In Job 30:1–8, Job dehumanises his detractors: he depicts his low-class opponents as vile creatures in the wilderness. Dehumanisation has been a common strategy to devalue outgroups from Job’s time to our own. It functions by assuming a human-animal hierarchy (in which animals lack value), and mapping it onto a social hierarchy, delegitimising the animalised individuals at the bottom. By using this strategy, Job reveals his prejudice around other species and low classes. The logic of the divine speeches, however, overturns both these prejudices. The speeches respond to Job’s classism, not by denying that low-class humans are animals, but rather by celebrating animals (38:39–39:30). For Job, the non-human was a source of derision; for God it is a source of delight.
- Job 30