throughout the number of the years
in a time of peace marauders 6 attack him.
he is marked for the sword; 9
he knows that the day of darkness is at hand. 11
they prevail against him
like a king ready to launch an attack, 13
and vaunts himself 15 against the Almighty,
with a thick, strong shield! 17
and in houses where 22 no one lives,
where they are ready to crumble into heaps. 23
15:29 He will not grow rich,
and his wealth will not endure,
nor will his possessions 24 spread over the land.
a flame will wither his shoots
and he will depart
by the breath of God’s mouth. 26
for worthlessness will be his reward. 28
and his branches will not flourish. 31
and like an olive tree
he will shed his blossoms. 33
their belly 38 prepares deception.”
1 tn Heb “all the days of the wicked, he suffers.” The word “all” is an adverbial accusative of time, stating along with its genitives (“of the days of a wicked man”) how long the individual suffers. When the subject is composed of a noun in construct followed by a genitive, the predicate sometimes agrees with the genitive (see GKC 467 §146.a).
2 tn The Hebrew term מִתְחוֹלֵל (mitkholel) is a Hitpolel participle from חִיל (khil, “to tremble”). It carries the idea of “torment oneself,” or “be tormented.” Some have changed the letter ח (khet) for a letter ה (he), and obtained the meaning “shows himself mad.” Theodotion has “is mad.” Syriac (“behave arrogantly,” apparently confusing Hebrew חול with חלל; Heidi M. Szpek, Translation Technique in the Peshitta to Job [SBLDS], 277), Symmachus, and Vulgate have “boasts himself.” But the reading of the MT is preferable.
3 tn It is necessary, with Rashi, to understand the relative pronoun before the verb “they are stored up/reserved.”
5 tn The word “fill” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation.
6 tn The word שׁוֹדֵד (shoded) means “a robber; a plunderer” (see Job 12:6). With the verb bo’ the sentence means that the robber pounces on or comes against him (see GKC 373 §118.f). H. H. Rowley observes that the text does not say that he is under attack, but that the sound of fears is in his ears, i.e., that he is terrified by thoughts of this.
7 tn This is the meaning of the Hiphil imperfect negated: “he does not believe” or “he has no confidence.” It is followed by the infinitive construct functioning as the direct object – he does not expect to return (to escape) from darkness.
sn The meaning of this line is somewhat in question. H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 111) thinks it could mean that he is afraid he will not wake up from the night, or he dreads misfortune, thinking it will be final for him.
8 sn In the context of these arguments, “darkness” probably refers to calamity, and so the wicked can expect a calamity that is final.
9 tn Heb “he is watched [or waited for] by the sword.” G. R. Driver reads it, “he is marked down for the sword” (“Problems in the Hebrew text of Job,” VTSup 3 : 78). Ewald suggested “laid up for the sword.” Ball has “looks for the sword.” The MT has a passive participle from צָפָה (tsafah, “to observe, watch”) which can be retained in the text; the meaning of the form can then be understood as the result of the inspection (E. Dhorme, Job, 217).
10 tn The MT has “he wanders about for food – where is it?” The LXX has “he has been appointed for food for vultures,” reading אַיָּה (’ayyah, “vulture”) for אַיֵּה (’ayyeh, “where is it?”). This would carry on the thought of the passage – he sees himself destined for the sword and food for vultures. Many commentators follow this reading while making a number of smaller changes in נֹדֵד (noded, “wandering”) such as נִתַּן (nittan, “is given”), נוֹעַד (no’ad, “is appointed”), נוֹדַע (noda’, “is known”), or something similar. The latter involves no major change in consonants. While the MT “wandering” may not be as elegant as some of the other suggestions, it is not impossible. But there is no reading of this verse that does not involve some change. The LXX has “and he has been appointed for food for vultures.”
11 tn This line is fraught with difficulties (perceived or real), which prompt numerous suggestions. The reading of the MT is “he knows that a day of darkness is fixed in his hand,” i.e., is certain. Many commentators move “day of darkness” to the next verse, following the LXX. Then, suggestions have been offered for נָכוֹן (nakhon, “ready”), such as נֵכֶר (nekher, “disaster”); and for בְּיָדוֹ (bÿyado, “in his hand”) a number of ideas – לְאֵיד (lÿ’ed, “calamity”) or פִּידוֹ (pido, “his disaster”). Wright takes this last view and renders it “he knows that misfortune is imminent,” leaving the “day of darkness” to the next verse.
12 tn If “day and darkness” are added to this line, then this verse is made into a tri-colon – the main reason for transferring it away from the last verse. But the newly proposed reading follows the LXX structure precisely, as if that were the approved construction. The Hebrew of MT has “distress and anguish terrify him.”
13 tn This last colon is deleted by some, moved to v. 26 by others, and the NEB puts it in brackets. The last word (translated here as “launch an attack”) occurs only here. HALOT 472 s.v. כִּידוֹר links it to an Arabic root kadara, “to rush down,” as with a bird of prey. J. Reider defines it as “perturbation” from the same root (“Etymological Studies in Biblical Hebrew,” VT 2 : 127).
15 tn The Hitpael of גָּבַר (gavar) means “to act with might” or “to behave like a hero.” The idea is that the wicked boldly vaunts himself before the
16 tn Heb “he runs against [or upon] him with the neck.” The RSV takes this to mean “with a stiff neck.” Several commentators, influenced by the LXX’s “insolently,” have attempted to harmonize with some idiom for neck (“outstretched neck,” for example). Others have made more extensive changes. Pope and Anderson follow Tur-Sinai in accepting “with full battle armor.” But the main idea seems to be that of a headlong assault on God.
17 tn Heb “with the thickness of the bosses of his shield.” The bosses are the convex sides of the bucklers, turned against the foe. This is a defiant attack on God.
18 sn This verse tells us that he is not in any condition to fight, because he is bloated and fat from luxurious living.
19 tn D. W. Thomas defends a meaning “cover” for the verb עָשָׂה (’asah). See “Translating Hebrew `asah,” BT 17 : 190-93.
20 tn The term פִּימָה (pimah), a hapax legomenon, is explained by the Arabic fa’ima, “to be fat.” Pope renders this “blubber.” Cf. KJV “and maketh collops of fat on his flanks.”
21 sn K&D 11:266 rightly explains that these are not cities that he, the wicked, has destroyed, but that were destroyed by a judgment on wickedness. Accordingly, Eliphaz is saying that the wicked man is willing to risk such a curse in his confidence in his prosperity (see further H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 113).
22 tn The verbal idea serves here to modify “houses” as a relative clause; so a relative pronoun is added.
23 tn The Hebrew has simply “they are made ready for heaps.” The LXX translates it, “what they have prepared, let others carry away.” This would involve a complete change of the last word.
24 tn This word מִנְלָם (minlam) also is a hapax legomenon, although almost always interpreted to mean “possession” (with Arabic manal) and repointed as מְנֹלָם (mÿnolam). M. Dahood further changes “earth” to the netherworld, and interprets it to mean “his possessions will not go down to the netherworld (“Value of Ugaritic for Textual Criticism,” Bib 40 : 164-66). Others suggest it means “ear of grain,” either from the common word for “ears of grain” or a hapax legomenon in Deuteronomy 23:26 .
25 tn Some editions and commentators delete the first line of this verse, arguing that it is simply a paraphrase of v. 22a, and that it interrupts the comparison with a tree that falls (although that comparison only starts next).
26 tn This last line in the verse is the difficult one. The MT has “he shall depart by the breath of his mouth.” If this reading stands, then it must be understood that it is the breath of God’s mouth that is intended. In place of “his mouth” the LXX has “flower” (reading פִּרהוֹ [pirho, properly, “his fruit”] instead of פִּיו piv), and “fall” instead of “depart.” Modern commentators and a number of English versions (e.g., RSV, NRSV, TEV) alter יָסוּר (yasur, “depart”) to something like יְסֹעַר (yÿso’ar, from סָעַר [sa’ar, “to drive away”]), or the like, to get “will be swept away.” The result is a reading: “and his blossom will be swept away by the wind.” The LXX may have read the Hebrew exactly, but harmonized it with v. 33 (see H. Heater, A Septuagint Translation Technique in the Book of Job [CBQMS]: 61-62).
27 tn The word, although difficult in its form, is “vanity,” i.e., that which is worthless. E. Dhorme (Job, 224) thinks that the form שָׁוְא (shav’) conceals the word שִׁיאוֹ (shi’o, “his stature”). But Dhorme reworks most of the verse. He changes נִתְעָה (nit’ah, “deceived”) to נֵדַע (neda’, “we know”) to arrive at “we know that it is vanity.” The last two words of the verse are then moved to the next. The LXX has “let him not think that he shall endure, for his end shall be vanity.”
28 tn This word is found in Job 20:18 with the sense of “trading.” It can mean the exchange of goods or the profit from them. Some commentators change תְמוּרָתוֹ (tÿmurato, “his reward”) because they wish to put it with the next verse as the LXX seems to have done (although the LXX does not represent this). Suggestions include תִּמֹרָתוֹ (timorato, “his palm tree”) and זְמֹרָתוֹ (zÿmorato, “his vine shoot”). A number of writers simply delete all of v. 31. H. H. Rowley (Job [NCBC], 115) suggests the best reading (assuming one were going to make changes) would be, “Let him not trust in his stature, deceiving himself, for it is vanity.” And then put “his palm tree” with the next verse, he thinks that achieves the proper balance.
29 tn Heb “before his day.”
30 tn Those who put the last colon of v. 31 with v. 32 also have to change the verb תִּמָּלֵא (timmale’, “will be fulfilled”). E. Dhorme (Job, 225) says, “a mere glance at the use of yimmal…abundantly proves that the original text had timmal (G, Syr., Vulg), which became timmale’ through the accidental transposition of the ‘alep of bÿsi’o…in verse 31….” This, of course, is possible, if all the other changes up to now are granted. But the meaning of a word elsewhere in no way assures it should be the word here. The LXX has “his harvest shall perish before the time,” which could translate any number of words that might have been in the underlying Hebrew text. A commercial metaphor is not out of place here, since parallelism does not demand that the same metaphor appear in both lines.
31 tn Now, in the second half of the verse, the metaphor of a tree with branches begins.
32 tn The verb means “to treat violently” or “to wrong.” It indicates that the vine did not nourish the grapes well enough for them to grow, and so they dry up and drop off.
33 sn The point is that like the tree the wicked man shows signs of life but produces nothing valuable. The olive tree will have blossoms in the years that it produces no olives, and so eventually drops the blossoms.
34 tn The LXX renders this line: “for death is the witness of an ungodly man. “Death” represents “barren/sterile,” and “witness” represents “assembly.”
36 tn Heb “the tents of bribery.” The word “bribery” can mean a “gift,” but most often in the sense of a bribe in court. It indicates that the wealth and the possessions that the wicked man has gained may have been gained unjustly.
37 tn Infinitives absolute are used in this verse in the place of finite verbs. They lend a greater vividness to the description, stressing the basic meaning of the words.
38 tn At the start of the speech Eliphaz said Job’s belly was filled with the wind; now it is there that he prepares deception. This inclusio frames the speech.