Saturday, March 7, 2009

No One Mourns the Wicked

Bildad is probably my least favorite friend of Job's. If I ever lose everything, I'm definitely not inviting him to my pity party. His response to Job in chapter 18 is a tad strange in that he doesn't exactly call Job wicked . . . but he does go on and on about what happens to the wicked.

I'm not proud to say it (yes, I am; I am, I am, I am!) but I love the musical Wicked. I saw it in Chicago. I bought the soundtrack. I listen to it way too often. My personal Broadway issues aside, the opening song sets the theme for the story:

No one mourns the Wicked
No one cries, "They won't return!"
No one lays a lily on their grave.
The good man scorns the Wicked!
Through their lives, our children learn
what we miss, when we misbehave.

And Goodness knows
The Wicked's lives are lonely.
Goodness knows
the Wicked die alone.
It just shows when you're Wicked
you're left only . . . on your own.

Yes, Goodness knows
the Wicked's lives are lonely.
Goodness knows
the Wicked cry alone.
Nothing grows for the Wicked;
They reap only what they've sown.
. . .
And Goodness knows
we know what Goodness is.
Goodness knows
the Wicked die alone.
Woe to those
who spurn what Goodness they are shown.
No one mourns the Wicked.

That song doesn't quote Bildad at all, really, but the spirit of the lyrics is identical to this passage in Job. The idea is this: the easiest way to see the clear cut difference between the Good and the Wicked is to look how they wind up. The Wicked suffer supremely and die tragic deaths. The Good live in luxury, shaking their heads in disgust as they peer down on the ashes of the doomed.

One of the reasons I highly recommend Wicked is the heartfelt, thoughtful way it makes its point: that the ones we think are Wicked, the ones who are scorned and dismissed and tortured, are often quite good. And the Good who lord their so-called Goodness over all who revere them . . . those can be some of the Wickedest people in the land.

Bildad, as usual, was wrong. Sometimes, the Wicked prosper. A lot of times, the Good suffer. The one constant among mankind seems to be that we give far too much advice.

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