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Job 33:23-24

Context

33:23 If there is an angel beside him,

one mediator 1  out of a thousand,

to tell a person what constitutes his uprightness; 2 

33:24 and if 3  God 4  is gracious to him and says,

‘Spare 5  him from going down

to the place of corruption,

I have found a ransom for him,’ 6 

1 sn The verse is describing the way God can preserve someone from dying by sending a messenger (translated here as “angel”), who could be human or angelic. This messenger will interpret/mediate God’s will. By “one … out of a thousand” Elihu could have meant either that one of the thousands of messengers at God’s disposal might be sent or that the messenger would be unique (see Eccl 7:28; and cp. Job 9:3).

2 tn This is a smoother reading. The MT has “to tell to a man his uprightness,” to reveal what is right for him. The LXX translated this word “duty”; the choice is adopted by some commentaries. However, that is too far from the text, which indicates that the angel/messenger is to call the person to uprightness.

3 tn This verse seems to continue the protasis begun in the last verse, with the apodosis coming in the next verse.

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

5 tc The verb is either taken as an anomalous form of פָּדַע (pada’, “to rescue; to redeem,” or “to exempt him”), or it is emended to some similar word, like פָּרַע (para’, “to let loose,” so Wright).

6 sn This verse and v. 28 should be compared with Ps 49:7-9, 15 (8-10, 16 HT) where the same basic vocabulary and concepts are employed.



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