and his head touches the clouds,
those who used to see him will say, ‘Where is he?’
and like a vision of the night he is put to flight.
that is why his prosperity does not last. 11
distress 13 overtakes him.
the full force of misery will come upon him. 14
20:28 A flood will carry off his house,
rushing waters on the day of God’s wrath.
1 tn The expression in the text is “quite near.” This indicates that it is easily attained, and that its end is near.
4 tn The word שִׂיא (si’) has been connected with the verb נָשָׂא (nasa’, “to lift up”), and so interpreted here as “pride.” The form is parallel to “head” in the next part, and so here it refers to his stature, the part that rises up and is crowned. But the verse does describe the pride of such a person, with his head in the heavens.
5 tn There have been attempts to change the word here to “like a whirlwind,” or something similar. But many argue that there is no reason to remove a coarse expression from Zophar.
6 tn Heb “and they do not find him.” The verb has no expressed subject, and so here is equivalent to a passive. The clause itself is taken adverbially in the sentence.
7 tn Heb “belly,” which represents his cravings, his desires and appetites. The “satisfaction” is actually the word for “quiet; peace; calmness; ease.” He was driven by greedy desires, or he felt and displayed an insatiable greed.
8 tn The verb is the passive participle of the verb חָמַד (khamad) which is one of the words for “covet; desire.” This person is controlled by his desires; there is no escape. He is a slave.
9 tn The verb is difficult to translate in this line. It basically means “to cause to escape; to rescue.” Some translate this verb as “it is impossible to escape”; this may work, but is uncertain. Others translate the verb in the sense of saving something else: N. Sarna says, “Of his most cherished possessions he shall save nothing” (“The Interchange of the Preposition bet and min in Biblical Hebrew,” JBL 78 : 315-16). The RSV has “he will save nothing in which he delights”; NIV has “he cannot save himself by his treasure.”
10 tn Heb “for his eating,” which is frequently rendered “for his gluttony.” It refers, of course, to all the desires he has to take things from other people.
11 sn The point throughout is that insatiable greed and ruthless plundering to satisfy it will be recompensed with utter and complete loss.
13 tn Heb “there is straightness for him.” The root צָרַר (tsarar) means “to be narrowed in straits, to be in a bind.” The word here would have the idea of pressure, stress, trouble. One could say he is in a bind.
14 tn Heb “every hand of trouble comes to him.” The pointing of עָמֵל (’amel) indicates it would refer to one who brings trouble; LXX and Latin read an abstract noun עָמָל (’amal, “trouble”) here.