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Job 31:29-31


31:29 If 1  I have rejoiced over the misfortune of my enemy 2 

or exulted 3  because calamity 4  found him –

31:30 I 5  have not even permitted my mouth 6  to sin

by asking 7  for his life through a curse –

31:31 if 8  the members of my household 9  have never said, 10 

‘If only there were 11  someone

who has not been satisfied from Job’s 12  meat!’ –

1 tn The problem with taking this as “if,” introducing a conditional clause, is finding the apodosis, if there is one. It may be that the apodosis is understood, or summed up at the end. This is the view taken here. But R. Gordis (Job, 352) wishes to take this word as the indication of the interrogative, forming the rhetorical question to affirm he has never done this. However, in that case the parenthetical verses inserted become redundant.

2 sn The law required people to help their enemies if they could (Exod 23:4; also Prov 20:22). But often in the difficulties that ensued, they did exult over their enemies’ misfortune (Pss 54:7; 59:10 [11], etc.). But Job lived on a level of purity that few ever reach. Duhm said, “If chapter 31 is the crown of all ethical developments of the O.T., verse 29 is the jewel in that crown.”

3 tn The Hitpael of עוּר (’ur) has the idea of “exult.”

4 tn The word is רָע (ra’, “evil”) in the sense of anything that harms, interrupts, or destroys life.

5 tn This verse would then be a parenthesis in which he stops to claim his innocence.

6 tn Heb “I have not given my palate.”

7 tn The infinitive construct with the ל (lamed) preposition (“by asking”) serves in an epexegetical capacity here, explaining the verb of the first colon (“permitted…to sin”). To seek a curse on anyone would be a sin.

8 tn Now Job picks up the series of clauses serving as the protasis.

9 tn Heb “the men of my tent.” In context this refers to members of Job’s household.

10 sn The line is difficult to sort out. Job is saying it is sinful “if his men have never said, ‘O that there was one who has not been satisfied from his food.’” If they never said that, it would mean there were people out there who needed to be satisfied with his food.

11 tn The optative is again expressed with “who will give?”

12 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Job) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

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