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Job 24:8-12


24:8 They are soaked by mountain rains

and huddle 1  in the rocks because they lack shelter.

24:9 The fatherless child is snatched 2  from the breast, 3 

the infant of the poor is taken as a pledge. 4 

24:10 They go about naked, without clothing,

and go hungry while they carry the sheaves. 5 

24:11 They press out the olive oil between the rows of olive trees; 6 

they tread the winepresses while they are thirsty. 7 

24:12 From the city the dying 8  groan,

and the wounded 9  cry out for help,

but God charges no one with wrongdoing. 10 

1 tn Heb “embrace” or “hug.”

2 tn The verb with no expressed subject is here again taken in the passive: “they snatch” becomes “[child] is snatched.”

3 tn This word is usually defined as “violence; ruin.” But elsewhere it does mean “breast” (Isa 60:16; 66:11), and that is certainly what it means here.

4 tc The MT has a very brief and strange reading: “they take as a pledge upon the poor.” This could be taken as “they take a pledge against the poor” (ESV). Kamphausen suggested that instead of עַל (’al, “against”) one should read עוּל (’ul, “suckling”). This is supported by the parallelism. “They take as pledge” is also made passive here.

5 sn The point should not be missed – amidst abundant harvests, carrying sheaves about, they are still going hungry.

6 tc The Hebrew term is שׁוּרֹתָם (shurotam), which may be translated “terraces” or “olive rows.” But that would not be the proper place to have a press to press the olives and make oil. E. Dhorme (Job, 360-61) proposes on the analogy of an Arabic word that this should be read as “millstones” (which he would also write in the dual). But the argument does not come from a clean cognate, but from a possible development of words. The meaning of “olive rows” works well enough.

7 tn The final verb, a preterite with the ו (vav) consecutive, is here interpreted as a circumstantial clause.

8 tc The MT as pointed reads “from the city of men they groan.” Most commentators change one vowel in מְתִים (mÿtim) to get מֵתִים (metim) to get the active participle, “the dying.” This certainly fits the parallelism better, although sense could be made out of the MT.

9 tn Heb “the souls of the wounded,” which here refers to the wounded themselves.

10 tc The MT has the noun תִּפְלָה (tiflah) which means “folly; tastelessness” (cf. 1:22). The verb, which normally means “to place; to put,” would then be rendered “to impute; to charge.” This is certainly a workable translation in the context. Many commentators have emended the text, changing the noun to תְּפִלָּה (tÿfillah, “prayer”), and so then also the verb יָשִׂים (yasim, here “charges”) to יִשְׁמַע (yishma’, “hears”). It reads: “But God does not hear the prayer” – referring to the groans.

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