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Job 29:11-17

Context
Job’s Benevolence

29:11 “As soon as the ear heard these things, 1  it blessed me, 2 

and when the eye saw them, it bore witness to me,

29:12 for I rescued the poor who cried out for help,

and the orphan who 3  had no one to assist him;

29:13 the blessing of the dying man descended on me, 4 

and I made the widow’s heart rejoice; 5 

29:14 I put on righteousness and it clothed me, 6 

my just dealing 7  was like a robe and a turban;

29:15 I was eyes for the blind

and feet for the lame;

29:16 I was a father 8  to the needy,

and I investigated the case of the person I did not know;

29:17 I broke the fangs 9  of the wicked,

and made him drop 10  his prey from his teeth.

1 tn The words “these things” and “them” in the next colon are not in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

2 tn The main clause is introduced by the preterite with the vav (ו) consecutive (see GKC 327 §111.h); the clause before it is therefore temporal and circumstantial to the main clause.

3 tn The negative introduces a clause that serves as a negative attribute; literally the following clause says, “and had no helper” (see GKC 482 §152.u).

4 tn The verb is simply בּוֹא (bo’, “to come; to enter”). With the preposition עַל (’al, “upon”) it could mean “came to me,” or “came upon me,” i.e., descended (see R. Gordis, Job, 320).

5 tn The verb אַרְנִן (’arnin) is from רָנַן (ranan, “to give a ringing cry”) but here “cause to give a ringing cry,” i.e., shout of joy. The rejoicing envisioned in this word is far greater than what the words “sing” or “rejoice” suggest.

6 tn Both verbs in this first half-verse are from לָבַשׁ (lavash, “to clothe; to put on clothing”). P. Joüon changed the vowels to get a verb “it adorned me” instead of “it clothed me” (Bib 11 [1930]: 324). The figure of clothing is used for the character of the person: to wear righteousness is to be righteous.

7 tn The word מִשְׁפָּטִי (mishpati) is simply “my justice” or “my judgment.” It refers to the decisions he made in settling issues, how he dealt with other people justly.

8 sn The word “father” does not have a wide range of meanings in the OT. But there are places that it is metaphorical, especially in a legal setting like this where the poor need aid.

9 tn The word rendered “fangs” actually means “teeth,” i.e., the molars probably; it is used frequently of the teeth of wild beasts. Of course, the language is here figurative, comparing the oppressing enemy to a preying animal.

10 tn “I made [him] drop.” The verb means “to throw; to cast,” throw in the sense of “to throw away.” But in the context with the figure of the beast with prey in its mouth, “drop” or “cast away” is the idea. Driver finds another cognate meaning “rescue” (see AJSL 52 [1935/36]: 163).



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