33:15 In a dream, a night vision,
when deep sleep falls on people
as they sleep in their beds.
33:16 Then he gives a revelation 1 to people,
and terrifies them with warnings, 2
33:17 to turn a person from his sin, 3
and to cover a person’s pride. 4
1 tn The idiom is “he uncovers the ear of men.” This expression means “inform” in Ruth 4:4; 1 Sam 20:2, etc. But when God is the subject it means “make a revelation” (see 1 Sam 9:15; 2 Sam 7:27).
2 tc Heb “and seals their bonds.” The form of the present translation, “and terrifies them with warnings,” is derived only by emending the text. Aquila, the Vulgate, Syriac, and Targum Job have “their correction” for “their bond,” which is what the KJV used. But the LXX, Aquila, and the Syriac have “terrifies” for the verb. This involves a change in pointing from יָחְתֹּם (yakhtom) to יְחִתֵּם (yÿkhittem). The LXX has “appearances of fear” instead of “bonds.” The point of the verse seems to be that by terrifying dreams God makes people aware of their ways.
3 tc The MT simply has מַעֲשֶׂה (ma’aseh, “deed”). The LXX has “from his iniquity” which would have been מֵעַוְלָה (me’avlah). The two letters may have dropped out by haplography. The MT is workable, but would have to mean “[evil] deeds.”
4 tc Here too the sense of the MT is difficult to recover. Some translations took it to mean that God hides pride from man. Many commentators changed יְכַסֶּה (yÿkhasseh, “covers”) to יְכַסֵּחַ (yÿkhasseakh, “he cuts away”), or יְכַלֶּה (yÿkhalleh, “he puts an end to”). The various emendations are not all that convincing.