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Job 18:9-19

Context

18:9 A trap 1  seizes him by the heel;

a snare 2  grips him.

18:10 A rope is hidden for him 3  on the ground

and a trap for him 4  lies on the path.

18:11 Terrors 5  frighten him on all sides

and dog 6  his every step.

18:12 Calamity is 7  hungry for him, 8 

and misfortune is ready at his side. 9 

18:13 It eats away parts of his skin; 10 

the most terrible death 11  devours his limbs.

18:14 He is dragged from the security of his tent, 12 

and marched off 13  to the king 14  of terrors.

18:15 Fire resides in his tent; 15 

over his residence burning sulfur is scattered.

18:16 Below his roots dry up,

and his branches wither above.

18:17 His memory perishes from the earth,

he has no name in the land. 16 

18:18 He is driven 17  from light into darkness

and is banished from the world.

18:19 He has neither children nor descendants 18  among his people,

no survivor in those places he once stayed. 19 

1 tn This word פָּח (pakh) specifically refers to the snare of the fowler – thus a bird trap. But its plural seems to refer to nets in general (see Job 22:10).

2 tn This word does not occur elsewhere. But another word from the same root means “plait of hair,” and so this term has something to do with a net like a trellis or lattice.

3 tn Heb “his rope.” The suffix must be a genitive expressing that the trap was for him, to trap him, and so an objective genitive.

4 tn Heb “his trap.” The pronominal suffix is objective genitive here as well.

5 sn Bildad is referring here to all the things that afflict a person and cause terror. It would then be a metonymy of effect, the cause being the afflictions.

6 tn The verb פּוּץ (puts) in the Hiphil has the meaning “to pursue” and “to scatter.” It is followed by the expression “at his feet.” So the idea is easily derived: they chase him at his feet. But some commentators have other proposals. The most far-fetched is that of Ehrlich and Driver (ZAW 24 [1953]: 259-60) which has “and compel him to urinate on his feet,” one of many similar readings the NEB accepted from Driver.

7 tn The jussive is occasionally used without its normal sense and only as an imperfect (see GKC 323 §109.k).

8 tn There are a number of suggestions for אֹנוֹ (’ono). Some take it as “vigor”: thus “his strength is hungry.” Others take it as “iniquity”: thus “his iniquity/trouble is hungry.”

9 tn The expression means that misfortune is right there to destroy him whenever there is the opportunity.

10 tn The expression “the limbs of his skin” makes no sense, unless a poetic meaning of “parts” (or perhaps “layers”) is taken. The parallelism has “his skin” in the first colon, and “his limbs” in the second. One plausible suggestion is to take בַּדֵּי (badde, “limbs of”) in the first part to be בִּדְוָי (bidvay, “by a disease”; Dhorme, Wright, RSV). The verb has to be made passive, however. The versions have different things: The LXX has “let the branches of his feet be eaten”; the Syriac has “his cities will be swallowed up by force”; the Vulgate reads “let it devour the beauty of his skin”; and Targum Job has “it will devour the linen garments that cover his skin.”

11 tn The “firstborn of death” is the strongest child of death (Gen 49:3), or the deadliest death (like the “firstborn of the poor, the poorest). The phrase means the most terrible death (A. B. Davidson, Job, 134).

12 tn Heb “from his tent, his security.” The apposition serves to modify the tent as his security.

13 tn The verb is the Hiphil of צָעַד (tsaad, “to lead away”). The problem is that the form is either a third feminine (Rashi thought it was referring to Job’s wife) or the second person. There is a good deal of debate over the possibility of the prefix t- being a variant for the third masculine form. The evidence in Ugaritic and Akkadian is mixed, stronger for the plural than the singular. Gesenius has some samples where the third feminine form might also be used for the passive if there is no expressed subject (see GKC 459 §144.b), but the evidence is not strong. The simplest choices are to change the prefix to a י (yod), or argue that the ת (tav) can be masculine, or follow Gesenius.

14 sn This is a reference to death, the king of all terrors. Other identifications are made in the commentaries: Mot, the Ugaritic god of death; Nergal of the Babylonians; Molech of the Canaanites, the one to whom people sent emissaries.

15 tn This line is difficult as well. The verb, again a third feminine form, says “it dwells in his tent.” But the next part (מִבְּלִי לוֹ, mibbÿli lo) means something like “things of what are not his.” The best that can be made of the MT is “There shall live in his tent they that are not his” (referring to persons and animals; see J. E. Hartley, Job [NICOT], 279). G. R. Driver and G. B. Gray (Job [ICC], 2:161) refer “that which is naught of his” to weeds and wild animals. M. Dahood suggested a reading מַבֶּל (mabbel) and a connection to Akkadian nablu, “fire” (cf. Ugaritic nbl). The interchange of m and n is not a problem, and the parallelism with the next line makes good sense (“Some Northwest Semitic words in Job,” Bib 38 [1957]: 312ff.). Others suggest an emendation to get “night-hag” or vampire. This suggestion, as well as Driver’s “mixed herbs,” are linked to the idea of exorcism. But if a change is to be made, Dahood’s is the most compelling.

16 tn Heb “outside.” Cf. ESV, “in the street,” referring to absence from his community’s memory.

17 tn The verbs in this verse are plural; without the expressed subject they should be taken in the passive sense.

18 tn The two words נִין (nin, “offspring”) and נֶכֶד (nekhed, “posterity”) are always together and form an alliteration. This is hard to capture in English, but some have tried: Moffatt had “son and scion,” and Tur-Sinai had “breed or brood.” But the words are best simply translated as “lineage and posterity” or as in the NIV “offspring or descendants.”

19 tn Heb “in his sojournings.” The verb גּוּר (gur) means “to reside; to sojourn” temporarily, without land rights. Even this word has been selected to stress the temporary nature of his stay on earth.



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