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Job 1:20

Context

1:20 Then Job got up 1  and tore his robe. 2  He shaved his head, 3  and then he threw himself down with his face to the ground. 4 

1 tn The verb וַיָּקָם (vayyaqom, “and he arose”) indicates the intentionality and the rapidity of the actions to follow. It signals the beginning of his response to the terrible news. Therefore, the sentence could be translated, “Then Job immediately began to tear his robe.”

2 sn It was the custom to tear the robe in a time of mourning, to indicate that the heart was torn (Joel 2:13). The “garment, mantel” here is the outer garment frequently worn over the basic tunic. See further D. R. Ap-Thomas, “Notes on Some Terms Relating to Prayer,” VT 6 (1956): 220-24.

3 sn In mourning one normally put off every adornment that enhanced or embellished the person, including that which nature provided (Jer 7:29; Mic 1:16).

4 tn This last verb is the Hishtaphel of the word חָוָה (khavah; BDB 1005 s.v. שָׁחָה); it means “to prostrate oneself, to cause oneself to be low to the ground.” In the OT it is frequently translated “to worship” because that is usually why the individual would kneel down and then put his or her forehead to the ground at the knees. But the word essentially means “to bow down to the ground.” Here “worship” (although employed by several English translations, cf. KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, CEV) conveys more than what is taking place – although Job’s response is certainly worshipful. See G. I. Davies, “A Note on the Etymology of histahawah,VT 29 (1979): 493-95; and J. A. Emerton, “The Etymology of histahawah,” OTS (1977): 41-55.



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