The Book of Job
My endeavour in translating the Book of job has been to give an exact reproduction in English of that sublime and sacred poem upon the Mystery of Existence, word for word and line for line as it was originally written in Hebrew, and thus enable my fellow countrymen to read it in its poetic form, and follow its reasonings and doctrines as clearly as the ancient readers to whom Hebrew was their mother tongue. This attention to the mechanism of the writer is, however, as a little thing in my sight compared to my further attempt to clear away the false atmosphere of idea and distorted view of the object of the poem which has traditionally misled all previous translators and commentators in every language—the idea that the object was to show Job as a model of calm patience under suffering, and to discuss the question of the Origin of Moral Evil.
So far from either of these being in the view of the poet, the hero is depicted as the most tragically passionate and impatient spirit ever presented in literature, whether sacred or secular. The object is also a sublime and profound psychological enquiry into the Mystery of Existence, not only of man, but of all things, and its allusions show an accurate knowledge of the physical sciences, truly astonishing to our tradition that the extreme ancients knew nothing of them: yet this Book of job is probably the oldest in existence, except the first ten chapters of Genesis. The poem is constructed on a framework of allegorical names, "Job."—איּוב—signifying "Affliction," and all the others representing a mental condition, as do those of John Bunyan in the "Pilgrim's Progress."
Mitcham, London, S.W.
The chapters and verses of this version are those of the Hebrew or Rabbinical Text, not those of the Latin Vulgate and Authorized English Versions.—F.F.