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Job 20:5-9

Context

20:5 that the elation of the wicked is brief, 1 

the joy of the godless 2  lasts but a moment. 3 

20:6 Even though his stature 4  reaches to the heavens

and his head touches the clouds,

20:7 he will perish forever, like his own excrement; 5 

those who used to see him will say, ‘Where is he?’

20:8 Like a dream he flies away, never again to be found, 6 

and like a vision of the night he is put to flight.

20:9 People 7  who had seen him will not see him again,

and the place where he was

will recognize him no longer.

1 tn The expression in the text is “quite near.” This indicates that it is easily attained, and that its end is near.

2 tn For the discussion of חָנֵף (khanef, “godless”) see Job 8:13.

3 tn The phrase is “until a moment,” meaning it is short-lived. But see J. Barr, “Hebrew ’ad, especially at Job 1:18 and Neh 7:3,” JSS 27 (1982): 177-88.

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 “the eye that had seen him.” Here a part of the person (the eye, the instrument of vision) is put by metonymy for the entire person.



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