to the earth.

The spear has taken root since leaves have emerged from its top end.

He also lifts a specter as a sign of power and threat.

The symbolism in this image tells us the following:

“I am here to stay and am ready to defend this territory”.

The divine discourses, then, succeed in bring Job to complete faith in God’s goodness without his receiving a direct answer to his questions.

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding” (Job 38:4).

Inanimate creation testifies to God’s sovereignty and power (the earth, vv 4-7, 18; the sea, vv 8-11, 16; the sun, v 12-15; the netherworld, v 17; light and darkness, vv 19-20; the weather, vv 22-30, 34-38; the constellations, vv 31-33).

“Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 

Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:5-7).

When the earth was created, the angels were there to sing the praises of the Creator, but Job wasn’t (vv 4-5).  He should therefore not expect to be able to understand even lesser aspects of God’s plans for the world and for mankind.

Neo-Hittite orthostat from Karkamis – Turkey.
The meeting of the “Storm God” on right and a King on the left.

“Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 

When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it,

And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,

And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?” (Job 38:8-11).

The defeat of the sea and the forces of chaos represented by the sea is a major motif in ancient Near Eastern myths (see 7:12; Ps 74:13-14).  The sea was a formidable foe, but here God’s power is such that the sea is nothing more than a helpless baby.  God wraps a cloud around the sea as a diaper (v 9) and confines the sea so that it is unable to cross its boundaries and wreak havoc (vv 10-11), except when God chooses for it to do so.

And said – God the Father controls the sea by speaking to it, as does God the Son (see Lk 8:24-25), because they are one and the same (Jn 10:31), but then again, even though they are one God, they are different people (1 Jn 5:7).

“Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;

In Celtic mythology Taranis was the god of thunder worshiped essentially in Gaul, the British Isles, but also in the Rhineland and Danube regions amongst others.

Taranis, along with Esus and Toutatis as part of a sacred triad, was mentioned by the Roman poet Lucan in his epic poem Pharsalia as a Celtic deity to whom human sacrificial offerings were made.

He was associated, as was the cyclops Brontes (“thunder”) in Greek mythology, with the wheel.

That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? 

It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment. 

And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken” (Job 38:12-15).

their light – The night is when the wicked are active (see Jn 3:19; for the imagery cf Lk 11:35).

“Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?

Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?

Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.

Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,

That thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof, and that thou shouldest know the paths to the house thereof?

Knowest thou it, because thou wast then born? or because the number of thy days is great?

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,

Indra Riding Airaawat – Indra is the god of rain and thunder, and the weather is at his command supplying rains in the universe.

As controller of the megha (cloud), he is master of the clouds and is also known as Maghavan.

Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?” (Job 38:16-23).

hail…Against the day of battle – God stores the natural elements as ammunition against his enemies.  See e.g., Josh 10:11, Is 28:2.

“By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?

Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder;

To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man;

To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?

Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?

Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?

The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.

Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?” (Job 38:24-32).

ca. 1500 B.C. Hittite, Bearded, helmeted, skirted striding figure.
Detailed cast bronze, hammered over with silver sheets on the body, electrum on the face.

Inlaid eyes, arms attached by rivets one raised.

Perhaps Teshub, god of storms.

Strongly resembles the Syro-Canaanite Baal, god of the thunderbolt, but rendered with greater sophistication.

The Hittites of Anatolia, the earliest attested Indo-European speakers, used chariots.

They overcame the Hattites ca. 2000 B.C.

Pleiades…Orion…Arcturus – Arcturus = the Bear.  These three constellations were mentioned in Job 9:9, and the last two are mentioned in Amos 5:8.  Despite their limited knowledge of astronomy, the ancient Israelites were awed by the fact that God had created the constellations.

Mazzaroth – A word used only here and meaning unclear: likely a name for one of the constellations.

“Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?” (Job 38:33)

 

Karatepe
“Sometimes known as Aslantaş, the Lion Stone, Karatepe has an advantage for the visitor over many of the larger, more frequented sites.

Troy, for example, is famously complex.

The earliest remains date back to 3600 B.C., but it was a thriving city and part of the Roman Empire as late as A.D. 300.

This breadth of history is fascinating but bewildering — is this section of city wall during the Bronze Age, Hellenistic, Classical Greek — or Roman?

Karatepe’s delight is that its history is so succinct.

Confined to the 9th and 8th centuries B.C., archaeologists have found nothing either pre or post dating this brief period.

ordinances of heaven – The principle controlling the movements of the stars and planets.

 

set the dominion thereof – Is Job able to determine how the heavenly bodies regulate life on earth?

“Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? 

Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? 

Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?” (Job 38:34-36).

inward parts…heart – It is possible that the first word should be translated ibis and the second rooster, two birds whose habits were sometimes observed by people who wished to forecast the weather.  If so, the words would serve as a transition to the next major section of the first divine discourse.

“Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven,

When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together? 

Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions” (Job 38:37-39).

Animate creation testifies to God’s sovereignty, power, and loving care (the lion, 38:39-40; the raven, 38:41; the wild goat, 39:1-4; the wild ass, vv 5-8; the unicorn (wild ox), vv 9-12; the ostrich, vv 13-18; the horse, vv 19-25; the hawk, v 26; the eagle, v 27-30.

“When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait? 

Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat” (Job 38:40-41).

The Hittite Storm Gods

Teshub (also written Teshup or Tešup; cuneiform dIM; hieroglyphic Luwian (DEUS)TONITRUS, read as Tarhunzas) was the Hurrian god of sky and storm.
Taru was the name of a similar Hattic Storm God, whose mythology and worship as a primary deity continued and evolved through descendant Luwian and Hittite cultures. In these two, Taru was known as Tarhun / Tarhunt- / Tarhuwant- / Tarhunta, names derived from the Anatolian root *tarh “to defeat, conquer”.

Taru/Tarhun/Tarhunt was ultimately assimilated into and identified with the Hurrian Teshub around the time of the religious reforms of Muwatalli II, ruler of the Hittite New Kingdom in the early 13th century BCE.

These reforms can generally be categorized as an official incorporation of Hurrian deities into the Hittite pantheon, with a smaller number of important Hurrian gods (like Teshub) being explicitly identified with preexisting major Hittite deities (like Taru). Teshub reappears in the post-Hurrian cultural successor kingdom of Urartu as Tesheba, one of their chief gods; in Urartian art he is depicted standing on a bull.

The speeches of God in Job 38-41 present him as absolute and unrivaled in his power over nature.  The stars, storms, seasons, and wild animals all submit to and depend upon Him.  He even controls Leviathan, the sea monster that symbolizes chaos and evil (ch 4).  In polytheism, on the other hand, the gods are often depicted as weak and dependent.

Hittite texts of myth and ritual illustrate this.  For example, the Telepinu myth recounts an incident in which the storm god Telepinu was reported to have become angry and deserted his post.  In his absence the crops ceased to grow and the livestock to calve. 

Even the other gods began to panic at the prospect of starvation.  Although the gods were unable to loate Telepinu, a bee found him asleep under a tree and wakened him with a sting.  A goddess of magic and a human priest then performed expiatory rituals that assuaged Telepinu’s anger.

Other Hittite myths tell of the storm god’s conflict with the dragon Illuyanka.  Unlike Yahweh’s domination of Leviathan in Job 41, however, the storm god can scarcely handle Illuyanka.

In one version the storm god is at first defeated by the dragon, but the tables turn after the goddess Inarka enlists the aid of a mortal, Hupashiya, by sleeping with him.  She then hosts a feast; after Illuyanka gorges himself on food, Hupashiya binds the dragon with ropes so that the storm god can managed to slay him.

Anu-God of the sky
Anu was known as Lord of the Heavens, he was the ruler of the sky. “AN” translated as “Heaven” he had association with thunder rolling across the skies and the cause of storms, having complete control of the skies.

Anu was the highest god and the father to all gods, including to all the demons, and evil spirits. He was the god of kings. His symbol was him depicted in a headdress with horns which represented strength.

Anus’ symbol was associated with the bull and was seen as the bull of heaven. Although he is the king of gods he had very little role play in cults, stories and mythology of Mesopotamian. The holy city of Anu was Uruk (Erech). a Sumer civilization. T

his city was the main force of civilization during the period of (4000-3200 B.C). This city was constructed of temples that served as a religious function and showed gratitude and worship to their gods.

Canal systems connected to the Euphrates River, evidence shows this city was once alive and is was known as Anus’ holy city. Anu is the same relation and role play as Zeus the king of the skies in Greek mythology.

In another version the storm god loses his heart and eyes to the dragon in their first battle, but the god’s son marries Illuyanka’s daughter and persuades Illuyanka to return his father’s eyes and heart.  The storm god resumes the battle, slaying both the dragon and his son.

The profound moral and theological debate of Job could not have arisen from such pagan myths.  The gods, as depicted in these tales, were simply too weak to control events in a meaningful way; they needed the assistance of other gods and even of humans and animals. 

There would also be no problem of evil if God were too weak to control the world; such a theological dilemma can only exist in a setting in which God is understood to be omniscient and omnipotent.