Courtesy of the Pierpont Morgan Library

“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind” (Job 38:1), one of William Blake’s 21 celebrated illustrations for the Book of Job, each produced both as a black-and-white engraving and as a color painting. The early 19th-century English poet and engraver invested God with a whirling grandeur to match the breathtaking power and brilliance of his speech at the end of the book. God offers Job no assurance or consolation in the speech—that would spoil the test—but the mere fact that God speaks to Job, says Freedman, tells Job what he needs to know: that God sees him and cares about him. At last Job repents—not for prior behavior, because his innocence is firm, but for his failure to understand that his suffering need not be explained by God acting malevolently. For his lack of wisdom, Job repents.