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Job 30:1-12

Job’s Present Misery

30:1 “But now they mock me, those who are younger 1  than I,

whose fathers I disdained too much 2 

to put with my sheep dogs. 3 

30:2 Moreover, the strength of their 4  hands –

what use was it to me?

Men whose strength 5  had perished;

30:3 gaunt 6  with want and hunger,

they would gnaw 7  the parched land,

in former time desolate and waste. 8 

30:4 By the brush 9  they would gather 10  herbs from the salt marshes, 11 

and the root of the broom tree was their food.

30:5 They were banished from the community 12 

people 13  shouted at them

like they would shout at thieves 14 

30:6 so that they had to live 15 

in the dry stream beds, 16 

in the holes of the ground, and among the rocks.

30:7 They brayed 17  like animals among the bushes

and were huddled together 18  under the nettles.

30:8 Sons of senseless and nameless people, 19 

they were driven out of the land with whips. 20 

Job’s Indignities

30:9 “And now I have become their taunt song;

I have become a byword 21  among them.

30:10 They detest me and maintain their distance; 22 

they do not hesitate to spit in my face.

30:11 Because God has untied 23  my tent cord and afflicted me,

people throw off all restraint in my presence. 24 

30:12 On my right the young rabble 25  rise up;

they drive me from place to place, 26 

and build up siege ramps 27  against me. 28 

1 tn Heb “smaller than I for days.”

2 tn Heb “who I disdained their fathers to set…,” meaning “whose fathers I disdained to set.” The relative clause modifies the young fellows who mock; it explains that Job did not think highly enough of them to put them with the dogs. The next verse will explain why.

3 sn Job is mocked by young fellows who come from low extraction. They mocked their elders and their betters. The scorn is strong here – dogs were despised as scavengers.

4 tn The reference is to the fathers of the scorners, who are here regarded as weak and worthless.

5 tn The word כֶּלַח (kelakh) only occurs in Job 5:26; but the Arabic cognate gives this meaning “strength.” Others suggest כָּלַח (kalakh, “old age”), ֹכּל־חַיִל (kol-khayil, “all vigor”), כֹּל־לֵחַ (kol-leakh, “all freshness”), and the like. But there is no reason for such emendation.

6 tn This word, גַּלְמוּד (galmud), describes something as lowly, desolate, bare, gaunt like a rock.

7 tn The form is the plural participle with the definite article – “who gnaw.” The article, joined to the participle, joins on a new statement concerning a preceding noun (see GKC 404 §126.b).

8 tn The MT has “yesterday desolate and waste.” The word “yesterday” (אֶמֶשׁ, ’emesh) is strange here. Among the proposals for אֶמֶשׁ (’emesh), Duhm suggested יְמַשְּׁשׁוּ (yÿmashÿshu, “they grope”), which would require darkness; Pope renders “by night,” instead of “yesterday,” which evades the difficulty; and Fohrer suggested with more reason אֶרֶץ (’erets), “a desolate and waste land.” R. Gordis (Job, 331) suggests יָמִישׁוּ / יָמֻשׁוּ (yamishu/yamushu), “they wander off.”

9 tn Or “the leaves of bushes” (ESV), a possibility dating back to Saadia and discussed by G. R. Driver and G. B. Gray (Job [ICC], 2:209) in their philological notes.

10 tn Here too the form is the participle with the article.

11 tn Heb “gather mallow,” a plant which grows in salt marshes.

12 tn The word גֵּו (gev) is an Aramaic term meaning “midst,” indicating “midst [of society].” But there is also a Phoenician word that means “community” (DISO 48).

13 tn The form simply is the plural verb, but it means those who drove them from society.

14 tn The text merely says “as thieves,” but it obviously compares the poor to the thieves.

15 tn This use of the infinitive construct expresses that they were compelled to do something (see GKC 348-49 §114.h, k).

16 tn The adjectives followed by a partitive genitive take on the emphasis of a superlative: “in the most horrible of valleys” (see GKC 431 §133.h).

17 tn The verb נָהַק (nahaq) means “to bray.” It has cognates in Arabic, Aramaic, and Ugaritic, so there is no need for emendation here. It is the sign of an animal’s hunger. In the translation the words “like animals” are supplied to clarify the metaphor for the modern reader.

18 tn The Pual of the verb סָפַח (safakh, “to join”) also brings out the passivity of these people – “they were huddled together” (E. Dhorme, Job, 434).

19 tn The “sons of the senseless” (נָבָל, naval) means they were mentally and morally base and defective; and “sons of no-name” means without honor and respect, worthless (because not named).

20 tn Heb “they were whipped from the land” (cf. ESV) or “they were cast out from the land” (HALOT 697 s.v. נכא). J. E. Hartley (Job [NICOT], 397) follows Gordis suggests that the meaning is “brought lower than the ground.”

21 tn The idea is that Job has become proverbial, people think of misfortune and sin when they think of him. The statement uses the ordinary word for “word” (מִלָּה, millah), but in this context it means more: “proverb; byword.”

22 tn Heb “they are far from me.”

23 tn The verb פָּתַח (patakh) means “to untie [or undo]” a rope or bonds. In this verse יִתְרוֹ (yitro, the Kethib, LXX, and Vulgate) would mean “his rope” (see יֶתֶר [yeter] in Judg 16:7-9). The Qere would be יִתְרִי (yitri, “my rope [or cord]”), meaning “me.” The word could mean “rope,” “cord,” or “bowstring.” If the reading “my cord” is accepted, the cord would be something like “my tent cord” (as in Job 29:20), more than K&D 12:147 “cord of life.” This has been followed in the present translation. If it were “my bowstring,” it would give the sense of disablement. If “his cord” is taken, it would signify that the restraint that God had in afflicting Job was loosened – nothing was held back.

24 sn People throw off all restraint in my presence means that when people saw how God afflicted Job, robbing him of his influence and power, then they turned on him with unrestrained insolence (H. H. Rowley, Job [NCBC], 193).

25 tn This Hebrew word occurs only here. The word פִּרְחַח (pirkhakh, “young rabble”) is a quadriliteral, from פָּרַח (parakh, “to bud”) The derivative אֶפְרֹחַ (’efroakh) in the Bible refers to a young bird. In Arabic farhun means both “young bird” and “base man.” Perhaps “young rabble” is the best meaning here (see R. Gordis, Job, 333).

26 tn Heb “they cast off my feet” or “they send my feet away.” Many delete the line as troubling and superfluous. E. Dhorme (Job, 438) forces the lines to say “they draw my feet into a net.”

27 tn Heb “paths of their destruction” or “their destructive paths.”

28 sn See Job 19:12.

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