Curdled cheese & new creation

“Your hands fashioned and made me, and now you have destroyed me altogether. Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit. Yet these things you hid in your heart; I know that this was your purpose.” (Job 10:8-13).

Last post I referred to my post on ‘Hunchbacks and cheese’. Strangely enough, I was also reminded yesterday of the hunchback theme in a completely different context. Back in 1994, my friend, Adam, used to play the role of a hunchback in a Club show. His colleague, Bob, who was a champion archer would fire an arrow across the stage, that would land on Adam’s padded hunchback. It has all come to mind with the news over the weekend that Bob has died in the USA age 86.

And here’s a little extra on the new creation theme. 

Job 10:10 is an intriguing verse: ‘Did you not pour me out like milk, and curdle me like cheese?’

Christopher Ash comments:

“Verses 10, 11 are a vivid and moving poetic picture of the creative action of God. Just as liquid milk can be made to curdle and turn into cheese, so the semen and ovum can be, as it were, curdled into a living being and then ‘clothed…with skin and flesh’ (v 11) on the outside and ‘knit…together with bones and sinews’ on the inside. What a wonderful creative act is each conception, gestation, and birth!’ (Job, Ash, p 149).

The joining of the semen and the ovum are like cheese curdling. The word for cheese is a one off (hapax legomena) – gebina [1482] and Kohlenberger’s Concordance connects it with ‘gibben’ [1493] which is translated hunchback (Leviticus 21:20). [See Hebrew-English Concordance, Kohlenberger III].  

The word ‘curdle’ occurs three other times apart from Job 10:10

1 Exodus 15:8 – ‘the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea’;  

2 Zephaniah 1:12 ‘At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent’ (ESV) the footnote in ESV has Hebrew: ‘who are thickening on the dregs [of their wine]’. 

3 Zechariah 14:6 ‘On that day there will be no light, cold, or frost.’ (The meaning of the Hebrew here is uncertain.)

The Exodus 15:8 verse is probably the main connection with Job 10:10 – that notion of new creation in Miriam’s song. 

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