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Job 14:16-17

Context
The Present Condition 1 

14:16 “Surely now you count my steps; 2 

then you would not mark 3  my sin. 4 

14:17 My offenses would be sealed up 5  in a bag; 6 

you would cover over 7  my sin.

1 sn The hope for life after death is supported now by a description of the severity with which God deals with people in this life.

2 tn If v. 16a continues the previous series, the translation here would be “then” (as in RSV). Others take it as a new beginning to express God’s present watch over Job, and interpret the second half of the verse as a question, or emend it to say God does not pass over his sins.

3 sn Compare Ps 130:3-4, which says, “If you should mark iniquity O Lord, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, in order that you might be feared.”

4 tn The second colon of the verse can be contrasted with the first, the first being the present reality and the second the hope looked for in the future. This seems to fit the context well without making any changes at all.

5 tn The passive participle חָתֻם (khatum), from חָתַם (khatam, “seal”), which is used frequently in the Bible, means “sealed up.” The image of sealing sins in a bag is another of the many poetic ways of expressing the removal of sin from the individual (see 1 Sam 25:29). Since the term most frequently describes sealed documents, the idea here may be more that of sealing in a bag the record of Job’s sins (see D. J. A. Clines, Job [WBC], 334).

6 tn The idea has been presented that the background of putting tally stones in a bag is intended (see A. L. Oppenheim, “On an Operational Device in Mesopotamian Bureaucracy,” JNES 18 [1959]: 121-28).

7 tn This verb was used in Job 13:4 for “plasterers of lies.” The idea is probably that God coats or paints over the sins so that they are forgotten (see Isa 1:18). A. B. Davidson (Job, 105) suggests that the sins are preserved until full punishment is exacted. But the verse still seems to be continuing the thought of how the sins would be forgotten in the next life.



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