you would cover over 7 my sin.
and as a rock will be removed from its place,
14:19 as water wears away stones,
so you destroy man’s hope. 12
and he departs;
you change 14 his appearance
and send him away.
he does not know it; 17
if they are brought low,
he does not see 18 it.
and he mourns for himself.” 20
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.
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 : 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.
8 tn The indication that this is a simile is to be obtained from the conjunction beginning 19c (see GKC 499 §161.a).
9 tn The word יִבּוֹל (yibbol) usually refers to a flower fading and so seems strange here. The LXX and the Syriac translate “and will fall”; most commentators accept this and repoint the preceding word to get “and will surely fall.” Duhm retains the MT and applies the image of the flower to the falling mountain. The verb is used of the earth in Isa 24:4, and so NIV, RSV, and NJPS all have the idea of “crumble away.”
10 tn Heb “the overflowings of it”; the word סְפִיחֶיהָ (sÿfikheyha) in the text is changed by just about everyone. The idea of “its overflowings” or more properly “its aftergrowths” (Lev 25:5; 2 Kgs 19:29; etc.) does not fit here at all. Budde suggested reading סְחִפָה (sÿkhifah), which is cognate to Arabic sahifeh, “torrential rain, rainstorm” – that which sweeps away” the soil. The word סָחַף (sakhaf) in Hebrew might have a wider usage than the effects of rain.
11 tn Heb “[the] dust of [the] earth.”
12 sn The meaning for Job is that death shatters all of man’s hopes for the continuation of life.
13 tn D. W. Thomas took נֵצַח (netsakh) here to have a superlative meaning: “You prevail utterly against him” (“Use of netsach as a superlative in Hebrew,” JSS 1 : 107). Death would be God’s complete victory over him.
14 tn The subject of the participle is most likely God in this context. Some take it to be man, saying “his face changes.” Others emend the text to read an imperfect verb, but this is not necessary.
15 tn The clause may be interpreted as a conditional clause, with the second clause beginning with the conjunction serving as the apodosis.
16 tn There is no expressed subject for the verb “they honor,” and so it may be taken as a passive.
18 tn The verb is בִּין (bin, “to perceive; to discern”). The parallelism between “know” and “perceive” stress the point that in death a man does not realize what is happening here in the present life.
19 tn The prepositional phrases using עָלָיו (’alayv, “for him[self]”) express the object of the suffering. It is for himself that the dead man “grieves.” So this has to be joined with אַךְ (’akh), yielding “only for himself.” Then, “flesh” and “soul/person” form the parallelism for the subjects of the verbs.
20 sn In this verse Job is expressing the common view of life beyond death, namely, that in Sheol there is no contact with the living, only separation, but in Sheol there is a conscious awareness of the dreary existence.