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Job 20:1--21:34

Context
Zophar’s Second Speech 1 

20:1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered:

20:2 “This is why 2  my troubled thoughts bring me back 3 

because of my feelings 4  within me.

20:3 When 5  I hear a reproof that dishonors 6  me,

then my understanding 7  prompts me to answer. 8 

20:4 “Surely you know 9  that it has been from old,

ever since humankind was placed 10  on the earth,

20:5 that the elation of the wicked is brief, 11 

the joy of the godless 12  lasts but a moment. 13 

20:6 Even though his stature 14  reaches to the heavens

and his head touches the clouds,

20:7 he will perish forever, like his own excrement; 15 

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

20:8 Like a dream he flies away, never again to be found, 16 

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

20:9 People 17  who had seen him will not see him again,

and the place where he was

will recognize him no longer.

20:10 His sons must recompense 18  the poor;

his own hands 19  must return his wealth.

20:11 His bones 20  were full of his youthful vigor, 21 

but that vigor will lie down with him in the dust.

20:12 “If 22  evil is sweet in his mouth

and he hides it under his tongue, 23 

20:13 if he retains it for himself

and does not let it go,

and holds it fast in his mouth, 24 

20:14 his food is turned sour 25  in his stomach; 26 

it becomes the venom of serpents 27  within him.

20:15 The wealth that he consumed 28  he vomits up,

God will make him throw it out 29  of his stomach.

20:16 He sucks the poison 30  of serpents; 31 

the fangs 32  of a viper 33  kill him.

20:17 He will not look on the streams, 34 

the rivers, which are the torrents 35 

of honey and butter. 36 

20:18 He gives back the ill-gotten gain 37 

without assimilating it; 38 

he will not enjoy the wealth from his commerce. 39 

20:19 For he has oppressed the poor and abandoned them; 40 

he has seized a house which he did not build. 41 

20:20 For he knows no satisfaction in his appetite; 42 

he does not let anything he desires 43  escape. 44 

20:21 “Nothing is left for him to devour; 45 

that is why his prosperity does not last. 46 

20:22 In the fullness of his sufficiency, 47 

distress 48  overtakes him.

the full force of misery will come upon him. 49 

20:23 “While he is 50  filling his belly,

God 51  sends his burning anger 52  against him,

and rains down his blows upon him. 53 

20:24 If he flees from an iron weapon,

then an arrow 54  from a bronze bow pierces him.

20:25 When he pulls it out 55  and it comes out of his back,

the gleaming point 56  out of his liver,

terrors come over him.

20:26 Total darkness waits to receive his treasures; 57 

a fire which has not been kindled 58 

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 59  from God.”

Job’s Reply to Zophar 60 

21:1 Then Job answered:

21:2 “Listen carefully 61  to my words;

let this be 62  the consolation you offer me. 63 

21:3 Bear with me 64  and I 65  will speak,

and after I have spoken 66  you may mock. 67 

21:4 Is my 68  complaint against a man? 69 

If so, 70  why should I not be impatient? 71 

21:5 Look 72  at me and be appalled;

put your hands over your mouths. 73 

21:6 For, when I think 74  about this, I am terrified 75 

and my body feels a shudder. 76 

The Wicked Prosper

21:7 “Why do the wicked go on living, 77 

grow old, 78  even increase in power?

21:8 Their children 79  are firmly established

in their presence, 80 

their offspring before their eyes.

21:9 Their houses are safe 81  and without fear; 82 

and no rod of punishment 83  from God is upon them. 84 

21:10 Their bulls 85  breed 86  without fail; 87 

their cows calve and do not miscarry.

21:11 They allow their children to run 88  like a flock;

their little ones dance about.

21:12 They sing 89  to the accompaniment of tambourine and harp,

and make merry to the sound of the flute.

21:13 They live out 90  their years in prosperity

and go down 91  to the grave 92  in peace.

21:14 So they say to God, ‘Turn away from us!

We do not want to 93  know your ways. 94 

21:15 Who is the Almighty, that 95  we should serve him?

What would we gain

if we were to pray 96  to him?’ 97 

21:16 But their prosperity is not their own doing. 98 

The counsel of the wicked is far from me! 99 

How Often Do the Wicked Suffer?

21:17 “How often 100  is the lamp of the wicked extinguished?

How often does their 101  misfortune come upon them?

How often does God apportion pain 102  to them 103  in his anger?

21:18 How often 104  are they like straw before the wind,

and like chaff swept away 105  by a whirlwind?

21:19 You may say, 106  ‘God stores up a man’s 107  punishment for his children!’ 108 

Instead let him repay 109  the man himself 110 

so that 111  he may know it!

21:20 Let his own eyes see his destruction; 112 

let him drink of the anger of the Almighty.

21:21 For what is his interest 113  in his home

after his death, 114 

when the number of his months

has been broken off? 115 

21:22 Can anyone teach 116  God knowledge,

since 117  he judges those that are on high? 118 

Death Levels Everything

21:23 “One man dies in his full vigor, 119 

completely secure and prosperous,

21:24 his body 120  well nourished, 121 

and the marrow of his bones moist. 122 

21:25 And another man 123  dies in bitterness of soul, 124 

never having tasted 125  anything good.

21:26 Together they lie down in the dust,

and worms cover over them both.

Futile Words, Deceptive Answers

21:27 “Yes, I know what you are thinking, 126 

the schemes 127  by which you would wrong me. 128 

21:28 For you say,

‘Where now is the nobleman’s house, 129 

and where are the tents in which the wicked lived?’ 130 

21:29 Have you never questioned those who travel the roads?

Do you not recognize their accounts 131 

21:30 that the evil man is spared

from the day of his misfortune,

that he is delivered 132 

from the day of God’s wrath?

21:31 No one denounces his conduct to his face;

no one repays him for what 133  he has done. 134 

21:32 And when he is carried to the tombs,

and watch is kept 135  over the funeral mound, 136 

21:33 The clods of the torrent valley 137  are sweet to him;

behind him everybody follows in procession,

and before him goes a countless throng.

21:34 So how can you console me with your futile words?

Nothing is left of your answers but deception!” 138 

1 sn Zophar breaks in with an impassioned argument about the brevity and prosperity of the life of the wicked. But every statement that he makes is completely irrelevant to the case at hand. The speech has four sections: after a short preface (2-3) he portrays the brevity of the triumph of the wicked (4-11), retribution for sin (12-22), and God’s swift judgment (23-29). See further B. H. Kelly, “Truth in Contradiction, A Study of Job 20 and 21,” Int 15 (1961): 147-56.

2 tn The ordinary meaning of לָכֵן (lakhen) is “therefore,” coming after an argument. But at the beginning of a speech it is an allusion to what follows.

3 tn The verb is שׁוּב (shuv, “to return”), but in the Hiphil, “bring me back,” i.e., prompt me to make another speech. The text makes good sense as it is, and there is no reason to change the reading to make a closer parallel with the second half – indeed, the second part explains the first.

4 tn The word is normally taken from the root “to hasten,” and rendered “because of my haste within me.” But K&D 11:374 proposed another root, and similarly, but closer to the text, E. Dhorme (Job, 289-90) found an Arabic word with the meaning “feeling, sensation.” He argues that from this idea developed the meanings in the cognates of “thoughts” as well. Similarly, Gordis translates it “my feeling pain.” See also Eccl 2:25.

5 tn There is no indication that this clause is to be subordinated to the next, other than the logical connection, and the use of the ו (vav) in the second half.

6 tn See Job 19:3.

7 tn The phrase actually has רוּחַ מִבִּינָתִי (ruakh mibbinati, “a spirit/wind/breath/impulse from my understanding”). Some translate it “out of my understanding a spirit answers me.” The idea is not that difficult, and so the many proposals to rewrite the text can be rejected. The spirit of his understanding prompts the reply.

8 tn To take this verb as a simple Qal and read it “answers me,” does not provide a clear idea. The form can just as easily be taken as a Hiphil, with the sense “causes me to answer.” It is Zophar who will “return” and who will “answer.”

9 tn The MT has “Do you not know?” The question can be interpreted as a rhetorical question affirming that Job must know this. The question serves to express the conviction that the contents are well-known to the audience (see GKC 474 §150.e).

10 tn Heb “from the putting of man on earth.” The infinitive is the object of the preposition, which is here temporal. If “man” is taken as the subjective genitive, then the verb would be given a passive translation. Here “man” is a generic, referring to “mankind” or “the human race.”

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

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

13 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.

14 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.

15 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.

16 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.

17 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.

18 tn The early versions confused the root of this verb, taking it from רָצַץ (ratsats, “mistreat”) and not from רָצָה (ratsah, “be please with”). So it was taken to mean, “Let inferiors destroy his children.” But the verb is רָצָה (ratsah). This has been taken to mean “his sons will seek the favor of the poor.” This would mean that they would be reduced to poverty and need help from even the poor. Some commentators see this as another root רָצָה (ratsah) meaning “to compensate; to restore” wealth their father had gained by impoverishing others. This fits the parallelism well, but not the whole context that well.

19 tn Some commentators are surprised to see “his hands” here, thinking the passage talks about his death. Budde changed it to “his children,” by altering one letter. R. Gordis argued that “hand” can mean offspring, and so translated it that way without changing anything in the text (“A note on YAD,” JBL 62 [1943]: 343).

20 tn “Bones” is often used metonymically for the whole person, the bones being the framework, meaning everything inside, as well as the body itself.

21 sn This line means that he dies prematurely – at the height of his youthful vigor.

22 tn The conjunction אִם (’im) introduces clauses that are conditional or concessive. With the imperfect verb in the protasis it indicates what is possible in the present or future. See GKC 496 §159.q).

23 sn The wicked person holds on to evil as long as he can, savoring the taste or the pleasure of it.

24 tn Heb “in the middle of his palate.”

25 tn The perfect verb in the apodosis might express the suddenness of the change (see S. R. Driver, Tenses in Hebrew, 204), or it might be a constative perfect looking at the action as a whole without reference to inception, progress, or completion (see IBHS 480-81 §30.1d). The Niphal perfect simply means “is turned” or “turns”; “sour is supplied in the translation to clarify what is meant.

26 tn The word is “in his loins” or “within him.” Some translate more specifically “bowels.”

27 sn Some commentators suggest that the ancients believed that serpents secreted poison in the gall bladder, or that the poison came from the gall bladder of serpents. In any case, there is poison (from the root “bitter”) in the system of the wicked person; it may simply be saying it is that type of poison.

28 tn Heb “swallowed.”

29 tn The choice of words is excellent. The verb יָרַשׁ (yarash) means either “to inherit” or “to disinherit; to dispossess.” The context makes the figure clear that God is administering the emetic to make the wicked throw up the wealth (thus, “God will make him throw it out…”); but since wealth is the subject there is a disinheritance meant here.

30 tn The word is a homonym for the word for “head,” which has led to some confusion in the early versions.

31 sn To take the possessions of another person is hereby compared to sucking poison from a serpent – it will kill eventually.

32 tn Heb “tongue.”

33 tn Some have thought this verse is a gloss on v. 14 and should be deleted. But the word for “viper” (אֶפְעֶה, ’efeh) is a rare word, occurring only here and in Isa 30:6 and 59:5. It is unlikely that a rarer word would be used in a gloss. But the point is similar to v. 14 – the wealth that was greedily sucked in by the wicked proves to be their undoing. Either this is totally irrelevant to Job’s case, a general discussion, or the man is raising questions about how Job got his wealth.

34 tn The word פְּלַגּוֹת (pÿlaggot) simply means “streams” or “channels.” Because the word is used elsewhere for “streams of oil” (cf. 29:6), and that makes a good parallelism here, some supply “oil” (cf. NAB, NLT). But the second colon of the verse is probably in apposition to the first. The verb “see” followed by the preposition bet, “to look on; to look over,” means “to enjoy as a possession,” an activity of the victor.

35 tn The construct nouns here have caused a certain amount of revision. It says “rivers of, torrents of.” The first has been emended by Klostermann to יִצְהָר (yitshar, “oil”) and connected to the first colon. Older editors argued for a נָהָר (nahar) that meant “oil” but that was not convincing. On the other hand, there is support for having more than one construct together serving as apposition (see GKC 422 §130.e). If the word “streams” in the last colon is a construct, that would mean three of them; but that one need not be construct. The reading would be “He will not see the streams, [that is] the rivers [which are] the torrents of honey and butter.” It is unusual, but workable.

36 sn This word is often translated “curds.” It is curdled milk, possibly a type of butter.

37 tn The idea is the fruit of his evil work. The word יָגָע (yaga’) occurs only here; it must mean ill-gotten gains. The verb is in 10:3.

38 tn Heb “and he does not swallow.” In the context this means “consume” for his own pleasure and prosperity. The verbal clause is here taken adverbially.

39 sn The expression is “according to the wealth of his exchange.” This means he cannot enjoy whatever he gained in his business deals. Some mss have בּ (bet) preposition, making the translation easier; but this is evidence of a scribal correction.

40 tc The verb indicates that after he oppressed the poor he abandoned them to their fate. But there have been several attempts to improve on the text. Several have repointed the text to get a word parallel to “house.” Ehrlich came up with עֹזֵב (’ozev, “mud hut”), Kissane had “hovel” (similar to Neh 3:8). M. Dahood did the same (“The Root ’zb II in Job,” JBL 78 [1959]: 306-7). J. Reider came up with עֶזֶב (’ezev, the “leavings”), what the rich were to leave for the poor (“Contributions to the Scriptural text,” HUCA 24 [1952/53]: 103-6). But an additional root עָזַב (’azav) is questionable. And while the text as it stands is general and not very striking, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Dhorme reverses the letters to gain בְּעֹז (bÿoz, “with force [or violence]”).

41 tn The last clause says, “and he did not build it.” This can be understood in an adverbial sense, supplying the relative pronoun to the translation.

42 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.

43 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.

44 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 [1959]: 315-16). The RSV has “he will save nothing in which he delights”; NIV has “he cannot save himself by his treasure.”

45 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.

46 sn The point throughout is that insatiable greed and ruthless plundering to satisfy it will be recompensed with utter and complete loss.

47 tn The word שָׂפַק (safaq) occurs only here; it means “sufficiency; wealth; abundance (see D. W. Thomas, “The Text of Jesaia 2:6 and the Word sapaq,ZAW 75 [1963]: 88-90).

48 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.

49 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.

50 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.

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

52 tn Heb “the anger of his wrath.”

53 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.”

54 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.

55 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.

56 tn Possibly a reference to lightnings.

57 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.”

58 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).

59 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).

60 sn In this chapter Job actually answers the ideas of all three of his friends. Here Job finds the flaw in their argument – he can point to wicked people who prosper. But whereas in the last speech, when he looked on his suffering from the perspective of his innocence, he found great faith and hope, in this chapter when he surveys the divine government of the world, he sinks to despair. The speech can be divided into five parts: he appeals for a hearing (2-6), he points out the prosperity of the wicked (7-16), he wonders exactly when the godless suffer (17-22), he shows how death levels everything (23-26), and he reveals how experience contradicts his friends’ argument (27-34).

61 tn The intensity of the appeal is again expressed by the imperative followed by the infinitive absolute for emphasis. See note on “listen carefully” in 13:17.

62 tc The LXX negates the sentence, “that I may not have this consolation from you.”

63 tn The word תַּנְחוּמֹתֵיכֶם (tankhumotekhem) is literally “your consolations,” the suffix being a subjective genitive. The friends had thought they were offering Job consolation (Job 14:11), but the consolation he wants from them is that they listen to him and respond accordingly.

64 tn The verb נָשָׂא (nasa’) means “to lift up; to raise up”; but in this context it means “to endure; to tolerate” (see Job 7:21).

65 tn The conjunction and the independent personal pronoun draw emphatic attention to the subject of the verb: “and I on my part will speak.”

66 tn The adverbial clauses are constructed of the preposition “after” and the Piel infinitive construct with the subjective genitive suffix: “my speaking,” or “I speak.”

67 tn The verb is the imperfect of לָעַג (laag). The Hiphil has the same basic sense as the Qal, “to mock; to deride.” The imperfect here would be modal, expressing permission. The verb is in the singular, suggesting that Job is addressing Zophar; however, most of the versions put it into the plural. Note the singular in 16:3 between the plural in 16:1 and 16:4.

68 tn The addition of the independent pronoun at the beginning of the sentence (“Is it I / against a man / my complaint”) strengthens the pronominal suffix on “complaint” (see GKC 438 §135.f).

69 sn The point seems to be that if his complaint were merely against men he might expect sympathy from other men; but no one dares offer him sympathy when his complaint is against God. So he will give free expression to his spirit (H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 147).

70 tn On disjunctive interrogatives, see GKC 475 §150.g.

71 tn Heb “why should my spirit/breath not be short” (see Num 21:4; Judg 16:16).

72 tn The verb פְּנוּ (pÿnu) is from the verb “to turn,” related to the word for “face.” In calling for them to turn toward him, he is calling for them to look at him. But here it may be more in the sense of their attention rather than just a looking at him.

73 tn The idiom is “put a hand over a mouth,” the natural gesture for keeping silent and listening (cf. Job 29:9; 40:4; Mic 7:16).

74 tn The verb is זָכַר (zakhar, “to remember”). Here it has the sense of “to keep in memory; to meditate; to think upon.”

75 tn The main clause is introduced here by the conjunction, following the adverbial clause of time.

76 tn Some commentators take “shudder” to be the subject of the verb, “a shudder seizes my body.” But the word is feminine (and see the usage, especially in Job 9:6 and 18:20). It is the subject in Isa 21:4; Ps 55:6; and Ezek 7:18.

77 sn A. B. Davidson (Job, 154) clarifies that Job’s question is of a universal scope. In the government of God, why do the wicked exist at all? The verb could be translated “continue to live.”

78 tn The verb עָתַק (’ataq) means “to move; to proceed; to advance.” Here it is “to advance in years” or “to grow old.” This clause could serve as an independent clause, a separate sentence; but it more likely continues the question of the first colon and is parallel to the verb “live.”

79 tn Heb “their seed.”

80 tn The text uses לִפְנֵיהֶם עִמָּם (lifnehemimmam, “before them, with them”). Many editors think that these were alternative readings, and so omit one or the other. Dhorme moved עִמָּם (’immam) to the second half of the verse and emended it to read עֹמְדִים (’omÿdim, “abide”). Kissane and Gordis changed only the vowels and came up with עַמָּם (’ammam, “their kinfolk”). But Gordis thinks the presence of both of them in the line is evidence of a conflated reading (p. 229).

81 tn The word שָׁלוֹם (shalom, “peace, safety”) is here a substantive after a plural subject (see GKC 452 §141.c, n. 3).

82 tn The form מִפָּחַד (mippakhad) is translated “without fear,” literally “from fear”; the preposition is similar to the alpha privative in Greek. The word “fear, dread” means nothing that causes fear or dread – they are peaceful, secure. See GKC 382 §119.w.

83 tn Heb “no rod of God.” The words “punishment from” have been supplied in the translation to make the metaphor understandable for the modern reader by stating the purpose of the rod.

84 sn In 9:34 Job was complaining that there was no umpire to remove God’s rod from him, but here he observes no such rod is on the wicked.

85 tn Heb “his bull,” but it is meant to signify the bulls of the wicked.

86 tn The verb used here means “to impregnate,” and not to be confused with the verb עָבַר (’avar, “to pass over”).

87 tn The use of the verb גָּעַר (gaar) in this place is interesting. It means “to rebuke; to abhor; to loathe.” In the causative stem it means “to occasion impurity” or “to reject as loathsome.” The rabbinic interpretation is that it does not emit semen in vain, and so the meaning is it does not fail to breed (see E. Dhorme, Job, 311; R. Gordis, Job, 229).

88 tn The verb שָׁלַח (shalakh) means “to send forth,” but in the Piel “to release; to allow to run free.” The picture of children frolicking in the fields and singing and dancing is symbolic of peaceful, prosperous times.

89 tn The verb is simply “they take up [or lift up],” but the understood object is “their voices,” and so it means “they sing.”

90 tc The Kethib has “they wear out” but the Qere and the versions have יְכַלּוּ (yÿkhallu, “bring to an end”). The verb כָּלָה (kalah) means “to finish; to complete,” and here with the object “their days,” it means that they bring their life to a (successful) conclusion. Both readings are acceptable in the context, with very little difference in the overall meaning (which according to Gordis is proof the Qere does not always correct the Kethib).

91 tc The MT has יֵחָתּוּ (yekhattu, “they are frightened [or broken]”), taking the verb from חָתַת (khatat, “be terrified”). But most would slightly repoint it to יֵחָתוּ (yekhatu), an Aramaism, “they go down,” from נָחַת (nakhat, “go down”). See Job 17:16.

92 tn The word רֶגַע (rega’) has been interpreted as “in a moment” or “in peace” (on the basis of Arabic raja`a, “return to rest”). Gordis thinks this is a case of talhin – both meanings present in the mind of the writer.

93 tn The absence of the preposition before the complement adds greater vividness to the statement: “and knowing your ways – we do not desire.”

94 sn Contrast Ps 25:4, which affirms that walking in God’s ways means to obey God’s will – the Torah.

95 tn The interrogative clause is followed by ki, similar to Exod 5:2, “Who is Yahweh, that I should obey him?”

96 tn The verb פָּגַע (paga’) means “to encounter; to meet,” but also “to meet with request; to intercede; to interpose.” The latter meaning is a derived meaning by usage.

97 tn The verse is not present in the LXX. It may be that it was considered too blasphemous and therefore omitted.

98 tn Heb “is not in their hand.”

sn The implication of this statement is that their well-being is from God, which is the problem Job is raising in the chapter. A number of commentators make it a question, interpreting it to mean that the wicked enjoy prosperity as if it is their right. Some emend the text to say “his hands” – Gordis reads it, “Indeed, our prosperity is not in his hands.”

99 sn Even though their life seems so good in contrast to his own plight, Job cannot and will not embrace their principles – “far be from me their counsel.”

100 tn The interrogative “How often” occurs only with the first colon; it is supplied for smoother reading in the next two.

101 tn The pronominal suffix is objective; it re-enforces the object of the preposition, “upon them.” The verb in the clause is בּוֹא (bo’) followed by עַל (’al), “come upon [or against],” may be interpreted as meaning attack or strike.

102 tn חֲבָלִים (khavalim) can mean “ropes” or “cords,” but that would not go with the verb “apportion” in this line. The meaning of “pangs (as in “birth-pangs”) seems to fit best here. The wider meaning would be “physical agony.”

103 tn The phrase “to them” is understood and thus is supplied in the translation for clarification.

104 tn To retain the sense that the wicked do not suffer as others, this verse must either be taken as a question or a continuation of the question in v. 17.

105 tn The verb used actually means “rob.” It is appropriate to the image of a whirlwind suddenly taking away the wisp of straw.

106 tn These words are supplied. The verse records an idea that Job suspected they might have, namely, that if the wicked die well God will make their children pay for the sins (see Job 5:4; 20:10; as well as Exod 20:5).

107 tn The text simply has אוֹנוֹ (’ono, “his iniquity”), but by usage, “the punishment for the iniquity.”

108 tn Heb “his sons.”

109 tn The verb שָׁלַם (shalam) in the Piel has the meaning of restoring things to their normal, making whole, and so reward, repay (if for sins), or recompense in general.

110 tn The text simply has “let him repay [to] him.”

111 tn The imperfect verb after the jussive carries the meaning of a purpose clause, and so taken as a final imperfect: “in order that he may know [or realize].”

112 tc This word occurs only here. The word כִּיד (kid) was connected to Arabic kaid, “fraud, trickery,” or “warfare.” The word is emended by the commentators to other ideas, such as פִּיד (pid, “[his] calamity”). Dahood and others alter it to “cup”; Wright to “weapons.” A. F. L. Beeston argues for a meaning “condemnation” for the MT form, and so makes no change in the text (Mus 67 [1954]: 315-16). If the connection to Arabic “warfare” is sustained, or if such explanations of the existing MT can be sustained, then the text need not be emended. In any case, the sense of the line is clear.

113 tn Heb “his desire.” The meaning is that after he is gone he does not care about what happens to his household (“house” meaning “family” here).

114 tn Heb “after him,” but clearly the meaning is “after he is gone.”

115 tc The rare word חֻצָּצוּ (khutsatsu) is probably a cognate of hassa in Arabic, meaning “to cut off.” There is also an Akkadian word “to cut in two” and “to break.” These fit the context here rather well. The other Hebrew words that are connected to the root חָצַצ (khatsats) do not offer any help.

116 tn The imperfect verb in this question should be given the modal nuance of potential imperfect. The question is rhetorical – it is affirming that no one can teach God.

117 tn The clause begins with the disjunctive vav (ו) and the pronoun, “and he.” This is to be subordinated as a circumstantial clause. See GKC 456 §142.d.

118 tc The Hebrew has רָמִים (ramim), a plural masculine participle of רוּם (rum, “to be high; to be exalted”). This is probably a reference to the angels. But M. Dahood restores an older interpretation that it refers to “the Most High” (“Some Northwest Semitic words in Job,”Bib 38 [1957]: 316-17). He would take the word as a singular form with an enclitic mem (ם). He reads the verse, “will he judge the Most High?”

119 tn The line has “in the bone of his perfection.” The word עֶצֶם (’etsem), which means “bone,” is used pronominally to express “the same, very”; here it is “in the very fullness of his strength” (see GKC 449 §139.g). The abstract תֹּם (tom) is used here in the sense of physical perfection and strengths.

120 tn The verb עָטַן (’atan) has the precise meaning of “press olives.” But because here it says “full of milk,” the derived meaning for the noun has been made to mean “breasts” or “pails” (although in later Hebrew this word occurs – but with olives, not with milk). Dhorme takes it to refer to “his sides,” and repoints the word for “milk” (חָלָב, khalav) to get “fat” (חֶלֶב, khelev) – “his sides are full of fat,” a rendering followed by NASB. However, this weakens the parallelism.

121 tn This interpretation, adopted by several commentaries and modern translations (cf. NAB, NIV), is a general rendering to capture the sense of the line.

122 tn The verb שָׁקָה (shaqah) means “to water” and here “to be watered thoroughly.” The picture in the line is that of health and vigor.

123 tn The expression “this (v. 23)…and this” (v. 25) means “one…the other.”

124 tn The text literally has “and this [man] dies in soul of bitterness.” Some simply reverse it and translate “in the bitterness of soul.” The genitive “bitterness” may be an attribute adjective, “with a bitter soul.”

125 tn Heb “eaten what is good.” It means he died without having enjoyed the good life.

126 tn The word is “your thoughts.” The word for “thoughts” (from חָצַב [khatsav, “to think; to reckon; to plan”]) has more to do with their intent than their general thoughts. He knows that when they talked about the fate of the wicked they really were talking about him.

127 tn For the meaning of this word, and its root זָמַם (zamam), see Job 17:11. It usually means the “plans” or “schemes” that are concocted against someone.

128 tn E. Dhorme (Job, 321) distinguishes the verb חָמַס (khamas) from the noun for “violence.” He proposes a meaning of “think, imagine”: “and the ideas you imagined about me.”

129 sn The question implies the answer will be “vanished” or “gone.”

130 tn Heb “And where is the tent, the dwellings of the wicked.” The word “dwellings of the wicked” is in apposition to “tent.” A relative pronoun must be supplied in the translation.

131 tc The LXX reads, “Ask those who go by the way, and do not disown their signs.”

tn The idea is that the merchants who travel widely will talk about what they have seen and heard. These travelers give a different account of the wicked; they tell how he is spared. E. Dhorme (Job, 322) interprets “signs” concretely: “Their custom was to write their names and their thoughts somewhere at the main cross-roads. The main roads of Sinai are dotted with these scribblings made by such passers of a day.”

132 tn The verb means “to be led forth.” To be “led forth in the day of trouble” means to be delivered.

133 tn The expression “and he has done” is taken here to mean “what he has done.”

134 tn Heb “Who declares his way to his face? // Who repays him for what he has done?” These rhetorical questions, which expect a negative answer (“No one!”) have been translated as indicative statements to bring out their force clearly.

135 tn The verb says “he will watch.” The subject is unspecified, so the translation is passive.

136 tn The Hebrew word refers to the tumulus, the burial mound that is erected on the spot where the person is buried.

137 tn The clods are those that are used to make a mound over the body. And, for a burial in the valley, see Deut 34:6. The verse here sees him as participating in his funeral and enjoying it. Nothing seems to go wrong with the wicked.

138 tn The word מָעַל (maal) is used for “treachery; deception; fraud.” Here Job is saying that their way of interpreting reality is dangerously unfaithful.



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