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Job 10:21-22

Context

10:21 before I depart, never to return, 1 

to the land of darkness

and the deepest shadow, 2 

10:22 to the land of utter darkness,

like the deepest darkness,

and the deepest shadow and disorder, 3 

where even the light 4  is like darkness.” 5 

1 sn The verbs are simple, “I go” and “I return”; but Job clearly means before he dies. A translation of “depart” comes closer to communicating this. The second verb may be given a potential imperfect translation to capture the point. The NIV offered more of an interpretive paraphrase: “before I go to the place of no return.”

2 tn See Job 3:5.

3 tn The word סֵדֶר (seder, “order”) occurs only here in the Bible. G. R. Driver found a new meaning in Arabic sadira, “dazzled by the glare” (“Problems in the Hebrew text of Job,” VTSup 3 [1955]: 76-77); this would mean “without a ray of light.” This is accepted by those who see chaos out of place in this line. But the word “order” is well-attested in later Hebrew (see J. Carmignac, “Précisions aportées au vocabulaire d’hébreu biblique par La guerre des fils de lumière contre les fils de ténèbres,” VT 5 [1955]: 345-65).

4 tn The Hebrew word literally means “it shines”; the feminine verb implies a subject like “the light” (but see GKC 459 §144.c).

5 tn The verse multiplies images for the darkness in death. Several commentators omit “as darkness, deep darkness” (כְּמוֹ אֹפֶל צַלְמָוֶת, kÿmoofel tsalmavet) as glosses on the rare word עֵיפָתָה (’efatah, “darkness”) drawn from v. 21 (see also RSV). The verse literally reads: “[to the] land of darkness, like the deep darkness of the shadow of death, without any order, and the light is like the darkness.”



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