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Job 26:7-8

Context

26:7 He spreads out the northern skies 1  over empty space; 2 

he suspends the earth on nothing. 3 

26:8 He locks the waters in his clouds,

and the clouds do not burst with the weight of them.

Job 26:13

Context

26:13 By his breath 4  the skies became fair;

his hand pierced the fleeing serpent. 5 

1 sn The Hebrew word is צָפוֹן (tsafon). Some see here a reference to Mount Zaphon of the Ugaritic texts, the mountain that Baal made his home. The Hebrew writers often equate and contrast Mount Zion with this proud mountain of the north. Of course, the word just means north, and so in addition to any connotations for pagan mythology, it may just represent the northern skies – the stars. Since the parallel line speaks of the earth, that is probably all that was intended in this particular context.

2 sn There is an allusion to the creation account, for this word is תֹּהוּ (tohu), translated “without form” in Gen 1:2.

3 sn Buttenwieser suggests that Job had outgrown the idea of the earth on pillars, and was beginning to see it was suspended in space. But in v. 11 he will still refer to the pillars.

4 tn Or “wind”; or perhaps “Spirit.” The same Hebrew word, רוּחַ (ruakh), may be translated as “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit/Spirit” depending on the context.

5 sn Here too is a reference to pagan views indirectly. The fleeing serpent was a designation for Leviathan, whom the book will simply describe as an animal, but the pagans thought to be a monster of the deep. God’s power over nature is associated with defeat of pagan gods (see further W. F. Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan; idem, BASOR 53 [1941]: 39).



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