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Job 12:19-21

Context

12:19 He leads priests away stripped 1 

and overthrows 2  the potentates. 3 

12:20 He deprives the trusted advisers 4  of speech 5 

and takes away the discernment 6  of elders.

12:21 He pours contempt on noblemen

and disarms 7  the powerful. 8 

1 tn Except for “priests,” the phraseology is identical to v. 17a.

2 tn The verb has to be defined by its context: it can mean “falsify” (Exod 23:8), “make tortuous” (Prov 19:3), or “plunge” into misfortune (Prov 21:12). God overthrows those who seem to be solid.

3 tn The original meaning of אֵיתָן (’eytan) is “perpetual.” It is usually an epithet for a torrent that is always flowing. It carries the connotations of permanence and stability; here applied to people in society, it refers to one whose power and influence does not change. These are the pillars of society.

4 tn The Hebrew נֶאֱמָנִים (neemanim) is the Niphal participle; it is often translated “the faithful” in the Bible. The Rabbis rather fancifully took the word from נְאֻם (nÿum, “oracle, utterance”) and so rendered it “those who are eloquent, fluent in words.” But that would make this the only place in the Bible where this form came from that root or any other root besides אָמַן (’aman, “confirm, support”). But to say that God takes away the speech of the truthful or the faithful would be very difficult. It has to refer to reliable men, because it is parallel to the elders or old men. The NIV has “trusted advisers,” which fits well with kings and judges and priests.

5 tn Heb “he removes the lip of the trusted ones.”

6 tn Heb “taste,” meaning “opinion” or “decision.”

7 tn The expression in Hebrew uses מְזִיחַ (mÿziakh, “belt”) and the Piel verb רִפָּה (rippah, “to loosen”) so that “to loosen the belt of the mighty” would indicate “to disarm/incapacitate the mighty.” Others have opted to change the text: P. Joüon emends to read “forehead” – “he humbles the brow of the mighty.”

8 tn The word אָפַק (’afaq, “to be strong”) is well-attested, and the form אָפִיק (’afiq) is a normal adjective formation. So a translation like “mighty” (KJV, NIV) or “powerful” is acceptable, and further emendations are unnecessary.



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