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Job 1:16-18

Context

1:16 While this one was still speaking, 1  another messenger arrived 2  and said, “The fire of God 3  has fallen from heaven 4  and has burned up the sheep and the servants – it has consumed them! And I – only I alone – escaped to tell you!”

1:17 While this one was still speaking another messenger arrived and said, “The Chaldeans 5  formed three bands and made a raid 6  on the camels and carried them all away, and they killed the servants with the sword! 7  And I – only I alone – escaped to tell you!”

1:18 While this one was still speaking another messenger arrived and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house,

1 tn The particle עוֹד (’od, “still”) is used with the participle to express the past circumstances when something else happened (IBHS 625-26 §37.6d).

2 tn The Hebrew expression is literally “yet/this/speaking/and this/ arrived.” The sentence uses the two demonstratives as a contrasting pair. It means “this one was still speaking when that one arrived” (IBHS 308-9 §17.3c). The word “messenger” has been supplied in the translation in vv. 16, 17, and 18 for clarity and for stylistic reasons.

3 sn The “fire of God” would refer to lightning (1 Kgs 18:38; 2 Kgs 1:12; cf. NAB, NCV, TEV). The LXX simply has “fire.” The first blow came from enemies; the second from heaven, which might have confused Job more as to the cause of his troubles. The use of the divine epithet could also be an indication of the superlative degree; see D. W. Thomas, “A Consideration of Some Unusual Ways of Expressing the Superlative in Hebrew,” VT 3 (1953): 209-24.

4 tn Or “from the sky.” The Hebrew word שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven[s]” or “sky” depending on the context.

5 sn The name may have been given to the tribes that roamed between the Euphrates and the lands east of the Jordan. These are possibly the nomadic Kaldu who are part of the ethnic Aramaeans. The LXX simply has “horsemen.”

6 tn The verb פָּשַׁט (pashat) means “to hurl themselves” upon something (see Judg 9:33, 41). It was a quick, plundering raid to carry off the camels.

7 tn Heb “with the edge/mouth of the sword.”



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