Friday, April 14, 2017


Wikipedia Commons
Job And His Daughters
Linnell Set of Illustrations for the Book of Job
Page 20
This is the Legend on the engraving which Blake later made of this image:

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:17)
And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren (Job 42:15)
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make bed in hell, behold, thou art there (Psalm 139:8)
Psalms 139
[16] Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
[17] How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
[18] If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
[23] Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
[24] And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Job 42
[12] So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
[13] He had also seven sons and three daughters.
[14] And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Keren-happuch.
[15] And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.
[16] After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons' sons, even four generations.
[17] So Job died, being old and full of days.

Psalms 139
[7] Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
[8] If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
[9] If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
[10] Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

First Chronicles 28
[9] And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

Hebrews 4
[10] For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
[11] Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
[12] For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
[13] Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

There is little in the Book of Job which could explain this picture. Yes, Job was restored to prosperity and his three beautiful daughters were allowed to inherit along with their brothers.  But Blake wanted us to look beyond the obvious to find deeper meanings. If the last three pages of Blake's illustrations of Job were meant to represent the response of gratitude which Job expressed following his acceptance by God when he offered himself in service, this picture shows a way to express the profound feelings of thankfulness which one feels in the heart. The feminine to Blake is the outward expression of the inward activity. Blake was showing that Job's experiences as shown in the pictures displayed behind him, were transmitted to his daughters through words and images. The daughters themselves become the manifestation of the transformative journey which Job underwent as he explored his relationship to the true God behind the image of God which he had accepted. 

The concept of daughters often appears in Blake's thought. There are Daughters of Albion, Beulah, Los, Jerusalem, Memory, Inspiration, Urizen, Enitharmon, Vala, Luvah and others. The ultimate daughters for Blake himself were his production of visual and verbal art which came from his Imagination which was the Holy Spirit acting through him.

Jerusalem, Plate 73, (E 229)
"The Spectres of the Dead bowl round the porches of Los
In the terrible Family feuds of Albions cities & villages
To devour the Body of Albion, hungring & thirsting & ravning
The Sons of Los clothe them & feed, & provide houses & gardens
And every Human Vegetated Form in its inward recesses            
Is a house of pleasantness & a garden of delight Built by the
Sons & Daughters of Los in Bowlahoola & in Cathedron"
Jerusalem, Plate 74, (E 229)
"The Spectre is the Reasoning Power in Man; & when separated      
From Imagination, and closing itself as in steel, in a Ratio
Of the Things of Memory. It thence frames Laws & Moralities
To destroy Imagination! the Divine Body, by Martyrdoms & Wars

Teach me O Holy Spirit the Testimony of Jesus! let me
Comprehend wonderous things out of the Divine Law" 

Milton, Plate 2, (E 96)
"Daughters of Beulah! Muses who inspire the Poets Song
Record the journey of immortal Milton thro' your Realms
Of terror & mild moony lustre, in soft sexual delusions
Of varied beauty, to delight the wanderer and repose
His burning thirst & freezing hunger! Come into my band    
By your mild power; descending down the Nerves of my right arm
From out the Portals of my Brain, where by your ministry
The Eternal Great Humanity Divine. planted his Paradise,
And in it caus'd the Spectres of the Dead to take sweet forms
In likeness of himself." 
Vision of Last Judgment, Page 68, (E 554)
"The Last Judgment is not Fable or Allegory
but   Vision. Fable or Allegory are a totally distinct & inferior
kind of Poetry.  Vision or Imagination is a Representation of
what Eternally Exists.  Really & Unchangeably.  Fable or Allegory
is Formd by the Daughters of Memory.  Imagination is Surrounded
by the daughters of Inspiration who in the aggregate are calld


erik said...

Why is the daughter who is facing Job gazing at her leftt hand which is touching the floor? We know every detail he depicted was significant so it must be important? Suggestions?

ellie said...

Yes every detail is important but only if it carries some meaning to the observer. Blake creates symbols, not signs; they are open-ended not circumscribing. You've noticed that each of the images for Plate 20 uses different details - adding, subtracting and altering. You can focus on the dog, the colors, the hand positions, the feet or whatever captures your attention, but the meaning is in how you process the information not in the details.

Jerusalem, Plate 83, (E 241)
"Let Cambel and her Sisters sit within the Mundane Shell:
Forming the fluctuating Globe according to their will,
According as they weave the little embryon nerves & veins
The Eye, the little Nostrils, & the delicate Tongue & Ears
Of labyrinthine intricacy: so shall they fold the World
That whatever is seen upon the Mundane Shell, the same
Be seen upon the Fluctuating Earth woven by the Sisters.

And sometimes the Earth shall roll in the Abyss & sometimes
Stand in the Center & sometimes stretch flat in the Expanse,
According to the will of the lovely Daughters of Albion.
Sometimes it shall assimilate with mighty Golgonooza:
Touching its summits: & sometimes divided roll apart.
As a beautiful Veil so these Females shall fold & unfold
According to their will the outside surface of the Earth
An outside shadowy Surface superadded to the real Surface;
Which is unchangeable for ever & ever Amen: so be it!
Separate Albions Sons gently from their Emanations,"