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Job 30:17-19


30:17 Night pierces 1  my bones; 2 

my gnawing pains 3  never cease.

30:18 With great power God 4  grasps my clothing; 5 

he binds me like the collar 6  of my tunic.

30:19 He has flung me into the mud,

and I have come to resemble dust and ashes.

Job 30:30


30:30 My skin has turned dark on me; 7 

my body 8  is hot with fever. 9 

1 tn The subject of the verb “pierces” can be the night (personified), or it could be God (understood), leaving “night” to be an adverbial accusative of time – “at night he pierces.”

2 tc The MT concludes this half-verse with “upon me.” That phrase is not in the LXX, and so many commentators delete it as making the line too long.

3 tn Heb “my gnawers,” which is open to several interpretations. The NASB and NIV take it as “gnawing pains”; cf. NRSV “the pain that gnaws me.” Some suggest worms in the sores (7:5). The LXX has “my nerves,” a view accepted by many commentators.

4 tn Heb “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tc This whole verse is difficult. The first problem is that this verb in the MT means “is disguised [or disfigured],” indicating that Job’s clothes hang loose on him. But many take the view that the verb is a phonetic variant of חָבַשׁ (khavash, “to bind; to seize”) and that the Hitpael form is a conflation of the third and second person because of the interchange between them in the passage (R. Gordis, Job, 335). The commentaries list a number of conjectural emendations, but the image in the verse is probably that God seizes Job by the garment and throws him down.

6 tn The phrase “like the collar” is difficult, primarily because their tunics did not have collars. A translation of “neck” would suit better. Some change the preposition to בּ (bet), getting a translation “by the neck of my tunic.”

7 tn The MT has “become dark from upon me,” prompting some editions to supply the verb “falls from me” (RSV, NRSV), or “peels” (NIV).

8 tn The word “my bones” may be taken as a metonymy of subject, the bony framework indicating the whole body.

9 tn The word חֹרֶב (khorev) also means “heat.” The heat in this line is not that of the sun, but obviously a fever.

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