whose fathers I disdained too much 2
to put with my sheep dogs. 3
what use was it to me?
Men whose strength 5 had perished;
they would gnaw 7 the parched land,
in former time desolate and waste. 8
and the root of the broom tree was their food.
people 13 shouted at them
like they would shout at thieves 14 –
in the dry stream beds, 16
in the holes of the ground, and among the rocks.
and were huddled together 18 under the nettles.
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).