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Job 20:23-29

Context

20:23 “While he is 1  filling his belly,

God 2  sends his burning anger 3  against him,

and rains down his blows upon him. 4 

20:24 If he flees from an iron weapon,

then an arrow 5  from a bronze bow pierces him.

20:25 When he pulls it out 6  and it comes out of his back,

the gleaming point 7  out of his liver,

terrors come over him.

20:26 Total darkness waits to receive his treasures; 8 

a fire which has not been kindled 9 

will consume him

and devour what is left in his tent.

20:27 The heavens reveal his iniquity;

the earth rises up against him.

20:28 A flood will carry off his house,

rushing waters on the day of God’s wrath.

20:29 Such is the lot God allots the wicked,

and the heritage of his appointment 10  from God.”

1 tn D. J. A. Clines observes that to do justice to the three jussives in the verse, one would have to translate “May it be, to fill his belly to the full, that God should send…and rain” (Job [WBC], 477). The jussive form of the verb at the beginning of the verse could also simply introduce a protasis of a conditional clause (see GKC 323 §109.h, i). This would mean, “if he [God] is about to fill his [the wicked’s] belly to the full, he will send….” The NIV reads “when he has filled his belly.” These fit better, because the context is talking about the wicked in his evil pursuit being cut down.

2 tn “God” is understood as the subject of the judgment.

3 tn Heb “the anger of his wrath.”

4 tn Heb “rain down upon him, on his flesh.” Dhorme changes עָלֵימוֹ (’alemo, “upon him”) to “his arrows”; he translates the line as “he rains his arrows upon his flesh.” The word בִּלְחוּמוֹ (bilkhumo,“his flesh”) has been given a wide variety of translations: “as his food,” “on his flesh,” “upon him, his anger,” or “missiles or weapons of war.”

5 tn Heb “a bronze bow pierces him.” The words “an arrow from” are implied and are supplied in the translation; cf. “pulls it out” in the following verse.

6 tn The MT has “he draws out [or as a passive, “it is drawn out/forth”] and comes [or goes] out of his back.” For the first verb שָׁלַף (shalaf, “pull, draw”), many commentators follow the LXX and use שֶׁלַח (shelakh, “a spear”). It then reads “and a shaft comes out of his back,” a sword flash comes out of his liver.” But the verse could also be a continuation of the preceding.

7 tn Possibly a reference to lightnings.

8 tn Heb “all darkness is hidden for his laid up things.” “All darkness” refers to the misfortunes and afflictions that await. The verb “hidden” means “is destined for.”

9 tn Heb “not blown upon,” i.e., not kindled by man. But G. R. Driver reads “unquenched” (“Hebrew notes on the ‘Wisdom of Jesus Ben Sirach’,” JBL 53 [1934]: 289).

10 tn For the word אִמְרוֹ (’imro) some propose reading “his appointment,” and the others, “his word.” Driver shows that “the heritage of his appointment” means “his appointed heritage” (see GKC 440 §135.n).



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