they would gnaw 2 the parched land,
in former time desolate and waste. 3
and the root of the broom tree was their food.
people 8 shouted at them
like they would shout at thieves 9 –
in the dry stream beds, 11
in the holes of the ground, and among the rocks.
and were huddled together 13 under the nettles.
they were driven out of the land with whips. 15
30:9 “And now I have become their taunt song;
I have become a byword 16 among them.
1 tn This word, גַּלְמוּד (galmud), describes something as lowly, desolate, bare, gaunt like a rock.
2 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).
3 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.”
4 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.
5 tn Here too the form is the participle with the article.
6 tn Heb “gather mallow,” a plant which grows in salt marshes.
7 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).
8 tn The form simply is the plural verb, but it means those who drove them from society.
9 tn The text merely says “as thieves,” but it obviously compares the poor to the thieves.
10 tn This use of the infinitive construct expresses that they were compelled to do something (see GKC 348-49 §114.h, k).
11 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).
12 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.
13 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).
14 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).
15 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.”
16 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.”