Wovenhand’s “Kingdom of Ice” and the Book of Job

When I heard this song I knew that the opening song lyric sounded familiar, and that it sounded very Job-like. Not too many years ago I would have found a Bible concordance and started looking for “horse” in the listings under “Job.” Nowadays google is much faster and the print much more favorable to read. The results are posted below, interspersed with the lyrics.

Did you oh, man
Give horse his might?
And did you oh, man
Clothe his neck with mane?

He rushes out
To meet the sword
He laughs at fear
And is not dismayed, hey

The lyrics having to do with that magnificent creature that Adam saw fit to call a horse, are from Job 39:19-25.

19 “Do you give the horse his might?
Do you clothe his neck with a mane?
20 Do you make him leap like the locust?
His majestic snorting is terrifying.
21 He paws in the valley and exults in his strength;
he goes out to meet the weapons.
22 He laughs at fear and is not dismayed;
he does not turn back from the sword.
23 Upon him rattle the quiver,
the flashing spear, and the javelin.
24 With fierceness and rage he swallows the ground;
he cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
25 When the trumpet sounds, he says ‘Aha!’
He smells the battle from afar,
the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

This portion of Job is the part where Job’s question he had put to God regarding the severe suffering he had experienced, is “answered” by God. God’s answer consists of God’s calling attention to many aspects of His creation and the unimportance of Job’s relation to them. Here is the beginning of this “answer” of God in the opening of Job 38:

The Lord Answers Job

38 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?

The song then proceeds to alternate between words based on Job’s answer to God and more based on God’s presentation of the horse:

Lay hand to mouth
Spoken once
I have no answer
Lay hand to mouth
Spoken twice
I will say no more

In fierceness and rage
He paws at the ground
He smells the battle from afar
He turns not back
From its thunderous sound

Lay hand to mouth
Spoken once
You have no answer
Lay hand to mouth
Spoken twice
And say no more

The words that Edwards based Job’s response are from Job chapter 40:

3 Then Job answered the Lord and said:

4 “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
5 I have spoken once, and I will not answer;
twice, but I will proceed no further.”

The song ends with what seems to be Edward’s creative use of several texts from Job.

He stands alight
The flames of a clear eye
We ride from here on
To his kingdom of ice

He stands alight
He stands alight
We ride from here on
To his kingdom of ice

Before presenting what I think are the explicit texts I must deal with the verbal contest of Job with God in relation to the idea that man by nature seeks to “stand” before God, but cannot. The outcome of Job’s contest with God concludes in chapter 41 on the note that man cannot rightly stand before God in an accusative way. This teaching, which consists of a weighing of God’s natural rights against man’s natural rights, has always been a tough one for mankind, but it seems especially harsh to our modern ears due to our non-acquaintance with what used to be called “the fear of the LORD.”

Job 41:9 Behold, the hope of a man is false;
he is laid low even at the sight of him.
10 No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up.
Who then is he who can stand before me?
11 Who has first given to me, that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

So if no man can stand before God, who then “stands alight” in the song? The answer is found in Job 19:25-26, one of the most wondrous texts of the entire Hebrew Testament:

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,

For our purposes here, it will suffice to say that only Job’s “Redeemer” can stand upon the earth, and that this redeemer is believed by Christians to be the man, Christ Jesus of Nazareth. The New Testament claims that Jesus of Nazareth committed no sins, which is what disqualifies all others from having “the flames of a clear eye” in the next line of the song. Jesus spoke of the clear eye, which is recorded in Matthew 6:22-23 , and Bildad, one of Job’s three friends spoke of the insufficient flame of the wicked in Job 18:

5 “Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out,
and the flame of his fire does not shine.
6 The light is dark in his tent,
and his lamp above him is put out.

So it seems that the song is showing that the only one that could “stand alight” with “flames of a clear eye” is Job’s “Redeemer.” It seems that the song ends with the transformation of Job, based on a new fellowship with God and an assured destination.  The songs lyric ends with “we ride from here on to his kingdom of ice.” The picture shows that God’s illustration of the horse was so effective that now Job “rides from here” on God’s horse, in fellowship with God. The essential meaning of this, which strikes me as impressively perceptive on the part of Edwards (or impressively revelatory on the part of God), is that God’s revelation of his horse has become the vehicle by which Job could travel on with faith intact.

The only question that remains is that of the destination: “his kingdom of ice.” Certainly an unusual picture of the kingdom of God, but I believe that this is also from the book of Job. Another of God’s illustrations for Job was presented in Job 38:

22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war?

I believe that God’s storehouse of snow and hail, which is also his storehouse for his instruments “reserved” for the day of  judgment, converges here with the ideas of “kingdom” and “heaven” so that David Eugene Edwards can rightfully speak of Job’s “riding on from here to his kingdom of ice.

I am duly impressed at the songwriting abilities that have produced a song that I think is meant to  creatively convey the transformation of Job. Hopefully, with the blessing of Job’s Redeemer, this song may be used to transform those of us fortunate enough to have heard it, which I’m sure is an intention of Wovenhand. This song is certainly a new favorite song of mine! Perhaps we can picture ourselves on one of these horses on the way to the Kingdom of Ice.

Thanks to Wovenhand for this great song, and hopefully I’ve traced the use of some of the less explicit biblical allusions accurately, and if I have erred in letter, hopefully I’ve not erred in tracing their positive intent.

winter white frozen horses snow white sleds 1920x1200 wallpaper_wallpaperswa.com_75

Original Content © Bryan M. Christman and Manifest Propensity, 2014. Excerpts, links, and reblogging may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bryan M. Christman and Manifest Propensity with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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