Medea and The Hebrew Bible

1.   Medea and Achilles shared two of the common reasons for humans to become inhumane, the feeling of being dishonored or betrayed, and the feeling to have a right to defend their own honor through vengeance.  Today, this feelings are very common among humans, often succumbing to commit immoral acts.  Medea was betrayed by her husband, after she saved his life several times through his journey to get the “Golden Fleece’, so he could claim his right to the kingdom.  She betrayed her own country and her father, and killed Pelias, Jason’s opponent to the throne, just  to help Jason, because she was in loved with him.    Medea made Jason, the hero he was.  For that reason, and because she was a foreigner in that country, with nowhere to go and fully aware of all the enemies she made for his cause, she felt her honor and pride were greatly destroyed, as well as, her life.  Achilles honor and pride were hurt when the king Agamemnon took his price.  Achilles was a great warrior that won every battle and put his life in danger for the king’s caprice.   Therefore, his honor was all he had.  Both, Achilles and Medea valued their pride and honor more than anything else.  Achilles refused to fight for his country, friends and the family of his friends, which costs the life of his beloved friend.    Medea valued her pride and honor more than her own children. Both, put the meaning of their life in pride and what they thought it was honor.  The difference between Achilles and Medea is that Achilles came to his sense when he felt remorse  after his friend Patroclus died, and ended up fighting the war in his name.   Medea, on the other hand,  did not felt any remorse.  For Medea, her cause was all it mattered.  For this reason, I don’t think Medea is a hero.  A hero is someone who will choose others before themselves.  To a hero, the meaning of their life reside in being humane, their love for humanity and compassion.  To me, Medea was just a selfish women, full of hatred and bitterness that thought her life was more important and deserved better than even her own children.  For that, she became something else, because I refuse to think that is human.

2.   Job is a representation of the humanity, for which the sufferings in life seems to happen for no reason. The Accuser tries to question the love of the humanity for God, by telling God that the only reason Job praised God was because of all the prosperity that was given to him by God, but if all that was taken away from Job, then for sure he would betrayed God.  God did answer Job.  God’s questions were a form of bringing Job into reasoning in that Job was of no position to judge God.  Even Job understood what God was saying when he stated:

“I know that You are all-powerful,

and that no plan is beyond You.

Who dares to speak hidden words with no sense?

I see that I spoke with no wisdom

of things beyond me I did not know.’

God was saying that his plans, as well as his power and wisdom, were beyond humanity’s comprehension because he is the creator of all.  Therefore, Job understood that it did not made sense to question something beyond his comprehension and that he was of better position to simply trust God by accepting God’s sovereignty.  Job’s position changed after God spoke to him.  Job’s position was not anymore of protest, but of humbleness when he stated:

“I knew You, but only by rumor;

my eye has beheld You today.

I retract.  I even take comfort

for dust and ashes.’

For this reason, Job was satisfied for what he was given.  I found the dialogue satisfactory because this story is one of the many stories in the bible that portrays God’s message, in that just actions must not be done with the purpose of obtaining something, because what matters to God is that just actions are performed with good intentions in the heart .  God praised Job and gave him doublings of everything because Job proved his love to God.  What a slap to the Accusers face to know that humanity loves God because of who he is and not because of what they can get from him!

2 thoughts on “Medea and The Hebrew Bible

  1. swtrinchet

    Thank you for such a thorough explanation of your view of question 2. I’m currently struggling with how to address the question myself. If Job accepts that he doesn’t know why it was happening to him, and that viewing the power of God is enough for him, I can see why the ending would be satisfactory. I have trouble comprehending why that is enough, but your explanation has gotten the closest to me being able to fully empathize.

  2. jwmaring

    As far as question one goes, I always turn back to the old saying (and to whom I am unsure to quote exactly), “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” If I were to remove freedom fighter and replace it with the word hero, I believe what is left is a description that is befitting of a description for Madea. For after she had already betrayed her people, she was in turn betrayed by her husband. With no alternative available to make up for her own betrayal, Madea struck back the best way she could. In my mind, she did her native people a great service from their perspective by dealing a sharp blow to what amounted to at this point a common enemy. And this blow was of course killing the king, the princess, and Madea’s two children. Even if this effect was only secondary to obtaining revenge oriented at Jason, I believe her actions would have been considered by her people to be heroic.

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