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At the Scent of Water: The Ground of Hope in the Book of Job
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At the Scent of Water: The Ground of Hope in the Book of Job


Eerdmans 2009

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


The book of Job is often discussed as a theodicy–an attempt to “justify the ways of God to man.” In this remarkable rereading of Job, J. Gerald Janzen brings new light to this familiar account, showing instead that God invites Job to give up the traditional Deuteronomic logic of reward-punishment for a life affirming strategy of risk-reward. From this perspective, affirmation of life in the face of all its vulnerabilities is the path to true participation in the mystery of existence.

On the basis of a study of “east wind” in the Bible–“whirlwind” in Job–Janzen proposes that the prominence God gives to rain in Job 38, with its renewal of the parched earth and the ensuing vigor of all forms of life, signals God’s response to Job’s thirst, heals Job’s bitterness, and restores him to a life at the end of which he dies contented. Janzen demonstrates how life-crippling bitterness is transcended and hope in life’s worthwhileness is restored in the face of grievous evil. The resolution of the Joban question lies not in a vindication of divine justice but, rather, in God’s renewal of Job’s appetite for life.

Janzen underscores this interpretation with a candid epilogue on his own struggle with aggressive prostate cancer, which enabled him to connect personally with Job’s story and to find a fresh and illuminating grace. At the Scent of Water will resonate with students, pastors, and any readers who have experienced grief or suffering.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Want similar titles? Check out Eerdmans Old Testament Studies Collection for more!

Key Features

  • Brings new light to the familiar account of Job
  • Demonstrates how hope is restored in the biblical account of Job
  • Discussess God’s renewal of Job’s appetite for life


  • “Extremes Too Hard to Comprehend at Once”
  • Israel’s Default Position before God
  • Tracing the Pattern Elsewhere in the Bible
  • Trying to Grasp with Hand and Mind
  • Lust for Life and the Bitterness of Job
  • Job’s Oath
  • God’s Response, Job’s Response, and Final Resolution
  • Further on Job and Naomi

Praise for the Print Edition

Ideally, to write on Job, you need to be an accomplished Hebraist, an Old Testament theologian, an amateur philosopher, a person who appreciates poetry, and one who has lived with some of the issues the book wrestles with. In this book Gerald Janzen shows himself to be such a person.

John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

Product Details

  • Title: At the Scent of Water: The Ground of Hope in the Book of Job
  • Author: J. Gerald Janzen
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 152
  • Resource Type: Monographs
  • Topic: Job

About J. Gerald Janzen

J. Gerald Janzen is professor of Old Testament at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. A priest of the Anglican Church of Canada, he has also written the Interpretation commentary on Job and Studies in the Text of Jeremiah.