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Job 21:9-13

Context

21:9 Their houses are safe 1  and without fear; 2 

and no rod of punishment 3  from God is upon them. 4 

21:10 Their bulls 5  breed 6  without fail; 7 

their cows calve and do not miscarry.

21:11 They allow their children to run 8  like a flock;

their little ones dance about.

21:12 They sing 9  to the accompaniment of tambourine and harp,

and make merry to the sound of the flute.

21:13 They live out 10  their years in prosperity

and go down 11  to the grave 12  in peace.

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

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

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

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

7 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).

8 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.

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

10 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).

11 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.

12 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.



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